Airspeed A.S.39 Fleet Shadower

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by fubar57, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    #1 fubar57, Sep 30, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
    Ok, so the French weren't the sole proprietors of butt ugly aircraft. The first I've heard of this monstrosity...

    Airspeed-Fleet-Shadower-2.jpg



    Knowing exactly where your enemy is lurking is one of the greatest advantages a military commander can have over his opponent. During World War Two, while the navies of the allies were playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with their counterparts in the axis navies, this was never more true. Aerial observation played a key role in finding out where the enemy fleet, or single vessels, were stationed, or where they were headed.

    In the build up to the war, the Royal Navy put out a brief for a long-range, slow-flying, low-noise aircraft which could be launched from a carrier and could shadow enemy fleets without being detected, and all the while report back their position to their own fleet. Five companies, Percival, Short Brothers, Fairey Aviation, General Aircraft Ltd and Airspeed, took up the challenge and submitted proposals for such aircraft. Of these five designs five were selected for further development, and both General Aircraft and Airspeed got the funding to build two prototypes each.

    The design of the Airspeed A.S. 39 Fleet Shadower and the competing aircraft, the General Aircraft Ltd G.A.L 38, were very similar. Both were high-wing, semi-cantilever monoplanes with four engines and a tall, almost helicopter-like fuselage. The layout of the fuselage was in order to provide the observer – who sat up front and had a wide viewing angle through the nose – with quick access and good communication with the radio operator who was sat further back in the fuselage. The pilot sat above on another level.

    Powering the Airspeed Fleet Shadower were four small 130 horsepower Pobjoy Niagra V seven-cylinder radial engines. The positioning of the engines maximized propwash over the wings to provide extra lift at low speed. In fact the Airspeed Fleet Shadower had an incredibly low stall speed of just 33 mph. It’s maximum speed was just 126 mph. The wings could be folded back for storage aboard the aircraft carrier.

    Of the two prototypes ordered, only one was finished. It flew for the first time on October 17 1940. The program had been delayed somewhat due to vibration problems with the engines. During testing it was discovered that the Airspeed Fleet Shadower had stability issues and the underpowered engines led to poor stall handling. The Royal Navy requested Airspeed redesign the aircraft to accommodate two superior Armstrong Whitworth Cheetah XI engines and also add some armament in the form of rear-facing machine guns. Airspeed drew up plans for the upgrades, but before they could begin work the Navy cancelled their request and terminated the program in 1941. Airspeed’s competitor, General Aircraft Ltd fared little better, their Fleet Shadower design was cancelled the next year. The main reason for the Navy losing interest in the concept was the fact air-to-surface radar was now available – and in use on the Liberator I – making the necessity for a dedicated fleet observation aircraft obsolete.


    Geo
     
  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Ugly but a good subject for scratch building.
     
  3. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    Have seen that before but refuse to believe it is british as us brits would never make an ugly aircraft !
    :evil:
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Unless it was sub-contracted from Blackburn Aviation !!
     
  5. at6

    at6 Well-Known Member

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    A redesign of the stabilizers and R985 engines could have made it more attractive. Otherwise, it's so d*mned ugly that it has a certain appeal, sort of like a Pug.
     
  6. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Yep...it cooks a mean breakfast! :)
     
  7. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    They did do something with the tail though it is still no prettier...

    ga_gal-38.jpg
    from the web


    Geo
     
  8. at6

    at6 Well-Known Member

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    I'm in love!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  9. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    On to more ugly from the French. Another aircraft I have never heard of, the Arsenal Delanne 10...

    arsenal_delanne-10_1.jpg

    The Arsenal-Delanne 10-C2 two-seat fighter, designed by Maurice Delanne and built by the Arsenal de l'Aéronautique, was of so-called Nenadovich biplane or tandem wing configuration, the tandem-mounted wings providing a continuous slot effect and offering exceptional center of gravity range. The fighter was of all metal stressed-skin construction, which used a sandwich technique, with a smooth dural skin welded to a corrugated sheet. Pilot and gunner sat in tandem under a single canopy at the rear of the fuselage, which was level with the rear wing, which carried twin tailplanes. This arrangement gave the gunner a clear field of fire for his planned armament of two 7.5 mm machine guns, which was to be supplemented by a 20 mm cannon firing through the propellor hub and two more machine guns in the wing. The aircraft was fitted with a retractable tailwheel undercarriage and was powered by a single 860 hp (641 kW) Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine.

    The Arsenal-Delanne 10-C2 prototype was virtually complete at Villacoublay when German forces occupied the factory in June 1940. Work on the aircraft continued in a desultory fashion and the first flight test was made in October 1941. After completion of the initial test programme, the aircraft was ferried to Germany for further trials.

    arsenal10c2.jpg

    Little information is available about the results of these tests or the final disposition of this unusual aircraft.

    Geo
     
  10. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I am totally convinced that, during certain periods, French aircraft designers drank far too much cheap red wine, and ate far too much Camembert to !
    There's no other rational explanation for such weird designs, a legacy of their nightmares !!
     
  11. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    I think the blueprints were not unfolded properly and they missed a bit out of the middle !
     
  12. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    weird @ss birds.....do they fly...
     
  13. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    That one is the General Aircraft Ltd Fleet Shadower; it originally had three fins like the Airspeed one, but was altered with the single fin as seen here.

    The idea of fleet shadowers dates back to the Great War, when the German navy used their Zeppelins for reconnaissance and shadowing the British fleet. The Royal Navy thought the German airships were such a threat that on Churchill's insistence it launched a series of air raids against the German airship bases throughout the war; the most famous being the Tondern raid of 1918 - the first successful aircraft carrier launched air strike in history.

    Anyhoo, back to the subject of fugly planes, hows about this beauty...

    http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/678669-2/P-12
     
  14. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Grant, never trust the internet. Sometimes have a hard time wondering how some of these ever got off the drawing board.


    Geo
     
  15. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    They probably go off the drawing board a darned sight easier than they got off the ground !!
     
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  16. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Interesting tid bit that I just read about Blackburn. Evidently in the pre WW2 days they were quite generous with the gifts when an aircraft was delivered into service. Several magnums of champagne being the norm for say a Roc.
     
  17. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    The Champagne was a much needed accessory Jim. The crews drank the lot, so that they wouldn't see how bl**dy ugly their new aircraft were !
     
  18. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I would imagine you are right Terry
     
  19. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    No worries Geo.

    One of the oddest Blackburns was the Blackburd: a torpedo plane built in WW1, it too is ugly like most other Blackburn machines, but it was designed by Harris Booth of the Admiralty Air Department and incorporated novel features for its time. It had to jettison its wheels to launch its torpedo before landing on the carrier on skids. Mind you, the naval requirement specified this feature and its Short counterpart the Shirl did the same.

    The Blackburd:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackburn_Blackburd
     
  20. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Do we really need to know anymore about. The sight of it is bad enough ;)...
     
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