Any rational purpose for Ho-229?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by delcyros, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    I´d like to have Your opinions on this one.

    Horten Ho 229 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    pardon me for Wikipedia. What reasonable purpose might You expect such a plane will serve in? I have read fighter and fighter-bomber but honestly spoken, I don´t believe it. It´s to big for that (big target size in combination with poor climb, slow acceleration and tricky flight handling doesn´t serve well in this capacity).

    Intruder or nightfighter maybe? The fuel capacity at least is excellent.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Many new aviation technologies were attempted during WWII era resulting in dozens of projects that never advanced beyond prototype to mass production. Ho-229 was one of those attempts. I doubt it would have been mass produced but technology gleaned from the project would end up in other aircraft projects.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The Ho229 was not as large as you might think, it's winspan being roughly 10 feet wider that the Typhoon, P-47 or F4U.

    It was reported to have good combat performance characteristics and minimal drag allowed for good range. With a confirmed Radar Cross-Section less than half of a contemporary piston fighter, it would have created havoc with British defences.

    It's reported low rate of climb might be seen as less than impressive compared to other aircraft, but had a projected service ceiling of 59,000 feet, maintaining an airspeed over 600 miles an hour at altitude.

    So it may have been an odd sight, but held potential for being a very dangerous weapon in the Luftwaffe's arsenal.
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It was another forlorn hope. Germany was looking for wonder weapons to change the course of the war when it was already too late. There was never any chance of prolonging the conflict for long enough to allow concept aircraft (and that's what it amounted to) like the Ho 229 to be developed.

    The shape looks very modern and has undoubtedly influenced much later designs, as suggested above. Under the skin it is very much of the 1930s and old fashioned even in its own time.

    I've never believed the post war claims ,including by one of the brothers, that there was an intentional attempt to make the aircraft stealthy. No such claim was made or recorded anywhere during the war. What remains of the one surviving example seems to be painted in standard RLM lacquers.
    The shape is inherently stealthy, but that is not the reason for it, unlike a modern design like the F 117. It must be coincidence that the Hortens and others like Lippisch were working on aircraft shapes that happened to be stealthy before the invention of working radar systems.
    American engineers concluded that the bonding in the layers of the nose cone contained some conducting element. It is a massive leap from that to the conclusion that this was an intentional stealth measure. You might well find that the material bonding the layers in other aircraft of similar construction has exactly the same properties and that it is an intrinsic property of the material. The Northrop Grumman engineers never carried out that kind of control.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Steve, you are aware that Northrup built an exact replica and tested it at their Tejon testing facility in 2008, right?

    The RCS results at 20 to 50MHz showed a remarkable reduction in returns with the cockpit and jet intakes having the highest reflection.
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yes. The shape is stealthy. I've seen estimates that the radar profile as 'seen' by the contemporary British radar would be 30%-40% less than that of a comparably sized aircraft with fin and propellers. My point is that this was a fortuitous by-product of the profile of the Horten design and not the reason for it. The shape is derived from many much earlier gliders designed by the Hortens and others and was not designed to be stealthy.
    The shape of the Horten wings wasn't plucked from the ether in the mid 1940s, it had been developed over the last 10-15 years.

    Back in 1930-31 German aerodynamicists were working on gliders with shapes, particularly delta wings, that might well be stealthy, had anyone had a radar to test them with. This was before the development of radar and of course in the absence of jets engines a powered version would have required a propeller, one of the least stealthy features you can add to an aeroplane.
    Unless they were on friendly terms with Dr Who they cannot possibly have been intentionally designing stealthy shapes :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  7. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    lol...well put! :lol:

    I do believe that Riemar was onto something when he was incorporating graphite into the construction of the Ho.IX, in an attempt to reduce the cross-section. I also believe that he didn't know that the physical shape of the aircraft was a huge contributing factor, as the technology of radar detection and the art of defeating said radar wasn't fully understood at the time.

    Many of the great technological discoveries throughout history have actually been accidents and I feel that the Horton Borthers were one of these instances. The graphite was heading in the right direction, but was the shape of the aircraft, not the graphite, that was so revolutionary in the world of RCS technology.

    The Horton's and thier projects were accidental pioneers, it seems. :thumbleft:
     
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  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Agree 100%. I couldn't have put it better myself.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  9. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    It was to be a fighter first. Later versions would be used as fighter-bombers and night-fighters.
     
  10. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    And about the same as a P-38.

    Weight wise it was between a P-47 and P-38 for empty weight (just slightly more than the P-47) and less than both in loaded weight.
     
  11. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    wuzak is most correct. Horton Ho 229 Spirit of Thuringia by Sheplev and Ottens states that. All the other forseen versions came later.
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Ho.IX aka Ho299 was 55 feet wide, 24 feet long :)
     
  13. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't it be great to see the sole remaining Ho 229 at the Smithsonian restored and put on display? Dare we ask that it be restored to flight and flown regularly at, say, Duxford?? :lol: :headbang:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    What puzzles me is that the Allies didn't complete it and try it out after the war.

    After all, Northrop were playing with flying wings too, and I believe struggling a bit with stability. Surely it would have been of interest to test fly another flying wing?
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Northrop had XP-56, the small X-79 and the Big B-35 bomber + the "scale" tests beds. British were also fooling with flying wings, they all had stability problems. Northrop had one or more crashes and the the British A.W. 52 is supposed to have been responsible for the first Non-test (actual emergency) use of a British ejector seat.

    Fooling around with a "borrowed" partially complete aircraft doesn't sound like it would end well. Examining it to see if anybody has an "AH-HA" moment is certainly worth doing. US had almost 4 times as many wind tunnels in operation in 1945/46 as they did in 1939/40 so the actual "need" to test fly every idea was a bit less (as long as test flights confirm or do not deviate from wind tunnel predictions too much).

    See: Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Of interest is the section on the laminar flow wing. "surface smooth to better than 2/1000 of an inch" and it still didn't work as desired.
     
  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Like mentioned earlier, the Ho229 had remarkably agile handling characteristics. The only reason the test airframe crashed, was because one of the engines caught fire. The test pilot tried several times to either restart the stricken engine or extinguish the flames by "dipping" the aircraft. However, shortly after several tries, the aircraft slowly begand to dive into the ground just past the airfield, hurling the pilot from the wreckage. He died a few days later, but it was thought that he was overcome by the smoke/fumes from the fire and lost consciousness instead of ejecting to safety.

    The Northrop replica that was produced cost about $255,000 (USD) to make, so it's not entirely unreasonable to consider making a flying replica, like they did with the Me262...which would most likely use the same modern engines, since the original Ho229 and Me262 used the Jumo-004.
     
  17. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    They are working on it as we speak.
    IMGP3256 small.jpg
    IMGP3255 Small.jpg
     
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  18. Von Frag

    Von Frag Member

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    I thought they had lost the wings. Are those the originals?
     
  19. silence

    silence Active Member

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    the wiki says 22 m/s - that sounds pretty good to me
     
  20. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    They are indeed.
     
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