Howard Hughes' D-2

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Graeme, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Three view from an 'exclusive' article in an Australian magazine called Air Historian from 1973. I cannot vouch for its accuracy. The photos in the article are of a very poor quality and heavily retouched.


    [​IMG]

    The man in the foreground is 'possibly' Howard Hughes.

    [​IMG]

    This is the only photo I could find of the D-2 on the net.

    [​IMG]

    Does anyone have any further images of this aircraft? Hughes of course was very secretive and possibly few photos exist. General H.H. Arnold (according to the article) flew to Hughes' factory to inspect the D-2, but was refused entry by security guards, as Hughes left strict instructions that no-one be allowed entry. Nevertheless Hughes always believed that his basic idea for the D-2 had not been the best kept secret and was convinced that the government had conspired to give a production contract for the P-38 Lightning to Lockheed as a result of his early intensive research work on a revolutionary twin-engine interceptor design.

    Four months after Howard Hughes had submitted a design for a twin -engine interceptor to the Army Corps, they issued specifications for an identical craft to four companies. Hughes testified that Hughes engineers had gone to work for Lockheed.
     
  2. falcon from sweden

    falcon from sweden New Member

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  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Hughes was inspired by the P-38. Bob Gross, Lockheed president at the time was good friends with Hughes.
     
  4. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Wonder if it was ever test flown ?

    Charles
     
  5. falcon from sweden

    falcon from sweden New Member

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  6. falcon from sweden

    falcon from sweden New Member

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    LOOK AT THIS

    a Hint: Look after XP-73:D
     
  7. falcon from sweden

    falcon from sweden New Member

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  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  9. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Don't think so Charles.

    Exactly.

    This is an artist's rendering of what the D-2 would have looked like in the proposed bomber-reconnaissance role. A Senate War Contract Investigating Committee looked into Hughes' war contracts and allegations were made that he had added the D-2 development costs into the XF-11 project.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    I so a small book many years ago on the D2 it had about 10 or15 images of the D2 in it.To this day I kick my self of not paying the 6.75 for it.
     
  11. AV8

    AV8 New Member

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    In the first post, the bottom plane is the XF-11. Falcon from Sweden's first post is also the XF-11.

    The D-2 had a much lower aspect-ratio wing than the XF-11, and this is shown in the first drawing. The problem with the first drawing is that the D-2 had a solid nose, not one with wondows in it. The windowed nose is the XF-11, at least in prototype form.

    Howard Hughes was a stickler for secrecy. Whatever he did was released to the public in deliberately-wrong or misleading ways on purpose. Witness the Hughes Glomar Explorer ship whose sole purpose was to raise a sunken Soviet submarine but whose claimed purpose was released to the public as an oil exploration platform. Since it never explored for oil, that excuse fizzled ... and fast. But, it DID the job.

    My feelings are that the D-2 was burned because it did not meet specifications. It was wood and would easily burn and the project could be rescued by going with the Pratt Whitney Wasp Major R-4360 engine ... which Hughes DID, albeit with much higher aspect ratio wings for some better altitude performance.

    Too bas we didn't BUY it. Nothing could have caught it.

    During the evaluation of the XF-11, they told the Air Force where they would be and when, and the F-86s STILL couldn't find it or catch it. One F-86 got a gun camera pic of the outboard 4 feet of the wingtip, in one single gun camera frame, but it turned away so fast that the F-86 could not follow and disappeared from sight.

    We SHOULD have bought these beasts ... but, typically shortsighted, we didn't.
     
  12. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    If you're referring to this photo, then I strongly believe that it is the D-2, especially when you compare the cockpit construction to...

    this... the XF-11 (with Hughes at the controls).

    [​IMG]


    However, if you meant to refer to the bottom 'photo' of the magazine scan of the first post, you're probably right, although it is captioned as the D-2. The only significant identifying point on the photo are the landing 'bumpers', on the ventral rear tail booms, which are absent on all images of the XF-11...

    [​IMG]

    And as you pointed out, the 3-view is highly speculative.
     
  13. Marshall_Stack

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    My first response to purchasing the aircraft is that we wouldn't need the XF-11 since the P-61 Black Widow ( a similar aircraft) was already converted to a reconnaissance role (the F-15 Reporter) and that technology was pushing towards jets. Then I saw that the airplane had a range of 5,000 miles. That in itself would be a major selling point.
     
  14. AV8

    AV8 New Member

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    Graeme,

    I am chastised and YOU are right. Spank me.

    As for the XF-11, it was wicked FAST at altitude and quite maneuverable. Of course, with R-4360s and low drag, it SHOULD have been ...
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I'd like to know where you got that from since the evaluations of the second XF-11 began in April 1947. The First flight of the XF-86 took place in October, 1947 and the first deliveries were made in May 1948. I doubt F-86s were being used as chase planes in the late 40s.

    The remaining XF-11 wound up at Eglin and then Shepard AFB in 1948. According to my sources it never flew again and just "rotted away."

    The XF-11 had a top speed of 450 mph. The F-86A had a top speed of 601 at 30,000 feet, 679 at sea level. A recip might of been able to initially accelerate away from an early jet but eventually the jet would "win." If this took place I'd like to know where and when since the two aircraft seemed to be going in "opposite directions.":rolleyes:
     
  16. ceckardt

    ceckardt New Member

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    Anyone by any chance happen to have a cutaway of the XF-11??
     
  17. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    These are interesting.. original wind tunnel models from a Florida Aviation museum. The finish on the was beautiful
     

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  18. verner

    verner Member

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    Beautiful Plane. Cheers
     

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  19. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    That's one BIG bird! :shock:
     
  20. KMeyrick

    KMeyrick Member

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    How about this link...

    XF-11

    I know there are some models and stuff around this city somewhere..... I know there's a display at the museum at the airport- but I don't have a photo. (The airport here in Las Vegas has a 24/7 aviation musuem and displays all over the place of Vegas aviation)

    I know the guy in charge- a real NV aviation/history expert (he was just on Pawn Stars authenticating something)- I'll see if I can shoot him an email about Hughes stuff- or I'll prob see him in church on Sunday.

    Anything specific you'd like to ask or add to the questions here????

    oh and yes the D2 was test flown Hughes XP-73
    "The D-2 was built primarily of wood. Power was provided by two 2000-hp Pratt and Whitney R-2800-49 radials driving three-bladed propellers. A hydraulic control surface boost mechanism was provided for elevators, rudders, and ailerons, one of the first applications of such a device to an aircraft. Turbosuperchargers and cabin pressurization were planned, but were not yet fitted. Crew was two or three.

    Initial ground trials began in the spring of 1942. However, it soon became obvious that the control forces were excessively heavy when the boost mechanism was not operating. During high speed taxiing tests, Hughes briefly lifted the aircraft off the ground on some 30 occasions. These brief hops revealed some aileron instability, and further full-scale tests were delayed until new ailerons with broader chord were fitted.

    The D-2 made its first true flight on June 20, 1943. Howard Hughes took it up twice that day. Hughes noted that there were rather high aileron control forces and that there was a tendency to roll with power on and with the undercarriage retracted. In order to correct these problems, Hughes increased the wingspan, but these changes did little to improve the flight characteristics."

    and yes- that photo IS the D-2 UNLV Libraries - Howard Hughes: Object Viewer

    UNLV Howard Hughes lib. section has 94 photos with descriptions that could be of some help....UNLV Libraries - Howard Hughes: Search the Collection
     
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