If the Hughes H-1 would have been made into a fighter...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Clay_Allison, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    Would you re-engine it with the V-1710 or the R-1830? The R-1830 seems like the obvious answer, since the Hughes H-1 was a radial to begin with, but it vastly improved the speed of the the P-36 to re-engine it with an inline power plant (the P-40) EVEN with a vast weight increase.

    Why pass up the chance to make a clean aircraft even cleaner with the smaller frontal area and less drag?
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    In its original form I think you might have some problems.

    Configuration - poor visibility

    Construction - would had to be re-engineered to accept military equipment, armor, guns, etc and stressed to handle combat conditions.

    Handeling - I would almost guess it would not be a friendly aircraft to fly especially on take off and landing.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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  4. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    It was a plane design to set a record but it had outstanding aero qualities and I think could have been developed into a first rate 1939 fighter. Let’s just say it had great potential and was further along in design than any other ’39 US fighter.

    I would guess this would not be hard to address. Of course poor visibility was not unique to this aircraft during this time period. Read this article on the Bf-109E.

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/av...09e-rob-erdos-vintage-wings-canada-22726.html

    Yes, but well understood and not rocket science. The advanced aerodynamics could easily be applied to fighter aircraft design, see Zero, Fw-190, et.al.

    Why would you guess that? Because it was a record setter? From what I have seen and read, its looks good, with nice wide spread gear. Was it poor visibility over the front but this was not unusual for this era and probably no worse than the Bf-109 or Fw-190. Jim Wright, who built and flew an H-1 (so accurately it was identified as the second H-1 by the FAA) stated that it was the best flying aircraft he had ever flown, practically flying itself. I don’t know about him or how much flying he had but he did have experience in this aircraft.

    It is too bad the Wright and the H-1 was lost. We could have learned a lot about this beautiful aircraft.
     
  5. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    When you actually think about it, didn't the H-1 exist in a form in aircraft like the Corsair, Bearcat, Lagg-7, Sea Fury, FW-190, ect? Weren't they all extensions of the same design concept and influenced by the H-1?

    To put in those terms, the H-1 is an evolutionary concept (much like the P40 leads to the Mustang by virtue of knowing what to do to make a better airplane than the P40), a step in the process that is ongoing today.

    That being said, It was a very pretty airplane.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The H-1 was designed as a racer. It had extremely long landing gear and no down ward visibility. That combined with putting 3 or 4 hundred pounds of military equipment (armor, guns, radios) this sleek racer will become a dog IMO. I would also think you would have to go in and redesign a good portion of the aircraft so it will take 6 or 8 Gs, especially with the added equipment.

    Jimmy Weddell tried a similar play with one of his aircraft - it didn't get very far.

    Sure, it was a trend setter and eventually inspired future designs, but saying the H-1 could be modified to srve as a combat aircraft would be like saying the SB6 and the Spitfire were the same aircraft
     
  7. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    Fully agree. Not just the weight alone, also its distribution. And view on takeoff and landing is horrible and beyond anything a novice pilot could handle. They tried the same with the Me 209 record setter and it didn't go far (though they also had to switch the cooling system).
     
  8. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    One thing that bothered me about the H-1 was the tail. Specifically, the fin, it looks a little odd. Something like the Early B17. Anybody have any idea on how it handled? Any problems with stability? I read in an earlier post on this thread that it was very stable but that tail bothers me.
     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure anybody succeeded in turning a race plane INTO a fighter.

    The Hughes used two different wings, one short one for speed and one long for the distance flight.

    While the landing gear was wide tread it used rather small wheels and tires. Impact forces might have to be scaled up for service use. more weight. Racer used a tail skid.

    The cockpit/canopy was a bit of a joke for a service aircraft. The wind screen actually slid forward almost a foot to allow entrance and exit. Not a great design for bailing out. The rather low (streamlined) canopy restricted forward vision. The cowl might have been almost half the height of the canopy. Rather limits deflection shooting:)

    Higher canopy=more drag.

    FLYBOYJ has already gone over some of the other considerations. Although to make a 1939-40 fighter I think the armament weight would be even higher.

    While certain features of the design could be used (and were) the design as a whole needed too much reworking to make a good fighter.
     
  10. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    It requires a new design, basically, to modify the H-1 into a useful military plane. Maneuverability and low speed handling charackteristics (this plane has a reputation for somehow violent stall breaks) are issues as are load and in flight maneuverability. I used the basic layout to modify somehow a similar plane buildt around a big radial, like a Bristol Hercules or something comparable:

    [​IMG]

    It wouldn´t be very fast, nor very well climbing, nor very maneuverable and most pilots would take the plane as somehow average through the whole flight envelope. But the layout would allow the main fuel tank to be placed in the cog and thus very large internal fuel buncerage is possible. Emptying the fuel tank would not result in cog shifts- in theory this could be a very long ranged fighter.
     
  11. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    ummm, Supermarine Spitfire?
     
  12. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    #12 Waynos, Jan 16, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
    No.

    Its a common misconception, but theres no truth in it.
     
  13. Sweb

    Sweb Member

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    This has always been the rub between Hughes and Horikoshi (Mitsubishi). Gotta admit there's similarities and the Japanese have always been known to steal and use what they can get away with. Maybe that's an unfair statement but documented cases speak for themselves.

    Taken from Wiki -

    Aviation historians have posited that the H-1 Racer may have inspired later radial engine fighters such as the P-47 Thunderbolt and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.[7] After the war, Hughes further claimed that "it was quite apparent to everyone that the Japanese Zero fighter had been copied from the Hughes H-1 Racer." He noted both the wing planform, the tail empennage design and the general similarity of the Zero and his racer.[8]. Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Mitsubishi Zero strongly refuted the allegation of the Hughes H-1 influencing the design of the Japanese fighter aircraft.[9].
    The Hughes H-1 Racer is featured in the 1940 RKO Radio Pictures movie: Men Against the Sky.[10]
    [edit]
     
  14. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    I don't know, the A6M seems to me like a lessons-learned development of the A5M, which was developed in parallel to the H-1.

    Did the Mitsubishi guys even ever get the chance to see the H-1 up close?
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Don't think so, but....

    "As no export orders for the fighter - which was also offered with a 525hp Wasp Junior engine as the V-150 - materialised, the sole V-143 prototype was sold to the Japanese Imperial Navy, which assigned it the designation AXV1. Although it was later to be widely alleged that the Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen was based on the V-143, there was no truth in such allegations, although Vought's method of undercarriage retraction provided the inspiration for that of the Japanese fighter. "

    Vought V-143 - fighter
     
  16. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure it was built as a racer, i.e., go around pylons at a high rate of speed, but rather, a record breaker. As such this would be a negative since stress levels requirements would be lower.

    I would agree that pilot visibility needs to be improved, but I suspect that, as is, it is not a lot worse than the Bf-109. I don’t think the distance from aircraft thrust line to bottom of the landing gear is much different for either plane. The cockpit is further back on the fuselage on the H-1 thus worse visibility in spite of apparently having a taller canopy, than the Bf-109. However the Bf-109 visibility was “almost non-existent”. I would however, increase visibility for a fighter.

    Air speed performance impact would not be significant; the H-1 had much more airspeed margin than the contemporary Bf-109. Climb and maneuverability would be impacted although the Bf-109B weight went up 3-400 lbs to the D without becoming a “dog”. More power was provided to the Bf-109D and more power would be required for the H-1 to maintain vertical and maneuvering performance. It was available in PW 1830.

    Yes, but there is no reason to assume the empty weight would be any higher than the P-35A at 4575 lbs. At this weight, the H-1 would still be an imposing aircraft as I argue below.

    The XP-34 was a fixed gear (externally braced?) aircraft that, by the proposal time of 1935, was obsolete and had a proposed top speed of 308 mph. There is no indication that the XP-34 was not able to be built to fighter requirements but was not accepted because it was too slow related to other aircraft on the drawing board and obsolete. The H-1 had none of these faults.




    The Bf-209 used an evaporative cooling system and an overblown DB 601 producing 1800 hp and an engine life of 30 min to one hour. With standard cooling and normal military rated DB 601 (standard power of 1150 hp), the fighter version of the Bf-209 was not worth the trouble. The H-1 was air cooled and the engined was tuned to develop 1000 hp using 100 octane fuel, a technique that was widespread in WWII. Hughes himself bragged about the engine of the H-1 basically operating in a normal range while the faster float planes had engines that only lasted a few minutes. The transition from record breaker to fighter would be much easier for the H-1.


    I don’t know about this. If you compare the wheel diameter of the Bf-109 to the man in the picture, coming slightly above the knee,

    Google Image Result for http://pagesperso-orange.fr/christophe.arribat/stof109.jpg

    to the picture of the H-1, it appears it is only slightly larger than the H-1 wheels when compared to the man in this picture, coming to the knee.

    Hughes H-1


    [QUTOE] Racer used a tail skid.[/QUOTE]

    The first Spitfire had a skid. I don’t think that posed a problem in becoming an effective fighter.

    http://olympia.fortunecity.com/madden/101/spitprot2.jpg (skid)

    This link may not work.

    In the referenced to an article on flying the Bf-109, Bouncing Clouds, by Bob Erdos, who flew a Bf-109E, he make the following statement.

    ‘As an outcome of both the reclined seating position and being tightly wrapped by the airframe, the forward field of view was nearly non-existent; a characteristic unfortunately common to this vintage of fighters.’

    Doing a bit of photointerpretation , it appears to me that the distance from the cowl to the top of the canopy bow is about 9” for the H-1 and about 8” for the Bf-109.

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/av...09e-rob-erdos-vintage-wings-canada-22726.html

    I think the canopy should be higher and, yes, it would affect drag, but not enough to negate the H-1 all over clean design.

    I based my calculations on the P-40B level of armament of two .30s and two .50s, and armor.

    I fully agree with this. I see the H-1 as a prototype or a preproduction Y job that had great potential. Hughes had three to four years to refine the design into a bona fide fighter implementing the changes I identified and I think this could have been successful.

    See above. As far as maneuverability and low speed handling goes I do not think we know enough to make judgment on this other than it was reported that the aircraft flew very well, almost flying itself, and that it had interesting stall characteristics, something many fighters had to deal with.


    This is my take on a build to requirement H-1, utilizing an R-1830 engine.

    H-1 redesign for 1939 US Fighter competition

    Hughes H-1 Fighter
    HP1200 (R-1830-76)
    Empty weight 4800 lbs*
    Combat weight 5967 lbs
    Gross weight 6200 lbs
    Max A/S 330 mph at SL**
    Max A/S 371 mph at 22k ft.***
    P/w empty .25
    P/w combat .2 hp/lb
    Wing loading empty 25 lb/sqft
    Wing loading combat 31.2 lb/sqft

    * includes increased structure for military dynamic loads and P-40B level of armor and armament (two 30s., two .50s, 93 lbs armor/BP glass) (reasonable since it is similar to P-35 at 4575 lbs and P-36C at 4620 lbs, both powered by the R-1830)

    ** H-1 record performance plus correction for increased hp (+200), increased weight, new canopy, extended wings, larger fuselage.

    *** Estimate based on F4F-3 (R-1830-76 engine) airspeed vs. altitude profile (for supercharger performance)

    A comparison to 1939 competition.

    H-1 fighter max speed 371 mph at 22k, p/w empty .25 hp/lb, wing loading empty 25lb/sqft

    P-40B max airspeed 352 mph at 15k, p/w empty .18 hp/lb, wing loading empty 23 lbs/sqft.

    Bf-109E max airspeed 357 at 20k, p/w empty .26 hp/lb, wing loading empty 25.2 lbs/sqft.

    Spitfire Mark I max airspeed 362 mph at 18.5k, p/w empty .21 hp/lb, wing loading empty 16.5 lbs/sqft

    A6M model 21 max airspeed 331 mph at 15k, p/w empty .26 hp/lb, wing loading empty 15.4 lbs/sqft

    Over all, I think that if the H-1 had been pursued as a fighter, in 1939, the US would have had a world class fighter with good high altitude performance that could go head to head with any fighter. The Brits would have another front line fighter that could press the defense against the Luftwaffe and relieve pressure on the Spitfire, and the US would have had an even faster fighter to face the onset of the Japanese (however, combat philosophy, favored turning fight, would still have hampered the H-1 as it did the P-40 early in the war.)

    If you have issues with my assumptions let me know, I will gladly address them or change my results.
     
  17. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Did Howard Hughes actually (help?) design a plane that made it in to production? Seriously, as soon as hughes started making helicopters he lost interest. A great designer? Perhaps not...
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    davparlr.

    In your assessment what weights are you using for armament? including ammo weight. what allowance did you make for weight of installation? beefing up of local structure to handle recoil loads, ammo boxes, gun mounts. empty chutes, gun heats etc.

    what weight are you using for the engine? please note that the R-1839-76 was somewhat heavier than the non- 2 stage R-1830 engines and that the intercooler may not be part of the listed dry weight. What weight are you allowing for the propeller?

    By the way: "There is no indication that the XP-34 was not able to be built to fighter requirements but was not accepted because it was too slow related to other aircraft on the drawing board and obsolete."

    this may be in error. one reason the Army lost interest in the XP-34 was that it was built to an ultimate load factor of about 8.15 instead of the customary 12 that that the Army specified for pursuit type aircraft. The added weight of the beefed up structure would have further degraded performance. The XP-34 was based off the Wedell-Williams model 45, not the model 44. The model 45 had both a cantilever wing and retractable landing gear.

    Strangely enough the XP-34 was supposed to be powered by the same basic engine as the Hughes and even stranger, no production version of the engine was ever rated at more than about 900hp.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Actually if the plane was designed to just go fast, straight and level then if anything it would have been built lighter and "weaker" as it was not going to have any stress loads applied to it

    And it also didn't have the military equipment added to it either

    True

    You still haven't considered military equipment, stress analysis on the current airframe and what it would take to structurally enhance the aircraft to accept the required equipment and extra weight and to perform at combat Gs. Also consider range... I think by the time you're done making the aircraft a true military aircraft, you're going to need another 500 HP to stay competitive.
     
  20. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    I think some here are underestimating, considerably, the difference between the requirements that civilian and military airframes were built to, and the weight of military equipment necessary for war.

    As an example, look at the P-39.

    It went from an empty weight of 3,995 lbs to 4,530 lbs, just in the development XP-39, and this is without armament. The empty weight of the armed YP-39 rose to 5,040 lbs. The slightly more mature P-39C gained another 30 lbs, while the P-39D, which finally added armour, armoured glass and self-sealing fuel tanks, jumped another 390 lbs, to 5,460 lbs empty.

    In getting the P-39 into usable military shape, just under 1,500 lbs were added to the aircraft.

    It’s a similar story with most other combat aircraft of the period.

    The P-40 went from 5,420 lbs in the XP-40 to 5,820 lbs in the P-40B. This is from an already developed military airframe (P-36).

    The standard flying weight of early production Spitfires, considered at the time to be basically combat ready, ballooned out from 5,750 lbs to 6,050-6,150 lbs very quickly, as the RAF learned from combat experience and added things like more armour, thicker wing skinning, IFF equipment, canopy bulges, different exhausts and the like. The very similar Mk II was heavier again, at 6,175-6,200 lbs. This is 800 lbs heavier than the K5054 prototype.

    Suppose the airframe need no adjustments, and we just have to add military equipment. Based off the wartime P-51A weights and loading chart, you’re looking at:

    Armament, including ammo boxes and chutes: 365 lbs for 2 .50s with 200 rpg and 2 .303s with 350 rpg (if you want six .50s, that's over 750 lbs )
    Reflector sight and guncam: 25 lbs
    Oxygen: 30 lbs
    Military radios: 110 lbs
    Other ancillaries: 15 lbs
    Total: 545 lbs

    This is just for disposable stores. Then you have to consider armour (usually around 100 lbs, plus another 20-40 lbs for an armoured windscreen), larger and self sealing fuel tanks, IFF equipment and all the rest. The Spitfire Mk IX had almost 90 lbs of ballast situated in the aft of the aircraft, to ensure the CoG was right.
     
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