Most progress in aircraft development

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Readie, May 24, 2011.

  1. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    I have looking into this but cannot draw a conclusion...:oops:

    I know war accelerates development but, did the aircraft develop more between 1914 -1918 or 1939 -1945?
    By 'develop' I mean every aspect, armament,engines,speed etc.

    I marvel at the 1914 aircraft and wonder what lunatic would want to take to the sky in those :shock: and admire the 1917 - 1918 fighters like the Spad, Camel, SE5a, Fokker DV etc

    1939 - 1945 saw an amazing leap, including the jet engine and Superfortress heralding in a new era.

    But, which era saw the biggest changes????

    Grateful for your views

    Cheers
    John
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It is hard to say.

    And the only way to even try to make comparisons, at least to me, would be by percentages. Like by what percentage did aircraft speeds increase in both eras. 80mph to 140mph in WW I to pull numbers out of my as...hat;)
    75% increase? so WW II would need 612.5 mph for a similar percentage?
    Do similar things for range or endurance, ceiling, payload and a few other criteria and see what you get.

    that covers measured performance, measuring reliability or durability might be a bit harder.

    I am not sure that thicker flying furs quite equals pressurized crew cabins for an increase in comfort though :)
     
  3. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    It is hard to say,
    Given the material technology of the times, quality of fuel, skills available, research resources and so on.
    WW1 ended with perhaps the ultimate biplanes, the dangerous but, effective Camel and the sleek Fokker Bristol.
    WW2 ended with perhaps the ultimate piston engined mono planes whose power and armament would have only dreamt of in 1918.
    As a measure of progress where do we start? Is speed the only criteria....

    Cheers
    John
     
  4. WJPearce

    WJPearce Active Member

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    I would say 1939-1945 had the biggest change. From 1914-1918 you had improvements and technology was refined. But the WWII era had not only improvements/refinement but also revolutionary new technology.

    1939 –
    1000 hp piston engines
    400 mph aircraft
    Iron bombs
    No jets
    No radar

    1945 –
    3000 + hp piston engines
    600 + mph aircraft
    Guided bombs/missiles
    Air delivered Atomic weapons
    Jets in service
    Ground and airborne radar

    In 1914 you had wood, fabric and pistons. You threw bombs over the side and shot from hand guns. It took 1000s of aircraft to destroy a city. In 1939, the bombs had racks and the guns were mounted, but you still had wood, some fabric and pistons. It still took 100s of aircraft to destroy a city.

    It seems there was not a revolutionary jump from 1914 to 1939. Drastic improvements yes, but nothing completely revolutionary. However, in 1945, no wood, no fabric, jets and one aircraft with one bomb could completely obliterate a city.

    What existed in 1918 could have been imagined by the people of 1914. But I doubt the people of 1939 could imagine the devastating technology of 1945. If they could, there probably would not have been a war.

    WJP
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #5 Shortround6, May 24, 2011
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
    Not just speed but climb, ceiling, endurance, payload and all the other easily measured stuff.

    Sopwith Snark (3 built) is supposed to have had two Vickers guns in the fuselage and 4 Lewis guns under the lower wing for 6 guns firing forward in 1918, a rather undreamed of amount of firepower for a pilot in 1914 with his Webley revolver and perhaps his pheasant gun for fire power. :)

    I am not sure most people in 1914 could imagine the Handley Page V1500:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_V/1500
     
  6. TheMustangRider

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    "I marvel at the 1914 aircraft and wonder what lunatic would want to take to the sky in those :shock: and admire the 1917 - 1918 fighters like the Spad, Camel, SE5a, Fokker DV etc"

    My thoughts are pretty much along yours John, it's amazing to take a look at the airplanes that were pressed into service in 1914 which look more like powered kites, incapable of taking a full size man into the air, than airplanes and the well-built, refined and robust fighters that the belligerent nations were pumping by the thousands during the closing days of the war.
     
  7. Lighthunmust

    Lighthunmust Banned

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    I am not so sure the inherent safety designed into the aircraft for pilot survival improved as much between 1914-18 and it did from 1939-45.
     
  8. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Most of the WW1 aircraft had wood fuselages, the pilots were likely to be killed or badly injured in any crash. If anything went wrong, they did crash, because even though parachutes were around, only some German pilots used them.
    Allied command wouldn't allow parachutes in winged aircraft, they were apparently afraid the pilots would take to their chutes too easily.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    1914. Taube Observation Aircraft.
    Etrich Taube - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    [​IMG]

    1919. Zeppelin-Staaken R-XVII Bomber.
    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/world-war-i/zeppelin-staaken-r-xvii-14738.html
    [​IMG]

    WWI also saw the development of specialized CAS aircraft, aerial photography, torpedo bombers and aerial mine laying. Before the end of the war Britain, Germany and Japan had CVs in service or under construction. By 1918 all the major navies were using ship based seaplanes. The German Navy was using aircraft and airships to spot enemy minefields. The RN was using aircraft for ASW. Most WWII era 20mm aircraft cannon trace their development back to the 20mm Becker developed by Germany during WWI. Both Germany and Austria-Hungary developed revolver cannon during WWI. Austria-Hungary invented the helicopter. Aircraft engine power quadrupled - from about 100hp in 1914 to about 400hp in 1918. Most fighter aircraft maneuvers still employed today were pioneered during WWI.
     
  10. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    A lot of the advances attributed to WW2, had their starts brfore that, though their development was greatly accelerated by the war.

    Britain had Radar years before WW2, money was appropriated for the Chain Home radar network in 1935, most of it was operational in 1938.

    The He-178 flew before WW2.

    The letter Einstein wrote to Roosevelt about the danger that Germany might develope a nuclear weapon was delivered in Oct. 39, so plenty of physicists, and scientists already knew of the possibilities.

    The only WW2 aircraft in service that could exceed 600mph in level flight was the Me163, and it had to be towed to altitude and then started to do that.

    I think when you consider that the Wright brothers first powered flight was just 11 years before WW1 started, the advances during that war were amazing.
     
  11. Lighthunmust

    Lighthunmust Banned

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    #11 Lighthunmust, May 25, 2011
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
    IMHO this question has been answered by davebender and tyrodtom. Well done. Thank you Readie for asking it as you improved my education.
     
  12. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Improved mine too lighthunmust.
    Thanks for the posts guys.
    Cheers
    John
     
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