P-59 Airacomet combat version?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Maxrobot1, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Maxrobot1

    Maxrobot1 Member

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    Given that the jet engine was a very high priority in the U.S. I was wondering why the Army didn't just order Bell to "fix" the P-59 and get it ready for combat?
    Sure the P-59 wasn't a great plane from the start, but the P-80 had problems too and the Army must been expecting better engines from the British soon.
    The P-80, being a newer design would be ready much later and the USAAF needed jets right away to counter the Me-262 or at least give a boost to the morale of the USAAF crews who were experiencing the German jets.
    Sure, the P-59 wasn't that fast but if it was so secret, who would know until the new engines were ready?
    Why didn't they rush some demonstrators to Europe like they did the P-80s? Would the P-59 have been available in Europe months ahead of the P-80?
     
  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    IIRC one P-59 was swapped with a Meteor for trials.
     
  3. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Yep, EE210/G, the first Meteor I prototype, was traded for a YP-59 42-22611 which became RG362/G.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The P-59 was't quite as fast as expected, meaning it had higher drag than expected. It would have needed much, much, much more powerful engines to get to the same speed as the Me 262. The P-59 was slower than the existing piston engine fighters. 413mph at 30,000ft with a pair of 2000lb (nominal) thrust engines. range was dismal, 240 miles without drop tanks.
    Such poor performance would have done nothing to boost morale, if fact it might have lowered it.
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    There were several piston power Allied aircraft that the Me262 pilots dreaded, the P-51 being among the top of the bunch...the Allies did well enough with those fighters that rushing a jet type into battle would have been the exact opposite of a morale booster.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #6 GregP, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
    We are actually restoring a YP-59A Airacomet to flight status. I am on the project and have been for 8 years. Ours has the GE I-16 engines of 1,600 pounds thrust (hence, GE I-16). The prototypes had the Whittle copy GE I-A engines of 1,200 pounds of thrust. The GE I-16 was the first American improvement to the Whittle engine. The 2,000 pound thrust engines came later as the J-31, which was an improved I-16.

    The intakes are about three times too big and contribute enormous drag. The air enters, swirls around and exits back out the intake because the intakes are too big and take in too much air. Tough to blame Larry Bell as they didn't give him ANY data on the engines except a big block of wood and told him the engines would not be any bigger than the wood block. They didn't even tell him where the engine mounts would be located, so they designed the engine bays to accept the wood block and left out the structure until they had the mass and engine mount location data in hand.

    They made 66 Bell P-59's .... 3 XP-59A's, 13 YP-59A's30 P-59A's and 20 P-59B's. Ours is the 7th YP-59A and the last hand-built airframe. After ours (tail numnber 777), the planes were buiilt on production jigs. It served to transition our piston pilots into jets and they went to P-80's from the Bell P-59. In that sense, it served well and we had a good jet pilot population by the time Korea came along. They retired the P-59's when the T-33 became avialable.

    In any case, though historic in being our first jet, it would never have made a good combat plane.

    If nothing catastrophic happens, we SHOULD fly our YP-59A in 2014, assuming the fuel bladders don't leak.
     
  7. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't it be great to have a flying Meteor I, an original Me 262, an original de H Vampire, an He 280 and the YP-59A flying together?
     
  8. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Actually we HAVE a great Meteor Mk.4! Unfortunately, it is a bit of a shell with no engines or avionics, so you COULD make it fly, but would need to procure a lot of equipment.

    Google "Planes of Fame" and look at the "Collection" menu choice and find the Meteor. It looks just great!

    Would love to make it fly. I love British aircraft .. except for the Barracuda and the Roc/Skua ... but even one of those would be a great thing if a flyer.
     
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