Problematic aircraft

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Velius, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. Velius

    Velius Member

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    What were some aircraft in history, military and civilian of all eras, that were problematic either structurally or becuase of unreliable engines?

    I'll start with these for examples:

    The Fw-200- "But the Fw 200C-1 made itself very unpopular by breaking its back on landings. At least eight Fw 200Cs were lost when the fuselage broke, just aft of the wing. Obviously, the strength of the airframe was insufficient to cope with the additional weight and stress. The Fw 200C was always an improvised combat aircraft, with many deficiencies. The crews also complained about inadequate armament and an vulnerable fuel system." (http://www.uboat.net/technical/fw200.htm)

    Me-262- "The Junkers Jumo 004 is often remembered as a temperamental and failure-prone powerplant. Despite its advanced design, engine life was only between 10 and 25 hours, with the mean being at the lower end of this range. These failures were anticipated to some extent and the Me 262 was designed to permit extremely rapid engine changes."The Junkers Jumo 004 is often remembered as a temperamental and failure-prone powerplant. (Me 262 PROJECT TECHNICAL DATA)

    He-177- In defense of the aircraft however, it could be said that all its troubles originated from a (absolutely asinine) 1938 requirement for a proposed heavy bomber/anti-shipping aircraft, that should also be capable of dive-bombing! So, the main problem of the He-177 was created: In an effort to reduce drag, the engineers decided that they would use coupled engines. (basically four engines, stuck together into two nacelles) These coupled engines would enter record books as being the most fire-prone engines in normal cruising flight. Out of the eight prototypes, six crashed. And of the 35 pre-production A-0s, (built for the most part by Arado Handelsgesellschaft, Warnemunde) a large number had to be written off due to take-off swings or in-flight fires. (Heinkel He-177 "Greif" (Griffin))

    Avro Manchester- "The Manchester entered squadron service in late 1940 when first deliveries were made to 207 squadron based at Waddington. In February 1941, 207 launched the Manchester’s operational career when six aircraft attacked shipping in Brest harbour. Over the ensuing months six other squadrons converted to the type but from the outset the aircraft proved troublesome due to the unreliability of its Rolls Royce Vulture engines." (Avro Manchester: The RAF's Greatest Disappointment)

    B-29- "Another special and for a while greatly troublesome feature of the B-29 was the brand new, but fire prone, 18 cylinder Wright R-3350-23 engine" (B-29 Superfortress)

    and my last example...

    DeHavilland Comet- "The first sign of a flaw in the Comet came on May 2, 1953 when a Comet crashed soon after take-off from Calcutta; further crashes (January 1954 and April 1954) with no clear cause led to the entire fleet being grounded for investigation. It was found in February 1955 that, as suspected, metal fatigue was the problem; after thousands of pressurized climbs and descents the thin fuselage metal around the Comet's distintictive right-angled large windows would begin to crack eventually causing sudden depressurization." (De Havilland Comet)

    Thanks in advance for any info guys!
     
  2. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    I can't fault any of your examples, but there is a big difference between the highly successful B-29 (whose engine problems were eventually rendered manageable) and the He177 (which had a host of other design flaws not related to its coupled engines and was by all measures an abject failure).

    Also, regarding the Me262, the same could probably be said about the engines in virtually all first generation jet warplanes (Meteor, Ar234, He162, He280, P-59, P-80, etc)...fragile engines prone to flameout or catch on fire if not handled with kid gloves.

    Another good example of an excellent plane hampered by its powerplant would be the Ki-84 Hayate, with its always problematic and unreliable Homare. The Allison-powered P-51A might also be mentioned in this context, not because it was unsuccessful, but because it was limited to low-altitude work.

    A good example of an otherwise outstanding warplane rendered a failure for structural reasons is the Ta154, with its wooden structure eaten away by faulty adhesive.

    I'm not an airliner person, but wouldn't the Lockeed Electra also fall into this group?
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The Electra had a problem where the position of its engines caused a hrmonic viabration that eventually caused structure to fail. The fix was a slight change in the postion the engine (nacelle) was mounted on to the wing.
     
  4. kration

    kration Member

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    And it was then adapted into the very successful P-3 Orion.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Which I worked on and off for about 15 years.
     
  6. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Likewise the Comet - which served as the Nimrod until last week :)

    Surely the P-39 Bell Airacobra deserves mention here. Shifting C of G, flat spins, gun smoke in the **** pit.

    B-26 Martin Marauder - the whore (with no visible means of support :) ) was subject to a Congressional investigation.

    Both problem planes turned out to be very good (at specific tasks in specific airspace)

    MM
     
  7. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    Well, the original post seemed to focus only on planes with engine or structural problems. I'm not sure the P-39 or B-26 can be limited to this - especially the Marauder.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The early model P-38 had engine problems, compressibility issues and a cockpit heater so bad that pilots sometimes got frostbite. Not something I would want to fly.

    The early model Hawker Typhoon had structural problems (i.e. the tail sometimes broke off). Not something I would want to fly either.
     
  9. kration

    kration Member

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    Apologies for preaching to the converted :oops:
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    No worries....
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The heater problems were only a problem in the ETO especially during winter months; I've confirmed this with at least 2 guys who flew them in the ETO. The compressibility problems were only going to happen if you purposely dove the plane at full power at altitude and most of the time pilots had the situational awareness to watch their airspeeds in dives. Many of the engine problems were usually detectable during pre-flight engine runs and post flight inspections.

    The P-38 was not as problematic as it’s been advertised over the years. If the early P-38s were really that bad not only would you have had a slew of PTO pilots complaining about them, but they would not have had success in the PTO.
     
  12. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    "The Beast" SB2C Helldiver. Early models were riddled with problems.

    Same with the D.520. Early models were considered non-airworthy.

    Just to name a couple.....
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Perfect example
     
  14. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't there a General who was protesting that if too many P-38s were sent to the Pacific the Torch landings would have to be postponed?

    I don't think there were that many complaints from the Mediterranean either:D
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Yep!

    Early P-38s had one heat exchanger I believe in the right engine for cockpit heating. This worked well for warmer climates when the plan was taken to altitude. I believe this feature was put in after it was realized that more than a dozen P-38s would be built. Its funy though, early P-38s flew in the Aleutians, never heard too much about the P-38 being problematic there.
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    IIRC those at Aleutians did not have the overheating problems too...
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    As an aside, I flew as a passenger from Dallas to San Antonio in a Braniff Electra in 1959, I think. It was at night and I was leaning my head against the cabin outside bulkhead trying to doze and noticed a vibration that kind of came and went. It was pretty severe and I wondered what was causing it. It was not long after that that the first Electra, I think, came apart over Buffalo, Texas. I have always wondered if that vibration was a symptom of the problem. FB, perhaps you would know?
     
  18. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    Well, we would do well to remember the Bloch 150, the prototype of which could not even fly at all.

    [​IMG]

    And also, the DH Comet wass not the first airliner to give De Havilland trouble with the fuselage integrity. I give you the DH 91 Albatross

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    Brewster Buffalo: The design was ok but craftsmanship and quality control at the factory were ...(words fail me). Add to that the use of defective engines and words fail me again. :(
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Do you have specifics? What's your definition of "craftsmanship and quality control?"

    I could tell you that the Corsairs that were built at Brewster did have workmanship problems with regards to assembly, but the Buffalo for the most part was "built to print." There were inherent "design" problems that hampered performance an operation, but the airplane was "built as designed.
     
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