The First Rocket Boosted Aircraft In the US

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MIflyer

1st Lieutenant
6,437
12,613
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
Was also the best light aircraft ever built.
Ercoupe1941JATO-1.jpg
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That plane is currently in the US Air Force Museum at Dayton, on top of an office in the restoration hangar. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it when I went on the behind the scenes tour.
 
The aircraft used for the JATO tests was an Ercoupe 415C. It was one of the 112 built before production shut down for WWII. It differs from the postwar models that resumed production in 1945 in that it is somewhat lighter construction, has a slightly different landing gear, uses a Continental 65 HP engine rather than the postwar models' C-75 and C-85, and has no electrical system,or starter. The prewar models usually had only one wing tank rather than the two of the postwar models.

In addition to the test shown in the picture, they also removed the propeller, mounted 12 rocket motors, towed the airplane by the pilot holding onto a rope hooked to a station wagon, fired the motors and took off under rocket power only, then glided back down to the runway.

Attached is a picture of a carefully restored prewar Ercoupe 415C similar in vintage to the one used in the JATO tests.
ErcoupeSerialNo102-1.jpg
 
The aircraft used for the JATO tests was an Ercoupe 415C. It was one of the 112 built before production shut down for WWII. It differs from the postwar models that resumed production in 1945 in that it is somewhat lighter construction, has a slightly different landing gear, uses a Continental 65 HP engine rather than the postwar models' C-75 and C-85, and has no electrical system,or starter. The prewar models usually had only one wing tank rather than the two of the postwar models.

In addition to the test shown in the picture, they also removed the propeller, mounted 12 rocket motors, towed the airplane by the pilot holding onto a rope hooked to a station wagon, fired the motors and took off under rocket power only, then glided back down to the runway.

Attached is a picture of a carefully restored prewar Ercoupe 415C similar in vintage to the one used in the JATO tests.
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Have you seen this?
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Von Karman was the Chief Engineer. He went on to be a key engineer at JPL. Interesting his PhD adviser was none other than Prandlt. One of Prandlt's wing profiles was an ellipse identical to the Spitfire. I don't know of any known document that indicates RJ Mitchell used Prandlt's papers when he designed the Spitfire wing but its remarkable how close they are.
 
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Oh yes, I have a copy of that book. I tried to buy a bunch of them about 25 years ago but they were all sold out. People are asking outrageous prices for that book now.
Attached is a shot of a postwar 415C that I am very acquainted with. And it needs polishing now!

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