Why fabric and wood materials were used on F4Us

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ppopsie, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. ppopsie

    ppopsie Member

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    I have been wondering why these non-metal materials were mixed up on the structure of the Vought F4U Corsair, like;

    1) partially fabric covered wing outer panel structure. The aircraft was supposed to be a high speed fighter. Fabrics should require more maintenance and were not significantly easy to patch up.

    2)ailerons and some flap panels were made of wood. From my experience building them in plywoods was not greatly easier than in metals.

    I understand the control surfaces in general had been fabric covered for the reason of weights on many aircraft types. I would like to know about them. TIA.
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Actually you have made good points. I believe some of these materials were used to save weight. In the day the Corsair was designed they were the norm. In actuality, holes are very easy to patch up if they were under a certain size and didn't require stitching. Fabric used in that day was either Irish linen or grade A cotton. Also the trim tabs were made out of wood. In later models all but the wood trim tabs were replaced.
     
  3. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Wood doesn't rust. Maybe that could be a reason.
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    No but it is affected by salt and humidity - in some cases you'd want rust instead of the kinds of defects you could get in wood!
     
  5. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Perhaps the success of the Mosquito influenced engineers.

    .
     
  6. ppopsie

    ppopsie Member

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    In my opinion the wood and fabrics were easy to dispose of. If the carrier needed more speed, just put them into extra boilers.....
    ------------------------
    For serious discussion, as far as I know, the entire aileron and one or two panels of flaps are in wood, all covered with a layer of fabric to protect them from the moisture. It shall be far better to compare with flying fairly large Mosquitos from carriers like that the British Royal Navy did once, though.

    Even the fabric covered part of the outer wing of the Corsairs have densely arranged ribs underneath which quite possibly increase the weight. As far as I can see it is almost twice in number than on the other all metal airplanes of the same era, in avarage.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    It influenced no one as the mossie was the last wooden plane to fly in a war.

    Canvas and wood flight controls were being used since the beginning of flight.

    One possible reason for the use of fabric control surface was the good strength to weight rations coupled with the need to reduce inertial forces under high deflections.
     
  8. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Yes but the tremendous success of the mosquito may may have caused designers a give second look at canvas and wood on a high performance fighter. I'm sure using fabric and wood on a first rate "modern" fighter wasn't popular with some engineers.
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The mosquito wasnt a fighter.

    And anything that flew after 1945 that counted, was jet engined with metal control surfaces.
     
  10. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I never said it was
     
  11. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    I also wonder about this.... fabric covered control surfaces was pretty much what the majority of WW2 fighters used, with a few notable exceptions.

    Why was it so popular with engineers for these applications, even though all-metal construction was used everywhere else?
     
  12. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I think the Vampire would have had some combat post WW2 and it;s got wood
     
  13. Snautzer

    Snautzer Member

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    I can think of this

    Balloning of the fabric stuff occurs when the plane is in very high speed, so there was no direct reason (nothing to gain) to change.

    Cost would also being a factor i guess as wood etc was the known
     
  14. ppopsie

    ppopsie Member

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    I asked the same question to multiple aviation people and got almost the same answer that to reduce the weight aft of hing lines was the primary reason. I understand this.

    The situation changed when high speed planes with more than 400mph of top speed, like the Corsair, started to appear. The control force became increasingly heavier and heavier on these types. Most of the later WW2 American fighters suffered this problem.

    .....So what were the airelons on the early prototype F4U(s)? Were these remain unchanged through its developing stage? This is the question I thought of right now.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Canvas IS NOT a fabric material - grade A cotton or Irish linen....

    Parts of the Vampire were made from wood! See Pb's comment!


    Ballooning will occur at high speed with deteriorating fabric although the faster the aircraft went, the more the fabric control surface was subject to ballooning.
    I believe they started out as fabric control surfaces and were later changed to metal, but I believe the trim tabs remained wood.
     
  16. AL Schlageter

    AL Schlageter Banned

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    Early canvas was made of linen

    Modern canvas is usually made of cotton
     
  17. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    And aircraft fabric is referred to as either Grade A cotton Mil-C-5646 or British (Irish) Linen 7F1. You make tents out of canvas!
     
  18. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Not hardly.... most navy ships run on NSFO (Navy Special Fuel Oil).
    Some grades of it are so thick it has to be heated before it will flow
    through a hose or a line.

    Charles

     
  19. Velius

    Velius Member

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    In my class we were told that besides keeping the weight down, it was easy to repair.

    Take a metal control surface for example, if there was a bullet hole in it, the metal would have to be dressed and then a patch plate would have to go on top of it. Depeding on the size of the damage, this patch needs to be a certain size and needs to contain a certain number of rivets in order to restore it's original strength. Whereas a fabric control surface with a bullet hole (depending on size) needs only a circular patch to be glued on.

    I need to ask this question again in my class; to be sure. I also know that the methods of repair for both metal and fabric is described in the handbook AC 43.13-1B offered by the DOT.
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    EXACTLY!
    AC 43.13-1B Chapter 2 section 4 for fabric repairs, Chapter 4 section 4 for metal repairs. I deal with fabric and sheet metal repairs on an almost daily basis.
     
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