Bell YFM-1 Airacuda

looks:
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> There's a nice detailed cockpit photo of its instrument panel, control
here:
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> A car type steering wheel on a fighter is very odd looking indeed.
alt.binaries.models.scale would be a place to start. I would like to see how the model came out after sitting around in my attic for so many years.
Reply to
The Old Man
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Every time I see a photo of that oddity, I keep thinking "why would someone put two B-25 noses on a aircraft?" The Wikipedia article about it is "interesting" to say the least:
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Bell P-39 looks like a world- beater compared to some aspects of the Airacuda, such as this:
"The Airacuda was also saddled with a complex and temperamental electrical system and was the only aircraft ever built to rely on an independent auxiliary power unit (APU) to power both engine fuel pumps, as well as all aircraft electrical systems. Systems usually powered by an aircraft's engines were instead powered by the single generator. The generator, with its own supercharger, was located in the belly of the aircraft. In the event of a failure (and they occurred frequently), the crew was instructed to begin immediate emergency restart procedures as the aircraft basically shut down. When the APU failed, the pilot had 'NO fuel pressure, NO vacuum, NO hydraulic pressure, NO gear, NO flaps and NO ENGINES.' " ;-)
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
least:
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The Bell P-39 looks like a world- beater compared to some aspects of the
And from what I have read (Arco books from the late 1960s) the gunners in the wing stations in front of the engines had virtually NO egress from the aircraft - one author stated that he had a hard time when the aircraft was stationary on the ground, the thought of being in it with no power and no controll gave him nightmares.
Reply to
The Old Man
Greg Heilers wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@earthNOSPAMlink.net:
Lucky you, just got an email today:
72036 1/72 Bell YFM1B Airacuda Long-Range Heavy Fighter $56.00
Picture looks cool.
Frank
Reply to
Gray Ghost
When you consider that this fighter was as large as a medium bomber, the wheel isn't so odd. And, P-38s had wheels instead of sticks. That was weird.
OTOH, one wonders why an attack version escaped being developed. It had a 1600 mile range as the YFM-1B. It might have been a slick mover.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
Reply to
Mad-Modeller
That gets mentioned in the article also. They had a real potential there for originating the "escape capsule" concept in aircraft, and if the gunner descended in enemy territory, he'd have that 37 mm cannon to defend himself with, so his capture may be difficult without the use of a medium tank. This was Bell's first military aircraft, and looking at it, you'd suspect that was the case (at least by the P-39 they had a better grasp on how a fighter was supposed to be designed). I do applaud their concept of originating a whole new mission specification for a type of military aircraft, then designing something to fill it...this is how one stays ahead of the competition. If Kelly Johnson were still alive, we'd have hypersonic dive bombers in service by now. :-D I'd love to see what would have happened if Northrop and Bell had teamed up on a aircraft design in the late 1930s, as the outcome would probably have been memorable indeed.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
The prototype was a completely circular wheel on it:
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versions have a prominent stick of some sort mounted to the left of the control wheel on the base of the instrument panel. Anyone know what that's all about?:
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seems to be associated with that knob with the arrow on it that sits inside the inverted "Y" shaped base of it. Fuel tank selector? Something associated with the nose guns? The wheel starts getting cut down as production moves forward...here's one on a P-38G:
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least that looks like something you'd find in a race car rather than a Studebaker. Here's another, yet smaller variant off of a P-38L:
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the stick on the panel was, it's not on the later versions.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
least:
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The Bell P-39 looks like a world- beater compared to some aspects of the
If he could bail out, he would have to avoid that propeller in the rear.
Reply to
willshak
I'm guessing it might be a gun charging handle based on the appearance of a pumping action. I notice the lack of the handle in the later pictures. Whatever it was has been redesigned or eliminated.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
Reply to
Mad-Modeller
In the pictures it looks like you can rotate the base knob to four separate positions; each separated by 45 degrees... this works fine for the four nose .50 caliber machine guns, but what about the central 20 mm cannon? I'm guessing it's a fuel tank/drop tank choice valve, but a mighty involved way of doing it.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
Back in the 1970s, a guy in the downstairs apartment showed me pictures that his father had taken of the P-39. The gentleman had worked for Bell in Buffalo during the testing phase of that aircraft and one of the albums showed several of the crashes of test aircraft (and they seemed to be numerous). The son told me that from what his father had mentioned, one of the biggest problems was that silly car- door system. Try opening the door of your car while driving at 200mph! (you know what I mean) The air pressure makes it almost impossible, but that factoid didn't stop the engineers.... Most of the doors didn't open at all and the aircraft could dig in some fifteen feet before stopping {measured in the photos) plus the engine was BEHIND you. He also had a sixteen millimeter film (about twenty minutes long in COLOR!) of an early X-1 drop. I'd love to see those pictures again, but haven't seen that guy since I moved out in 1975.
Reply to
The Old Man
Well, it's too late now, but maybe they should have had the hinges on the front of the door. No problem opening that at 200 MPH. I had a 61 Lincoln with the suicide doors. Never reach back over the seat and try to close a door that is slightly ajar at 40 MPH :-)
Reply to
willshak
I never could figure out why they did that on the aircraft, or why they thought it was necessary to have a door on either side, rather than just on one side.
I'd never thought of the wind problem; you would have assumed they would have had a button or handle you could use to jettison the doors in a emergency.
"Don't give me a P-39. With the engine that's mounted behind. For it will tumble and roll...and dig a big hole. Don't give me a P-39"
Little pilot's song of the period.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
I can imagine what having the doors fly open at full speed is going to do to the airflow over the horizontal stabilizers. :-) Your very own set of auxiliary dive brakes.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
I am having a real mess getting access to my web site to post pix of the completed Rareplanes XFM-1. I will email to a reasonable number of requesters. If you want to see a pix, email me.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
Yeah, but, he's bailing out anyway, and if the door takes off the tail, that's one less thing he might hit. :-)
Reply to
willshak

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