This month we are asking you which titles you would like to see in our X-Planes series. Have a read of the descriptions below and let us know which of these you’d like to see us publish!
Research Jets of World War II
While World War II raged, pioneering aircraft and engine designers were busy developing the world’s first practical jet-powered research aircraft, to test and prove the new technology. This book would examine the aircraft that paved the way for Germany’s Me 262 and Britain’s Meteor, including the Heinkel He 178 and He 280, Caproni Campini N.1, and Gloster E.28/39, F.9/37 and E.1/44.
Avro CF-105 Arrow
The Avro Arrow is one of the great Cold War ‘what-ifs’. Designed to be Canada’s interceptor of the 1950s and beyond, the Arrow was a delta-winged design with an internal weapons bay and a pioneering stability augmentation system and early fly-by-wire controls. But like Britain’s TSR2, development was expensive and orders for hi-tech military aircraft were mired in politics. In 1959, with no foreign orders forthcoming, the Arrow was cancelled – killing the most advanced fighter of the 1950s, and Avro Canada with it.
Parasite Fighters 1910s-1950s
Usually small, agile, and short-range, ‘parasite fighters’ allow long-range aircraft to carry and launch their own escorts. The first concepts coupled high-performance biplane fighters to airship motherships, which enabled fighters to be launched already at altitude and far from land bases. World War II saw the relatively successful Soviet Zveno experiments, with Tupolev heavy bombers carrying Polikarpov fighters-bombers. The new strategic bombers of the 1950s brought renewed efforts, with the tiny XF-85 Goblin the most famous, before aerial refuelling and the dawn of the SAM made the concept redundant.
Cold War Jet Seaplanes
An ingenious solution to the problems operating early jets from carrier decks, jet-powered seaplane fighters had a brief moment in the limelight in the late 1940s and early ’50s. Britain’s Saunders-Roe SR./A.1 and America’s Convair F2Y Sea Dart were built to develop the concept, and the Sea Dart became the world’s first and only supersonic seaplane. Meanwhile, Martin developed the P6M Seamaster as a jet-powered flying boat strategic bomber, and Beriev in the Soviet Union designed a series of jet flying boats through the rest of the Cold War.
Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne
The US Army’s first dedicated attack helicopter, the AH-56 was a fast, single-engined compound helicopter of the 1960s, designed from the ground up to use the most advanced anti-armour weapons available. As the Vietnam War intensified, the Huey-based AH-1 Cobra was brought into service, meant to be an interim gunship while the problems with the Cheyenne and its novel rotor systems were ironed out. But by 1972, following a fatal crash, the programme was cancelled. The experience of the Cheyenne project was put to use in the replacement programme, which produced the very successful but more conventional AH-64 Apache.