HAD NO CHANCEFlying boat Fairchild F-91. This small flying boat designed in 1934 by the American firm Fairchild, was calculated for mass production, but, despite its excellent flight characteristics, she never went into big series. The firm has managed to produce only seven units of the machine. However, the fate of these seaplanes were interesting enough. They had a chance not only to visit most of the continents of the globe, but also to participate in hostilities and, in particular, in the civil war in Spain.


The history of creation
In the early 1930s, the aviation company Pan American Airways (Pan Am) had a large number of seaplane SIKORSKY S-38. In the autumn of 1933, when the time came to replace them, Pan Am has formulated the new seaplane-amphibian, in the creation of which was recommended to use the latest achievements in the aircraft industry. Machine with 650-horsepower air-cooled engine with a crew of 2 — 3 people had to carry 8 passengers and 500 kg of cargo and in carrier — loads of up to 1200 kg.
To participate in the development of a new seaplane decided firm Fairchild Aircraft Corporation, located in Hagerstown (Maryland). The design of the new machine instructed the engineer of the company Alfred Kassner, head of the Department of military and transport design.
After reviewing the submitted technical requirements, Kasner decided to use his experience in building amphibious F. 11A on the Fokker firm in 1927. Execution of strength calculations and blowing in the wind tunnel was conducted at new York University under the direction of Dr. Alexander Klemin. The configuration of the hull and supporting the wing floats are also specified in a special testing tank are proposed pool NACA.
Two of the first production flying boat was built in late 1934 and early 1937.
Pan Am had planned to purchase from the company Fairchild six amphibians, but later reduced the order to two cars. The first of them were transferred to Pan Am on 20 January 1936. To base seaplanes diner Kay in Miami amphibious were pushing Harold gray — the future President of Pan Am.
After testing a flying boat passed vostochnobeisky airline Panair do Brazil (which belonged to Pan Am), which in October 1933, the beginning of commercial flights of the seaplane Sikorsky S-38. They flew at 1450-km route between the settlements of belém and Manaus, situated on the banks of the Amazon. In November 1935 year, the airline tied Manaus with Porto Rio de Janeiro on the river Maderia.
It is on these grounds it was decided to use two new flying boats. One of them made the first commercial flight to Manaus in March 1936, the year, one in January 1937 To 1940, the plaque of each of them for the 12 months amounted to about 800 hours.
From July 1941, the use of aircraft on routes in the Amazon region has increased significantly. This was due to the needs of production of rubber, production of which was increased in terms of the war.
The descent F-91 water
The descent F-91 water
Each flight was associated with greater risk. The route lay in the area of the largest river in the world stretching over 6200 km of Operation of seaplanes in such circumstances could not do without accidents. So, on February 23, 1938 one of the F-91 was damaged during the landing, but was quickly rebuilt. May 8, with the same flying boat — the same event during takeoff (while the crew and passengers were not injured). 8 December 1941 during the preparations for launch on the river in Belem at the car… off the engine. The aircraft was sent to Rio de Janeiro to recover, but after inspection at destination was decided on its cancellation. The last F-91 was operated for the airline until 1945; by this time, he has flown 7,000 hours.
Garfield wood, one of the richest and most influential men in America in the mid 1930-ies decided to buy a flying boat for business or pleasure.
According to the customer in the design of the aircraft made a number of changes in the conversion of the aircraft allowed the Voodoo to fly from Detroit to the Canadian lakes, where he was engaged in fishing and hunting.
Richard Archibald, the grandson of the Vice-President of a large company standard Oil, gained fame for his studies of New Guinea. At the end of 1934, Archibald acquired the firm Fairchild flying boat F-91 with a 760 HP Wright SGR-1820F-52. The amphibian rolled out of the Assembly plant 8 Oct 1935, and the next day Archibald flew her to the airfield Nord beach in new York, where the boat was inspected by representatives of the airline Pan American Airways, as well as representatives of the Japanese government delegation.
At the request of Archibald, the seaplane was modified interior of passenger cabin — there is established the cupboards for supplies and expedition equipment. Installed additional fuel tanks — 380-liter in the fuselage and a 280-litre in the engine nacelle behind the engine. In the nose compartment has mounted a camera for doing aerial photography
In February 1936 flying boat sea transported to Australia, and in March she flew to the main base of the expedition was the island of Daru, near New Guinea. Amphibians had to make numerous trips to jungle environments than it has proven its usefulness and indispensability.
8 July 1936 flying boat arrived in the Port of the Hubert Murray stadium where it was supposed to load products and equipment for the expedition. Seaplane in the port has secured Parking at the buoy, not drawing attention to the fact that one of the floats has lost integrity. In the night the storm broke. Arriving in the morning on shore, the crew found lying on the water bottom up waterlogged seaplane. The crew attempts to repair the machine without success — the damage was rather serious.
In December 1936, the prototype F-91 with engine capacity of 750 HP acquired the firm Vimalett de Jersey City, which was engaged in the resale of aircraft engines and other equipment from the warehouses of the US army as the government of the Spanish Republic and Franco.
The next batch of weapons for the Republicans, consisting of 18 aircraft and several 400-horsepower engines, began to load on a ship in the port of Brooklyn in early January 1937. Fearing that the goods may be confiscated, the captain of the steamer cast off from the pier on 6 January 1937, downloading only 7 aircraft, which were F-91. The final destination of the flight was the Spanish port of Santa village, located in the North of the country. To avoid Franco’s patrols, the ship for two weeks followed in complete radio silence, however, at dawn on 8 March it was discovered by cruiser nationalists “Canaris” in 140 km North of Cape Major.
Flying boat amphibian Fairchild Model 91 (F-91)
Flying boat amphibian Fairchild Model 91 (F-91)
Flying boat amphibian Fairchild Model 91 (F-91)
Flying boat amphibian Fairchild Model 91 (F-91):
1 —the first power of the pressure bulkhead, 2 — anchor rope; 3 — anchor; 4 — anchor storage; 5— fold cover of the cargo (Luggage) compartment; 6 — nose cargo (Luggage) compartment; 7 — the dashboard, the 8 — lever engine control; 9 — a steering column; 10 — seat; 11 —Luc emergency evacuation of the cockpit; 12 — propeller Hamilton Standard; 13 — engine; 14 — collector; 15 — air intake of the carburettor; 16 — exhaust pipe: 17 — the oil tank; 18 — air tank; 19 — engine mount; 20 — cargo (Luggage) compartment; 21 —laying of passengers ‘ Luggage; 22 —handrail; 23—the attachment of Mataram; 24—rear passenger cabin; 25 — a container of drinking water; 26 — bathroom; 27 — sink; 28 — frame of the radio compass; 29 — antenna cable; 30 — tow bar; 31 is a rudder; 32 — trimmer of the rudder; 33 — mooring earring; 34 — front tail wheel; 35 – the tail wheel; 36 — niche cleaning tail wheel; a 37 — toilet; 38,41 — sealed power frames of passenger cabins; 39 rear floor of the passenger cabin; 40 — passenger chairs; 42 — floor front of the passenger cabin; 43 — front passenger cabin; 44 sealed power bulkhead of the cockpit; 45 – – the floor of the cockpit; 46 — baggage; 47 — mooring wedge; 48 — the door to the bathroom; 49 — an access hatch in the passenger cabin; 50 — ladder; 51 —step; 52 — tail-marker ANO; 53 — Kiel; 54 — brace stabilizer; 55 — Luggage cover; 56 — removable service panel; 57 panel of the engine hood; 58 — glass cockpit’ 59 — the hatch of the Luggage compartment, 60 — Luke anchor Bay; 61 — retractable float; 62 — wing of ANO; 63 — the wing float; 64 — Windows of the passenger compartment; 65 — hydraulic steering wheel; 66 — landing lights; 67 — Aileron; 68 — stabilizer, 69—hatches filling the wing fuel tanks necks; 70 — handlebar height; 71 —trimmer of the Elevator; 72 — fold niche cleaning tail wheel; 73 — flaps; 74 — main landing gear in the retracted position; 75 — LDPE; 76 — the wing struts float; 77 — fold the cargo compartment in the open position; 78 — the window of the cockpit in the open position; 79 — Luc emergency evacuation of the cockpit in the open position; 80 — Pitot tube; 81 – a niche cleaning main wheels; 82 — redan; 83 — wheel main landing gear; 84 — front wing float; 85 — struts struts the main landing gear (retracted position); 86 — front of the main chassis; 87 — Polovinka main landing gear

The steamer tried to escape, but was shelled by the cruiser and receiving damage, subject to the requirement of the nationalists to head for the port of Ferrol. There the crew was released, and the cargo confiscated. All aircraft except F-91, transferred to the aviation part, flying boat F-91 sailors left to themselves.
The plane was assembled in the workshops of the port of Ferrol and, according to the traditions of the Spanish Navy, he got a personal name — “Virgen Chamorro”.
The boat rose into the air in the first half of April 1937, and already on 18 April, the aircraft took off to patrol marine areas. In the future, the boat was used for the control of ships of the Republicans carrying weapons and other military supplies, and to perform reconnaissance flights during the Franco offensive on Bilbao in mid-June 1937. However, the military service of the amphibians did not last long — at the end of October 1937, she got caught in a storm during a boat mooring and suffered severe damage. After repair it was used solely for transport and communication.
10 Feb 1938 “Virgen Chamorro” along with a couple Not-60 was relocated from Ferrol to the base of Cadiz in southern Spain. 4 APR F-91 was part of the squadron of seaplanes No-60, based at the airbase Puntilla in Soweto, on the Northern coast of Spanish Morocco, but most of the time the flying boat was at the airbase in Cadiz, where it was used for observations in the area of the Strait of Gibraltar.
F-91, moored to the Parking buoy
F-91, moored to buoy Park
5 may 1938 F-91 got another damage — broke the wheel of the main stand. The repair was delayed until 9 June. At the end of 1938, the aircraft was transferred to squadron 3-E-70 F-91 used less and less. In February addressed the issue of his spisani, but the decision was postponed, and the only Spanish F-91 flew to the Canary Islands until the end of 1941.
As mentioned above, with the F-91 the Japanese delegation met in new York on 9 October 1935. Flying boat made a favorable impression, and the Japanese the decision was made to purchase two instances of the F-91 — they were to be used for comparative tests and study designs Japanese aviation engineers.
One boat was transferred to the firm Okura on may 29, 1936, the second on 7 September 1937. First later was transferred to the naval air base in Yokohama with the marking LXF-1. During trial flights, the aircraft received damage that forced the Japanese to order the company Fairchild kit of parts, comprising detachable wing, wing floats and some nodes of the main chassis. The first machine was used until the end of 1939, the Japanese troops in Nanjing (China) for communication and transport purposes.
British-American medical corps (British American Ambulace Corps) was founded to collect and transmit to the British government cars “ambulance”. Part of it was the Committee of Wings of Mercy Committee of Aviation Industry, created in early 1941 and carried out a fundraiser in the U.S. for the purchase of a seaplane, designed to perform rescue operations at sea and provide assistance to downed aircrews. In particular, the composition of the Royal air force by the Committee was handed over three seaplane Grumman Goose and two Fairchild F-91.
One of the F-91, called “Wings of the Mags” (Wings of mercy), originally used by rescue services on the English channel. On 11 November 1941, the aircraft was dismantled and brought by sea to Egypt, where it was repainted in standard sand camouflage Royal air force and used for the carriage of goods, for communication and search operations until 17 may 1943 when the rise in Benghazi amphibious collided with an underwater obstruction and sank.
One can only regret that the flying boat amphibian F-91 with the most modern forms and contours of the hull was built only seven copies. Its fate, ultimately, was defined by the coincidence. This car was created in accordance with the technical specifications of 1933, and the first production vehicles handed over to the airline Pan American Airways in 1936. During this time, the airlines have brought tremendous change If in 1933, air transport amounted to 336 million people, in 1936 this number had increased to 841 million.
All this required the creation of new, more cost-effective, larger-capacity planes. So, in March of 1933 created the Boeing 247, and in may 1934 Douglas DC-2. Along with the growth of passenger traffic has increased and the number of specialized airports for ground passenger aircraft. Added to this is that from the 1st of October 1934 the U.S. passed new safety standards for civil aviation to prohibit the use of single-engine aircraft to transport more than six passengers, which, in fact, blocked for Fairchild way into the American domestic market.
That is why Pan Am had planned to buy a few F-91 for its foreign affiliates, have changed their plans and purchased land planes DC-2, Lockheed 10 Electra and a Douglas Dolphin. In turn, the Navy acquired a 12 twin-engine seaplane Sikorsky S-43. Thus, for a flying boat F-91 available had only very limited market of individuals.
Design F-91
Fairchild Model F-91 was a single-engine all-metal flying boat whose design was similar to classic flying machines of the mid 1930-ies. The car was designed to carry eight passengers with Luggage or (when removing the passenger seats) goods weighing up to 1200 kg. it was also Envisaged the possibility of military use as a multi-purpose seaplane-amphibian.
The fuselage was assembled from profiled frames, power rails and the supporting stringers. To ensure the safety of passengers, the hull was divided into five water-tight partitions, compartments. In the first compartment housed rescue equipment in case of a forced landing on the water. The second compartment is intended for transportation of passengers ‘ Luggage or other cargo weighing up to 295 kg. the Third compartment was occupied by a cockpit with two chairs placed next to pilots.
All control devices of the power plant and the flight and navigation instruments were located on the Central dashboard, and control levers engine, wing mechanization, the knobs and switches on the Central control panel between the pilots seats in front of the dashboard.
A control plane coupled, allowing to manage both from the left and from the right places. The pilots got into his cab through the passenger cabin. The door to the cockpit was closed hermetically. For the emergency evacuation of the cockpit in the upper part of the cockpit there were two trap-door.
In the Central part of the fuselage housed the passenger cabin, which if necessary could be transformed into freighters. Access to the passenger cabin is through a door located behind the rear edge of the center section in the upper part of the fuselage. The passenger cabin was divided into two Lounges, which were established at the four-seat; a partition separated the toilet room. Both salon and the cockpit, equipped with air conditioning.
On top of the Central section of the fuselage adjacent a frame structure that forms a pole, which is attached to engine mount with the engine. The tail section of the fuselage had a compartment for the tail wheel. This section is attached to the stabilizer and fin. The hull of the boat was performed odnorodnoi scheme with a large deadrise.
The high-wing seaplane, two-spar, free support. Structurally, it is made in three sections: center section, are designed integrally with the Central section of the fuselage, and two outer consoles. In addition to members in the power set of the wing was composed of stringers and ribs.
The outer half span of the outer wing panels was occupied by the ailerons, the inner — flaps. Control ailerons — hard. The ailerons and flaps the flap — metal, the latter with dural covering, and the first plain. The center section and socks detachable consoles also had dural lining.
Fuel tanks with a maximum capacity 1340 litres were placed in miangaran compartments of the wing. Below the wing, on polarisman detachable consoles on two racks were installed to support the floats. The rigidity of their attachment provided shaped steel struts. Landing lights were located in the front edges of the wing panels.
The tail of the aircraft all-metal, single-fin normal scheme, and the keel was a continuation of the tail section of the fuselage, and the stabilizer are fixed on the keel. On top of the stabilizer is supported by the brace, providing the tail feathers for extra rigidity. The frames of the stabilizer and fin — dvuhkonturniy. Power set of the rudder and rudder consisted of a force of longitudinal and a set of stamped dural ribs. The covering of surfaces and fabric. Trimmers were installed on all control surfaces, management from starwarscom located in the cockpit. Steering direction is a flexible, rope elevators — hard.
Fairchild F-91 was a seaplane amphibious, possessing the ability to take off and landing with both water and soil. In the latter case we used a retractable wheeled chassis generally accepted in the 1930-ies of the scheme with a tail wheel. The main landing gear retracted with parallelogrammic mechanism driven by a hydraulic system; they, along with the wheel was located in a special niche at the bottom of the center section of the Wheels were equipped with air drum brakes. Tail wheel — svobodnozhivushchie, it also cleaned in a special niche with the help of a hydraulic cylinder
On the prototype aircraft (HA-942) was established radial 9-cylinder air-cooled Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet S4D-1 power of 659 HP On serial machines were installed more powerful versions of this engine — S2E-G power 750 HP and motors Wright R-1820 Cyclone F52 capacity of 887 HP All engines are staffed with three-blade metal propeller Hamilton Standard.
The power plant was mounted on Motorama of steel pipes. In turn, the motor mount was fixed to the engine pylon; he was also welded from steel pipes. Motor mount was attached to the fuselage at three points: two of the fixation point was located on the front spar of the center section and one on the back. The engine hood of the type NACA streamlined smoothly into the pylon. Immediately behind the engine (pylon) installed the oil tank capacity of 57 litres.
Technical characteristics of flying boat amphibian Fairchild Model F-91
Wing span, m………………………………17,07
Length, m………………………………………….13,00
Height, m………………………………………..4,47
Wing area m:…………………………..44,87
Empty weight, kg…………………………….2990
Maximum takeoff weight, kg……4765
Maximum speed, km/h……………269
Cruising speed, km/h……………….220
The ceiling, m…………………..5455
The maximum flight range, km 1070…

A. CHECHIN, N. Food reserve was

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