THE HUNCHBACK OF SEATTLECarrier-based fighter Boeing F4B. Fighter Boeing F4B firms on merit according to the United States one of the best fighter biplanes of the late 20-ies of the last century. He was in service for about 20 years and was the last fighter-biplane of mixed construction. His successor aircraft had all-metal construction of fuselage and wing.

Various options F4B was built in large quantities, which allowed the firm Boeing is not only to establish itself in the aviation market, but, more importantly, to withstand economic shocks since the “great depression”.
The story of the creation of the fighter began with the development of advanced aircraft, designed to replace carrier-based fighter FB-1 and FB-2.
The first was adopted in 1925. The plane was created on the basis of army fighter PW-9 (Pursuit Plane Water-cooled, which literally meant “plane-hunter with water cooling”), released shortly before this, in 1924. FB-1 is almost indistinguishable from PW-9, on aircraft carriers it has never been based and was armed only with marine units.
Modification of this fighter jet with a landing hook, changed chassis and engine of Packard IA-1500 with a capacity of 510 HP, called FB-2, was carrier-based fighter. The first flight of this machine showed the lack of stability in pitch and direction. Designers had to increase the area of the rudders and height at the tail. The upgraded aircraft was designated the FB-3 and was adopted. Accepted, despite serious drawback — low combat survivability engine with water cooling.
The Navy demanded be installed on the fighters are more reliable in this respect, the engine is air-cooled and radial arrangement of cylinders. Their new requirements for carrier-based aircraft was addressed to the companies-developers. As the primary engine military chose the nine-engine company Pratt and Whitney R1340 power 425 HP
To practice the essential design decisions during the transition to a new type of motor engineers at Boeing have installed it on one of the FB-3 radial engine company Wright R-1 power of 406 HP Under the designation FB-4 upgraded fighter made a series of test flights at the air base in Anacostia. The result of this development work was the creation of the aircraft, known under the designation FB-6. This machine had such significant differences from the other planes of the FB, she was given a new designation— F2B.
The design of a fighter F2B was specifically designed with the expectation of a carrier-based. As the power plant used the recommended Navy R1340 engine. The first flight of the experimental sample XF2В-1 took place on 3 November 1926. The tests were successful and the Navy ordered 32 new fighters, two of which were sold for testing in Japan and Brazil.
The first modification of the F2B, which was assigned the designation FЗB, took to the air on March 2, 1927. Powerplant remains the same, the main changes concern the external shape of the fuselage, empennage and wing. A year later, the firm Boeing has changed the design of the tail and all control surfaces F3B of the metal. Under the fuselage was fitted with a removable bomb racks for up to five of 11.4-kg bombs, and also provides for the possibility of installation of two large-caliber 12.7 mm machine guns instead of two rifle 7.62 mm Military well took the plane and ordered 73 serial F3B-1.
The following year, Boeing proposed a fleet new fighter — “Model 83”. Its main difference from its predecessors, the frame of the fuselage which was welded from steel pipes, became dural power set of the fuselage, the separate elements of which are fastened together by bolts. As a result of new aircraft, practically not yielding to the strength of the structure really won in the mass. The only thing was the similarity of the “Model 83” fighter FЗB — that and the other tail had dural lining.
Another innovation was the almost rectangular shape of the wings in plan, a small contraction was almost seamless. The wings had two wooden box spars and wooden ribs. The main structural material of the power set of the wing was pine and mahogany. The upper wing was carried out integral, and the bottom consisted of two consoles.
The plane was packaged with the engine company Pratt and Whitey there’s been R1340B maximum power of 450 HP Armament remained the same — two synchronized 7.62-mm or 12.7-mm machine gun.
The plant of the company in Seattle built two prototype “Model 83 and Model 89”, different chassis design. The first wheels were attached to the posts, and the last — to the individual axes, pivotally connected in the middle. Both cars could carry under the fuselage 227-kg bomb or a fuel tank capacity of 208,2 L.
The first aircraft took to the air on 25 June 1928 from the airport in San Diego. The second was taken on the ship in Anacosta, and he shot up only on 7 August 1928. Both fighter received the same designation XF4B-1.
The test results surpassed all expectations — the speed of fighters was higher than all the standing on the arms. Soon the pilot car returned to the factory company Boeing for fine-tuning to compliance to standard production cars and ordered a small series of 27 aircraft, similar to the “Model 89” (serial numbers A-8130 no A-8156).
Despite the fact that prototypes were procured, the Navy, the “89 Model” able to fly around and army pilots. The fact that the runway of the marine and army aviation units were on the same airfield in Anacostia, and enthusiasm of the pilots was heard by their leadership, the firm Boeing has ordered 12 machines F4B-1, which received a “land” designation R-12.
The first production P-12 was received by the captain I. Ecker. Fighter made for him, was unusual for military aircraft coloring (black body, cream wings and struts, red tailplane and parts of the bow) and was called Pan American. On this machine I. Ecker made a high-speed advertising flights to the canal zone. Other serial the fighters hit the 95th squadron of the air force, stationed Rockwell in California.
Deck-based aircraft, the Navy got their F4B-1 in the summer, but rather August 8, 1929. The first squadron armed with the new fighter was the VF-1B “red Ripper” from the aircraft carrier “Lexington”. The maximum speed of the serial fighter exceeded 281,6 km/h Under the wing could be suspended ten of 11.4-kg bombs under the fuselage or one 227-kg bomb, or is it single fuel tank capacity 155,2 L.
The experience of operating production fighters showed the need for minor modifications: strengthen the chassis due to the return to the scheme, tested on the “Model 83”; improve the handling by changing the shape of the Aileron; improved cooling of the cylinders and reduce the drag of the engine installation ring Townend. Modified aircraft tested the air force assigned the designation R-12C. The first production aircraft of this modification of the 96 ordered entered service in August 1930.
The fleet reacted to the modifications positively and ordered the 46 aircraft under the designation F4B-2. On all fighters mounted engines of Pratt and Whitney R1430-8 power 500 HP the First F4B-2 entered service with squadrons VF-5B (USS Lexington) and VF-6B (USS Saratoga), the Maximum speed of the aircraft zakuporivaniya reached of 299.3 km/h and the payload has almost doubled: under the wing it was possible to hang four 56-lb bombs.
Carrier-based fighter Boeing F4B-4
Carrier-based fighter Boeing F4B-4
Carrier-based fighter Boeing F4B-4:
1 — brace fin and stabilizer; 2 — the headrest; 3 — rocking Aileron; 4 — LDPE; 5 — wood screw with a constant pitch; 6 — spinner; 7 — oil-water radiator; 8 — skid; 9 — removable duralumin panels of the engine; 10 — cable control rod Aileron; 11 — rocking Aileron; 12 — door access to the means of salvation; 13 — fabric covering of the fuselage; 14 — horn compensation rudder; 15 — brake hook; 16 maintenance hatch; 17 — steps of access to the cockpit; 18 — the rudder is made of corrugated aluminum; 19 — visor of the cockpit; 20 — hard traction control Aileron; 21 — rear view mirror to the fairing; 22 — individual fairings of the cylinder heads of the engine; 23 — steel screw with a constant pitch; 24 maintenance hatch; 25 — wheel main landing gear; 26 — rigging pipe; 27 — two-blade variable-pitch propeller; 28 removable engine hood; 29 — port of the gun; 30 — N-shaped wing struts; 31 — wing of ANO; 32 — telescopic sight; 33 — pillow headrest; 34 — the fairing — the fairing of the fuselage; 35 Kil with corrugated sheeting, 36 — hinge of the rudder; 37 — shirt shock absorber strut tail wheel; 38 — the tail wheel; 39— left front light; 40—exhaust manifold; 41 — operational access control system; 42 — fuselage front lamp; 43 is a storage container rescue equipment; 44 — leather trim of the cabin; a 45 — removable maintenance access hatch to the fuel tank; 46 — fuselage struts of the upper wing; 47 — flap access to the gun; 48 — slit venting the cooling box of the engine; 49 — the upper wing braces; 50 main landing gear; 51 — strut landing gear; 52 — ventral fuel tank suspension; 53 — rope traction Elevator control; 54— cable control rod rudder; 55 — detachable operating panel; 56— cable the radio antenna; 57 — overall tail lamp; 58 — brace stabilizer; 59 — brake hook to a released position; 60 a drain — tube outboard of the fuel tank; 61 — the exhaust manifolds (only on the F4B-3); 62 — wing front lights; 63 — ailerons; 64 — rudder height with corrugated dural sheeting, 65 stabilizer with duralumin corrugated lining; 66—seat pilot, 67 — handrails cab access; 68 — dashboard F4B-4; 69 — the hinge of the Elevator; 70 — lower exhaust pipes; 71 —the locking device of the landing flare (lower wing); 72 — ventral bomb racks (227-kg bombs); 73 — 227-kg bombs; 74 — wing bomb racks (227-kg bombs); 75 — cylinder engine; 76 — axle chassis; 77 — cluster wing bomb racks under practical 114-kg bombs

While there was serial production of the new F4B-2 versions, firm Boeing has continued to improve the aircraft, releasing a third modification. The fuselage frame structure was decided to replace the all-metal semi-monocoque. The wings remained the same: a fabric covering and wooden power set. For the cockpit there was the characteristic “hump”, which has improved aerodynamics and hid in a small liferaft (in the previous modifications of the upper wing were two of the inflatable cushion, providing buoyancy to the aircraft when you drop it in the water, from which a new modification refused). In parts of the “hump” called “Panama” because this characteristic detail first appeared on aircraft stationed in the canal zone. Maximum speed increased to 304 km/h Altitude 3048 m F4B-3 were recruited in 5.8 minutes. Service ceiling reached 9570 M.
The U.S. Navy ordered 75 of these fighters under the designation F4B-3. The first of them joined the Navy early in 1931. After flight testing the experimental sample of the F3B-Z sold in China, where he managed to score in the air battle over Shanghai (1932): American volunteer R. Shorts, piloting the plane managed to shoot down two Japanese fighters.
With even greater success the third modification adopted in the air force. The contract for the production of military aircraft was the large order for the Boeing company since 1921. Air force paid for the supply of 135 fighters. giving them the designation P-12E. This modification carried out tests of an experimental fuel injection system G2 and turbochargers raise the height of a fighter. The ceiling of the modified aircraft increased by 914,4 m.
The last 25 fighters P-12E equipped with engine R1340-19 output of 600 HP and was called the R-12F Installation of the new engine forced designers to amend the design of the nose of the aircraft, in particular, to change the shape of the ring Townend. For the air force f-12 index F was the last production fighter. All the other indices G, D, and K were produced in single units as a pilot.
The last deck modification was the fighter F4B-4 made in 92 instances. It featured more powerful the hump and fin of increased area. Despite the increased take-off weight, F4B-4 in no way inferior to the earlier versions. Only in a congested state at high speed the car began to behave erratically.
In aviation the marine corps were transferred to the 21st fighter.
The serial aircraft production ceased on 28 February 1933. It was built of 586 aircraft F4B/P-12 different modifications. 350 of them were in the air force; two handed Thailand — one of them can be seen today in the Royal Thai air force Museum; 25 built for Brazil — in the battle involved only one aircraft.
Carrier-based aircraft F4B lasted until 1935, they were replaced by fighters FЗF-2 by Grumman with retractable landing gear. The decommissioned machines were either in the flight training unit or in the mechanics school. With the beginning of the war most of the surviving flying aircraft transferred to the Navy for conversion into radio-controlled target for training anti-aircraft gunners. They received the designation F4B-4A was successfully struck for a very short period of time. Up to the present time survived only a few copies. In 1962, one of them led to the flight condition to participate in the celebration of the U.S. Navy. It is now kept in the Museum Chino airport in California.
Design description carrier-based fighter F4B-4 was a single engine single column bracing polutoraplan mixed construction with fabric covering and fixed landing gear.
The fuselage truss with the power set of duralumin tubes, covered with sheet duralumin. Panel covering a compartment of the engine, is attached to a splined locks “fairy”with countersunk head head. On the panels that covered the box of the engine, there was a gap for discharging the hot air.
In the forward fuselage on Motorama of steel pipes mounted engine. In turn, the motor mount was installed on the first power of the frames, performing besides as a fire wall. This frame was mounted and the main landing gear. Just behind the firewall, located the fuel tank capacity 230 l Top and side of the fuselage in front the cockpit mounted machine guns. Under the fuselage directly on the center of gravity of the aircraft could be suspended from the discharged fuel tank in a streamlined shape with a capacity of 208 L.
The cockpit of the open type with a chair made of aluminum (on most aircraft), without brongespeense. The seat had a Cup under the emergency parachute and was able to adjust the height. The head of the pilot from the incoming flow was covered by a transparent visor. Through the notch in the visor is mounted in front of the cockpit of an optical telescopic sight. Rear headrest fairing housed a well-streamlined shape that reduces aerodynamic drag. The fairing under the quick cover housed rescue equipment that included a rescue boat or raft, as well as equipment and supply of food in case of an emergency landing. For easy access to the cockpit on the top wing had rails. Inside the cabin was sea green, and only the Central dashboard is black.
Wing wooden structure. Square biplane single-column box— 21,13 m2. Its rigidity is provided a profiled belts-braces and internal wires-braces in the upper and lower wings. The upper and lower wings were identical to the two-spar construction. The box-type spars. Longitudinal power set constituted of the rib truss assembled on the glue. To the first side rail and the toe of the wing with plywood sheathing on top of which all the wing tight fitting fabric, followed by coating with dope
Ailerons with aerodynamic compensation was located only on the upper wing had duralumin frame and a covering of sheet duralumin. Control ailerons hard, thrust through the profiled shape approaching him from the lower wing, which hosted the control wiring. On the lower wing at the mounting locations of the struts could be mounted bomb racks.
Tail — with dural frame and the cladding; the latter were made of corrugated metal. Structurally, the horizontal tail consisted of a stabilizer and rudder. The last (and the rudder) was absent trimmers and other devices to compensate for aerodynamic forces. The vertical tail consisted of a keel and rudder. The spars of the rudder pitch and direction — tube and cable, respectively, from the control stick and pedals. For hardness stabilizer supported on the bottom two profiled braces, and top — ropes, braces. The hinge of the rudder, and altitude were covered by spring-loaded covers.
 Boeing F4B-4
The undercarriage is fixed, the rack — pyramidal type with “broken” axis. Depreciation of fixed landing gear oil-air. Brakes pneumatic wheels, drum brakes. Installing wheel pants on serial machines not provided — test these elements on plane P-12E showed the absence of any tangible speed increase.
The tail wheel is self-orienting. Depreciation stock wheels closed canvas shirt. Army aircraft P-12 instead of the wheel mounted crutch.
The power plant of the aircraft consisted of a 9-cylinder air-cooled engine R1340-16 firm Pratt and Whitney power 550 HP propeller two-blade, all-metal, right rotation. The angle of the blades and, accordingly, the pitch of the screws could be fixed on the ground in one of three positions. Behind the engine on the fire wall was located the oil tank.
Exhaust pipes of the engine are long, curved, beveled ends. The cylinder head closed annular hood Townend, reducing aerodynamic drag. The crankcase front cover small front hood with louvers — he was protecting the crankcase from excessive cooling in winter and at high altitudes; temperatures povyshennykh the pilot opened the blinds. The motor starts from an onboard battery.
Armament consisted of two synchronized machine guns “Colt” 7.62 or 12.7 mm ammunition with 250 rounds for each gun. Supply of ammunition — belt. Curb tape cartridge housed in the cartridge boxes. On the lower wing provided for the installation of the two holders under the bombs caliber up to 227 kg or beam holders for the 11.4-kg bombs. Under the fuselage could accommodate additional holder for 227-kg bombs. Fuselage holder had extra racks to be able to display the bomb outside the rotor swept area that gave the ability to perform dive bombing.
Flight characteristics of the fighter, the Boeing F4B-4
Wingspan, mm………………………9140
Length, mm………………………………….6120
Height, mm………………………………..2840
The wing area, m2………………..21,13
Maximum speed, km/h……….303
Cruising speed, km/h…………..254
The rate of climb, m/s…………………8,7
Practical ceiling, m…………….8200
Flight range, km…………………..600
Empty weight, kg………………………..1068
Normal takeoff weight, kg…..1638

N. Food reserve was, A. CHECHIN, Kharkov

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