POWER PLANT: One Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1,300 kp
PERFORMANCE: 599 mph
COMMENT: On February 1945 the Tank design team proposed a second design of the Focke-Wulf/Tank Ta 183 turbojet fighter although the RLM accepted the first design for production. The new aircraft was similar to the Ta 183 design, except the wings were swept back at 35 degrees and the cockpit was set farther aft. Also, the tail unit was of more conventional design, with a curvilinear sweep of the fuselage into the vertical tail. This seemed to be necessary because it was expected that the long vertical tail of Ta 183 led to vibrations. By that the horizontal tail planes were mounted lower at the end of the fuselage. As with many other projects al work was halted with the end of the WW II two months later (Ref.: 17).
POWER PLANT: One Mitsubishi Ha-43 12 (MK9D) radial engine, rated at 2,130 hp
PERFORMANCE: 469 mph
COMMENT: The Kyūshū J7W1 “Shinden”( “Magnificent Lightning”) fighter was a Japanese propeller-driven aircraft prototype with wings at the rear of the fuselage, a nose mounted canard, and pusher engine. Developed by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as a short-range, land-based interceptor, the J7W was a response to Boeing B-29 “Superfortress” raids on the Japanese home islands. In the IJN designation system, “J” referred to land-based fighters and “W” to Watanabe Tekkōjo, the company that oversaw the initial design..
The construction of the first two prototypes started in earnest by June 1944, and the first prototype was completed in April 1945. The 2,130 hp Mitsubishi MK9D (Ha-43) radial engine and its supercharger were installed behind the cockpit and drove a six-bladed propeller via an extension shaft. Engine cooling was to be provided by long, narrow, obliquely mounted intakes on the side of the fuselage. It was this configuration that caused cooling problems while running the engine while it was still on the ground. This, together with the unavailability of some equipment parts postponed the first flight of the “Shinden”. Even before the first prototype took to the air, the Navy ordered the J7W1 into production, with a quota of 30 “Shinden” a month given to Kyushu’s Zasshonokuma factory and 120 from Nakajima’s Handa plant. It was estimated some 1,086 “Shinden” could be produced between April 1946 and March 1947.
On August 1945, the prototype first flew from Itazuke Air Base. Two more short flights were made, a total of 45 minutes airborne, one each on the same days as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred, before the war’s end. Flights were successful, but showed a marked torque pull to starboard (due to the powerful engine), some flutter of the propeller blades, and vibration in the extended drive shaft.
A turbojet engine–powered version, the Kyushu J7K2, was considered, but never even reached the drawing board (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce “Merlin” 55 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,470 hp
PERFORMANCE: 352 mph at 12,250 ft
COMMENT: The Supermarine “Seafire” was a naval version of the Supermarine “Spitfire” adapted for operation from aircraft carriers. The name “Seafire” was arrived at by abbreviating the longer name “Sea Spitfire”.
In late 1941 and early 1942, the Admiralty assessed the “Spitfire” for possible conversion. In late 1941, a total of 48 “Spitfire” Mk Vb were converted to become “hooked Spitfires”. This was the “Seafire” Mk Ib and would be the first of several “Seafire” variants to reach the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. The second semi-naval variant of the “Seafire” and the first to be built as such, was the “Seafire F Mk IIc which was based on the “Spitfire” Mk Vc. The IIc was the first of the “Seafires” to be deployed operationally in large numbers. Although developed for aircraft carrier use, this version still lacked the folding wings needed to allow them to be used on board some Royal Navy carriers, some of which had small aircraft elevators unable to accommodate the full wingspan of the “Seafires”. The “Seafire” F Mk III was the first true carrier adaptation of the Spitfire design. It was developed from the “Seafire” Mk IIC, but incorporated manually folding wings allowing more of these aircraft to be spotted on deck or in the hangars below. Supermarine devised a system of two straight chordwise folds; a break was introduced immediately outboard of the wheel-wells from which the wing hinged upwards and slightly angled towards the fuselage. A second hinge at each wingtip join allowed the tips to fold down (when the wings were folded the wingtips were folded outwards). This version used the more powerful Merlin or Merlin 55M, driving the same four-bladed propeller unit used by the IIC series; the Merlin 55M was another version of the Merlin for maximum performance at low altitude. This Mark was built in larger numbers than any other “Seafire” variant; of the 1,220 manufactured Westland built 870 and Cunliffe Owen 350 aircraft. (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Daimler Benz DB 613 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 3,500 hp
PERFORMANCE: 491 mph
COMMENT: In early 1941 the OKL asked for a possible successor for the Messerschmitt Me 110 heavy fighter. Among others the Henschel Aircraft Company proposed a design of a futuristic and unusual configuration. This design, the Hs P.75, featured a tapered fuselage with slightly swept-back wings set back to the rear fuselage of the aircraft and a pair of slightly swept-back canards located on the nose. The widened fuselage housed a powerful engine that drove three-bladed contra-rotating pusher propellers at the rear via an extension shaft. As power unit a Daimler Benz DB 610 engine, which were two DB 605 liquid-cooled engines joined side-by-side, was proposed. These were the same engines that the Heinkel He 177 bomber used and became known for overheating and catching fire. So it was decided to install the Daimler Benz DB 613, in fact two coupled DB 603 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 3,500 hp. A vertical tail unit was mounted beneath the fuselage additionally functioning as a tail bumper and protected the propellers from stroking the ground during take-off. A tricycle landing gear arrangement was chosen and a single pilot sat in the cockpit located about midway along the fuselage. All weapons were mounted in the nose. The advantage of the pusher propeller and the forward canard design was the excellent view of the pilot and concentration of weapons in the nose. The disadvantage would be the engine cooling and the pilot’s safely exit in case of emergency. Although good results were obtained in wind tunnel testing this design was not followed up further.
Notable is the fact that this basic design was realized in several WW II aircraft design such as Curtiss XP-55 “Ascender” and Kyushu J7W1 “Shinden” (Ref.: 17).
TYPE: Long-range Transport and communication aircraft
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of five in sealed oxygen cabin
POWER PLANT: Two Nakajima Ha-115 radial engines, rated at 1,170 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 273 mph at 19,100 ft
COMMENT: The Tachikawa Ki-77 was a Japanese very long-range experimental transport and communications aircraft of World War II derived from a civil design commissioned by the Japanese newspaper “Asahi Shinbun” (“Asahi Press”) to break the flight distance record set by an Italian Savoia-Marchetti S.M.75G.
Ki-77 was the Japanese Army Air Force designation for the civil A-26. The “A” stood for the name of the sponsor Asahi press and “26” for the first two digits of the current Japanese year, 2600 (A. D. 1940).
The overall design was developed by the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University Tokyo together with Tachikawa. It was a clean, slim low wing twin-engine monoplane, and was finalized in autumn of 1940 with the first flight expected in late 1941. But this was canceled with the start of the war against the United States and the reallocation of priorities. The design included a number of novel features, including a high aspect ratio laminar flow wing for reduced drag and a sealed but unpressurized cabin to reduce the need for oxygen masks at its intended operating altitude as well as special low drag cowlings.
In mid 1942, the Japanese decided to forge a link with Europe, but wished to avoid Russian-controlled airspace and development on the Ki-77 was restarted. The first of two prototypes flew on 18 November 1942. The Ki-77 suffered from persistent oil cooling problems which required many changes before being solved, delaying any flight into July 1943. While working on the problem, Tachikawa built a second aircraft that was ready in mid 1943. After several flight trials it was readied for a “Seiko” (Success) mission between Japan and Germany. The aircraft departed Japan on 30 June 1943 for Singapore, where the airstrip had to be lengthened by 1,000 meters to assure a safe takeoff. Finally, the Ki-77 took off at 7:10 on 7 July 1943 with eight tons of fuel, ample to reach Europe. Their intended destination was a German airfield. The aircraft never reached its destination but disappeared over the Indian Ocean, probably intercepted by British fighters thanks decoding intercepted German communications.
Even if in 1944 the usefulness of record breaking flights was overshadowed by the necessities of war, the Japanese needed a propaganda coup and the surviving Ki-77 was available. On 2 July it flew 19 circuits over a triangular route off Manchuria, landing 57 hours 9 minutes later and covering 10,212 mi at an average speed of 179.1 mph, thus setting a new endurance record. The Ki-77 landed with 800 liters remaining in the tanks of the 3,200 US gal it started with, so the maximum endurance was around 11,000 mi. The Ki-77’s endurance record was never internationally recognized or officiated and was still in existence when Japan surrendered. The aircraft was shipped to the United States aboard the US Navy escort aircraft carrier USS CVE-9 “Bogue” from Yokosuka in December 1945, arriving in the States on January 1946 for examination, before being scrapped (Ref.: 24).