Category Archives: Trainer

Trainer

Northrop N-9M-2 (Czechmaster, Resin)

TYPE:  Scaled-down experimental aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: Two Menasco C6S-1 ‘Buccaneer’ air-cooled engines, rated at 275 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 258 mph

COMMENT: The Northrop N-9M was considered an approximately one-third scale, 60-ft span all-wing aircraft used for the development of the full size, 172-ft wide Northrop XB-35 and YB-35 flying wing long-range, heavy bomber. On October 1941, the preliminary order for development of the B-35 Flying Wing bomber was confirmed, including engineering, testing, and most importantly a 60 ft (18 m) wingspan, one-third scale aircraft, designated N-9M. It was to be used in gathering data on flight performance and for familiarizing pilots with the program’s radical, all-wing design. The first N-9M was ordered in the original contract, but this was later expanded to three test aircraft in early 1943. A fourth was ordered a few months later after a crash of the first N-9M destroyed that airframe; this fourth N-9M incorporated various flight test-derived improvements and upgrades, including different, more powerful engines. The four aircraft were designated N-9M-1, -2, -A, and -B, respectively. The N-9M framework was partially constructed of wood to reduce its overall weight. The wings’ outer surfaces were also skinned with strong, specially laminated plywood. The central section (roughly equivalent to the fuselage) was made of welded tubular steel. The first flight of the N-9M occurred on 27 December 1942. During the next five months, 45 flights were made. Nearly all were terminated by mechanical failures of one sort or another, the Menasco engines being the primary source of those problems. After roughly 22.5 hours of accumulated flight time, the first N-9M crashed on 19 May 1943. Northrop’s Flying Wing bomber program was canceled in mid 1944, and all remaining N-9M flight test aircraft, except for the final N-9MB, were scrapped (Ref. 24).

Culver PQ-14B ‘Cadet’ (Frank-Airmodel, Resin)

TYPE: Radio-controlled target drone

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only or radio controlled

POWER PLANT: Franklin O-300-11 air-cooled engine, rated at 150 hp

PERFORMANCE: 185 mph

COMMENT: In 1940, the U.S. Army Air Corps drew up a requirement for a radio-controlled target drone for training anti-aircraft artillery gunners. The first aircraft in a series of target drones was a modification of the Culver LFA ‘Cadet’ commercial sports plane which eventually led to the PQ-14 series used throughout WW II and beyond. In 1942 Culver designed a larger and more powerful derivative of their PQ-8 ‘Cadet’ target as the model NR-D. A single PQ-8 was converted to the new configuration and tested by the USAAF as the XPQ-14. This was followed by YPQ-14A service test aircraft and more than 1400 PQ-14A production models. Of the latter, about 1200 were transferred to the U.S. Navy, which designated them as TD2C-1 ‘Turkey’. The PQ-14A was powered by a Franklin O-300-11 piston engine and had a retractable tricycle landing gear. Like the PQ-8, it was flown manned for ferry or check-out flights and by radio-control from the ground as a target drone. The YPQ14B was a slightly heavier variant, which was followed by a production run of more than 1100 PQ-14B targets for the USAAF. A single PQ-14B was converted to use an O-300-9 engine and designated XPQ-14C (Ref.: 24).

Boulton Paul Defiant T.T.II, 326th BG, 92nd BG, 8th USAAF (Pavla)

TYPE: Target tug aircraft.

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two

POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce Merlin III liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,030 hp

PERFORMANCE: 304 mph at 17,000 ft

COMMENT: The Boulton Paul Defiant was a British interceptor aircraft that served with the RAF during the Second World War. The Defiant was designed and built by Boulton Paul Aircraft as a “turret fighter”, without any forward-firing guns. It was a contemporary of the Royal Navy’s Blackburne Roc. In combat, the Defiant was found to be reasonably effective at its intended task of destroying bombers, but vulnerable to the Luftwaffe’s more agile, single-seat Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. The lack of forward armament proved to be a major weakness in daylight combat and its potential was only realized when it switched to night combat. It was supplanted in the night fighter role by the Bristol Beaufighter and de Havilland Mosquito. The Defiant found use in gunnery training, target towing, electronic countermeasures and air-sea rescue. Among RAF pilots it had the nickname “Daffy”. About 150 Defiant Mk IIs were converted to target tugs. A wind-driven generator provided power for the target winch. The Defiant T.T.II shown here was a former RAF target tug aircraft later transferred to the 326th  BS of the 92nd BG of the US 8th Army Air Force stationed at Podington, UK (Ref.: 23).

Curtiss AT-9 Jeep (Pavla)

TYPE: Advanced trainer aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two – student and instructor

POWER PLANT: Two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engine, rated at 295 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 197 mph

COMMENT: The Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Jeep was a twin-engined advanced trainer aircraft used by the United States during World War II to bridge the gap between single-engined trainers and twin-engined combat aircraft. The AT-9 had a low-wing cantilever monoplane configuration and retractable landing gear. Curtiss-Wright anticipated the requirement for this type of “high-performance” aircraft and designed the Curtiss-Wright CW-25, a twin-engined trainer, which possessed the takeoff and landing characteristics of a light bomber. Using the same basic design as the larger Cessna AT-17 Bobcat, the new CW-25 was designed to be simulate the demands of multi-engined operations. The design featured a small layout, grouping two Lycoming R-680-9 radial engines forward and using a retractable tailwheel landing gear to achieve the performance necessary to meet the requirements of an advanced trainer. The single CW-25 prototype acquired for evaluation had a welded steel-tube fuselage structure with the wings, fuselage and tail unit fabric-covered. The first prototype Model 25 flew in 1941 and the production version entered service as the AT-9 in 1942. Named the “Fledgling” by Curtiss-Wright, it commonly became known as the “Jeep” in the USAAF. The prototype CW-25 had a fabric-covered steel tube fuselage and fabric-covered wings and tail units, but production AT-9s were of stressed metal skin construction. The AT-9 was purposely designed to be less stable and proved to be difficult to fly or land, which made it particularly suitable for teaching new pilots to cope with the demanding flight characteristics of a new generation of high-performance, multi-engined aircraft such as the Martin B-26 Marauder and Lockheed P-38 Lightning. A total of 491 AT-9s were built before production ended and a new production run of 300 of the generally similar AT-9A commenced (Ref.: 23).