“What Might Have Been” – Avro Canada’s Avrocar – Photo Tour

AvrocarKEYIMAGEWARBIRD RADIO – The Jetson’s idea of a flying car isn’t all that far fetched, just take a look at the Avrocar.  Currently on display in the National Museum of United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.  Here’s what the museum has to say about it:  The Avrocar was the result of a Canadian effort to develop a supersonic, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) fighter-bomber in the early 1950s. However, its circular shape gave it the appearance of a “flying saucer” out of science fiction movies of the period.

A.V. Roe (Avro) Aircraft Limited (later Avro Canada) based its design concept for the Avrocar on using the exhaust from turbojet engines to drive a circular “turborotor” which produced thrust. By directing this thrust downward, the turborotor would create a cushion of air (also known as “ground effect”) upon which the aircraft would float at low altitude. When the thrust was directed toward the rear, the aircraft would accelerate and gain altitude.

In 1952, the Canadian government provided initial funding but dropped the project when it became too expensive. Avro offered the project to the U.S. government, and the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force took it over in 1958. Each service had different requirements: the Army wanted to use it as a subsonic, all-terrain troop transport and reconnaissance craft, but the USAF wanted a VTOL aircraft that could hover below enemy radar then zoom up to supersonic speed. Avro’s designers believed they could satisfy both services, but these two sets of requirements differed too much.

Research data originally indicated that a circular wing might satisfy both the Army’s and Air Force’s requirements, and Avro built two small test vehicles to prove the concept. Designated the VZ-9AV Avrocar (“VZ” stood for “experimental vertical flight,” “9” for the ninth concept proposal, and “AV” for Avro).

Tests with scale models at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, indicated that the cushion of air under the Avrocar would become unstable just a few feet off the ground. The aircraft would be incapable of reaching supersonic speeds, but the testing went ahead to determine if a suitable aircraft could be developed for the Army. The first prototype-the Avrocar on display (serial number 58-7055)-was sent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. There, wind tunnel tests proved that the aircraft had insufficient control for high speed flight and was aerodynamically unstable.

The second Avrocar prototype underwent flight tests that validated the wind tunnel tests. If it flew more than three feet above the ground, the Avrocar displayed uncontrollable pitch and roll motions, which the Avro engineers called “hubcapping.” The Avrocar could only reach a maximum speed of 35 mph, and all attempts to end the hubcapping failed. The project was cancelled in December 1961.

The second prototype aircraft went to the U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Va., and the first prototype Avrocar came to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 2007.

TECHNICAL NOTES: Crew: Two Engines: Three Continental J69-T9 turbojets of 927 lbs. thrust each Wingspan: 18 ft. Height: 4 ft. 10 in. Weight: 4,620 lbs. empty




WEDNESDAY – Doolittle Raiders Reunion Coverages Continues With NMUSAF Director Gen. Jack Hudson (USAF RET) – Warbird Radio LIVE!


WEDNESDAY – Our coverage of the 70th Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Reunion continues with the Director of the National Museum of the United States Air Force – Lieutenant General John “Jack” Hudson on Warbird Radio LIVE!  Tune in and hear what the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion means to the NMUSAF and how they prepared for this epic event.  We’ll also hear from the Doolittle Raiders themselves…  Don’t miss a minute of the action!  Show time is 10am (EASTERN). Thanks for listening!

FYI…Be sure to help spread the word about our LIVE broadcast of the fly-over.  Coverage begins at 12pm (EASTERN).

QUICK LINK:  Doolittle Raiders Reunion

STUDIO LINE:  478.787.4768

SKYPE: warbirdradio

EMAIL:  matt@warbirdradio.com

Memphis Belle B-17 Restoration UPDATE – Warbird Radio LIVE! – Tuesday

Memphis Belle Restoration Update - Warbird Radio LIVE! - USAF Museum Photo

TUESDAY – National Museum of the United States Air Force Curator Jeff Duford and Restoration Supervisor Greg Hassler join Matt Jolley on Warbird Radio LIVE with an update on the B-17 Memphis Belle.  Hear the latest news on the Belle’s progress…plus the history behind her.  The show starts at 10am (EASTERN) right here on Warbird Radio.  Thanks for tuning in!

QUICK LINK:  Memphis Belle Restoration

STUDIO LINE:  478.787.4768

SKYPE:  warbirdradio

EMAIL:  matt@warbirdradio.com

UPDATE – Memphis Belle Restoration Reaches Major Milestone! – PHOTO TOUR

Memphis Belle - Restoration Photo Tour

WARBIRD RADIO – The famed B-17 Memphis Belle is currently under restoration at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.  According to a recent press release, the restoration crew is celebrating a major milestone including the mating of the left wing to the fuselage and the extension of the landing gear.

The Memphis Belle, a B-17F Flying Fortress, is one of the most famous aircraft in history. In May 1943 it became the first U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bomber to complete 25 missions over Europe and return to the United States.

The pilot, then-Lt. Robert Morgan, named the aircraft after his wartime girlfriend, Margaret Polk, of Memphis, Tenn. Lt. Morgan chose the artwork from a 1941 George Petty illustration in Esquire magazine.

Upon their return to the United States in June 1943, the Memphis Belle’s crew flew the aircraft across the country on a three-month war bond and morale boosting tour. With the bond tour and the 1944 William Wyler documentary film titled The Memphis Belle — depicting actual combat footage — the aircraft and its crew became widely known and celebrated. In 1990 a major motion picture of the same name added to their fame.

For many, the story of the Memphis Belle has become a timeless symbol of all the heroic U.S. Army Air Forces’ bomber crews who flew against Nazi Germany in World War II. In need of a thorough restoration, the Memphis Belle arrived at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in October 2005. A careful, multi-year conservation and restoration effort by museum staff — including corrosion treatment, the full outfitting of missing equipment and accurate markings — will bring the Memphis Belle back to pristine condition.

QUICK LINK:  The National Museum of the United States Air Force

B-17 Memphis Belle Restoration Photo Tour

Dr. Harry Friedman – The Warbird Rescue Hour – 6/16/11 – 8pm (EASTERN)

The Memphis Belle Restoration - The Warbird Rescue Hour - 8pm (EASTERN)

WARBIRD RADIO – This week we are honored to have Dr. Harry Friedman on the show.  Dr. Friedman, along with the rest of the Memphis Belle Memorial Association (MBMA) are the reason why we are lucky enough to have this national treasure with us today.  If not for their efforts she would have been lost years ago.  Today the Memphis Belle is under restoration at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  Dr. Friedman and the rest of the MBMA continue to work in helping with it’s restoration and eventual display in the museum at Dayton, Ohio.  Listen in Thursday night at 8PM EST and also be sure to check out Dr. Friedman’s book Dispelling the Myths about the Memphis Belle.

QUICK LINK:  The Warbird Rescue Foundation

STUDIO LINE:  478.787.4768

SKYPE:  warbirdradio

EMAIL:  info@warbirdradio.com

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