The Army Air Services wanted a ground attack aircraft with heavy firepower and protected by armor plating to ensure its survival in low-altitude battlefield warfare. The GAX (Ground Attack Experimental) didn’t win any beauty contests, with its truncated nose and oversized rudder. Nor did it win friends in the flying community, as the weight of the armor and armament taxed the ability of two Liberty engines to propel it.
At the time of its rollout, the B-19 was called the largest aircraft in the world. The XB-19’s wingspan of 212 feet was more than twice that of a B-17. With a range listed as greater than 5,000 miles and a ferry range of more than 7,000 miles, the XB-19 could use auxiliary bomb bay gas tanks to bring its fuel capacity to 11,000 gallons, which a Douglas publicist likened to the volume carried by a standard railroad tank car of the day.
The Consolidated Fleetster series provided an elegant take on the needs of feeder airlines in the early 1930s. But the fortunes of Consolidated Aircraft lay elsewhere.
The Boeing 221 Monomail showed elegantly simple lines and modern technologies that set the stage for the company’s growth in the design of large aircraft, including the iconic B-17.
The Douglas A-20 Havoc attack bomber represents an advanced pre-war design that proved effective in combat in World War II. Modifications kept the A-20 viable to the end of the war.
The launch from the Navy’s first aircraft carrier, USS Langley, on Nov. 18, 1922, signaled the beginning of practical aircraft carrier operations.
The aircraft looked very much like a scaled down commercial jetliner, with four individually podded engines suspended from pylons in a fashion reminiscent of the Boeing 707.
Gunship versions of the B-17 were seen as one answer to the scourge of German fighter attacks.
The optimistic postwar brochures from general aviation manufacturers reveal a mix of confidence and dreams that played out with varying degrees of success.
This year, the 75th anniversary of VJ-Day — Victory over Japan — will be commemorated at Pearl Harbor, where the war began for America.