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Revolutionary Aircraft Development Program (1945~)

Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:48 pm

Since WWII, there have been some really remarkable developmental programs, such as the SR71, the F22s, and the KC135, that have changed the whole of military aviation. So which aircraft and its developments effected aircraft, the way their are built, and the features that they accommodated. For me there are two real competitors: the SR 71 and the KC135. The KC135 comes in a close second for me, as it has lasted so long, proven so useful to the USAF over its roughly 50 years of service, not to mention the 707 (but we are in Mil-Av). The SR71, takes the cake for me, as it was such an amazing development and product that it is still classified today, even though it was largely based on technology from the 1950s.

So what program do you think was the most revolutionary (in its contributions to aircraft tech, production tech, general concepts, etc)?
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RE: Revolutionary Aircraft Development Program (1945~)

Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:42 am

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RE: Revolutionary Aircraft Development Program (1945~)

Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:55 am

I would put the B-52 aside the KC135, still flying today and proving effective...
If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
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RE: Revolutionary Aircraft Development Program (1945~)

Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:56 am

The SR-71 is up there as far as development of an top-shelf aircraft.

Others should include: B-2, F-117, The Space Shuttle (We all know it has carried military cargo), The Mig-25 (e-667), TSR.2

UH-60's suck!!!
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RE: Revolutionary Aircraft Development Program (19

Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:36 am

Well, the X-15 was not a developmental program, it was an experimental research program for the full life of the series. So to be specific, I would consider a developmental program to be one that concerned a service aircraft. So airplanes like the F-4, F-22, even the XB-70 qualify because the development of the aircraft was based on entering service, would be in this selection. That said, the A-12/SR 71 series definitely would be at the top one anyones list. As would the U-2, the Shuttle, the F-104, the F-16 etc. Usually, if they have a long life at Edwards, they are in some sort of development program. I just prefer the Blackbirds given their history and the time that they were developed. Something about slide rules, CRT's and the days when test pilots and flight engineeers rather than accountants ran flight research is probably the main reason.
Having said that, I will always consider the X-15 to be the program that holds the distinction of giving the most bang for the buck for time in the air. I won't even try to list the accomplishments as it is pages long. But I will say that without the X-15 and its advancements to our understanding of the regime of hypersonics, that anything related to the space programs and high speed flight would have struggled to be done. A truly extraordinary research program that might never see the equal.
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RE: Revolutionary Aircraft Development Program (1945~)

Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:26 am

My answer: the Boeing B-47 Stratojet.

When it appeared in 1947, the B-47 with its pod-mounted jet engines, thin, swepback wings and highly aerodynamic design was considered extremely revolutionary in many ways. Indeed, many of the tenants of modern commercial airliner design came from the features pioneered on the B-47.

People forget that the B-47 by 1948 could fly at an astonishing 600 mph, which was just as fast as jet fighters of the day! A B-47 at cruising speed would have been difficult to intercept even by a MiG-15.
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RE: Revolutionary Aircraft Development Program (1945~)

Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:02 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 5):
My answer: the Boeing B-47 Stratojet

ohhh, good choice. How could I have overlooked this one with all that its been in my life. My uncle was a test pilot on that program and still raves about how sweet an airplane it was. I lived next to McCoy when it was a SAC base with Strats on the line. Fabulous airplane, lovely in flight and on the ground. And you're so right with all that it proved out. For a WWII era airplane, it was so significantly ahead of its time. You're so spot on that it proved out swept wing, multi engine podded layout and suitability. As you say, its basic planform is still with us today, almost 60 years later, in both the military side and the commercial side. Its the main reason why the dash 8 ended up in its planform. Needless to say that the success of the 707 laid the basis for commercial jet aircraft...and that was paved by the B-47 Strat...that's definitely success as a developmental program...yeah, I change my vote to the B-47

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