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Inflatoplane

Posted on 2012.07.11 at 11:48
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Here's a very cool inflatable airplane from Goodyear that was marketed to the air force as a 'plane in a box' that could be dropped to downed pilots or carried easily by a jeep. Sadly, it was vulnerable to arrows...

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Bruce E. Durocher II
bedii at 2012-07-11 22:07 (UTC) (Link)
Not as vulnerable as you might think--some of the test models were flown with bullet holes for extended periods to verify that they could withstand small-arms fire. The main problem was the design of the plane--not as stable as the Reluctant Phoenix http://www.humanpoweredflying.propdesigner.co.uk/html/reluctanflights.html or Frederick To's later Phoenix http://www.humanpoweredflying.propdesigner.co.uk/html/phoenixthe_gossamers_and_other_planes.html (which I wish I could afford to duplicate since it was a simple, low-cost design and I have his papers on wing construction), but a lot faster. An Inflatoplane pilot was killed in a freak accident during testing and since you could get a chopper in faster than you could get the plane dropped in a canister and inflated the project was killed. The basic Goodyear "aeromat" construction method was sound, especially if it had been done as a flying wing instead of being stuck on an inflatable mutant bastard Piper Cub fuselage.

Edited at 2012-07-11 10:09 pm (UTC)
eddvick
eddvick at 2012-07-11 22:15 (UTC) (Link)
I figured you would know all about this plane. One cool wrinkle was that the engine could direct air into its frame to keep it inflated.
Jeffrey Cornish
jeffreycornish at 2012-07-12 04:05 (UTC) (Link)
Then there is MOOSE

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/moose.htm

Man Out Of Space; Easiest.
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