With the advantage of having had many decades
pass since these wannabee airplanes were developed, it is easy to see that there are a lot of familiar
shapes and configurations that are recognizable in ones that were eventually mass produced. The Martin
XA-22 (and the Boeing XB-17 for that matter), for example, is the spitt'n
image of the AT-6 Texan, and the XB-39 is undoubtedly the inspiration for the venerable B-17 bomber.
The Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster's profile reminds one a lot of the A-10 Warthog, if you ignore the powerplant
differences. If you are a scale modeler looking for a new, rarely used subject for your next project,
one of these planes might be just what you are looking for.
Mystery Air Force - II
Attack planes, bombers, and trainers are subject of review in the second part of Mystery Air Force
In this month's issue Air Trails presents the second part of the Mystery Air Force in which little
known attack planes and trainers are shown. There are some pretty interesting numbers such as the Stearman
XA-21 which unfortunately crashed during demonstration; the Brewster XA-32 built by the manufacturers
of the famous "Flying Pickle Barrel," the Buffalo; the Beechcraft XA-38 Destroyer designed around a
75-mm cannon and similar in shape to the well known twin-engine Beech; the North American XA-27 which
is a dead ringer for the widely used Air Force trainer the AT-6, the ancestor of which it actually is.
In the bombers we have the B-19A which just before the war was the largest craft in its class in the
Stearman XA-21. Built in '40, was one of entries in design competition
for multi-engine attack plane. Span 65', 2 Pratt & Whitney Hornets, 1400 hp each. Top speed 250
Martin XA-22. Of same vintage as XA-21, later became the Maryland,
used by French and British at beginning of war. Span 61' 4", 1200-hp Pratt & Whitney engines, speed
North American A-27. Light attack bomber built in '38. Powered by
Wright Cyclone 775-hp engine, span 42' 8", speed 250 mph. Features of plane were later incorporated
Douglas XB-19A. The famous XB-19 built in 1941, powered by four
24-cyl. liquid-cooled Allisons of 2600 hp instead of 2200-hp Wright radials. Wing span 212', speed 250
North American XB-21 Dragon. A 1938 entry in bomber design competition
at Wright Field. Only one built. Span 95', crew of six, engines 1200-hp Pratt & Whitneys.
Douglas B-23. 38 were built, of which a dozen were converted to
transport use and designated C-67. Very fast plane with top speed of 280 mph. Powered by two1600-hp
North American XB-28. Experimental medium bomber with pressurized
cabin, remote control gun turrets. Wing span 72' 7", engines two 2000-hp Pratt & Whitneys, speed
Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster. Formerly designated as XA-42, powered by
two Allison engines, 1725 hp each, driving two contra-rotating propellers. Speed 410 mph, range 5000
Douglas XB-43. Generally similar to the XB-42 except
that power is supplied by two General Electric J-35 turbo-jet engines. Span 71' 2", maximum speed over
Fleetwing XBT-12. Two-place basic training monoplane. 25 BT-12's
were supposedly delivered out of the order for 200. Had stainless steel landing gear. Span 40', engine
450 hp P&W.
Boeing XBT-17. All-metal trainer, only one built, weighed 500 lbs.
less than standard Army trainer BT-13, powered by same 450-hp P&W engine. Wing span 35' 9", speed
Brewster A-32A. Single-place attack bomber with four 20-mm cannon.
Only one produced. Wing span 45' 1", weight 19,800 lbs., engine 2000-hp Pratt & Whitney, speed 310
Beechcraft XA-38 Destroyer. One 75-mm and two .50-cal. machine guns
in nose, two .50-cal machine guns in belly turret. Powered by 2 Pratt & Whitneys, 2300 hp each,
speed 375 mph.
Consolidated-Vultee XA-41. Single-place attack bomber, designed
to serve also as torpedo bomber. Wing span 54'. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engine of 3000 hp. Speed
Consolidated-Vultee B-32 Dominator. Supposed to have been teammate
of B-29. Few saw service in Pacific. Wing span 135', engines four 2200-hp Wrights, top speed over 300
Vega XB-38. A Boeing B-17E converted by Vega Aircraft by fitting
plane with four 12-cyl. Allison liquid-cooled engines, 1425 hp each. Plane weighted 4000 lbs. more than
XB-39. YB-29 fitted with four 24-cyl. liquid-cooled Allisons, 2600
hp each. Modification made by General Motors. Was first B-29 off Boeing production line. Used only for
YB-40. One XB-40 and 13 YB-40's were modified from Boeing B-17's
to serve as escorts for bomber formations on long range missions. Had 14 cal. .50 machine guns in twin
Fairchild XAT-13. Four-place bomber crew trainer of all-wood Duramold
construction. Went through many modifications ending as AT-21 with Ranger engines. 600-hp P&W's.
Boeing XAT-15. All-wood bombardier trainer, only two built, carried
crew of four. Wing span 5' 10", weight 12,100 lbs., two Pratt & Whitney R-1340 engines of 600 hp,
speed 200 mph.
Noorduyn AT-16. A North American AT-6 with small variations built
by Noorduyn in Canada for Royal Canadian Air Force. 1500 delivered, powered by 600-hp P&W engine.
Federal AT-20. Avro-Anson II, all-wood advanced trainer powered
by two U.S. Jacobs engines, 330 hp each. Wing span 56' 6", carried crew of five, top speed 150 mph.
Posted October 30, 2014