Daily Archives: October 25, 2021

25 October 1994: The “Dog Ship”

The prototype Bell Model 430, C-GBLL, in flight, circa 1994. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

A “dog ship” is an aircraft retained by a manufacturer for engineering development testing.

25 October 1994: At Bell Helicopter Textron’s plant at Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, the prototype Bell Model 430, registered C-GBLL, made its first flight.

The Bell Model 430 (“Four-Thirty”) is a twin-engine intermediate-weight helicopter, operated by one or two pilots, and which can be configured to carry from 6 to 11 passengers. It has advanced avionics. The standard helicopter is equipped with skid landing gear, and retractable tricycle gear is optional. The 430 was the first helicopter to be certified for instrument flight with a single pilot, without a stability augmentation system. The aircraft is also certified for Category A operations, meaning that if one engine were to fail during takeoff, the helicopter could continue to fly with the remaining engine.

Bell 430 instrument panel with some optional equipment. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

The 430 was developed from the preceding Model 230 (and the 230 from the 222). It was lengthened 1 foot, 6 inches (0.457 meters) and uses a four-bladed semi-rigid main rotor.  Instead of a mechanical rotor head of trunnions, bearings and hinges, the 430 has a “soft-in-plane” fiberglass rotor yoke that is flexible enough to allow the blades to flap, feather and lead/lag.

The Bell 430 is 50 feet, 0.6 inches (15.248 meters) long, with rotors turning. The fuselage is 44 feet, 1 inch (13.437 meters) long. Overall height 12 feet, 1.6 inches (3.697 meters). The span of the stub wings is 11 feet, 6.0 inches (3.454 meters). The fixed horizontal stabilizer has a spa of 11 feet, 5.9 inches (3.453 meters) and a -9° angle of incidence. The vertical fin is canted slightly to the right to unload the tail rotor during high speed flight.

The main rotor mast is tilted 5° forward and 1.15° to the left. The forward tilt helps to keep the passenger cabin level during forward flight, while the left tilt counteracts the translating tendency caused by tail rotor thrust while in a hover.

Bell 430 prototype at Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, December 1995. (Vertiflite)

The main rotor is 42 feet, 0 inches (12.802 meters) in diameter and rotates counter-clockwise as seen from above. (The advancing blade is on the right.) The rotor turns at 348 r.p.m., resulting in a blade tip speed of 765 feet per second (233 meters per second). The blades are of composite construction. They use an asymmetrical airfoil and have a chord of 1 foot, 2.2 inches (0.361 meters). The blades are pre-coned 2° 30′.

The tail rotor is mounted on the left side of the tail boom, with the rotor disc offset 1 foot, 9.5 inches (0.572 meters) to the left of the aircraft centerline. Seen from the helicopter’s left, the tail rotor turns clockwise (the advancing blade is below the axis of rotation). The tail rotor is 6 feet, 10.5 inches (2.098 meters) in diameter, with a chord of 10.0 inches (0.254 meters). The blades are constructed of a stainless steel spar, with a bonded stainless steel skin over an aluminum honeycomb. The tail rotor turns 1,881 r.p.m.

Three-view drawing of the Bell Model 430 with retractable tricycle landing gear. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

In standard configuration, the wheel-equipped Model 430 has an empty weight of 5,364 pounds. Its maximum gross weight is 9,300 pounds (4,218 kilograms).

The 430 is powered by two Rolls-Royce Series IV M250 C40B FADEC turboshaft engines. (The engine was previously known as the Allison 250-C40B. Rolls-Royce acquired Allison in 1995). The engine has full digital electronic controls. The 250-C40B uses a single-stage centrifugal compressor, reverse-flow combustion chamber, and a 4-stage axial-flow turbine section (2-stage gas producer turbine, N1, and 2-stage power turbine, N2.) At 100% N1, the gas producer rotates at 51,000 r.p.m. and the power turbine turns 30,908 r.p.m. The output drive speed is 9,598 r.p.m.

The engines have a Maximum Continuous Power rating of 695 shaft horsepower, and 808 s.h.p. for takeoff (5-minute limit). If an engine fails, the remaining engine can be operated at 940 s.h.p. for 30 seconds; 880 s.h.p for 2 minutes; and 835 s.h.p. for 30 minutes.

At Sea Level, the Bell Model 430 has a cruise speed of 133 knots (153 miles per hour/246 kilometers per hour), and maximum cruise of 147 knots (169 miles per hour/272 kilometers per hour). VNE is 150 knots (173 miles per hour/278 kilometers per hour). The helicopter’s service ceiling is 20,000 feet (6,096 meters). At its maximum gross weight, the 430 can hover in ground effect (HIGE) at 10,400 feet (3,170 meters) and out of ground effect (HOGE) at 6,200 feet (1,890 meters).

The fuel capacity of the 430 is 187.5 U.S. gallons (708 liters). This gives the helicopter a range of 286 nautical miles (329 statute miles/530 kilometers). A 48 gallon (182 liter) auxiliary fuel tank can be installed in the baggage compartment. With skid landing gear, the fuel capacity is increased to 247 gallons (935 liters), increasing the range to 353 nautical miles (406 statute miles/654 kilometers).

The Bell Model 430 received its Transport Canada certification on 23 February 1996, with the first production aircraft delivered the following month. Production continued for 12 years. The final 430 was delivered in May 2008.

This helicopter is an early production Bell Model 222, sometimes unofficially called a “222A”. (Wikipedia)

C-GBLL was originally built as the sixth Model 222, serial number 47006, and registered by the Federal Aviation Administration as N2759D. The aircraft was used as the prototype of the Bell 222B, which upgraded the engines from the original 618-shaft horsepower Lycoming LTS-101-650C3 turboshaft engines to 680 s.h.p. LTS-101-750Cs. The diameter of the main rotor was increased from 40 feet to 42 feet.

In 1983, N2759D was next used as the prototype for the Model 222UT, which replaced the retractable tricycle landing gear with fixed skids constructed of tubular aluminum. This simplified the helicopter, decreased its empty weight and allowed for an increased fuel capacity. N2759D was transferred to Bell Helicopter Textron Canada at Mirabel. Its U.S. registration cancelled by the FAA on 17 October 1990, and it was re-registered C-GBLL by Transport Canada.

The skid-equipped Bell Model 222UT is often used as an emergency medical transport helicopter. This aircraft, operated by Mercy Air Service Inc., is standing by at Mohave Airport (MHV) in the high desert of southern California. (Unattributed)

Early problems with the Lycoming LTS-101 adversely affected sales of the Bell 222. Bell designed a new variant equipped with Allison 250-C30G engines. This helicopter was designated the Model 230. The first prototype, C-GEXP, with skid gear, made its first flight on 12 August 1991, followed by the second prototype—C-GBLL—on 3 October 1991.

Bell 230 prototype C-GBLL, minus main rotor and mast, and tail rotor, circa 1993. Compare the exhaust stacks to those of the 222UT in the image above. (Fiveprime)

The 430 prototype was given a new serial number, s/n 43901.

Bell 430 prototype C-GBLL, stripped, circa 2012. (Photograph © Pierre Gillard. Used with permission)
Bell 430 C-BCHD (s/n 43902) was the second prototype of the Model 430. This helicopter, previously registered C-GEXP, was built as a Bell 222UT, s/n 47503, before being converted to the first Model 230 prototype in 1991. (© Pierre Gillard Used with permission)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

25 October 1979

McDonnell Douglas F-4E-67-MC Phantom II, 78-0744, the last of 5,057 Phantoms built at St. Louis, 25 October 1979. (McDonnell Douglas Corporation)

25 October 1979: The 5,057th and very last Phantom II—an F-4E-67-MC, U.S. Air Force serial number 78-0744—was rolled out at the McDonnell Douglas Corporation plant, Lambert Field (STL), St. Louis, Missouri, and the production line was closed.

78-0744 was transferred to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) under the Foreign Military Sales program Peace Pheasant II and assigned to the 17th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Cheongju International Airport (CJJ). One source says that it was “written off” but details are lacking.

McDonnell Douglas F-4E-67-MC Phantom II 78-0744 in United States Air Force markings. (U.S. Air Force)
McDonnell Douglas F-4E-67-MC Phantom II 78-0744 in United States Air Force markings. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

24–25 October 1928

Harry Tucker’s Lockheed Vega, X4769. (National Archives)

24–25 October 1928: Captain Charles B.D. Collyer, Air Service, United States Army, and Harry J. Tucker flew Tucker’s Lockheed Vega, X4769, from New York to Los Angeles, non-stop, in 24 hours, 55 minutes.

A contemporary newspaper article reported the event:


Monoplane Flies Across Continent to Los Angeles in 24 Hours, 55 Minutes

Mines Field, Los Angeles, Oct. 25—(AP)—Setting a new record for a trans-continental non-stop airplane flight from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific, the monoplane Yankee Doodle arrived here at 2:12 p.m. today from New York.

The unofficial time of the flight as announced by Capt. C.D.B. Collyer, pilot and Harry Tucker, owner and passenger, was 24 hours 55 minutes. The best previous time for the westward flight was 26 hours and 50 minutes, made in 1923 by Lieutenants John MacReady [John A. Macready] and Oakley Gelley [Oakley George Kelly].

530 Gallons Carried

The Yankee Doodle hopped off at Roosevelt Field at 4:16:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time yesterday. The little cigar-shaped white-winged plane was loaded with 530 gallons of gasoline, just about enough for a 24-hour flight, and a check began shortly after landing to determine how much of the fuel was left.

The westward flight covered approximately the course flown over by Col. Arthur Goebel when he piloted his plane to a new West-East non-stop trans-continental record of 18 hours and 55 minutes several weeks ago.

This was the fourth time Tucker has sent his plane into a coast-to-coast grind. The first West to East attempt was unsuccessful but on the second attempt Goebel piloted the machine through to the record.

The Cornell Daily Sun, Ithaca, New York, Friday, October 26, 1928, Volume XLIX, Number 29 at Page 1, Column 5

Captain Charles B.D. Collyer

Charles Bascum Drury Collyer was born at Nashville, Tennessee, 24 August 1896, the son of Rev. Charles Thomas Collyer. He traveled throughout the world, and lived for a time in Seoul, Korea. Collyer attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute, a military college at Blacksburg, Virginia, as a member of the class of 1919.

Collyer served in the United States Army as a private, first class, being discharged 1 May 1919. He held a commission as a second lieutenant, Aviation Section, Signal Reserve Corps. He was employed as chief pilot, Liberty Flyers, Inc., at Savannah, Georgia.

From 28 June to 22 July 1928, Collyer had flown around the world with John Henry Mears. Collyer was president of the Aviation Services Corporation of New York, which had been formed “to do unusual things in aviation.”

Harry J. Tucker

Harry J. Tucker was variously described as an “auto tycoon” and a “wealthy Santa Monica, California, businessman.” He was born in 1891.

Charles B.D. Collyer and Harry Tucker were killed 3 November 1928 when Yankee Doodle crashed in fog near Venezia, in Yavapai County, Arizona. Collyer was buried at Arlington, National Cemetery, Virginia.

Yankee Doodle was the seventh Lockheed Vega produced (c/n 7). The Vega was a a single-engine, high-wing monoplane designed by John Knudsen (“Jack”) Northrop and Gerrard Vultee. The prototype flew for the first time 4 July 1927 at Mines Field, Los Angeles, California.

The Vega was very much a state-of-the-art aircraft for its time. It used a streamlined monocoque fuselage made of strips of vertical-grain spruce pressed into concrete molds and bonded together with cassein glue. These were then attached to former rings. The wing and tail surfaces were fully cantilevered, requiring no bracing wires or struts to support them. They were built of spruce spars and ribs, covered with 3/32-inch (2.4 millimeters) spruce plywood.

Three-view drawing of the Lockheed Vega from a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics publication. (NASA)

The Lockheed Vega 1 was flown by a single pilot in an open cockpit and could carry up to four passengers in the enclosed cabin. It was 27.5 feet (8.38 meters) long with a wingspan of 41.0 feet (12.50 meters) and height of 8 feet, 6 inches (2.59 meters). The total wing area (including ailerons) was 275 square feet (25.55 square meters). The wing had no dihedral. The leading edges were swept slightly aft, and the trailing edges swept forward. The Vega 1 had an empty weight of 1,650.0 pounds (748.4 kilograms) and a gross weight of 3,200 pounds (1,452 kilograms).

The early Vegas were powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated 787.26-cubic-inch-displacement (12.901 liter) Wright Whirlwind Five (J-5C) nine-cylinder radial engine. This was a direct-drive engine with a compression ratio of 5.1:1. The J-5C was rated at 200 horsepower at 1,800 r.p.m., and 220 horsepower at 2,000 r.p.m. It was 2 feet, 10 inches (0.864 meters) long, 3 feet, 9 inches (1.143 meters) in diameter, and weighed 508 pounds (230.4 kilograms).

The Vega had a cruising speed of 110 miles per hour (177 kilometers per hour) with the engine turning 1,500 r.p.m., and a top speed of 135 miles per hour (217 kilometers per hour)—very fast for its time. The airplane had a rate of climb of 925 feet per minute (4.7 meters per second) at Sea Level, decreasing to 405 feet per minute (2.1 meters per second) at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Its service ceiling was 15,900 feet (4,846 meters), and the absolute ceiling was 17,800 feet (5,425 meters). The airplane had a fuel capacity of 100 gallons (379 liters), giving it a range of 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) at cruise speed.

Twenty-eight Vega 1 airplanes were built by Lockheed Aircraft Company at the factory on Sycamore Street, Hollywood, California, before production of the improved Lockheed Vega 5 began in 1928 and the company moved to its new location at Burbank, California.

The techniques used to build the Vega were very influential in aircraft design. It also began Lockheed’s tradition of naming its airplanes after stars and other astronomical objects.

Lockheed Vega NX4769 at NAS North Island, 1928. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)
Lockheed Vega X4769 at NAS San Diego, 1928. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

25 October 1923

First Lieutenant Lowell H. Smith and First Lieutenant John Paul Richter, Air Service, United States Army. (U.S. Air Force)

25 October 1923: First Lieutenant Lowell Herbert Smith and First Lieutenant John P. Richter, Air Service, United States Army, flew a DH-4B from Sumas, Washington, to Tijuana, Mexico, non-stop.

The 1,280 mile (2,060 kilometer) flight was made possible by two air-to-air refuelings from tanker airplanes pre-positioned over Eugene, Oregon, and Sacramento, California. The DH-4B tanker over Eugene was flown by First Lieutenants Virgil Hine and Frank W. Siefert. The Sacramento tanker was flown by Captain Robert J. Erwin and First Lieutenant Oliver R. McNeel. At both locations, Smith and Richter made two refueling contacts before proceeding on their route.

On arrival over Mexico, they circled the Tijuana Customs House, then landed at Rockwell Field, San Diego.

The flight took approximately 12 hours.

On 27 June 1923, Captain Smith and Lieutenant Richter stayed aloft over Rockwell Field, (now, NAS North Island) at San Diego, California, with multiple refuelings. This photograph shows the DH-4B tanker, A.S. 23-467, and receiver on that endurance flight. (U.S. Air Force)

Lowell Herbert Smith was born 8 October 1892 in Santa Barbara County, California. He was the second of four children of Jasper Green Smith and Nora Maude Holland Smith. Beginning in 1915, he flew for the Mexican Army. (Another source says that he flew for the revolutionary bandit, Pancho Villa.) Smith graduated from San Fernando College in 1917. He enlisted in the Aviation Section, Signal Corps, United States Army, 8 June 1917, and attended the Military School of Aeronautics at the University of California. Smith was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Signal Officers Reserve Corps, 13 December 1917. He was promoted to the rank of captain, Aviation Section, 23 October 1918. On 10 September 1920, that commission was vacated and he was commissioned a captain, Air Service. On 18 November 1922, Smith was discharged as captain and appointed first lieutenant.

On 27 June 1923, Smith and Richter accomplished the first air refueling over Rockwell Field, San Diego, using air techniques that they also used for the border-to-border flight of 25 October 1926. On 28–29 June, Smith and Richter remained airborne over San Diego for 37 hours, 15 minutes, 14½ seconds. For that flight, they were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

From 6 April to 28 September 1924, Lowell Smith was the pilot of Airplane No. 2, the Douglas World Cruiser Chicago, on the first circumnavigation by airplane. After Major Frederick Martin crashed his DWC in Alaska, Smith assumed command of the remaining three aircraft for the rest of the 23,942 nautical mile (44,341 kilometers) flight. For this flight, Smith was awarded the Distinguished Service medal. He was again promoted to captain 4 December 1924.

Smith graduated from the Army Command and General Staff School in 1935. In 1936 he served on a War Department board that established airplane design standards and procedures for the military to order new aircraft.  He was promoted to major on 16 June 1936, and to lieutenant colonel on 1 March 1940. Several months later, with the rapid expansion of the Army Air Corps, on 30 August 1940, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and then to colonel, 15 March 1941. During World War II, Colonel Smith commanded Davis-Monthan Army Airfield.

Colonel Lowell Herbert Smith, United States Army Air Corps, died as the result of falling from a horse near Tucson, Arizona, 4 November 1945. He was 53 years old. Colonel Smith is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.

John Paul Richter was born in Virginia, 6 January 1991, the first of five children of Otto Frank Richter, a physician, and Nora Kinney Richter. In 1911 he graduated from the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.  He enlisted in the Aviation Section, Signal Enlisted Reserve Corps 22 May 1917, and was commissioned a first lieutenant 20 November 1917. His commission in the Aviation Section was vacated 12 October 1920 and he was appointed a first lieutenant in the Air Service, effective retroactively to 1 July 1920.

John Richter married Miss Frances K. Fisher in 1925.

Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Richter, United States Army Air Corps, was discharged 31 December 1943. He died 26 April 1964 at the age of 73 years. He is buried at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

Refueling in flight. (U.S. Air Force)
DH-4B A.S. 23-467 (top right) trails a refueling hose for Smith and Richter’s DH-4B near Rockwell Field, San Diego, California, 23 June 1923. (U.S. Air Force)

The Airco DH.4 was a very successful airplane of World War I, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland. The DH.4 (DH-4 in American service) was a two-place, single-engine, two-bay biplane with fixed landing gear. The fuselage and wings were constructed of wood and covered with doped-fabric. The airplane was produced by several manufacturers in Europe and the United States. The DH-4 was 30 feet, 5 inches (9.271 meters) long with a wingspan of 42 feet, 8 inches (13.005 meters) and height of 10 feet, 6 inches (3.200 meters). The DH-4 had an empty weight of 2,391 pounds, (1,085 kilograms) and gross weight of 4,297 pounds (1,949 kilograms). Fuel capacity was 67 gallons (254 liters).

Army Air Service DH-4s were powered by Liberty 12 aircraft engines in place of the Rolls-Royce Eagle VII V-12 of the British-built DH.4 version. The L-12 was water-cooled, normally-aspirated, 1,649.34-cubic-inch-displacement (27.028 liter), single overhead cam (SOHC) 45° V-12 engine. It produced 408 horsepower at 1,800 r.p.m. The L-12 as a right-hand tractor, direct-drive engine and it turned turned a two-bladed fixed-pitch wooden propeller. The Liberty 12 was 67.375 inches (1.711 meters) long, 27.0 inches (0.686 meters) wide, and 41.5 inches (1.054 meters) high. It weighed 844 pounds (383 kilograms).

The Liberty 12 aircraft engine was designed by Jesse G. Vincent of the Packard Motor Car Company and Elbert J. Hall of the Hall-Scott Motor Company. This engine was produced by Ford Motor Company, as well as the Buick and Cadillac Divisions of General Motors, The Lincoln Motor Company (which was formed by Henry Leland, the former manager of Cadillac, specifically to manufacture these aircraft engines), Marmon Motor Car Company and the Packard Motor Car Company. Hall-Scott was too small to produce engines in the numbers required.

The DH-4 had a maximum speed of 124 miles per hour (200 kilometers per hour), service ceiling of 19,600 feet (5,974 meters) and range of 400 miles (644 kilometers).

Many DH-4s were rebuilt as DH-4Bs. These can be identified by the relocated pilot’s cockpit, which was moved aft, closer to the observer’s position. The an enlarged fuel tank was place ahead of the pilot’s cockpit. Following World War II, many were rebuilt with tubular metal frames for the fuselage, replacing the original wooden structure. These aircraft were redesignated DH-4M.

The prototype American DH-4, Dayton-Wright-built airplane, is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution National Aviation and Space Museum.

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes