Tag Archives: Prototype

29 February 1960

1977 Beechcraft Baron B-55 N17655

29 February 1960: Beech Aircraft Corporation test pilot S. Little made the first flight of the Beechcraft 95-55 Baron, serial number TC-1.

One of the most popular light twin airplanes, the original production variant was flown by a single pilot and could carry 3 to 4 passengers. The Baron 55 was 26 feet, 8 inches (8.128 meters) long with a wingspan of 37 feet, 10 inches (11.532 meters) and overall height of 9 feet, 7 inches (2.921 meters). It had a maximum takeoff weight of 4,880 pounds (2,214 kilograms).

Beechcraft Baron 95-55

The airplane was powered by two air-cooled, fuel-injected, 471.24-cubic-inch-displacement (7.72 liter) Continental IO-470-L horizontally-opposed six cylinder engines rated at 260 horsepower at 2,625 r.p.m., each, driving two-bladed constant-speed Hartzell or McCauley propellers with a diameter of 6 feet, 6 inches (1.981 meters).

Beechcraft Baron
1967 Beechcraft Baron 95-B55, N6272V. (T-42A Cochise)

Its cruise speed  was 185 knots (213 miles per hour/343 kilometers per hour), and it had a service ceiling of 19,200 feet (5,852 meters). The maximum range was 1,225 miles (1,971 kilometers).

TC-1, the prototype Beechcraft Baron, N9695R, is on display at the Bonanza Baron Museum, Tullahoma, Tennessee. (The Staggerwing Museum Foundation)
TC-1, the prototype Beechcraft Baron, N9695R, is on display at the Bonanza Baron Museum, Tullahoma, Tennessee. (The Staggerwing Museum Foundation)

TC-1 was retained by the Beech Aircraft Corporation and used for testing until it was sold in 1968.

Registered N9695R, the prototype Baron is owned by Frank Kimmel III of Greenwood, Mississippi. It is on loan the Staggerwing Museum Foundation’s Bonanza Baron Museum, Tullahoma, Tennessee.

Sixty-five Model 95-B55 Barons were purchased by the U.S. Army for use as instrument training  aircraft. The military designation was T-42A Cochise.

More than 6,700 Barons have been built since 1961. 2,456 of these were Model 95-55s. The Textron Aviation Beechcraft G58 Baron is still in production.

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

28 February 1946

Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475 takes of at Muroc AAF, California. (U.S. Air Force )
Republic XP-84 prototype 45-59475 at landing at Muroc Army Airfield, California, 1946. (U.S. Air Force )
Wallace A. Lien

28 February 1946: At Muroc Army Airfield, California, (now, Edwards Air Force Base) the first of three prototype Republic Aviation Corporation  XP-84 Thunderjet fighter bombers, serial number 45-59475, made its first flight with company test pilot Wallace Addison Lien in the cockpit.

Alexander Kartveli, Chief Engineer of the Republic Aviation Corporation, began working on the XP-84 during 1944 as a jet-powered successor to the company’s P-47 Thunderbolt fighter bomber. The prototype was completed at the factory in Farmingdale, New York, in December 1945. It was then partially disassembled and loaded aboard Boeing’s prototype XC-97 Stratofreighter and flown west to Muroc Army Airfield in the high desert of southern California. It was reassembled and prepared for its first flight.

The prototype Republic XP-84, as yet unpainted. (San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive)

The XP-84 was 37 feet, 2 inches (11.328 meters) long, with a wingspan of 36 feet, 5 inches (11.100 meters) and overall height of 12 feet, 10 inches (3.912 meters). The wings had a total area of 260 square feet ( square meters). The leading edges were swept aft to 6° 15′. The angle of incidence was 0° with -2° of twist and 4° dihedral. The airplane had an empty weight of 9,080 pounds (4,119 kilograms) and gross weight of 13,400 pounds (6,078 kilograms).

Republic XP-84. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The XP-84 was powered by a General Electric J35-GE-7 engine. The J35 was a single-spool, axial-flow turbojet engine with an 11-stage compressor and single-stage turbine. The J35-GE-7 was rated at 3,750 pounds of thrust (16.68 kilonewtons) at 7,700 r.p.m. (5-minute limit). The engine was 14 feet, 0.0 inches (4.267 meters) long, 3 feet, 4.0 inches (1.016 meters) in diameter and weighed 2,400 pounds (1,089 kilograms).

The first of three prototypes, Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475 is parked on the dry lake at Muroc Army Airfield. (U.S. Air Force)
The first of three prototypes, Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475 is parked on the dry lake at Muroc Army Airfield. (U.S. Air Force)

The XP-84 had a cruise speed of 440 miles per hour (708 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 592 miles per hour (953 kilometers per hour). The service ceiling was 35,000 feet (10,668 meters), which it could reach in approximately 13 minutes. The maximum range was 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers).

Republic XP-84 Thunderjet. (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475. (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475. (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475. (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475. (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475 in flight. (U.S. Air Force)
Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-59475 in flight. (U.S. Air Force)

Wallace Addison Lien was born at Alkabo, in Divide County, at the extreme northwest corner of North Dakota, 13 August 1915. He was the second of six children of Olaf Paulson Lien, a Norwegian immigrant and well contractor, and Elma Laura Richardson Lien.

Wallace A. Lien (The 1939 Gopher)

Wally Lien graduated from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology 17 June 1939 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.). He was a president of the Pi Tau Sigma (ΠΤΣ) fraternity, a member of the university’s cooperative book store board, and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (A.S.M.E.). He later studied at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) at Pasadena, California, and earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering.

Lien worked as a an engineer at a steel sheet mill in Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the  the United States Army at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 18 February 1941. He was accepted as an aviation cadet at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 11 November 1941. 26 years old, Lien was 6 feet, 2 inches (1.88 meters) tall and weighed 174 pounds (79 kilograms). During World War II, Lien remained in the United States, where he served as a test pilot at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. He conducted flight tests of the Bell YP-59A Airacomet and the Lockheed XP-80 Shooting Star. Having reached the rank of Major, he left the Air Corps, 16 February 1946. Lien then worked for the Republic Aviation Corporation, testing the XP-84. A few months later, Lien went to North American Aviation, where he made the first flight of the the XFJ-1 Fury, 11 September 1946

Wally Lien married Miss Idella Muir at Elizabeth, New Jersey, 26 December 1946. They would have two children.

Wallace Addison Lien died at Colorado Springs, Colorado, 28 October 1994, at the age of 79 years. He was buried at the Shrine of Remembrance Veterans Honor Court, Colorado Springs, Colorado

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

27 February 1965

Antonov An-22 Antheus CCCP-64459, the first prototype, at the Antonov flight test facility, Gostomel Airport, Kiev Oblast. (Oleg Belyakov)
Antonov An-22 Antheus CCCP-64459, the first prototype, at the Antonov flight test facility, Gostomel Airport, Kiev Oblast. (Oleg Belyakov)

27 February 1965: The first flight of the Antonov Design Bureau An-22 Antheus took place at Sviatoshyn Airfield, Kiev, Ukraine. The An-22 was the world’s largest airplane at the time, and it remains the world’s largest turboprop airplane.

The An-22 is 57.9 meters (190.0 feet) long with a wingspan of 64.40 meters (211.29 feet) and overall height of 12.53 meters (41.11 feet). The heavy-lift strategic transport has an empty weight of 114,000 kilograms (251,327 pounds) and maximum takeoff weight of 250,000 kilograms (551,156 pounds). It is powered by four Kuznetsov NK-12MA turboprop engines producing 15,000 horsepower, each, and which drive eight four-bladed, counter-rotating propellers.

The An-22 is operated by a flight crew of six and can carry 29 passengers, It’s payload capacity is 80,000 kilograms (176,370 pounds). It has a maximum speed of 740 kilometers per hour (460 miles per hour) and a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles) with a maximum payload.

Antonov produced 66 An-22 transports at the Tashkent Aircraft Production Corporation at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, between 1965 and 1976. 28 of these were the AN-22A variant. Several remain in service.

Antonov An-22 Antheus strategic heavy-lift turboprop transport. (Dmitry A. Mottl)
Antonov An-22 Antheus strategic heavy-lift turboprop transport. (Dmitry A. Mottl)

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

24 February 1934

The prototype Lockheed Model 10 Electra X233Y in flight over Southern California, 1934. (James Borden Photography Collection)

24 February 1934:¹ Edmund Turney Allen,² a consulting engineer and test pilot, took the prototype Lockheed Model 10 Electra, serial number 1001, registered X233Y, for its first flight from the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation plant in Burbank, California, to the adjacent United Airport (which soon became United Air Terminal, then Lockheed Air Terminal and is now the Hollywood-Burbank Airport, BUR).

Aerial photograph of United Airport, looking west northwest, early 1930s. The Lockheed factory is just out of frame at the lower left, bordering the railroad tracks. (Burbank Public Library)

The Los Angeles Times reported:

NEW-TYPE PLANE PERFECTED

Lockheed Factory Turns Out First of “Electras,” Latest Word in Swift Transport

     The latest forward step by Los Angeles in the field of swift-aircraft manufacture, a 215-mile-an-hour, ten-passenger, low-wing monoplane built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, made its first appearance and took to the air in its initial test flight yesterday.

     The all-metal airliner, one of the fastest multimotored transport planes in the world and designed for economical performance by airlines enjoying little or no air-mail subsidy, was flown by Edmund T. Allen on its maiden flight from the Lockheed plant to United Airport, Burbank.

     The ship, named the Electra, is the first of nine such planes ordered by two airlines, Northwest Airways having placed an order for three and Pan-American Airways awaiting delivery on six Electras. The model follows the single-engine Lockheed Vega, Orion and Sirius models flown by Col. Charles A. Lindbergh, Wiley Post, Col. Roscoe Turner, Amelia Earhart and other noted flyers on record flights.

     The Electra’s cruising speed is in excess of 190 miles per hour. It is equipped with controllable-pitch propellers to gain maximum efficiency from its two Wasp Junior engines supercharged to develop 420 horsepower each at 5000 feet.

     The craft is equipped with advanced improvements, including new retractable landing gear, wing flaps to insure low, safe landing speed, and a radical new-type tail assembly having two small vertical fins, or rudders,instead of one large one, making for greater maneuverability.

     The Electra will be on display at United Airport, and the public, according to United Airlines officials, is invited to inspect it.

Los Angeles Times, Vol. LIII, 25 February 1934, Page 17, Columns 1 and 2

The prototype Lockheed Electra Model 10 prototype, X233Y, at Union Airport, Burbank, California, before its first flight, 24 February 1934. (James Borden Photography Collection)

The Lockheed Model 10 Electra was designed as a 10-passenger commercial transport and was a contemporary of the Boeing Model 247. This was Lockheed’s first all-metal airplane. The Electra had two engines, a low wing and retractable landing gear. The airplane was designed by Lloyd Stearman and Hall L. Hibbard.

Lockheed Model 10 Electra X233Y. (aviadejavu)

A young engineer, Clarence L. (“Kelly”) Johnson, an assistant aerodynamicist at the University of Michigan, performed the wind tunnel tests on scale models of the proposed design and recommended changes to the configuration, such as the use of two vertical fins mounted at the outboard ends of the horizontal stabilizer. This became a design feature of Lockheed airplanes into the 1950s and included the Model 14 Super Electra/Hudson, Model 18 Lodestar/PV-1 Ventura, the P-38 Lightning fighter and the L-1649 Starliner, which was produced until 1958. Johnson would become the leader of Lockheed’s legendary  “Skunk Works.”

Clarence L. "KellY" Johnson conducted wind tunnel testing of the Model 10 at the University of Michigan.
Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson conducted wind tunnel testing of the Model 10 at the University of Michigan. Note the single vertical fin on this wind tunnel model. (Lockheed)

The prototype Electra was was used for certification testing. During a full-load test at Mines Field (now, LAX, Los Angeles International Airport) the Electra’s landing gear malfunctioned. Marshall (“Babe”) Headle, Lockheed’s chief pilot, flew the airplane back to Burbank and made a one-wheel landing. The prototype was slightly damaged but quickly repaired.

Lockheed Model 10 Electra X233Y at Union Airport, Burbank, California, before its first flight, 24 February 1934. (James Borden Photography Collection)
Lockheed Model 10 Electra X233Y at Union Airport, Burbank, California, before its first flight, 24 February 1934. (James Borden Photography Collection)
Lockheed Model 10 Electra X233Y at Union Airport, Burbank, California, before its first flight, 24 February 1934. (James Borden Photography Collection)
Passenger cabin of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra, looking forward. (James Borden Photography Collection)
Lockheed Model 10 Electra NC233Y at Northwest Airways, St. Paul, Minnesota, May 1934. (James Borden Photography Collection)
Lockheed Model 10 Electra NC233Y, Northwest Airways, St. Paul, Minnesota, 24 May 1934. (James Borden Photography Collection)
Lockheed Model 10 Electra NC233Y, St. Paul Minnesota, 24 May 1934. (James Borden Photography Collection)

After testing was competed the prototype Electra was delivered to Northwest Airways, Inc., at St. Paul, Minnesota, in May 1934. The experimental registration was changed to a standard registration, NC233Y, and it was assigned the Northwest fleet number 60.

Like the Boeing 247, the Electra was originally produced with a forward-slanting windshield to prevent instrument light reflection during night flights. This resulted in ground lighting reflections, though, and was changed to a standard, rearward slant with the fifth production airplane. NC233Y was modified by Northwestern’s maintenance staff.

Lockheed built 147 Model 10s in various configurations. The first production variant was the Model 10A. It was 38 feet, 7 inches (11.760 meters) long with a wingspan of 55 feet (16.764 meters), and height of 10 feet, 1 inch (3.073 meters). The wings had a total area of 458.3 square feet (42.6square meters). Their angle of incidence was 0°, and there were 5° 34′ dihedral.

The airplane had an empty weight of 5,455 pounds (2,474 kilograms) and a gross weight of 9,000 pounds (4,082 kilograms).

Three-view illustration of initial configuration of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra.

The Model 10A was powered by two air-cooled, supercharged, 986.749-cubic-inch-displacement (16.170 liters) Pratt & Whitney Wasp Jr. SB  9-cylinder radial engines with a compression ratio of 6:1. They were rated at 400 horsepower at 2,200 r.p.m at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters), and 450 horsepower at 2,300 r.p.m. for takeoff, using 87-octane gasoline. The SB engines were direct-drive and turned two-bladed Smith variable-pitch propellers. The Wasp Jr. SB was 3 feet, 6.59 inches (1.056 meters) long, 3 feet, 11.75 inches (1.162 meters) in diameter, and weighed 645 pounds (293 kilograms). The engines were covered by NACA cowlings.

The airplane had a cruise speed of 190 miles per hour (306 kilometers per hour) at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) and maximum speed of 215 miles per hour (346 kilometers per hour) at 8,000 feet (2,438 meters). The service ceiling was 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) and the range at cruise speed was 750 miles (1,207 kilometers).

The prototype Lockheed Model 10 Electra, NC233Y, after cockpit windshield modifications by Northwestern Airways, Inc. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)
The prototype Lockheed Model 10 Electra, NC233Y, after cockpit windshield modifications by Northwest Airways, Inc. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive, Catalog #: 01_00091576)

Newsreel footage of the Lockheed Model 10 prototype’s first flight, by cinematographer Alfred Dillimtash Black for Fox Movietone News, is in the collection of the Moving Image Research Collections, University of South Carolina, University Libraries, and can be viewed at: https://digital.tcl.sc.edu/digital/collection/MVTN/id/7073

The Electra was “the Lisbon plane” in the  classic 1942 motion picture, “Casablanca,” which starred Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains.

Probably the best-known Lockheed Electra is the Model 10E Special, NR16020, which was built for Amelia Earhart for her around-the-world flight attempt in 1937. She took delivery of the airplane on her 39th birthday, 24 July 1936.

Amelia Earhart with her Lockheed Electra 10E, NR16020, at Burbank, 1937.
Amelia Earhart with her Lockheed Electra 10E, NR16020, at Burbank, 1937.

The prototype Lockheed Model 10 later carried U.S. registrations NC2332, NC17380, and Canadian registration CF-BRG. It was placed in service with the Royal Canadian Air Force 2 August 1940 with the serial number 7652. One of 15 Lockheed Electras in RCAF service during World War II, it was destroyed by fire at RCAF Station Mountain View, Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada, 14 October 1941.

Statement of Accident (Royal Canadian Air Force/Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum)

¹ Most sources cite 23 February as the date of the first flight.

² Many sources (e.g., Wikipedia) state that Lockheed’s Chief Pilot, Marshall Headle, made the Electra’s first flight.

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes

23 February 1951

Dassault Mystere 01, F-FWUU
Dassault Mystère MD.452, F-WFUU. (Dassault Aviation)
Constantin Wladimir Rozanoff. (Dassault)
Konstantin Wladimir Rozanoff. (Dassault Aviation)

23 February 1951: At Istres, France, Société des Avions Marcel Dassault chief test pilot Konstantin Wladimir (“Kostia”) Rozanoff made the first flight of the Mystère MD.452 prototype, F-WFUU, c/n 01. This was a development of the Dassault Ouragan MD.450 with the wings’ leading edge swept from 14° to 30°. It was powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine. Rozanoff believed, though it was not confirmed, that he had broken the Sound Barrier.

A series of prototypes were built before the fighter bomber was put into production as the Mystère IIC. 171 were built between 1954 and 1957.

Kostia Romanoff with the first prototype Dassault Mystere. (Dassault)
Kostia Rozanoff with the first prototype Dassault Mystère, F-WFUU, c/n 01. (Dassault Aviation)

The Mystère IIC was a single seat, single engine turbojet-powered fighter bomber produced for the Armée de l’Air. It was 38 feet 6 inches (11.735 meters) long with a wingspan of 42 feet, 9 inches (13.030 meters) and overall height of 14 feet (4.267 meters). The fighter had an empty weight of 11,495 pounds (5,214 kilograms) and maximum takeoff weight of 16,480 pounds (7,475 kilograms). The powerplant was a SNECMA ATAR 101D-1 turbojet which produced 6,610 pounds of thrust (29.403 kilonewtons).

The maximum speed of the Mystère IIC was 660 miles per hour (1,062 kilometers per hour). Its range was 550 miles (885 kilometers) and the service ceiling was 50,000 feet (15,240 meters).

Dassault Mystère MD.452, F-WFUU. (Dassault Aviation)
Dassault Mystère MD.452, F-WFUU. (Dassault Aviation)

The MD.452 was armed with two Direction des Études et Fabrications d’Armement (DEFA) 30mm revolver cannon with 150 rounds of ammunition per gun, and up to 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms) of bombs.

The prototype Dassault Mystère, F-WFUU, crashed at Istres 3 March 1953 when a wing tip fuel tank broke away and struck the airplane’s tail, killing test pilot Charles Monier.

Kostia Romanoff was killed 3 April 1954 while demonstrating a Mystère IVB.

Constantin Wladimir Rozanoff, Chief Pilot, Dassault Aviation, with a Mystère IV. (Photograph courtesy of Neil Corbett, Test and Research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers)
Konstantin Wladimir Rozanoff, Chief Pilot, Dassault Aviation, with a Mystère IV. (Photograph courtesy of Neil Corbett, Test and Research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers)

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes