Author Topic: Stealing the Stuka  (Read 25992 times)

Offline upnorth

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Stealing the Stuka
« on: June 11, 2012, 04:56:00 PM »
Hello all:

Some of you will be familiar with my "Stuka Musings" thread:
http://beyondthesprues.com/Forum/index.php?topic=1202.0

One of my long term build plans is to build an alternate Stuka that keeps the look of the original but includes all the refinements that the real machine didn't have.

As my building speed is quite slow, I've decided to put together a back story for it to keep myself interested in the idea.

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Stealing the Stuka

Prologue: 1925-1935

By the mid 1920s, Hugo Junkers had lost substantial control of many of his businesses as a result of being unable to pay back government loans on failed attempts to build aircraft for the Soviet Union.

Political views in interwar Germany were quite varied and diverse. That Hugo Junkers himself was notably Socialist and Pacifist in his leanings created some tension with regards to the internal politics of his own company. Junkers was no stranger to confronting and locking horns with government powers; he only reluctantly built combat aircraft for imperial Germany in WWI and was forced into working with Antony Fokker to meet production quotas.

With Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, the Nazi party moved quickly to take over Junkers’ remaining business intrests as well as the pattents that he held. He was placed under house arrest and died in 1935. The remainder of his interests and pattends were ceded to the state in 1936. Despite state takeover, Junkers’ name was retained on aircraft and engines originating from those factories he had once owned.

The Stuka in Secrecy

In 1933, almost as soon as the Nazis had seized control of Junkers’ holdings, a requisition for a dive bomber was issued. Hermann Pohlmann set to work on what would become that dive bomber.

The design was simple to the point of being crude, but that was in fitting with Pohlmann’s own design philosophy of what a dive bomber should be.

Construction of components for the new aircraft prototype was carried out in secrecy by AB Flygindustri in Sweden, a company formerly held by Junkers, with the intent to ship the completed components to Germany for assembly and maiden flight there.

The Stuka Stammers

The Stuka did not immediately impress the powers that be. The primary problem was noted before the machine ever took to the air; a British engine, the Rolls Royce Kestrel had been chosen for it. Surely, such a clearly military design should not be allowed to rely on a foreign engine if suitable domestic alternatives exist.

That in early 1936 a Kestrel powered Stuka prototype crashed, killing both crew members, did little to bolster support for continuing development of the aircraft.
Following the crash, several changes were made to the design including the DB600 engine as an interim powerplant while waiting for the Jumo 210, which would eventually be fitted to the second prototype.

Laying Low

A few workers who had been loyal to Hugo Junkers and his personal politics had managed to convincingly hide their true leanings under a veneer of false loyalty to Nazism. They went through the motions, but knew they were always at risk of being found out.

Knowing full well what the new aircraft was intended for and that Hugo Junkers would turn in his grave at the thoguht of having anything of the sort bear his name, they decided to make their move in late April.

They had managed to secure a set of older blueprints for the aircraft with the DB600 installed and passage for themselves to France, with the intent of arranging transport to South America from there.

The priority was to get the blueprints out of Germany as quickly as they could. Though slightly outdated, those blueprints would be noticed if they went missing and a very unwelcome investigation would most certainly ensue.

In early May, two of the workers quietly made their way to France with the blueprints. The plan was for the remaining members of the group to join them there after the rest of the plan had been carried out.

Approximately a week after the blueprints were safely in France, a hangar near Dresden where the Stuka prototype with the Jumo engine installed was being kept erupted in flames in the middle of the night. The flames were of such an intensity that firefighters could only stand by helplessly and let the fire burn itself out.

The next morning, there was nothing left to salvage. The Stuka prototype was a ruin. Shortly after the fire, the Stuka was formally cancelled and resources put towards Heinkel designs to fulfil the dive bomber requirement.

Convergence

The Junkers workers had agreed to meet in the port city of Lorient; the two that travelled ahead had arrived there without incident. 

The remaining members of the group chose to travel separtately to increase their chances of survival. The investigation had begun nearly as soon as the flames of the fire that had killed the Stuka had burned themselves out.  Accusations and insinuations were flying everywhere; names were mentioned and photographs were posted at all police offices, train stations and border crossings.

Of the four who had remained in Germany, only two made it to France. The other two were captured and executed.

By late may, the four former Junkers workers and Stuka blueprints were on board a French ship destined to Buenos Aires, Argentina.


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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 02:05:27 AM »
Ok, you have piqued my interest...
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline apophenia

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 06:55:20 AM »
I like where this is going 'north  ;)
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2012, 01:07:54 PM »
Thanks guys. Hopefully I'll have time for at least one more installment before I go on holidays next week.
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2012, 03:50:36 PM »
Preparing the Presentation

Argentina, like so many other countries, had been hit hard by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Foreign investment was down as was productivity in most inustrial sectors. This in turn created high unemployment, general unrest among the populace and a migration of people from the countryside to the cities in search of work.

The former Junkers employees sat in their Buenos Aries hotel room, looking at the blueprints again and again, knowing full well that an economically suffering nation that wasn’t really at war with anyone was not the nation to be trying to sell a dive bomber design to. This, however, they did not see as a tremendous obstacle. They already had in mind a plan to refine the design to give it smoother lines, retractable landing gear and so forth; they simply needed to give it a new application from the original dive bomber specification.

Ideas flowed between the men for several days about not only how to refine the design itself, but also what other applications it could be tailored to. True to Hugo Junkers’ ideals of pacifism and socialism; ideas of how to make the design attractive to the civil sector were persued most strongly.

The Results

After several weeks  and many sleepless nights, the men had a series of sketches and myriad notes outlining refinements and alterations to the design.

The most basic of the concepts was of an agricultural aircraft with the forward cockpit given to a hopper for the spray gear with the rear cockpit section fitted out for a single pilot. Fixed landing gear was retained, but much lightened in design and without spats.

The second concept was for a two place sport aircraft with a revised canopy of much reduced framing and a much more refined wing that made the control surfaces integral with the trailing edge of the wing rather than crudely bolted onto it. The wings were also somewhat shortened and given wider chord towards the tips on the premise that it would give the aircraft greater manuverability and a possible aerobatic aspect.  The new wing retained the gull planform, but had a much smoother bend in it than the original. Retractable main landing gear was also part of the design.

Not to completely ignore the military option, the sport variant was slightly reworked to be presented as a military trainer. The primary external difference was a slightly raised rear cockpit section to give the instructor a better view of what the student was doing.

All three concepts saw all the armor and combat gear stripped from the design and a tremendous weight savings as a result.

With the French Hispano-Suiza 12Y engine proposed as the powerplant for all three variants; the men prepared to present it to various Argentine government deparments in the hopes that it would garner enough interest to at least get a prototype of one of the proposals approved, not to mention access to the FMA facilities in Cordoba where a proper set of blueprints could be drawn up from the sketches and a protoype could be built.

A Hard Sell

The former Junkers men approached the government formally with their proposals a few months after arriving in Argentina. The response was rather lukewarm to begin with.

The agriculture ministry was completely uninterested in the cropduster proposal. With as many people moving from the countryside to the cities as there were, there were a lot of abandoned farms that didn’t require spraying anymore.

The military was also not immediately interested as a domestically produced trainer had been introduced to service only two years prior and was meeting the training needs of the military quite well.

The ministry of transport was somewhat more supportive of the sport aircraft concept. They agreed to give the project a grant for a protoytpe on the condition that it could also be used successfully as a tug for sailplanes.

Unexpectedly, the natural resources ministry expressed interest in the aircraft and questioned the men extensively on the potential of the aircraft as a survey and photographic platform primarily for monitoring the forestry and fishing industries.

The men, rather taken by surprise by the unexpected interest in the aircraft in such an application, said they didn’t see how it wouldn’t work and that they would prepare a reworked concept to present.

After three sleepless nights, the men had come up with a concept of an aircraft that had a wingspan a bit longer than the original Stuka design, but incorporated all the wing refinements they had since made. The reduced frame two place canopy was retained and the rear cockpit could be adapted for aerial photography missions that needed only the pilot or more advanced survey missons that required an extra crew member to monitor equipment.

The Big Pitch

Approximately a week after their initial presentations to the government, the men returned with their revised concept for the aerial survey platform.

After another week of nervous waiting while the government made a decision on it, the men were informed that the concept was successful in getting a grant for a single prototype and permission was granted to use FMA’s facilities to blueprint and build it.

The grant, however, left little room for any extras in the prototype and little room for any errors in it. It granted them exactly six months of access to FMA’s facilities to get the design finalised and a flyable prototype built and prepared for official presentation.

The men were on their way to Cordoba and to a very mixed welcome when they arrived.
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2012, 03:43:06 PM »
Setting Up

The initial welcome of the former Junkers men to FMA was a genuinely warm one. The executive levels of the company were happy at the prospect of a potentially new aircraft to keep the factory going and people employed.

They were given generous access to drafting facilities and all other personel and machinery required to produce the prototype.

They were, however, also given a supervisor. The supervisor was a fellow German and a former engineer of Dornier; He was also very cold to the idea of having anything to do with the aircraft as soon as he was presented with the old Stuka blueprints and the sketches for refinements the other men had made.

The man was philosophically in complete disagreement with Hitler but still loved his homeland; he chose to leave Germany rather than be associated with the one Hitler was creating.

He had been emensely happy at the news of the Stuka prototype being destroyed and the whole program cancelled. One less tool for Hitler to use to bring others to their knees could only be a good thing. Seeing evidence that the aircraft had survived in any form made his heart sink.

Knowing full well what the original design was for, he was not in any way comforted by civilian adaptations to the design; it would always be the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing in his eyes. “It’s killer, plain and simple! You can’t civilize a killer!” was his frequent refrain.

Initially refusing to supervise the project, the man relucatntly accepted when faced with being terminated from FMA entirely. He was no Nazi, but he was also no Socialist; in the bigger picture he knew the company needed to keep producing, people needed to be kept working and profits had to be made.

At a more personal level, he knew that he was as much a disident as the Stuka was a killer. He was in Argentina as a guest and couldn’t risk doing anything to wear out his welcome. While his engineering expertise was quite valuable, it in no way made him indispensible. He’d be a dead man if he was ever deported to Hitler’s Germany; of that he was all too aware.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2012, 04:47:42 AM »
Keep it coming...I hope there are also some pictures soon to illustrate this story!!!
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2012, 03:00:24 PM »
After my holidays I might sit down with my sketchbook and draw a few out and post them here. My computer can't handle the drawing gear that Apophenia and some of the other profilers have .
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2012, 08:01:34 PM »
Stuka Solution

As July 1936 drew to a close and the five men began their work on the refined civilian Stuka, which had tentatively been given the project name “Garza”; the Spanish term for heron; Germany was busy continuing it’s pursuit of a dive bomber.

What funding had been earmarked for the Junkers machine had been reassigned to the Heinkel He-118 dive bomber project. The Heinkel machine was left wanting in various aspects, not the least of which was its relatively shallow maximum dive angle for the dive bombing mission.

While the RLM were nonplussed by the He-118 in test flights, a japanese trade envoy who was on hand to witness them did see a great deal of potential in the aircraft as a means to build the strength of the imperial Japanese army and naval air arms. After brief negotiations the purchase of two He-118 airframes for further evaluation in Japan was completed.

With respect to the company’s existing cooperation with Heinkel, responsibility for the assembly and flying of the He-118 in Japan was placed in the hands of Aichi.

Yes and No

Aichi test pilots were generaly pleased with the He-118’s handling; army and naval pilots felt much the same way. The Admiralty and high brass of the army were more or less impressed with all but one thing, the inline engine. Japanese maintenance crews were much better versed on radial engines than inline and the Japanese maintenance infrastructure network for aero engines was build with radial engines primarily in mind.

Aichi was ordered to modify the He-118 to fly with an existing Japanese radial engine and prepare to display the type again. In October 1936, Aichi unveiled a modified He-118 married to a Mitsubishi Kinsei 44 radial engine. The display went well until the aircraft bounched on landing and went off the side of the runway and was heavily damaged.

While the aircraft was being modified to take the radial engne, German military attaches had told the higher echelons of the Japanese military of the aircraft’s intended purpose as a dive bomber. The Admiralty were not the least bit impressed that Aichi had not mentioned that aspect of the aircraft to them. That, combined with the landing incident, was enough for Aichi to be relieved of the project. Before October was over, anything to do with the aircraft was the responsibility of Yoksuka.

Yokosuka was ordered to keep the Mitsubishi engine, but modify the rest of the aircraft as required to make it fit the dive bomber mission. They were given until January of 1937 to produce a flyable prototype.

The list of alterations Yokosuka had planned for the He-118 design rivaled, and in ways exceded, the refinements planned for the Stuka’s Argentine progeny.

A Cut of the Pie

Germany and Heinkel were taken aback by what had transpired with the He-118 in Japan. It was still a Heinkel aircraft and they did not wish to lose complete control over it.

Germany was impressed at the marriage of the aircraft to a radial engine and Heinkel engineers found several of Yokosuka’s ideas for modifications to the design intriguing and worthy of merit.

With nothing better on the near horizon for a dive bomber in Germany; the RLM and Heinkel proposed a full joint project with Yokosuka which would give Japanese engineers full access to Heinkel advisors and design specifications. In turn, the cooperation would give Germany it’s much wanted dive bomber.

The German/Japanese team began working furiously on the project. January 1937 was not far off.
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Offline apophenia

  • Suffered two full days of rapid-fire hallucinations and yet had not a single usuable whif concept in the lot !?!
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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2012, 11:49:25 AM »
Great stuff 'north. Keep 'er coming!

I've spun off from your description of the early work - I love unbuilt projects  ;)
http://beyondthesprues.com/Forum/index.php?topic=351.msg20279#msg20279
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 11:53:15 AM by apophenia »
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2012, 12:12:35 PM »
Those are fantastic as always, Apohpenia! :)
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 02:58:13 AM »
OK folks, I'm going on a couple of weeks of holidays so won't be updating this for a bit. Stay tuned though, I did at least get a start on the next section.
Pickled Wings, A Blog for Preserved Aircraft:
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 04:54:27 PM »
Working in the Shadows

The German team working on the Garza project was, as much as possible, working under a veil of secrecy. Not so much because their aircraft was worthy of great secrecy, but more because 1930s Argentina was a very unpredicable place to be Socially and politically.

The 1930s in Argentina were marked by rampant political corruption scandals, including electoral fraud, and questionable political decisions and policies. Historically, this period became known as the “Infamous Decade”. The only certainty seemed to be that the successive governments were maintaining diplomatic ties to Germany, though this created other risks at the social level.

Since the late 1800s, Argentina had seen several waves of European immigrants which included many Germans. While the good diplomatic ties between Argentina and Germany had made it relatively easy for the former Junkers men and their former Dornier supervisor to enter and settle in Argentina, those same ties also made it quite easy for Germans loyal to Hitler and his ideals to enter the country and quietly keep watch over activities of German people in the country.

That Hitler, Goring and several others directly connected to the rebuilding of Germany’s military might were still publicly fuming over the loss of the Stuka in spite of the recently established cooperation with Japan in developing a new dive bomber was a constant point of concern for the Garza team and enough of a reason to keep a low profile about their work and a tight lip when associating with other Germans they encountered in Argentina.

In October 1936, with the official formation of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis; the Garza team’s concern turned to outright alarm. They pleaded for, and received the highest level of secrecy for their project that FMA could provide. Additionally, it was requested than no new workers be brought into the Garza project, particularly Germans, and that those currently involved be held to the highest levels of confidentiality.

Taking Shape

Early November saw the joining of the revised Stuka fuselage and wing at FMA. The engine had yet to be installed, but the aircraft was ready for testing of the new control surfaces and retracting landing gear.

While many fuselage refinements had been made to the cockpit area, the tail of the aircraft remained mostly unchanged from the original Stuka blueprints. The only revision to the tail unit at the prototype stage was the removal of the external braces for the horizontal stabilizers in favour of some crude but effective internal bracing. Much more extensive revisions to the tail unit had been planned, but the tight deadline for a flyable prototype and higher priority on the new wing design and engine instalation meant that certain refinements would have to wait until after the first prototype had flown.

The full canopy revisions would also have to wait until after the initial flight. A canopy with reduced framing had been designed and made, but it still had more framing than the engineers wanted. It would have to do for the prototype.

By the end of November, testing of the new wing control surfaces and internal tail bracing had been completed with satisfactory results. However, the retracting landing gear was proving rather problematic. The gears themselves retracted with no problems, but the larger gear doors were quite unpredicatable in both opening and closing completely if at all.

With the deadline clearly in mind, it was quickly decided to remove the larger gear doors and leave the wheels exposed when retracted. Further work on the gear doors was clearly one more thing that would have to wait until after the first flight.

A note in the journal of one of the former Junkers workers is rather telling of the general attitude towards the Garza:

“Frankly, we had hoped for something a bit more graceful even at the prototype stage. We’re very optimistic that we will have a flyable prototype for January; though it is quite clear that, like it’s progenitor, the Garza will not escape a certain degree of crudeness at least at the prototype stage.”

December saw the Engine mounted and successfully run. Taxi trials at early dawn, away from prying eyes, were very satisfactory. The first flight, albeit short, was also at early dawn away from urban areas. In the words of the test pilot:

“Overall, it was a good flight. It’s a solid and stable machine and should be even better when they make the revisions to the tail unit, which I know they’re planning.”

All looked well for the Garza as the prototype went to the paint shop for a smart looking overall red paint scheme with some white trim.

The Pride of the Axis?

The Heinkel/Yokosuka team, working to a near identical deadline as the Garza team was. However, while their efforts were as secretive as the Garza team’s, they were much better funded as the Axis insured money from both Germany and Japan would feed their project well.

Very early on, it was determined that the aircraft would carry it’s bombload completely internally and would have a radial engine. From there, much else would change.

Germany took a “Pride of the Axis” point of view to the project and envisioned it being used in large numbers as a projection of power. Japan, on the other hand, saw it more as “Pride of the Fleet” being as how the primary user, as far as Japan was concerned, would be the Imperial Japanese Navy. At this, Yokosuka’s determination that the entire design be reduced in size enough to ensure it would fit on a carrier was the driving force behind many of the other changes in the aircraft. With the Japanese government standing in support of Yokosuka, the Germans did not argue the reduction in the aircraft’s size.

Germany also did not argue the demand that the prototype must incorporate operable folding wings and tailhook despite the fact they would have no need of such things in their own versions of the type. With both Germany and Japan demanding their dive bomber in short order, there was no time to argue over such things.

The eliptical planform of the wing and tail surfaces that was so typical of the Heinkel design philosophy was retained in the new aircraft the only difference being that the gull wing of the He-118 was changed to a straight wing. This change was made to accommodate a simpler but stronger landing gear unit design more suitable to carrier operations.

The aft fuselage was deepened to accommodate a somewhat larger weapons bay and the structural strengthening to support carrier launch and recovery related gear.

The work on the new aircraft was relentless at the Yokosuka factory. They had received responsibility for the aircraft in October of 1936 with a flyable prototype demanded for January of 1937; such constraints of time required a shift system to cover all 24 hours of the day to ensure work would not stop on the project until the prototype was ready to fly. Many years later, a former Yokosuka factory worker said this of the system:

“It was complete maddness in the minds of most of us, but we didn’t dare object or protest; you simply didn’t say no to those in power in imperial Japan.

My first child had been born shortly before Yokosuka was assigned that aircraft as a project; I was there to see her born in late September and then I rarely saw her or my wife again until after the prototype had flown in mid January. I missed the first few months of my daughter’s life because the empire decided that an unproven military aircraft being developed when we were not officially at war with anyone was more important.

As I said, you simply didn’t say no to the empire. Even the highest men in our company didn’t dare to say no.”

The Heinkel/Yokosuka aircraft took to the air for the first time in mid December and was quite ready for the official January presentation.

The aircraft was, for Japanese purposes, given the name D4Y “Suisei”. The prototype so impressed German officials who were on hand for the official first flight that Heinkel was immediately ordered to make a land based prototype with the naval equipment stripped and a German engine installed.

By July of 1937, the He-130 “Komet” took to the air over Heinkel headquarters at Rostock under the power of a Jumo 211 inline engine. The Heinkel variation impressed the RLM and was ordered into production.

While externally very similar, the removal of the naval equipment allowed Heinkel to give the He-130 a decided advantage over it’s Yokosuka sister internally. Where Yokosuka had eschewed armor in order to accommodate the weight of carrier gear and still maintain performance, Heinkel put the weight savings towards armour and self sealing fuel tanks.
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2012, 03:55:13 AM »
Here's a sketch I did tonight showing the Garza as it appeared on it's December 1936 maiden flight, prior to receiving the red and white scheme for the official unveiling and presentation flight.



The canopy was provisional for the prototype with only the front section sliding. As there was no need of a second crew member in the initial prototype flights, the rear section was fixed and the rear cockpit was occupied by flight monitoring gear or a counterweight.

The prototype Garza also had a chin radiator in place as the wing radiators planned for production variants were still in development. For appearances, the prototype did have mock ups of the wing radiators built into the prototype.

Also visible is the lack of external bracing for the horizontal tail surfaces and the somewhat extended wingspan of the Garza.

« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 04:10:19 AM by upnorth »
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Stealing the Stuka
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2012, 06:37:51 PM »
Garza Aloft

The prototype Garza stood ready for presentation on the runway of a remote airfield. Highly polished and resplendent in it’s red and white scheme with the Argentine flag proudly diplayed on it’s tailfin. It was the second week of January 1937, the morning sun was shining and the same pilot who had taken the Garza on her maiden flight in December was more than ready to show the machine off.

The first week of January had been spent dismantling the Garza and moving it by rail from the FMA factory in Cordoba to this isolated airfield in the neighboring state of La Pampa, reassembling it and taking the subsequent shakedown flights.

It was a minimally staffed airfield that could be secured with relative ease, that it also took some effort to reach by any other means than air transport would keep prying eyes to a minimum. Hardly the place one would envision for the presentation of a prototype aircraft, but certainly it served the purpose.

As the last of the official guests to the event took their seats, the Garza’s engine roared to life. The pilot opened the throttle and began the takeoff roll. The aircraft’s extended wings gracefully lifted it from the ground in a distance that was remarkably short for an aircraft of the Garza’s size.

The Garza showed itself to have very impressive climbing abilities and to be able to hold very stable in the air despite some turbulance and updrafts. As the aircraft was intended as an observation platform, the rear cockpit had a camera installed for the flight and a series of photos were taken of various geographic features in the area.

As the aircraft touched down and was presented for closer inspection, the film from the camera was quickly taken away for processing. The resultant photos were of a very high standard for the day and showed great clarity. The Garza had definitely proved itself to have potential as an aerial photography platform.

The day ended with everyone in good spirits. A few days later, a generous grant was officially provided to further develop the garza into more refined pre production versions to further explore it’s potential in observation and photography roles.

A second, smaller grant had come from the Ministry of Transport to finance the development of a sport plane/glider tug variation of the Garza. This was a surprise as the transport ministry had fallen silent on the subject of the Garza shortly after the initial presentations of concept drawings had taken place.

With the interests of two government ministries behind them, the Garza team set to work on refining the design with a new vigor in spite of the high secrecy that surrounded them and their project.

The Garza Continues

Refining the Garza started exactly where the prototype work had stopped. The fuselage and wings required no further work; all efforts focused on reworking the tail unit, the new canopy and making the landing gear doors work relaibly.

Work went on at an even but efficient pace with a variety of small scale wind tunnel models being built, tested, reworked and retested or discarded outright.

While the fuselage did not require much refinement aerodynamically, it was not built for speed after all, the rear cockpit was restructured to accommodate camera ports and mountings in the fuselage. The photos taken during the prototype flight had been taken directly through the canopy glass. As good as those photos were, better could be achieved.

By late April, two new fuselages were nearing completion and being prepared for connection to their completed wing sections. Both fuselages had the camera modifications to the rear cockpits, but each had slightly different tail units. The team had come down to two tail units that seemed to work particularly well in wind tunnel tests and the time had come to build them at full scale and test them in the air.

Both new wings had fully retractable landing gear with landing gear doors that did finally work reliably in tests.

The canopy, however, was creating problems as the Garza team wanted a very refined shape that seemed all but impossible to achieve without more framing than they were willing to accept to stabilise it.

While the new tail and landing gear arrangements were near ready for testing, it appeared as though the prototype canopy design would have to be kept a while longer.

Tapaculo

While the refinements to take the Garza from prototype to pre production machines were clear and straight forward; modifyng it from the observation and photography roles to a sport plane with glider tug abilities, would takea good deal more work.

The new variant was given the name Tapaculo, after a small bird quite common in South and Central America.

The first consideration was in regards to who would be using the aircraft. While the Garza operations would be overseen directly by the government and be serviced by an infrastucture befitting that; the Tapaculo would be operated by a wide array of civilians with quite possibly much more limited resources to service and maintain the aircraft. The Tapaculo would have to be a simpler machine than the Garza.

With the list of simplifications becoming longer, the Tapaculo’s development was markedly slower than that of the refined Garza. However, that slowness worked to the Tapaculo’s advantage as it was able to benefit from work being done on the Garza.

The most notable feature of the Tapaculo was it’s shorter wings with constant chord. The wings were designed to get maximum lift from a relatively short span. The wings also included fixed landing gear, partly for ease of maintenance and partly as a safeguard against lesser experienced pilots making accidental wheels up landings.

The Tapaculo benefited mostly from the Garza around the tail unit. Several of the tail units that were tried on wind tunnel models of the Graza were retried on models of the Tapaculo, some with positive results. The most promising was ultimately chosen for the Tapaculo prototype.

The biggest hurdle in developing the Tapaculo was chosing an engine. It was decided quite early on to explore radial engine options for simplicity and durability in a wider range of operating situations.

Eventually, an Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah VI was located and chosen for the prototype.
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