American Combat Planes of the 20th Century is an incredible reference for anyone who is interested in any American Combat Plane History.   There are 758 pages and 1700 b/w photos in this substantial labor of love by Ray Wagner, who has been passionately researching and writing about aircraft for over 50 years.   Whether you are already familiar with his past works, or just discovering this accomplished author for the first time... This is the book that you've been waiting for!

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A- 1 Eaton     A- 4 Skyhawk     A- 6 & A- 7     Air Weapons     AV- 8 to A- 10     A- 20 Havoc     A- 22 Martin Maryland     A- 23 Martin Baltimore     A- 24 Douglas     A- 26 Douglas Invader     Attack Planes     B- 2A, F-111, F-117 Stealth    B- 17 Flying Fortress     B- 24 Liberator     B- 25 North American     B- 26 Marauder     B- 29 Superfortress     B- 32 Dominator     B- 35 Flying Wing     B- 36     B- 47 Stratojet     B- 50 Boeing     B- 52 Stratofortress     B- 57 Canberra     B- 58 Hustler     Biplanes     Biplanes, Army Pursuits     Bombers, B- 70 to Stealth     Bombers, First Big     Curtiss Falcon     CO- 1     DH- 4 De Havilland     F3D- Douglas Skyknight    F3H- McDonnell Demon    F4D- 1 Skyray    F4F Grumman Wildcats    F- 4U Corsair    F6F Grumman    F7F Grumman    F7U Vought    F9F G. Cougar    F9F G. Panther    F- 16 Fighting Falcon    F- 84     F- 86 Sabre    F- 89 to F-94    F- 100 to F-108    First Fighters    Flying Boats    GAX    Iraq to Afghanistan    Martin Bombers    Missile Era Fighters    Navy Fighers    Navy Flying Boats    O- 2 Douglas     P- 35 Seversky     P- 36 to 42 Curtiss     P- 38 Lightning    P- 39 Airacobra    P- 40 Line    P- 47 Thunderbolt    P- 51 Mustang Fighter    P- 61 Black Widow    P- 63 Kingcobra    P- 79 to P-81    P- 82 Twin Mustang    SB2C Helldiver    TBF-TBM Avenger    Thomas-Morse    Torpedo Planes    V- 11 Vultee    XB -28    XP -48 / 77   

Army Pursuits the Biplane Period, 1920-1932

Verville VCP-1, VCP-R, PW-1, & PW-1A

Page 1

Postwar Experiments
VERVILLE VCP-1 (original version) Fighter development from 1920 to 1932 was usually based on traditional biplane designs, and began with a group of prototypes exploring the immediate technical possibilities available when the war ended. VERVILLE VCP-R

The first single-seat fighter of the postwar generation was the VCP-l designed by Alfred Verville (1890-1970) of the Army’s Engineering Division. Verville had been on a technical mission sent to France to evaluate the latest innovations in fighter design. Although the mission’s report on November 1, 1918, was too late to affect wartime projects, the Engineering Division began the “Verville Chase Plane”, and two examples were ordered, the first for static tests and the second for flight trials.

Powered by a 300-hp Wright-Hispano and armed with two Browning guns, the VCP-l had a laminated wood- veneer fuselage and “I” struts between the tapered wings with balanced ailerons on the lower surfaces. The first was delivered for the sandbag ordeal in August 1919, and the second made flight trials on January 12 and 26, 1920, with an odd “annular” radiator arranged around the nose. When this proved unsatisfactory, it was replaced with a conventional nose radiator by April 12, 1920. VERVILLE VCP-1 ENGINEERING DIV. PW-1

Since increased speed was becoming the chief objective of pursuit development, a practical way of promoting speed was for the services themselves to participate in the air racing becoming popular. The Air Service obtained a May 25, 1920, appropriation to convert the original VCP-1 to the VCP-R racer with a 636-hp 12-cylinder Packard 1A-2025.

First flown with the new engine and the same wings on July 15, the racer was provided with smaller wings by August 1920. An attempt at the Gordon Bennett Race failed, but the VCP-R won the first Pulitzer Race on November 25, beating standard MB-3 and Orenco D entrants. The Verville would be rebuilt as the R-l for the 1922 Pulitzer, but then it was eclipsed by the speeds made by the Curtiss R-6. That Curtiss was the best of a series of Army racers built in 1921-22.

The Army adopted a system of aircraft designation to replace the previous confusion of builders’ letters and numbers. The new system provided for PW, PA, and PN types (Pursuit, Water-cooled, Pursuit, Air-cooled, and Pursuit, Night). The first of these fighters was the Engineering Division’s PW-1 ordered April 23, 1920. Based on Verville’s VCP design, it would retain the VCP-l’s tapered I strut wings with an RAF-15 airfoil section, but had a Packard lA-1237 with a tunnel radiator and introduced a fuselage of fabric-covered welded steel tubing. ENGINEERING DIV. PW-1A

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