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!

If you'd like to see the book's   Table of Contents ... Click here.   You can also browse the entire   Index Section   to get an idea of the extensive amount of information that is covered within this book.

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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

Curtiss PN-1, Loening PW-2, Loening PW-2, & Loening PW-2B

Page 2

The only example of the specialized night fighter was the Curtiss PN-l biplane ordered February 23, 1920, with a six-cylinder 220-hp Liberty L-825 engine, long exhaust pipes to hide the flames, and an overhanging upper wing with balanced ailerons. The theory behind this design seems to have been to get a low wing loading for easy operation out of small blacked-out wartime fields. LOENING PW-2

Since the top speed was barely above that of the bombers it was supposed to stop, only two such planes were built. The first had cantilever wings, but failed static tests in December 1920, so N struts were added to the second PN-l that began flight tests on August 18, 1921. The PN-1 project was terminated on December 2.

Grover Loening, the leading American advocate of monoplanes, received a contract for three PW-2 high-wing fighters on April 10, 1920. As was the procedure then, the first prototype was used for static tests and was delivered in February 1921, and the second began flight tests in May. Powered by a 320-hp Wright H, the PW-2 was armed with the usual .30 and .50-caliber guns.

LOENING PW-2 (2nd version)

A third PW-2 was delivered on November 22 with twin rudders and a four-bladed propeller. Although two PW-2As had been ordered June 21, 1921, and ten more Loening monoplanes added later, dangerous weaknesses appeared. While wing flutter was little known when Loening built his first monoplanes, but as the designer wryly remarked that after the first flights, “We knew all we wanted to know about it.”

A PW-2A with a new rudder first flew on January 31, 1922, and the second delivered as the PW-2B with a Packard lA-1237 and side radiators on March 24. After the PW-2A lost its wing and gave Lieutenant Harold R. Harris the unwanted distinction of being the first American pilot to save himself by parachute on October 20, the contract was cut back to four. LOENING PW-2A

The PW-3 biplane began as the Orenco D-2 with wood construction and a 320-hp Wright H with side radiators. Three were ordered April 23, 1920, and the first delivered on April 26, 1921, but all were condemned as unsafe because of unsatisfactory workmanship, and never flown. LOENING PW-2B

The contract to build the Army’s first fighter with an air-cooled radial attracted bids from nine companies on November 15, 1920. Loening won the right to build the PA-l with a Wright R-1454 on January 20, 1921. A static test example was delivered in September, 1921, and the flight article delivered in April 1922 had a steel-tube fuselage, short for quick turns, and placed the gas tank up in the thick upper wing. Lacking an engine, flight tests were delayed until 1923, and the 3rd example was canceled on February 6, 1923.

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