Monday, February 4, 2013

Aviation Classic Issue 4

Born in Scotland in 1862, David Henderson studied engineering at Glasgow University, and on qualifying joined the Army. He passed out at Sandhurst and was gazetted into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, joining his regiment in Cape Town in August 1883. Although the main Zulu wars were over, there were several minor skirmishes and Henderson saw action during the following year. He was a popular and much-liked officer who entered all aspects of regimental life, including coaching the Argylls at rowing, earning them the nickname 'the Marine Highlanders'. Henderson was gifted artistically and organised amateur theatrical performances for which he even painted the scenery himself. Back in Britain in 1890, Henderson was promoted to Captain and attended a Staff College course at Camberley. In 1895, he married Henrietta Caroline, daughter of Henry Robert Dundas and grand-daughter of the First Baron Napier of Magdala (of Indian Mutiny fame).

Modelling the F4U Corsair

The combat career of the F4U Corsair stretched longer than almost any other World War II fighter aircraft. The first of more than 12,000 Corsairs were produced in 1940, and the last of these bent-wing birds were still doing battle above Central America nearly 30 years later. The Vought Aircraft company had a strong association with the US Navy during the inter-war decades, but their focus in the 1930s was observation aircraft, trainers and seaplanes. In response to a US Navy specification issued in February 1938, Vought submitted two designs. With the second of these carrier-based fighter proposals, Vought adopted the simple strategy of building the smallest possible airframe around the most powerful available engine. At the same time, Pratt & Whitney was developing the supercharged R-2800 radial engine. Radial engines had recently lost favour to the sleeker inline configuration, but the US Navy preferred the ruggedness and simplicity of the radial arrangement. Vought therefore designed their new V-166B around the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 powerplant.