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An aircraft canopy is the transparent enclosure over the cockpit of some types of aircraft. An aircraft canopy provides a controlled and sometimes pressurized environment for the aircraft's occupants, and allows for a greater field of view over a traditional flight deck. A canopy's shape is a compromise designed to minimize aerodynamic drag, while maximizing visibility for pilots and other crewmembers.
Very early aircraft had no canopies at all. The pilots were exposed to the wind and weather, although most flying was done in good weather. Through World War I most aircraft had no canopy, although they often had a small windshield to deflect the prop wash and wind from hitting the pilot in the face. In the 1920s and 1930s, the increasing speed and altitude of airplanes necessitated a fully enclosed cockpit and canopies became more common.
Early canopies were made of numerous pieces of flat glass held in position by a frame and muntins. The muntins reduced visibility, which was especially problematic for military aircraft. Also, glass canopies were much heavier than acrylic canopies, which were first introduced shortly before World War II. The acrylic bubble canopy was used on aircraft such as the Supermarine Spitfire and Westland Whirlwind, which gave better all-round visibility and reduced weight. It is still being used today on most fighter aircraft.
In the 1970s, US aviation artist Keith Ferris invented a false canopy to paint on the underside of military aircraft, directly underneath the front of the plane, the purpose of which was to confuse an enemy so they do not know in what direction the aircraft is headed. This ruse was inspired by animals and fishes that have similar markings on the head and tail, so they can confuse other creatures. Pilots remain skeptical of this feature, asserting that if the enemy is close enough to see the marking, they are too close to be fooled by it.[ citation needed ]
On many high-performance military aircraft, the canopy is an integral part of the ejection seat system. The pilot cannot be ejected from the aircraft until the canopy is no longer in the path of the ejection seat. In most ejection seat equipped aircraft, the canopy is blown upwards and rearwards by explosive charges. The relative wind then blows the canopy away from the ejection path. However, on some aircraft, such as the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, the pilot may be forced to eject when in a hover, or when going too slow for the relative wind to move the canopy out of the path of the ejection seat. In that situation, the pilot could possibly impact the canopy when ejecting. To overcome that possibility, some aircraft have a thin cord of plastic explosive zig-zagging across the canopy over the pilot's head. In the event of an ejection, the explosive cord is activated first, shattering the canopy. Then the ejection seat and pilot is launched through the shattered canopy.
Most modern acrylic canopies are vacuum formed. A sheet of acrylic is secured to a female mould, then the entire assembly is heated in an oven until the acrylic is pliable. The air is then removed from the mould and the acrylic sheet is drawn into it, forming the shape of the canopy. The acrylic is then trimmed to the appropriate shape and attached to an aluminum or composite frame. Some one-off canopies are made in a similar fashion, but since a mould would be too time-consuming to make, the acrylic is heated and vacuum formed until it approximates the shape the builder is seeking. This type of construction is less precise, however, and each canopy is unique. If multiple canopies will be needed, a mould is almost always used.
Have Glass is the code name for a series of RCS reduction measures for the F-16 fighter. Its primary aspect is the addition of an indium-tin-oxide layer to the gold tinted cockpit canopy, which is reflective to radar frequencies. An ordinary canopy would let radar signals straight through where they would strike the many edges and corners inside and bounce back strongly to the radar source; the reflective layer dissipates these signals instead. Overall, Have Glass reduces an F-16's RCS (radar-cross section) by some 15 percent. The gold tint also reduces glare from the sun to improve visibility for the pilot.[ citation needed ]
The Malcolm Hood is a type of aircraft canopy originally developed for the Supermarine Spitfire. Its concept proved valuable for other aircraft such as the North American Aviation-produced P-51B & C Mustangs as retrofit items, and standard on later versions of the Vought F4U Corsair, and somewhat emulated on the later models of the Luftwaffe's Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter.
The canopy was manufactured by the British company R Malcolm & Co which gave its name. Instead of taking a straight line between the canopy frames, the hood was bulged outward. This gave the pilot a better view to the rear.
...the Corsair's initial deficiencies were being worked out on a concurrent basis... The 689th production F4U-1 featured a number of significant changes. The most noticeable was that the cockpit was raised 18 centimeters (7.1 inches) to improve the pilot's forward view, and a bulged canopy, along the lines of the "Malcolm Hood" used on Spitfires, replaced the original "birdcage" framed canopy to provide better all-round field of view.
The Vought F4U Corsair is an American fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Designed and initially manufactured by Chance Vought, the Corsair was soon in great demand; additional production contracts were given to Goodyear, whose Corsairs were designated FG, and Brewster, designated F3A.
The Westland Welkin was a British twin-engine heavy fighter from the Westland Aircraft Company, designed to fight at extremely high altitudes, in the stratosphere; the word welkin meaning "the vault of heaven" or the upper atmosphere. First conceived in 1940, the plane was built in response to the arrival of modified Junkers Ju 86P bombers flying reconnaissance missions that suggested the Luftwaffe might attempt to re-open the bombing of England from high altitude. Construction was from 1942–43. The threat never materialised; consequently, Westland produced only a small number of Welkins and few of these flew.
Stealth technology, also termed low observable technology, is a sub-discipline of military tactics and passive and active electronic countermeasures, which covers a range of methods used to make personnel, aircraft, ships, submarines, missiles, satellites, and ground vehicles less visible to radar, infrared, sonar and other detection methods. It corresponds to military camouflage for these parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-9 was the first turbojet fighter developed by Mikoyan-Gurevich in the years immediately after World War II. It used reverse-engineered German BMW 003 engines. Categorized as a first-generation jet fighter, it was moderately successful, but suffered from persistent problems with engine flameouts when firing its guns at high altitudes due to gun gas ingestion. A number of different armament configurations were tested, but nothing solved the problem. Several different engines were evaluated, but none were flown as the prototype of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 promised superior performance.
The Sukhoi Su-25 Grach is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by Sukhoi. It was designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 22 February 1975. After testing, the aircraft went into series production in 1978 at Tbilisi in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In aircraft, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. In most designs, the seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it. The concept of an ejectable escape crew capsule has also been tried. Once clear of the aircraft, the ejection seat deploys a parachute. Ejection seats are common on certain types of military aircraft.
Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd. is a British manufacturer of ejection seats and safety-related equipment for aviation. The company's origins were originally as an aircraft manufacturer before becoming a pioneer in the field of ejection seats. The company's headquarters are in Higher Denham, Buckinghamshire, England with other sites in France, Italy and the United States.
The Supermarine Attacker is a British single-seat naval jet fighter designed and produced by aircraft manufacturer Supermarine for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA). The type has the distinction of being the first jet fighter to enter operational service with the FAA.
The British Supermarine Spitfire was facing several challenges by mid-1942. The debut of the formidable Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in late 1941 had caused problems for RAF fighter squadrons flying the latest Spitfire Mk Vb. Rolls-Royce engineers were already working on a new version of the Merlin incorporating a two-stage supercharger; the combination of the improved Merlin and the Spitfire Mk VC airframe in a "stop-gap" design allowed the RAF to combat the Fw 190 on equal terms.
The Sukhoi Su-9 or Самолёт K ;, was an early jet fighter built in the Soviet Union shortly after World War II. The design began in 1944 and was intended to use Soviet-designed turbojet engines. The design was heavily influenced by captured German jet fighters and it was subsequently redesigned to use a Soviet copy of a German turbojet. The Su-9 was slower than competing Soviet aircraft and it was cancelled as a result. A modified version with different engines and a revised wing became the Su-11, but this did not enter production either. The Su-13 was a proposal to re-engine the aircraft with Soviet copies of the Rolls-Royce Derwent turbojet as well as to modify it for night fighting, but neither proposal was accepted.
The Grumman XF5F Skyrocket was a prototype twin-engined shipboard fighter interceptor. The United States Navy ordered one prototype, model number G-34, from Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation on 30 June 1938; its designation was XF5F-1. The aircraft had a unique appearance: The forward "nose" of the fuselage did not extend forward of the wing. Provisions were included for two 20 mm (0.906 in) Madsen cannon as armament.
A bubble canopy is a canopy constructed without bracing, for the purpose of providing a wider unobstructed field of view to the pilot, often providing 360° all-round visibility.
The Supermarine Type 224 was an inverted gull-wing monoplane fighter aircraft designed by R.J. Mitchell at Supermarine in response to Air Ministry Specification F.7/30, which sought a fighter for introduction to succeed the Gloster Gauntlet. It was powered by the Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine, which used an experimental evaporative cooling system, and problems with this system, combined with its disappointing performance, led to it being rejected, a contract for production aircraft eventually going to the Gloster Gladiator. It is nevertheless notable because R.J. Mitchell learnt lessons from its failure that were to contribute greatly to his success with the Supermarine Spitfire.
The British Supermarine Spitfire was the only Allied fighter aircraft of the Second World War to fight in front line service from the beginnings of the conflict, in September 1939, through to the end in August 1945. Post-war, the Spitfire's service career continued into the 1950s. The basic airframe proved to be extremely adaptable, capable of taking far more powerful engines and far greater loads than its original role as a short-range interceptor had called for. This would lead to 19 marks of Spitfire and 52 sub-variants being produced throughout the Second World War, and beyond. The many changes were made in order to fulfil Royal Air Force requirements and to successfully engage in combat with ever-improving enemy aircraft. With the death of the original designer, Reginald J. Mitchell, in June 1937, all variants of the Spitfire were designed by his replacement, Joseph Smith, and a team of engineers and draftsmen.
Heston Aircraft Company was a British aircraft manufacturer based at Heston Aerodrome, Middlesex, England.
The SZD-24 Foka (Seal) was a single-seat high performance aerobatic glider designed and built in Poland in 1960.
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; nearly 60 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.
The Martin-Baker Mk.1 is a British ejection seat designed and built by Martin-Baker. Developed in the late 1940s it was the first in the line of production Martin-Baker seats for military aircraft. Ground and air testing of earlier designs resulted in the first successful test ejection of a company employee in July 1946. A seat type designed for the Saunders-Roe company was known as the Pre-Mk.1.
ML Aviation was a British aerospace company. Until 1946 it was R Malcolm & Co, taking its new name from the businessman Noel Mobbs and the aircraft designer Marcel Lobelle.
The Sukhoi Shkval was a Soviet project for an interceptor in the Tail-sitter design.
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