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Braced vs cantilever design - engineers needed


US93_Rummell
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HagarTheHorrible

I assume, maybe incorrectly, that if the control wires issue is resolved, even if only by being turned off until fixed, then the butterfly wing failure will increase in proportion to other sticky ends, unless some fix is also applied to that issue at the same time ?

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I started to go through 46 Squadron’s combat reports.  What struck me is how few airplanes broke up; most crashed OOC.  Due to the RAF’s claiming procedures, I don’t think all crashed but most seemed to have some merit.  Off the top of my head, out of 30 or 40 combats, only two airplanes broke up.  Both were Fokkers but only one broke up under fire after the pilot fired 100 rounds and the other was involved in a collision with another Fokker.

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11 hours ago, HagarTheHorrible said:

I assume, maybe incorrectly, that if the control wires issue is resolved, even if only by being turned off until fixed, then the butterfly wing failure will increase in proportion to other sticky ends, unless some fix is also applied to that issue at the same time ?


In case you missed it - Devs have officially put out the word. Control wire adjustment coming soon - wing fix will be looked into later (after other features are out - WW2 drop tanks and suchlike)

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Amazing.... on the other hand, falling in two/three pieces happened frequently, almost everyone would have seen it.

 

Who do you think you are fooling, other than yourself? (And US93_Low apparently).   You guys, really... he was hit by an artillery shell, as this extract clearly states...so that was rarely to be seen.  I used to think that flight sim fanatics had higher than average IQ, but I am starting to wonder....

 

 

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So, my two cents (despite being late to the party):

 

It isn't as simple as braced vs. cantilever...

 

If one looks at <1920 sources there is a significant focus on joints and joiners between parts of the wing - how spars are attached, how wings are attached, ribs... the push to lighten construction while avoiding failure. Failure was also quite possible - there are a number of fairly conventional aircraft that were mass produced during the war but which suffered spontaneous wing-shedding when flying undamaged in normal flight.

 

One needs to take into account things like the relative rigidity of the forward spar compared to the after spar (something which purportedly was the flaw in the Fokker E.V/D.VIII) to understand how aerodynamic forces are absorbed and transmitted (and how wing warping appears). There are even effects we don't think about today... the Aviatik D.I was famous for having its aerodynamic properties change with air-pressure (i.e. AoA or speed) since the upper wing membrane would change shape under different amounts of pressure - changing the airfoil.

 

So proper assessment requires:

- Detailed knowledge of the joiners, spar thickness and the qualities of the wood used, the arrangement of bracing wires etc.

- A model of what the actual forces would be on the wing (i.e. which areas were overstrained relative to others - which wires carried the most forces) that looks at the entire wing as a system.

- Ideally, also a model of how the wing behaves under moderate aerodynamic loads (e.g. how much it warps, how the distribution of forces changes).

 

From this one could then simulate damage to an individual bracing wire, joint, or part of a spar... and see how that damage propagates throughout that wing (or whether it doesn't propagate at all). IMHO, depending on which part of the spar is hit, or which bracing wire, should have radically different impacts on the whether the wing fails or doesn't.

 

Theoretically - if one of you needs a hobby - using modern structural engineering software - it should be possible to model the wing of each aircraft (complete with the joiners, spars/ribs, and wires)... and then simulate the conditions of failure. I suspect they may be quite unpredictable and differ considerably between types. There is probably no simple rule.

Edited by Avimimus
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HagarTheHorrible

While I applaud your sentiments, it ain’t ever going to happen, resources just aren’t available, even to do obvious simple stuff, let alone an entire re-imagining of the wing construction as it pertains to combat damage.  Hell, if basic stuff, like speed, isn’t part of (Yes, but only as it relates to the ability to pull angles) then wing torsion is certainly out, and to be honest it doesn’t need to be, All that matters is that it concurs with perceived notions, even if those notions might be ill-informed by public record.  Those notions then need to be balanced in the interests of gameplay, such as the DVa’s solid wings (in a dive) or the lack of variation in rates of fire for competing nations. That’s not to say that aircraft can’t be differentiated by design, and pre-baked in to boot, to limit CPU load, but it has be a considered calculation rather than simply applying a general structural rule across a whole host of dissimilar designs.

Edited by HagarTheHorrible
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6 hours ago, unreasonable said:

Amazing.... on the other hand, falling in two/three pieces happened frequently, almost everyone would have seen it.

 

Who do you think you are fooling, other than yourself? (And US93_Low apparently).   You guys, really... he was hit by an artillery shell, as this extract clearly states...so that was rarely to be seen.  I used to think that flight sim fanatics had higher than average IQ, but I am starting to wonder....

 

 

 

Damn, I was just posting something interesting. 

 

.....my bad......

 

"Amazing.... on the other hand, falling in two/three pieces happened frequently, almost everyone would have seen it."

 

I've read every historical combat report from the 27th, 94th, 103rd, 213th, 93rd, 28th, 13th Aero, pretty much every squadron actually, spanning  February to November 1918.

 

Breaking apart in the air was mentioned maybe a dozen times or less. It is very, very, very, very rare to see it in their reports.

 

I just went back and looked over data I compiled. The 94th aero had some 230 combats in the air. Wings folding up was mentioned two times.

 

Soooooo yeah.......

 

 

 

Correction,

 

This was 233 combats in the air involving 94th, 13th, 103rd, and 93rd. There were three mentions of wings coming off. Sorry looking at an old spreadsheet while on the phone. 

 

 

Edited by US213_Talbot
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On 9/14/2021 at 2:34 PM, unreasonable said:


I am perfectly happy to allow you to sum up what is your thread, but not if you do it with gratuitous snark.

 

***

According to Franks there were two possible candidates for Claim 77, and he says "The identity of the victim is not clear". "Perhaps the luckiest of Richthofen's victims"  in the box on Gallie, is ambiguous, probably deliberately so. It could mean either "He was a victim of R, and perhaps the luckiest" or "Perhaps he was R's victim, in which case he was the luckiest".      

 

The pilot who was told by the Germans that he was MvR's claim (Adams) did not make an emergency landing, he crashed, with the aeroplane "smashed to pieces" and the pilot "left for dead under a tarpaulin", all consistent with the sortie ending because, in MvR's words, "the enemy plane broke apart".

 

When faced with uncertainty of this kind, you can either throw the case out completely, (ie the total is now 79), put it in an undecided box, or go with the claim. IMHO the evidence for the Adams case is strong enough to go with the claim. You can disagree, but what you cannot reasonably do is say, if it was not certainly a wing kill then it was certainly a PK. (Especially when Gallie was "completely unscathed!")

 

*** 

 

More importantly, why do you think I care whether the number is 14% or 15%? Or even 5% or 25%?  I raised the MvR case to illustrate the problem with the "very very rare" or "one in a million chances" pov, not to defend a specific number. It could be 5% and the lottery pov would still be nonsense.  I do, however, care about you implying that I have not read my source or accusing me of bias. Continue to do so and I will continue to post in rebuttal. 

 

*** 

 

MvR, like McCudden, was by all accounts a good shot and very aggressive in getting close, which is partly why they are both outliers in terms of victories.  Staying alive for a long time has a lot to do with it as well.  But none of that demonstrates that MGs were "precision weapons" in the context of air warfare. The maths does not support that. See the post earlier about lateral relative motion.

 

We do not know his hit/shot ratio for his victories, though we can try to guess. Worse, we do not know how many shots he fired in other engagements when he did not score and possibly did not hit. You cannot deduce his overall shot pattern from his best results. 

 

Hence the assumption, used by the OR statisticians in WW2, that for a given angle of an attack, the hits are randomly distributed over the projected area of the target for the population of attacks as a whole. 

 

It is illogical to say that MvR is an outlier, because he got unusually close and was unusually accurate, therefore we should take the very best of his shot patterns as typical when we calculate hit distribution!

 

PKs plus flamers were ~65% of MvRs total claims.  There were quite a few engine kills where the crew were able to walk away, plus a couple of structural collapses other than the wing kills discussed.  As always there is some doubt over which box to put some of these in and even what the denominator should be, and I really do not think anyone worry too much about the odd percent or three. 

 

I have no doubt that his changing target mix over time would influence the results, as would changing his ammo. When you look at the late period only (incendiaries) the proportion of flamers and PKs was was ~78%, more flamers than PKs. Still 5-10% structural. But a  very small sample: we have to accept that we are dealing with wide confidence limits, but I would take that as a prior for 1918 fighting for the GAF and a good starting point for sensitivity analysis of hits to a Camel, in my currently under development spreadsheet, which will be out soon in a separate thread.  

 

 

The bias comment, is as Mr Larner correctly assumed, is that this thread is around cantilever vs braced wings. You have provided a tally of eyewitness accounts of shooting at braced wings only; by definition a one-sided dataset.

 

On kill 77, there is indeed a lot

of ambiguity, and for you to count it as a wing failure is equally dubious. If the wings had failed or been shot off it is extremely unlikely that the pilot would have survived. The comment of the plane “breaking up” could mean breaking up on impact as it crashed or a control surface coming off etc. 
 

I personally would only count kills where MvR specially mentions wing failure - “shot to pieces” or “fell to pieces” does not definitively mean a wing failure. It could be the elevator or rudder being shot off, or simply pieces of fabric flying off around a wounded pilot. By always counting “fell to pieces” as a wing shed you are showing a bias towards your narrative that wing failure wasn’t rare, and consequently I don’t think your 15% holds up to scrutiny. 
 

Another dataset we don’t have is the number of times MvR fired at braced wings, hitting them, which DIDNT end in a kill. It could be that when he hit a pilot his kill rate was high, but he might have hit dozens of wings with no effect.

 

Even if we use your 15% of kills resulting from wing damage, it could have been that only 1% of wing hits resulted in loss, vs engine or pilot hits (maybe ten times higher??).
 

When we only count specific mentions of wing failures the 15% starts to decrease; that’s the point of the 13% - kill 77 is an example of ambiguity in written accounts and interpretation.

 

McCudden’s account is more interesting, as he was a crack shot and had to pour rounds into a wing precisely to remove it which makes a lot of sense.

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8 hours ago, unreasonable said:

I used to think that flight sim fanatics had higher than average IQ, but I am starting to wonder....

 

Don't worry about the haters with low IQ's unreasonable. They know not what they do. As we both know, it's lonely at the top of the IQ quotient. It's a curse we must live with. It matters not, that your theories are full of holes a bus could drive through. We rise above such things and let the rabble debase themselves, as they surely will, with common sexual innuendo and poor grammar or something equally distasteful. We must respect and embrace these poor souls, not pity or seek negative discourse with them.

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2 hours ago, ST_Catchov said:

 


We must respect and embrace these poor souls, not pity or seek negative discourse with them.


So you would take away the best part of the internet? 😜

 

 

Edited by SeaSerpent
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It never fails to impress me how many aeronautical engineers there are in this community.  Not to mention the number of aeronautical engineers who double majored in software development.

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6 hours ago, US213_Talbot said:

I mean, dang dude I just walked in here all happy like and he went straight to insults. Lol

 

I apologise. My frustration with the arguments and tone in this thread is collective, you just happened along when it reached it's tolerance limits, I was wrong to single you out.

 

My original contribution to this thread was to comment that the theory that wing losses - at least in in braced aeroplanes - were "very very rare" or "one in a million chances", is inconsistent with MvR's ratio of wing losses being about 15%. That is all.  The responses, in no particular order, have included:

 

1) It was 14%

2) It was 10%, if you exclude all the times he just said "broke up" without the words "wings".

3) If there could have been multiple causes, it was not a wing loss.

4) Losing your wings is not a cause of crashing.

5) MvR was an exceptional shot who fired from close range, therefore he could hardly have had any wing losses, so he was just making stuff up. 

6) MvR was an exceptional shot who fired from close range, therefore he got an unusually high  proportion of wing losses. 

7) The population of hits on targets is normally distributed.

😎 We can determine kill/hit rates by guessing sortie and engagement rates.

9) Modern biplanes have solid aerodynamically shaped "wires", evidence that WW1 era braided wires could not have been broken by MG hits.

10)UK aircraft designers did not try to reduce the probability of wire hits, therefore they were not an issue.  (Thank goodness parachutes were not an issue either)

11) Being hit by artillery was rarely to be seen!

12) Looking at a data set of braced aircraft is biased, even if you are not drawing any conclusions about cantilever aircraft.

 

More reasonably:

 

13) If you widen the data set of braced aircraft shot down by German aces, the wing loss ratio is 5% (depending on what you count).

 

Which is  still not "very, very rare" in my opinion, more like "a minority but commonplace".

 

14) The wing loss %  for cantilever aircraft could very well be different.

 

Agreed.  A high proportion of GAF losses in 1918 were DVIIs which had an unusually high g limit to start with, ( this is undisputed, I think).  Whether a braced construction with identical undamaged g limits is inherently equally vulnerable to gunfire is still an open question. Even if it is, you would still expect the ratio to be skewed towards more Entente wing losses because of the target set.

 

I will stick my neck out on the actual ratio:  on current information, a loss % for 1918 of about 2:1, being ~5% of braced and 2.5% of cantilever, is plausible. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, unreasonable said:

 

I apologise. My frustration with the arguments and tone in this thread is collective, you just happened along when it reached it's tolerance limits, I was wrong to single you out.

 

My original contribution to this thread was to comment that the theory that wing losses - at least in in braced aeroplanes - were "very very rare" or "one in a million chances", is inconsistent with MvR's ratio of wing losses being about 15%. That is all.  The responses, in no particular order, have included:

 

1) It was 14%

2) It was 10%, if you exclude all the times he just said "broke up" without the words "wings".

3) If there could have been multiple causes, it was not a wing loss.

4) Losing your wings is not a cause of crashing.

5) MvR was an exceptional shot who fired from close range, therefore he could hardly have had any wing losses, so he was just making stuff up. 

6) MvR was an exceptional shot who fired from close range, therefore he got an unusually high  proportion of wing losses. 

7) The population of hits on targets is normally distributed.

😎 We can determine kill/hit rates by guessing sortie and engagement rates.

9) Modern biplanes have solid aerodynamically shaped "wires", evidence that WW1 era braided wires could not have been broken by MG hits.

10)UK aircraft designers did not try to reduce the probability of wire hits, therefore they were not an issue.  (Thank goodness parachutes were not an issue either)

11) Being hit by artillery was rarely to be seen!

12) Looking at a data set of braced aircraft is biased, even if you are not drawing any conclusions about cantilever aircraft.

 

More reasonably:

 

13) If you widen the data set of braced aircraft shot down by German aces, the wing loss ratio is 5% (depending on what you count).

 

Which is  still not "very, very rare" in my opinion, more like "a minority but commonplace".

 

14) The wing loss %  for cantilever aircraft could very well be different.

 

Agreed.  A high proportion of GAF losses in 1918 were DVIIs which had an unusually high g limit to start with, ( this is undisputed, I think).  Whether a braced construction with identical undamaged g limits is inherently equally vulnerable to gunfire is still an open question. Even if it is, you would still expect the ratio to be skewed towards more Entente wing losses because of the target set.

 

I will stick my neck out on the actual ratio:  on current information, a loss % for 1918 of about 2:1, being ~5% of braced and 2.5% of cantilever, is plausible. 

 

 

This is great! Really good discussion and refining based upon critiques. 2.5-5% seems pretty reasonable given the datasets we have (best we got). Definitely something that happened but uncommon compared to other causes of loss. Thanks for the contribution!

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22 hours ago, ST_Catchov said:

 

Don't worry about the haters with low IQ's unreasonable. They know not what they do. As we both know, it's lonely at the top of the IQ quotient. It's a curse we must live with. It matters not, that your theories are full of holes a bus could drive through. We rise above such things and let the rabble debase themselves, as they surely will, with common sexual innuendo and poor grammar or something equally distasteful. We must respect and embrace these poor souls, not pity or seek negative discourse with them.

 

Don’t knock it. His friends have just convinced whatever Bruce is in charge to f*#$ the French and buy our Anglo American, nuclear pedalos instead.😎

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Another interesting quote, attributed to Lt. Howard Clapp of the 22d Aero Squadron by Greg VanWyngarden: 

“Twelve Fokkers attacked our formation of 6 from above and in the sun…Brooks had about 5 of them after him, and they stuck very tenaciously. But he is a fine flyer and a great shot, and though he only fired 75 rounds during the whole affair, succeeded in bringing down 2 of them…His machine was very badly shot up. The rudder wires were cut through on one side, so that the rudder was useless; one of the main spars in his top wing was smashed and a tire punctured…in spite of all this he brought the machine safely down in a rough field north of camp.”

 

And from A.R. Brooks (The pilot referenced in the above): 

"…A 200-hp Spad can outdive a Fokker D-7 and for 1500 meters, with almost full motor, I spun, nose-dived, and slithered, flattening out just over the rolling country, with a fair chance over those 4. Two of these, and finally one, kept up the chase for a feeble distance, but retreated to my glad astonishment…"

Edited by US93_Larner
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So, we moved from airchair engineering to armchair bio research? Pilots were claiming all kinds of things, especially after war was over,  and you can find quote to support anything you want if you look long enough.

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1 hour ago, J2_Trupobaw said:

So, we moved from airchair engineering to armchair bio research? Pilots were claiming all kinds of things, especially after war was over,  and you can find quote to support anything you want if you look long enough.


C’mon. This conflict is over 100 years old, and there’s sparse data on it. But we still need a damage model (and FM). Most of the world’s history is based on the writings of those that were present in the situation, imperfect though their observations may be. It definitely seems like some standards of data on this forum are impossible to achieve.

 

Perhaps not a single pilot’s account of a single situation, but it does seem reasonable to me to take several pilot accounts of several situations that line up similarly and paint a similar picture of a spad being hardy in a dive and able to pull out despite heavy damage, and Fokker D7s being potent enemies with much higher ceilings that were easy to fly (though they should have more realistic stall characteristics….), and across the board planes being downed more often from fires and pilot wounds than wingoffs.

 

You know, in real life these spad pilots couldn’t load up a training server and practice pulling out of a dive with bullet holes in wings. They couldn’t train to that perfect level of gentle and smooth control handling to keep the wing intact. Spads would just be falling apart in dives and pilots dying, and then informing their command to avoid dives. No? 
 

edit: and I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s fair to everyone involved with this game to keep throwing around these phrases of “armchair engineer” and whatever. The devs have stated they won’t change certain things unless we the customers provide info. But then if we provide info we’re derided as armchair engineers? Doesn’t seem right 

 

One more edit: and I hope I’m not derailing the thread. Rummy wanted to discuss the engineering stuff. Sorry 

Edited by US93_Low
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1 hour ago, US93_Low said:


 

 

Perhaps not a single pilot’s account of a single situation, but it does seem reasonable to me to take several pilot accounts of several situations that line up similarly and paint a similar picture...

... then someone pulls out several pilot accounts of several situations that paint quite opposite (or orthogonal :P ) picture, and we end up knowing less and agreeing less. The deeper we into personal accounts, the more clarity we lose. Along with pretense of dscussion being related to engineering.

Edited by J2_Trupobaw
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In the absence of totally conclusive hard data to pin things down, I think pilot accounts have a part to play.

 

But, as J2_Trupobaw said there can be problems here too. And we've just also seen Von Richtofen's pilot accounts being picked apart when they appear to show an unwelcome perspective. 

 

I do think there is work still to be done on tweaking the DM though. I expect it should be more forgiving than currently, but maybe not as forgiving as some here would like it (ie not going back to pre-4.005 levels).

 

 

 

  

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37 minutes ago, kendo said:

But, as J2_Trupobaw said there can be problems here too. And we've just also seen Von Richtofen's pilot accounts being picked apart when they appear to show an unwelcome perspective. 

 


Sometimes when I discuss DM or even FM with Larner I feel like we were playing completely different games. Or trying with my mates to figure out what happened in a fight yesterday, without looking at omniscient parser, our brains subconsciously fill gaps in narration with wishful thinking. When you look at reports of RNAS pilots field-testing two-gun Sopwith Tripe, it's hard to believe they are all talking about the same plane. Billy Bishop raided an airfield that no German airman ever heard of, and claimed six planes on day where Germans lost one over entire front.

There is a reason why most services required a wreck or witness not involved in fight, rather than relying on what pilot believed he saw.

Trying to get coherency from personal perspectives is exercise in cat-herding. Perhaps social sciences have tools to somehow measure the chaos... but these are not engineering tools either ;) . The thread started as somewhat serious exercise and swapping engineering knowledge, and I'd love to see its stick to measurable facts rathetr than anecdotes.

Edited by J2_Trupobaw
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It is extremely difficult... for instance, on the figures I can find, the USAS which only became operational in April 1918 (IIRC) claimed 756 victories before the end of the war, while the German records show 1,099 total aircraft losses for the whole of 1918. So which do you believe:

 

1) The RAF and French airforces shot down ~ 170 German planes each in 1918 compared to the USAS's 756?

2) The USAS made 2 to 4 claims for every plane they actually shot down?

3) The German records show only a fraction of their actual losses?

 

Is a plane that makes a forced landing behind it's own lines but not written off counted as a loss?  Is it a valid claim? And so on.

 

Hence trawling through reports will be at best indicative and at worst misleading, especially for claims that took place on the enemy side of the lines with no crash confirmation. Any statistical conclusion you draw must be seen as having a very wide confidence margin.

 

The tool to measure the chaos - or rather reduce it as you add information - would be Bayesian inference, but it is very difficult to apply in cases where so much qualitative judgement is needed.

 

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2 hours ago, unreasonable said:

It is extremely difficult... for instance, on the figures I can find, the USAS which only became operational in April 1918 (IIRC) claimed 756 victories before the end of the war, while the German records show 1,099 total aircraft losses for the whole of 1918. So which do you believe:

 

1) The RAF and French airforces shot down ~ 170 German planes each in 1918 compared to the USAS's 756?

2) The USAS made 2 to 4 claims for every plane they actually shot down?

3) The German records show only a fraction of their actual losses?

 

Is a plane that makes a forced landing behind it's own lines but not written off counted as a loss?  Is it a valid claim? And so on.

 

Hence trawling through reports will be at best indicative and at worst misleading, especially for claims that took place on the enemy side of the lines with no crash confirmation. Any statistical conclusion you draw must be seen as having a very wide confidence margin.

 

The tool to measure the chaos - or rather reduce it as you add information - would be Bayesian inference, but it is very difficult to apply in cases where so much qualitative judgement is needed.

 

 

Reminds me of the different ways of reporting Covid 19 deaths by different countries, all using different ways of counting, LOL.

 

Happy landings,

 

Talisman

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1 hour ago, US93_Low said:

Well if you’re flying a D7F then yeah we are playing different games.


Nah, Trupo dabbles in all FC planes. He even flies Dolphins (for some ungodly reason...!) 

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On 9/4/2021 at 1:42 PM, HagarTheHorrible said:

 the world did not see a raft of D VII and VIII clones emerge after the war

What are you talking about, Fokker led the world in civil aviation design for more than a decade after the war purely with D.VIII clones, and every American biplane designed after the war suddenly started taking a whole lot of design queues from those D.VII's they ferried over to study. The only reason not everyone switched to metal frames and cantilever wings is because they were too conservative to try something new.

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HagarTheHorrible
5 hours ago, hq_Jorri said:

What are you talking about, Fokker led the world in civil aviation design for more than a decade after the war purely with D.VIII clones, and every American biplane designed after the war suddenly started taking a whole lot of design queues from those D.VII's they ferried over to study. The only reason not everyone switched to metal frames and cantilever wings is because they were too conservative to try something new.


??????  What do airliners of the 1920’s or 1930’s have to do with interwar biplane Scouts/fighters ?

 

On the other hand, if we look at the Bulldog, Gladiator, I-15, Ar 86, He 51, Curtiss Hawk, Grumman F3F, Morane-Sauliner 225, to name but a few, all used external bracing.  That suggests to me, maybe wrongly, that the Fokker VII and VIII cantilever wing didn’t have all the answers. A bit like the Sinclair C5.  Heading in the right direction, but ahead of it’s time, a concept not fully formed, if potentially still applicable in some circumstances.

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