1949 Schneider Cup Entrants

By Mike Millette

 

"Oh Canada, eh!" - Hawker Sea Fury
Canada - # 75

Canada's entry in the 1949 Schneider Cup race was an average Hawker Sea Fury, selected at random from an allotment purchased from the British and destined for the Royal Canadian Navy. The float was an EDO design based on some work that EDO was doing for de Havilland of Canada.

In an effort to minimize changes to the basic airframe and avoid additional design work from EDO, it was decided to add sponsons on either side of the float similar to what Boeing had used on its B314. The engine is a Pratt & Whitney R-4360 and was procured via an unnamed source in the states, but rumor has it that it was exchanged to clear an old pre-war liquor debt. Originally it was run with a stock four bladed Corsair prop, but taxi trials indicated that the massive torque of the 'CornCob' were too much for the float and sponsons to absorb without tipping the aircraft. Rotol was contacted and a set of counter rotating blades from a canceled program was loaned to the Canadian team.

Aside from the engine change, the Canadians decided to minimize their expenditures and maintained the aircraft as a stock Sea Fury. To save weight, much of the military hardware; guns, armor, tail hook & gear were removed. The wheel wells were faired over with aluminum sheet for aero smoothness but nothing else has been done to alter the exterior. The main strut was mounted to the keel of the aircraft and the substruts were mounted to the sockets for the landing gear to take advantage of existing structure.

The pilot chosen to fly 'Oh Canada' was Flt Lt Scott Hunter of the RCN. Hunter had just missed the end of WWII, but gained notoriety by racing a JN-4 Jenny in the 'Cross Canada' race prior to service in the Canadian Navy. This so impressed the team responsible for selecting the pilot that Ft Lt Hunter was chosen of several more senior candidates.

The paint scheme as originally designed was to be the highly detailed Canadian Maple Leaf within a blue roundel as seen on Canadian military aircraft of the time. The admiral who was to approve the design however, had difficulty with the concept of 'negative space' and ruled the design 'Bloody foolish!'. With little time left to come up with a new idea, the previously blue wings were simply masked off and painted red. Subsequent to the race it was returned back to stock military trim, and soldiered on in the Canadian Navy for many more years. While the participation of CF-URY was highly celebrated by Canadians during its brief racing career, rumor has it that this aircraft had a much more lasting impression. When the Canadian government commissioned its own flag design, it is said that the paint scheme of CF-URY was recalled and the Canadian flag was created to emulate it.

Model Information

The kit is a Pioneer kit (also known as PM) with a few additions. I added some left over resin cockpit bits from a couple of sets that I had laying about to dress up the cockpit a bit and I lengthened the nose to accommodate a R4360. The float is a resin copy of the Matchbox DHC Twin Otter with a laminated main strut & Aeroclub strip stock sub struts. Sponsons were donated from the wing tips of a Do 335 kit The kit wing trailing edges were massively thick, out of the box, so they have been sanded down to a much finer edge and several panel lines had to be restored with my trusty panel scribe. The 6 bladed contra rotating prop came from a Shinden kit and the blades were cut up and reworked to provide the proper directional twist. The additional 'tail' area was added using sheet stock.


'Battle Hymn of the Republic'
Republic P-47T Turbobolt
USA - #7

When the 1949 Schneider Cup race was announced to the public, several aircraft manufacturers were asked to provide an entrant. Congress allocated limited funds to support the teams, but the teams were asked to participate as company funded demonstrators. Republic Aviation decided that the Schneider Cup would provide an ideal test bed to try out the emerging turboprop technology.

The P-47H was selected as the most ideal of the P-47 versions for conversion. An early version of the Allison XT-39-A-1 turboprop engine was developed to replace the Chrysler 'X' engine that previously powered the test aircraft. The prop selected to match the powerplant seemed odd looking to most people used to the huge Hamilton Standard or Curtis Electric props previously used on most Thunderbolts. The secret to its stubby success was that the short, wide blades were able to make use of the turbine's very high RPM without maxing out the prop's tip speed. Every bit of non-essential military hardware was removed from the aircraft, wings were clipped and Edo was contracted to design floats.

With America still high on its success during WWII, patriotism was the word of the day. As such, a spectacular red, white and blue scheme was designed to represent the American flag. While Republic had already renamed the aircraft type the Turbobolt, a completion was held at Republic's Farmingdale plant to give the racer a name for the competition. The winning entry, not surprisingly was 'Battle Hymn of the Republic'.

One result of the success of the P-47T was that Republic decided that a turboprop version of the F-84 might be possible. Using the data gathered from the P-47T flight test program, Republic developed the infamous XF-84H.

Model Information

The kit is a Special Hobby P-47X. Somewhere along the way I decided it was too boring and probably uncompetitive to race as a recip. The shape of the nose & radiator scoop seemed an ideal opportunity to convert it to a turboprop. A hole was drilled in the aft fuselage and a piece of plastic tubing was inserted. The tube was shaped to match the contours of the airplane and a heat shield plate was added. The prop was also modified to represent a high rpm turboprop. The stock spinner was used, but large pieces of Contrail aerofoil stock were used to make the prop blades. The floats are resin copies of HobbyCraft's DHC-2 Beaver and the struts are once again, Contrail aerofoil stock. The extra tail surface was achieved using Milliput to blend in the lower aft fuselage which was then rescribed.


NAA Special - North American Aircraft F-86S Sea Sabre
USA - #16

At the announcement of the Schneider Cup Race, North American Aviation (NAA) was in the process of designing and brining to production its legendary F-86. Lee Atwood decided that an excellent promotion of the F-86 would be to modify one and enter it in the '49 Schneider Cup Race. As such, one of the early production F-86A-5 test aircraft in residence at Muroc (Later Edwards) Air Force Base was bailed and modifications were begun. Design studies indicated that a single centerline float with reinforced fuel tanks on extended wing pylons would provide ample floatation with least amount of added drag. The float was carefully smoothed and faired to reduce drag to the greatest degree possible. Other modifications were undertaken to reduce drag as well. The F-86 canopy sits very high for excellent visibility, but the requirements of the race made that amount of visibility unnecessary. A cut down canopy, based on the McDonnell Banshee was substituted with very positive results. Bob Hoover was selected to fly the highly modified Saber, starting a very long association between the famous pilot and NAA.

The Kit

The kit is the ancient AMT F-86F. Modifications were made to the aft fuselage and wings to backdate it to an F-86A. Some resin bits and pieces were added to the cockpit to give it a 'busier' look. The kit canopy was replaced with a Squadron vac formed Banshee canopy and dipped in Future floor wax. The Day-Glow and bare metal paint scheme was chose based on the schemes applied to some test aircraft of the period. The NAA logo on the wing came form the original issue of Accurate Miniatures P-51A kit. The float comes from a 1/48 scale SMER Gladiator kit that was sanded along its parting surfaces to make it appropriately 'racy'.


 

'Pride of Bavaria' Messerschmitt Me 262HS
Germany - #5

The announcement of the Schneider Cup Race for 1949 was greeted with some curiosity in Germany. Germany had very little to do with the original race series and many people were skeptical that Germany would participate the modern version. One person who was determined to participate was Willi Messerschmitt. Having developed the first operation jet, the Me-262, which he felt was never able to meet its full design potential during the war, he knew this was his opportunity to show what his company could do in the post war period and perhaps win contracts to keep the Messerschmitt company solvent.

Design studies began with a review of the various hi-speed proposals that had been contemplated during the war. A combination of long night fighter fuselage with high fineness ratio with the buried wing root engines, highly swept wings and empennage of the single seat hi-speed versions were combined to build a superlative piece of German engineering. The typical shark-like look of the 262 was enhance by the ventral fin, to offset aerodynamic forces of the forward set floats, and exhaust deflectors to protect the aft fuselage from the hi-temp exhaust. A snarling sharks mouth was added to brighten up the otherwise low key paint scheme, and shortly before the race was held, Germany was once again allowed to display national colors. Red, gold & black bands were added quickly to the wing tips.

Little known, but highly skilled, Unteroffizer Kurt Stroschein was selected to pilot the radical racer. A young Stroschein had become a test pilot for Messerschmitt right out of flight school during the war, and with only a few months of employment before the war had ended, Stroschein had impressed the usually dour Messerschmitt with his piloting skills.

Model Information

Special Hobby The kit originally depicted a three-seat night fighter with an internal radar set.

The kit featured a huge bulbous nose, which was supposed to contain the supposed internal radar. As there was no need for radar on a daytime race airplane, the ugly nose had to go. Miliput was packed into the nose and then sanded to a very pointed shape, enhancing the Me 262's already shark like look.

The kit was reworked to be a single seat aircraft as there was no need for extra crew. The stock interior was used but once the fuselage had been modified with Miliput to fill in the other seat locations, a Squadron vac canopy, for the single seat Hasegawa Me 262, was added. The floats are resin copies of the Matchbox Twin Otter floats with Contrail aerofoil struts. The tail was reworked to match the sharky shape including the sweep of the additional ventral tail section. Heat shields were added from sheet plastic & brass rod was used to support them.


'Liberte' - Dornier Do 335ZJ
France - #31

The Schneider Cup Race in 1949 left France in a tricky situation. Having been occupied by a hostile force for the majority of WWII, France's aeronautical capabilities had not developed alongside the other Allies or its Axis opponents. Consequently when the Race was announced, French aviation companies scrambled to come up with a design which could hold it's own with it traditional competitors. One team, Sud Est (SE) Aviation, proposed the use of captured German aircraft. While this was bit of a blow to French pride, the team felt that they would end up introducing enough changes to make the final aircraft 'their own'.

Searching about for suitable starting points, the team discovered that two captured Do. 335s, M14 (W.Nr. 230014) and M17 (W.Nr. 240313) had both been damaged in crash landings and were scheduled to be scrapped. Purchasing the two damaged airframes, the SE Aviation team set about building their racer. The original intent was to use the parts from both aircraft to build a single racer. Damage was found not to be as extensive as first thought however and two airframes were quickly made whole again.

With two complete airframes on his hands, project leader Pepe le Puy decided that to maximize the speed of his creation, a Zwillig or twin configuration would be ideal. SNECMA was working on a derivative of the Jumo 004 power plant, recently used in the Me 262 and the design team quickly decided to replace the two aft mounted engines with the new 'turbos'. Feeding four hungry engines became an issue however. Joining the two airframes together left the new aircraft short of the fuel volume necessary to complete the race. A large 'spike' tank was incorporated into the wings at the join and this provided the additional fuel necessary to meet the race length requirements. Incorporating the turbines into the aft fuselage provided beneficial to SE Aviation. Following the Schneider Cup Race, data from the spine mounted engine inlet tests were used to develop one of the oddest post war jets, the SE 'Grognard'. International sportsman, ski racer and playboy, Guy Gadeaux was chosen to pilot the monster.

Model Information

The kits are the Revell and Lindberg re-pops of the old Matchbox Do 335 trainer kit, or was it the other way around? Anyway, they are all the same kit remolded by several different manufacturers. The wing tips were clipped for reduced drag and the inner wing sections were joined. Raised panel lines were sanded off and the kit was completely re-scribed. A 1/48 F-16 centerline tank was integrated into the wing for added fuel carriage. The floats are from the 1/48 SMER Gladiator kit. They are probably the most useful part of that kit. The second cockpit was filled with putty and smoothed over to provide the ventral inlet for the jets.


Schneider Supermarine S.6B
England - #100

The Supermarine S.6b was the last winner of the pre war WWII Schneider cup series of races. As the host and holder of the prewar trophy, it was suggested that the S.6b should be utilized as a sort of 'Master of Ceremonies', introducing the race and flying in between heats to entertain the crowds. Since the majority of British national funds were being directed towards official race entries, the Historical Flight team had to find a non-governmental patron to sponsor the retired racer. The Guinness company decided that this would be a good investment and offered to cover all fuel and travel expenses for the Historic Flight Team. The old warrior was rolled out and cleaned up. Since the Number 1 had been given to Britain's entry in the modern race, it was decided to add two small 00's after the original #1 to make it the unofficial race number #100.

Model Information

This is the Kopro re-pop of this kit. It was built straight out of the box and painted in traditional colors and markings. The kit decals were used to the best of their ability, but they were very old and the two #1's broke into too many pieces to make them useable. Spares were sourced from a sheet of white lines, cut to the correct length.


'Red Banner' - Yak 15
USSR - #40

Russia was another country that had never participated in the earlier Schneider Cup races, but the promise of an opportunity to show that she was as strong as the western allies was too much to ignore. Teams from all of the Russian OKB's submitted designs to the national competition and the Yakovlev design bureau's submittal was chosen. Thought the Yakovlev OKB built the basic aircraft, the project was turned over to the Beriev OKB for conversion to a floatplane. Beriev's experience with seaplanes made them the ideal design bureau to complete this crucial aspect of the project.

A gruff, but highly skilled pilot named Boris Badenov was selected to fly the aircraft. Unbeknownst to the selection committee, Badenov endured a rather unique experience prior to the race when he became the first Russian to be abducted by aliens. According to family and friends, he was never quite the same after the abduction. To this end, Boris decided to paint his plane a metallic mauve, because he was convinced that the color would draw cosmic energy away from his alien captors and make his plane go faster. Later Badenov would go on to a somewhat checkered career in the KGB. Paired with the notorious Natasha Fatale, he endured one failed mission after another when faced with the famous American operatives; code named 'Moose' and 'Squirrel'. This so affected him, that he was often heard to mumble over and over, 'Moose & Squirrel must die'.

Model Information

This is the Pioneer kit. I had actually started this racer using a hideous kit of unrecalled lineage. I happened across this one at Skyway Hobbies after I had already put about 15 hours into the other kit, but I was so impressed with the look of the Pioneer kit (and the low price) that I pulled the floats off my already in-work kit and added them to this kit. It's basically a stock Yak 15 model, with a couple of left over resin sidewalls from some other project and the floats. The floats are resin copies of the 1/48 scale Cessna 172 floats. They are probably a bit too big for this aircraft, but the Russians are well known for over building, so I figured they fit.


Kyushu, J7W2 Shindenkai
Japan - #88

One of the most promising late war aircraft designed in Japan was the Kyushu J7W2 Shindenkai, which fortunately for the Allies, made only a few short flights before the war ended. Plans had been in work to develop a jet-powered version of the aircraft, but the power plant technology was still being worked out and no jet-powered versions were tested prior to the conclusion of the war. With the announcement of the Schneider Cup Race in 1949, it was felt that this would be a perfect opportunity to develop the airframe further. The aircraft was flown by Hiro 'Totoro' Miyazaki, whose 'totoro' namesake was painted on the aircraft, just below the left intake.

Model Information

The kit is Hasegawa's 'jet' offering of their basic Shindenkai kit. It comes with a replacement tail cone and slightly larger intakes. The float was my first attempt to make resin copies of the Matchbox Twin Otter float. I ended up with most of a float with a big air bubble in the back. Rather than toss the incomplete float, I thought it would look cool paired with the small Shindenkai. The sponsons are wing tips left over from the multiple Do 335 kits constructed for my French entry.


Rescue – Mitsubishi F1M2, Type 0 'Pete'
Japan - #283

Having seen the effectiveness of the PBY and other flying boats utilized by the Allies during WWII for rescue operations, the Japanese embarked on a program to develop rescue aircraft of their own, post war. When the Schneider Cup was announced, it was decided that in addition to a competitor, a rescue aircraft would also be supplied. This would test some of the theories that they had been made aware of by observing the American aircraft operations during the early days of the occupation. Curiously, an all female crew was chosen to operate the aircraft. Keiko Kumata was chosen to fly the aircraft with her rescue operator, Sachiko Kawasaki.

The aircraft was a semi standard Mitsubishi F1M2, Type 0, 'Pete' was selected and modified to carry floatation devices, inflatable rafts and pick-up tow ropes. Lack of funds negated a wholesale paint job, but day glow paints were purchased from a local American Naval base and the upper wing surfaces & tail surfaces were repainted for extra visibility.

Model Information

The kit is the old 1/75th scale dinosaur by Hasegawa. It was built pretty much out of the box with the exception of two pick-up tow rope reel covers on either side of the forward fuselage.


'Testarossa' - AeroMacchi MC. 272
Italy - #11

Italy had participated with great vigor in the previous Schneider Cup races. Most Italians felt they had been cheated by Britain's solo flight to victory in 1931 and so there was much interest in fielding a competitor in the 1949 race. Macchi, was of course the prime candidate to construct the Italian participant. While the MC.72 was a sparkling performer in it's day, it was felt that improvements in cooling technology, aerodynamics and power plant design could produce an even more impressive aircraft.

The installation of the two engines in the MC.72 was seen as the most aerodynamic way of packaging all the power need for this modern racer. Two DB 605 engines were used with VDM props from the Me 109K series aircraft modified to allow counter rotating operation. A Macchi MC.202 airframe was selected and modifications begun. The float design from the original racers was regarded as having the perfect combination of hydrodynamic & aerodynamic characteristics so an upsized version of the MC.72's floats was used. The higher weight and propulsive force of the engines, however forced a different design of the struts and 'N' shaped struts were used from aircraft to floats. The old wire braced float-to-float design was also not substantial enough, so struts instead of wires were used.

The paint scheme was selected after a discussion with the British Supermarine team. Both sides thought it would be fun to commemorate the days of their previous competitions and so the MC.272 was painted to represent the MC.72 even thought it no longer used the surface evaporative radiators of the older aircraft.

Franco Rosselini, son of the famous WWI fighter pilot and renown bounty hunter from the 1920s & 30s was selected to fly the Italian entry. Unoffically nicknamed 'Testarossa' (Red Head) in Italian, the performance of this aircraft so impressed Macchi's consultant, Enzo Ferrari that he later named the famous Ferrari Testarossa after this speedy aircraft.

Model Information

The model is based on the very nice Hasegawa kit. The fuselage was sectioned & lengthened before and after the leading edge of the wing. Scrap plastic was glued into the gaps and superglue and putty were used to smooth the fuselage. The floats are highly modified resin copies of 1/48 scale Cessna 172 floats with Aeroclub strut strip stock for the struts.


'Libellule' (Dragonfly) - Me 109ZX
Belgium - #69

Belgium had never been a participant in the earlier Schneider Cup races, but the events of WWII led many Belgians to believe that they would need an indigenous aircraft design firm of their own in the post war years. One such individual, the enterprising Monsieur M. Homme, decided his country needed an entry in the '49 Race. Monsieur Homme was the owner & operator of the Homme Depot, a post war maintenance depot in Belgium, used by the British to overhaul RAF aircraft on the European mainland. Homme had been very impressed by the Do. 335's operation towards the end of the war and felt it would make a perfect racer for this event.

Unfortunately 335's were rare and the British, French and Americans had captured all of the big Dornier aircraft. Homme did, however, have a number of Me 109 airframes that had been recovered from around the country side and were being processed in his depot for scrap. He reasoned that he could combine two Me 109s in a back-to-front configuration to create a home grown, mini Do. 335. He was aware of the Messerschmitt factories work with the twin fuselaged Me 109 Zwillig (twin), so he named his creation the Me 109ZX.

Initial trials indicated that the struts between the fuselage & float were causing too much airflow disruption to the strut mounted radiators. As such, the center pylon and all other struts were lengthened giving the aircraft a bit of a gangly, insectoid look. Upon seeing the modified aircraft, Monsieur Homme's girlfriend (later, wife) Mademoiselle de Puppie told him that the aircraft looked like a dragonfly, so the aircraft was named 'Libellule' and painted green. Right before the race, a large dragonfly nose art was added for a little extra color.

Model Information

The Me 109ZX was created from a combination of Heller Me 109K-4 and Hasegawa 109G-6 kits. The Heller fuselage was cut off just aft of the cockpit and the Hasegawa kit was cut just aft of the firewall. The two were then joined and putty was used to fair the two kits together. The wing was moved aft to accommodate the change in CG. Booms were made of kit sprue and the tails were made of kit parts & sheet plastic. The float is a resin copy of a de Havilland Twin Otter unit and is joined to the fuselage with sheet plastic & Aeroclub Aerofoil strip stock.

 

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