Martin Model 262 Convoy Fighter
By Matt Bittner
Author: Jared Zichek
Publisher: Retro Mechanix
ISBN #: 978-0-9968754-0-0
A couple of months ago I took a look at the first book in Jared Zichek's series on the Convoy Fighter proposal of the 1950s, that one on the Goodyear entry. This time Mr. Zichek turns his attention to the Martin submission, the Model 262.
While Martin never developed anything "physical" (Goodyear at least provided a full-scale mockup) Martin did provide a lot of analysis into their designs. Yes, that wasn't a typo – Martin came up with four distinct designs for their entry into the contract bid: the "normal" set-up; the aircraft with a swept wing but still with the puller props; a mid-engine design with the props as pushers; and finally another pusher design, but this time with the prop much closer to the tail. One of the suppositions why Martin didn't win the contract was because of this fact; appearing not being able to make up their mind as to the final design and expecting wind tunnel tests to help with their decision. Another possible reason Martin wasn't chosen (which was the same for all of the designs besides the Convair Pogo and Lockheed Salmon (the two designs that were put under contract for flyable prototypes)) was due to weight: the Convair and Lockheed designs were the lightest of all the proposals.
A final aspect that could have doomed the Martin project was theirs was the only proposal that required a landing and launching platform. While the other designs were "tail sitters" and could take off and land without any external hardware, Martin designed their proposal around a platform the aircraft was supposed to "latch into" using a "nose spike" that hooked into a receptacle on the platform.
Like the Goodyear book Retro Mechanix put a lot of time and effort into research for the book, and if you have any curiosity about these aircraft then you'll want to track down this series of books.
I definitely give thanks to Retro Mechanix for the review book. Fascinating!