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The World's Strangest Planes: Catapult Planes! The Wright Brothers Used An Early Catapult To Launch Their Famous Flight In 1903, But They Had No Idea That It Would Become The Mainstay Of The Modern Aircraft Carrier. Over The Years, Catapults Have Been Used In Many Strange Ways, Both On And Off The High Seas, Including The Infamous V-1 Flying Bomb. Today, The Steam-Powered Catapult Has Emerged As The Single Most Effective Launching Device Aboard The US Navy's Carriers. It's All On Display Here, Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD, MP4 Video Download Or USB Flash Drive! (Color, 1991, 45 Minutes.) #PropsAndJets #CatapultPlanes #AircraftCatapults #CatapultPlanes #WrightBrothers #WrightBros #VWeapons #V1 #CruiseMissiles #NavalAviation #NavalAviationHistory #HistoryOfNavalAviation #Aviation #AviationHistory #HistoryOfAviation #HistoryOfFlight #StrangePlanes #DVD #VideoDownload #MP4 #USBFlashDrive
An Aircraft Catapult is a device used to allow aircraft to take off from a very limited amount of space, such as the deck of a vessel, but can also be installed on land-based runways in rare cases. It is now most commonly used on aircraft carriers, as a form of assisted take off. In the form used on aircraft carriers the catapult consists of a track, or slot, built into the flight deck, below which is a large piston or shuttle that is attached through the track to the nose gear of the aircraft, or in some cases a wire rope, called a catapult bridle, is attached to the aircraft and the catapult shuttle. Other forms have been used historically, such as mounting a launching cart holding a seaplane on a long girder-built structure mounted on the deck of a warship or merchant vessel, but most catapults share a similar sliding track concept. Different means have been used to propel the catapult, such as weight and derrick, gunpowder, flywheel, air pressure, hydraulic, and steam power, and solid fuel rocket boosters. The U.S. Navy is developing the use of Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch Systems with the construction of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers. Historically it was most common for seaplanes to be catapulted, allowing them to land on the water near the vessel and be hoisted on board, although in WWII (before the advent of the escort carrier) conventional fighter planes (notably the Hawker Hurricane) would sometimes be catapulted from "catapult-equipped merchant" (CAM) vessels to drive off enemy aircraft, forcing the pilot to either divert to a land based airstrip, or to jump out by parachute or ditch in the water near the convoy and wait for rescue. Aviation pioneer and Smithsonian Secretary Samuel Langley used a spring-operated catapult to launch his successful flying models and his failed Aerodrome of 1903. Likewise the Wright Brothers beginning in 1904 used a weight and derrick styled catapult to assist their early aircraft with a takeoff in a limited distance. On 31 July 1912, Theodore Gordon Ellyson became the first person to be launched from a U.S. Navy catapult system. The Navy had been perfecting a compressed-air catapult system and mounted it on the Santee Dock in Annapolis, Maryland. The first attempt nearly killed Lieutenant Ellyson when the plane left the ramp with its nose pointing upward and it caught a crosswind, pushing the plane into the water. Ellyson was able to escape from the wreckage unhurt. On 12 November 1912, Lt. Ellyson made history as the Navy's first successful catapult launch, from a stationary coal barge. On 5 November 1915, Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin made the first catapult launch from a ship underway. The US Navy experimented with other power sources and models, including catapults that utilized gunpowder and flywheel variations. On 14 December 1924, a Martin MO-1 observation plane flown by Lt. L. C. Hayden was launched from USS Langley using a catapult powered by gunpowder. Following this launch, this method was used aboard both cruisers and battleships. By 1929, the German ocean liners SS Bremen and Europa had been fitted with compressed-air catapults designed by the Heinkel aviation firm of Rostock, with further work with catapult air mail across the South Atlantic Ocean, being undertaken during the first half of the 1930s, with Dornier Wal twin-engined flying boats. Up to and during World War II, most catapults on aircraft carriers were hydraulic. United States Navy catapults on surface warships, however, were operated with explosive charges similar to those used for 5" guns. Some carriers were completed before and during World War II with catapults on the hangar deck that fired athwartships, but they were unpopular because of their short run, low clearance of the hangar decks, inability to add the ship's forward speed to the aircraft's airspeed for takeoff, and lower clearance from the water (conditions which afforded pilots far less margin for error in the first moments of flight). They were mostly used for experimental purposes, and their use was entirely discontinued during the latter half of the war. Many naval vessels apart from aircraft carriers carried float planes, seaplanes or amphibians for reconnaissance and spotting. They were catapult-launched and landed on the sea alongside for recovery by crane. Additionally, the concept of submarine aircraft carriers was developed by multiple nations during the interwar period, and through until WW2 and beyond, wherein a submarine would launch a small number of floatplanes for offensive operations or artillery spotting, to be recovered by the submarine once the aircraft has landed. The first launch off a Royal Navy battlecruiser was from HMAS Australia on 8 March 1918. Subsequently, many Royal Navy ships carried a catapult and from one to four aircraft; battleships or battlecruisers like HMS Prince of Wales carried four aircraft and HMS Rodney carried two, while smaller warships like the cruiser HMNZS Leander carried one. The aircraft carried were the Fairey Seafox or Supermarine Walrus. Some like HMS Nelson did not use a catapult, and the aircraft was lowered onto the sea for takeoff. Some had their aircraft and catapult removed during World War II e.g. HMS Duke of York, or before (HMS Ramillies). During World War II a number of ships were fitted with rocket-driven catapults, first the fighter catapult ships of the Royal Navy, then armed merchantmen known as CAM ships from "catapult armed merchantmen." These were used for convoy escort duties to drive off enemy reconnaissance bombers. CAM ships carried a Hawker Sea Hurricane 1A, dubbed a "Hurricat" or "Catafighter", and the pilot bailed out unless he could fly to land. While imprisoned in Colditz Castle during the war, British prisoners of war planned an escape attempt using a falling bathtub full of heavy rocks and stones as the motive power for a catapult to be used for launching the Colditz Cock glider from the roof of the castle. Ground-launched V-1s were typically propelled up an inclined launch ramp by an apparatus known as a Dampferzeuger ("steam generator"). Following World War II, the Royal Navy was developing a new catapult system for their fleet of carriers. Commander Colin C. Mitchell, RNV, recommended a steam-based system as an effective and efficient means to launch the next generation of naval aircraft. Trials on HMS Perseus, flown by pilots such as Eric "Winkle" Brown, from 1950 showed its effectiveness. Navies introduced steam catapults, capable of launching the heavier jet fighters, in the mid-1950s. Powder-driven catapults were also contemplated, and would have been powerful enough, but would also have introduced far greater stresses on the airframes and might have been unsuitable for long use. At launch, a release bar holds the aircraft in place as steam pressure builds up, then breaks (or "releases"; older models used a pin that sheared), freeing the piston to pull the aircraft along the deck at high speed. Within about two to four seconds, aircraft velocity by the action of the catapult plus apparent wind speed (ship's speed plus or minus "natural" wind) is sufficient to allow an aircraft to fly away, even after losing one engine. Nations that have retained large aircraft carriers, i.e., the United States Navy and the French Navy, are still using a CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery) configuration. U.S. Navy tactical aircraft use catapults to launch with a heavier warload than would otherwise be possible. Larger planes, such as the E-2 Hawkeye and S-3 Viking, require a catapult shot, since their thrust-to-weight ratio is too low for a conventional rolling takeoff on a carrier deck.