P-51 Mustang 野馬

許多人認為它是第二次世界大戰中最好的活塞動力飛機。北美航空公司的 P-51 野馬最初是由英國委託製造,用以增加英國皇家空軍的戰鬥陣容。第一批 320 架飛機被用在低級戰術偵察和地面攻擊,後來的型號升級為勞斯萊斯隼式增壓引擎,有效提升了高空性能。所有型號中最成功的 P-51D 配備美國派卡德公司授權製作的梅林發動機、六個 .50口徑機槍和一個淚滴型艙頂,讓飛行員獲得最大視角。

在戰爭後半段,美國空軍為英國中隊配備了P-51野馬戰鬥機後,戰事風向開始轉變。由於野馬的長距離和作為轟炸機護航的能力,有可能對德國進行嚴重的白天轟炸襲擊。到1944 年初,P-51 正在席捲歐洲的天空,超越德國 Fw-190 和 Messerschmitt Bf 109,這兩款都是出色的飛機。即使是德國最先進的戰鬥機,噴氣式發動機Me 262也曾多次成為 Mustang 的犧牲品。雖然 P-51 到達太平洋戰區的時間較晚,但它仍然看到了近距離支援,戰術偵察和護送 B-29 轟炸機對日本的任務。到第二次世界大戰結束時,P-51 飛行員在陸空領域摧毀了近 5000 架敵機。 

Considered by many to be the finest piston engined aircraft of World War II, North American Aviation’s P-51 Mustang was originally commissioned by Britain to increase the RAF’s fighter strength. The first batch of 320 planes were used for low-level tactical reconnaissance and ground attack, while later models, upgraded to the supercharged Rolls Royce Merlin engine, had greatly improved high-altitude performance. The most successful of all variants, the P-51D, was equipped with a license-built Packard-Merlin engine, six .50 caliber machine guns and a “tear drop” canopy for maximum visibility.

When the USAAF (U.S. Army Air Force) equiped their squadrons in Britain with the Mustang in the second half of the war, the tide began to turn. Due to the Mustang’s long range and ability as a bomber escort, it was possible to conduct crippling daytime bombing raids into Germany. By early 1944 P-51’s were sweeping the skies of Europe, out-classing the German Fw–190’s and Messerschmitt Bf 109’s, both excellent aircraft. Even Germany’s most advanced fighter, the jet-engined Me 262 fell prey to the Mustang on several occasions. Although the P-51 arrived late to the Pacific Theatre, it saw duty in close support, tactical reconnaissance, and escort of B-29 bomber missions over Japan. By the end of World War II Mustang pilots had destroyed almost 5,000 enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground.

Wright Flyer 萊特飛行器

萊特飛行器是航空史上最具代表性的飛機之一,萊特兄弟 1903 年的成功飛行源自已知飛行原理和他們在自己的實驗中想法的結合,他們探討李林塔爾對鳥翼和翼型的研究,以及蘭利的蒸汽動力滑翔機實驗;達文西、沙努特和喬治·凱利爵士這些早期開拓者對萊特兄弟來說同樣重要。 但是,李林塔爾飛行失敗去世的事件對萊特兄弟影響甚巨,他們意識到儘管一些航空問題已被解決,但在控制飛機方面的進展太小。他們自製風洞隧道進行研究,以數百種不同翼弧的翼型完成了初步測試,開發出三軸控制系統。這種用來控制飛機俯仰與偏航的系統沿用至今,並據此製作出了萊特飛行器,也讓它成為第一台可控制、持續動力飛行的有人駕駛動力飛行機。

The Wright Flyer is one of the most Iconic aircraft in the history of aviation. Wilbur and Orville Wright’s Flyer of 1903 was a success because it combined the known principals of flight as well as ideas they discovered during their own experiments. They studied Otto Lilienthal’s research on bird wings and airfoils, as well as Samuel Langley’s experiments with a steam powered glider. Early pioneers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Octave Chanute and Sir George Cayley were no less important inspirations to the Wright brothers. But it was the death of Lilienthal in a crash during a gusty flight that galvanised the brothers into action. They realised that although some of the problems of aviation had been solved, little progress had been made concerning the control of an aircraft. As a result of their experiments with a shop-built wind tunnel and hundreds of glider tests, a three-axis control system was developed. This system of controlling the pitch, roll and yaw of an aircraft is fundamental even today. This led to the construction of the Flyer, which in 1903 became the first heavier-than-air manned craft to achieve controlled, sustained, powered flight.

Fokker DR1 福克 Dr.I 戰鬥機

福克 Dr.I 戰鬥機是是德國王牌飛行員紅男爵里希特霍芬所駕駛的代表機種。1917 年起,福克 Dr.I 戰鬥機開始替代他曾駕駛用於英勇殺敵的信天翁D戰鬥機的地位。它深受英國索普威斯三翼機的設計影響,紅男爵在兩天內擊落兩架敵機後,認為據之生產的兩個原型和後來的預生產模型比 Sopwith 三翼機更好。

不久之後,維爾納·福斯少尉以其中一架預生產戰機中做到8次擊墜,因而帶來了300 架福克 Dr.I 的訂單。這種小型三翼戰鬥機的特點是機身、尾翼和方向舵由焊接鋼管製成,而機翼則以木材製成的輕量化空心箱樑建構而成。武器配備是兩把與螺旋槳同步的 8 毫米 Spandau 機槍,明顯優於較早期的設計。儘管Dr.I具有高機動性並具有極佳的爬升率,但與它的對手相比,Oberursel 出產的汪克爾引擎速度十分不理想,且還發生飛機在壓力下分解的災難性的機翼故障案例。由於這些缺點,Dr.I 被 Fokker D.III取代。 

Known primarily as Manfred von Richthofen’s fighter of choice, the Fokker Dr.I of 1917 was ordered as a replacement for the aging Albatross D.III fighter, which was actually the plane he scored most of his kills flying. After viewing a captured British Sopwith Tri-plane, Fokker was directed to build a similar tri-plane. The resulting two prototypes and later pre-production models were deemed superior to the Sopwith Triplane by Richthofen himself after he scored two kills in two days. Shortly after, Ace Werner Voss added 8 kills to his tally flying one of the two pre-production planes. This resulted in an order for 300 Dr.I’s. The diminutive three wing fighter featured a fuselage, tailplane and rudder made of welded steel tubing, while the wings were built around light-weight hollow box spars made of wood. Armament consisted of two 8mm Spandau machine guns synchronised with the propellor—an obvious improvement over the earlier designs. Although the Dr.I was highly maneuverable and had an excellent rate of climb, the Oberursel rotary engine made it slow compared to its adversaries and alarmingly, some examples were plagued by catastrophic wing failures causing the aircraft to break up under stress. Due to these shortcomings the Dr.I was replaced by the Fokker D.III.

Spirit of St.Louis 聖路易精神號


「我對於我成功登陸法國對全世界的巨大影響感到驚訝,這就像把篝火點燃一般。」林白在1927 年成功獨自由紐約飛到巴黎後寫下這段話。以 33.5 小時飛行 3600 公里橫越大西洋當然代表勇敢和耐力,但他的這架 Ryan NYP 聖路易精神號同樣充滿英雄氣概。它是一架由林白家鄉密蘇里州聖路易斯支持者們贊助的單次飛機,以最輕便省油的方式設計製造,作為當時最符合空氣動力學的飛機,它採用焊接鋼管機身和木框架機翼,除了引擎後方的合金整流罩以外,它通體覆蓋銀色的帆布。為了符合前方油箱與主油箱的設計,飛機無法安裝擋風玻璃,這表示林白必須傾斜飛機,飛行時才能從側面窗戶看向前方。高瘦的林白也必須屈著雙腿坐在狹窄座艙的柳條座椅上;儘管不舒服,也讓他更加清醒。林白在多種引擎當中選擇了三具二百二十匹馬力萊特旋風型引擎,以便降低故障風險並維持更長的航程。令人驚訝的是,聖路易精神號只用了 60 天、花費 $10,580 就建造完成。

“I was astonished by the effect my successful landing in France had on the nations of the world. It was like a match lighting a bonfire” wrote Charles Lindberg of his 1927 solo, non-stop flight from New York to Paris. Of course, Lindberg’s prize-winning, 33.5 hour, 3,600 mile flight across the Atlantic is the very definition of bravery and endurance, but his Ryan “NYP” monoplane is no less heroic. Built as a one-off aircraft, and funded mostly by supporters in Lindberg’s hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, the Ryan “New York to Paris” was built as light and fuel efficient as possible. One of the most aerodynamic aircraft of its day, the “NYP” utilised a welded steel tube fuselage with wood framed wings. With the exception of the alloy cowling behind the engine, the plane was covered in silver-painted cloth. To accommodate the forward and main fuel tanks, the windshield had to be eliminated. This meant Lindberg had to skew the plane to look out the side windows to see forward during flight. Tall and lanky Lindberg also had to contend with a cramped cockpit so small he couldn’t straighten his legs, and a wicker seat so uncomfortable it kept him awake. A single 9 cylinder, 223 hp, Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine was chosen over multiple engines, as Lindberg felt the single engine would reduce the risk of failure and allow a greater range. Astonishingly, the Spirit of St Louis was constructed in only 60 days, at a cost of
$10,580.

Sopwith Camel 駱駝式戰鬥機

很多人會記得史努比漫畫中牠和紅男爵的史詩戰役:當偉大的德國王牌飛行員紅男爵駕駛著福克戰鬥機飛行,史努比的座駕可不是牠以為的狗屋,而是著名的駱駝式戰機——一架擁有豐富歷史的飛機。

駱駝式戰機在1917年夏天加入隊伍,成為第一次世界大戰中最成功的英國戰鬥機。它的名字來自兩組維克斯機槍上方凸起的整流罩,如同兩隻駝峰,所以被稱作駱駝式戰機。這些機槍是首波使用螺旋槳同步射擊的英國戰鬥機,它的設計相當傳統,擁有笨重的木製機身和覆蓋著布料的交錯式翅膀,並由合金整流罩包裹它的徑向引擎。

它的部分設計沿用早期的小狗戰鬥機,駱駝式戰機的裝備更好、速度更快,但是飛行起來也更困難。引擎、油箱,機槍和飛行員的重量都集中在飛機的前半部,讓它擁有出色的機動性,但是引擎旋轉的慣性很容易使飛機產生迴圈失控,導致許多新手飛行員因此喪生。在戰爭結束時,駱駝式戰機和它傑出的資深駕駛員們共擊落了1300架敵機,因此廣受讚譽。 

Many will remember the epic dogfights of“Snoopy and the Red Baron” from the Peanuts comic strip. While the great German Ace piloted his red Fokker Dr.I, Snoopy flew his dog house, which (in his mind), was the famed Sopwith Camel, an aircraft with its own rich history. Entering service in the Summer of 1917, the Sopwith Camel came to be the most successful British fighter of World War I. The Camel got its moniker from the raised fairings built along the sides of the twin Vickers machine guns, giving the fuselage a “humped” profile. These guns were the first on a British fighter to be synchronised to fire through the propellor. Of fairly onventional design, the Camel utilised a rather bulky wooden fuselage and staggered wings covered with fabric. An alloy cowling wrapped around the radial engine. Sharing some of its design with the earlier Sopwith Pup, the Camel was faster with improved armament, but was much harder to fly. The combined weight of engine, fuel tank, guns and pilot were concentrated towards the front of the plane giving it excellent manoeuvrability, but the inertia created by the rotary engine could cause the plane to “loop”wildly on take-off which caused the injury and death of many novice pilots. Even so, by war’s end, the Sopwith Camel’s seasoned pilots were credited for shooting down nearly 1,300 enemy aircraft.

Supermarine Spitfire 噴火戰鬥機

噴火戰鬥機是第二次世界大戰中最知名的英國戰機之一。共生產超過 20000 架、有 20 多個改造型號,它也是唯一一架持續在戰爭期間製造的英國戰鬥機。它是由超級馬林公司首席設計師 R. J. Mitchell 設計的短程阻截飛機,在幾次失敗的設計嘗試後,最終形態擁有優雅流暢的線條和半橢圓形機翼,並且搭載當時最新的勞斯萊斯 V12 引擎,也就是後來的隼式引擎。同時,它的原型機也是第一架擁有可伸縮起落架的飛機。

經過簡短的測試階段後,空軍訂購了 310 架噴火戰鬥機,而在克服了製造困難後,MkI 噴火戰鬥機被交到皇家空軍手中。在不列顛戰役期間,許多的颶風戰機擔任攻擊轟炸機的角色,而噴火戰鬥機在和德國用於護衛轟炸機的 Bf109 之間的戰鬥中脫穎而出。

整個戰爭過程中,噴火戰鬥機持續升級機翼、機身、武器,還將引擎從早期的 1,000 馬力一路加強,到戰爭結束時,它的引擎馬力已經超過 2,300。多功能的噴火戰鬥機適用各種戰略角色,例如高空攔截、戰鬥轟炸、照相偵查、甚至改造成為艦載機海火式戰鬥機。

The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most famous British aircraft of World War II. Over 20,000 were built, with over 20 variants. It is also the only British fighter to be manufactured continuously for the duration of the war. The Spitfire, built by Supermarine viation Works, was designed as a short-range interceptor aircraft by chief designer R. J. Mitchell. After several setbacks, the esulting prototype had the graceful flowing lines and semi-elliptical wings of later Spitfires and was powered by the newly developed Rolls Royce V12 engine, later known as the “Merlin.” The prototype was also one of the first aircraft to have retractable landing gear. After brief testing, an order for 310 Spitfires was placed by the Air Ministry. Once manufacturing difficulties were overcome, Mk I Spitfire deliveries to the RAF (Royal Air Force) began. Spitfires distinguished themselves during the Battle of Britain by countering bomber escorts such as the German Bf 109’s, while the more numerous Hawker Hurricanes attacked the bombers. Throughout the war the Spitfire had continuous upgrades to its wings, fuselage, armament and especially, engines—from just over 1,000 hp in the early models, to over 2,300 hp by war’s end. The ersatile Spitfire was also adapted to specific roles such as high-altitude Interceptor, Fighter-Bomber, Photo Reconnaissance, and even carrier-based fighter (the Seafire).

Lilienthal's Glider 李林塔爾滑翔機

「如鳥一般飛行」 是人類自古以來的夢想。從伊卡洛斯蠟和羽毛翅膀的神話、到達文西巧妙卻未實現的飛行器,人類飛上青天一直是個難以捉摸的夢想。想像一個陽光燦爛的無雲早晨,一小群人站在普魯士人造山的山腳下,而為此而生 50 英尺的山頂上有個男人傲然站立,他的肩膀上裝著由木頭和帆布製成的怪異翼狀裝置——接著他迎著風向加速跑了幾英尺,起飛了!雖然英國科學家喬治·凱利爵士在1853 年首次進行載人滑翔機飛行,但奧托·李林塔爾才是世界上公認的第一個成功飛行員,在他1896年墜機去世前,完成了 2000 多次安全飛行。在這些非凡飛行前的幾年,李林塔爾研究過鳥類的飛行和它們的翅膀結構,來探討如何比空氣重的物體飛起來,並在1889出版《鳥類飛行:航空的基礎》。他的深入與細膩研究影響了後世的飛行家萊特兄弟,他的死亡更進一步的激勵萊特兄弟行動起來飛上天際。

“To fly like a bird,” has been a dream of humankind since ancient times. From the cautionary tale of Icarus, with his wings of feathers and wax, to the ingenious, but never realised flying machines of Leonardo da Vinci, the reality of human flight remained an elusive dream. Imagine then, being one of a small group of people gathered at the base of a man-made hill in Prussia (Germany), on a sunny cloudless morning. At the top of a purpose-built 50 ft hill stands a man with an unusual winged contraption made of wood and canvas carried upon his shoulders. Taking note of the wind direction and velocity, he runs forward a few feet and then—incredibly, the man is flying! Though British scientist and inventor Sir George Cayley is credited with the first manned glider flight in 1853, Otto Lilienthal is regarded as the world’s first successful aviator, completing over 2,000 safe flights before his death as a result of a crash in 1896. Years before these remarkable flights Lilienthal devoted himself to the problem of heavier-than-air flight by first studying the flight of birds and the structure of their wings, resulting in the seminal book “Bird Flight as the Basis of Aviation,” published in 1889. The meticulous research provided by Lilienthal to future aviators became a great inspiration for Wilbur and Orville Wright, while his tragic death galvanised them into action.

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