Jared Zichek has published a fascinating study of Goodyear's submission for the 1950 US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics specification for a small convoy protection fighter that could be carried on merchant ships. The idea was similar to the CAM fighters of WW2, but now with a big difference - the advent of turbo-props opened up the possibility of VTOL fighters to combat the perceived growing Soviet threat to shipping in any future conflict.
Outline Specification resulted in two famous prototypes, the Convair XYF-1 Pogo and Lockheed XVF-1 Salmon - although neither were destined to progress beyond the prototype stage. What is less well-known is that three other manufacturers (Goodyear, Martin and Northrop) also submitted designs - Goodyear's being the GA-28A/B .
The book is available in two forms - a conventional printed 34 page 8.5" x 11" softcover book, or as a Kindle book via Amazon. Jared kindly sent a sample of the print edition, and I also purchased the Kindle version for comparison. The print edition costs just £8.99, while the Kindle book is a snip at £3.99.
The content is the same, with 40 illustrations, which are taken from Goodyear's original proposal documents for the 3/4 scale GA-28A technology tester, and the final GA-28B fighter. The two aircraft shared largely similar designs, although the design evolved somewhat over time.
Essentially, though, the GA-28 was to be a radical, delta-winged VTOL fighter with twin 5-blade contra-rotating propellers powered by a Mamba turbo-prop (that could be quick-changed in 30 minutes), capable of operating entirely without external support equipment. A unique undercarriage design allowed it to land conventionally as well - something that its rivals in the competition could not manage. However, this feature did increase the calculated weight considerably.
To take off and land from a pitching deck, an advanced auto-pilot system was envisaged to ease the pilot's considerable workload - although whether this was truly beyond the then current state of the technological art is arguable. As it was, neither the GA-28A or 'B progressed beyond paper designs, so we'll probably never know whether the design could have succeeded to any degree.
As it's based on the original design proposals, the text is necessarily fairly technical, but Jared has done a fine job in making it comprehensible to the layman. The original artist's impressions bring things to life nicely, giving a great idea of how the GA-28 would have operated, and Jared has also included some high quality modern colour profiles showing some "what-if" schemes.
The really exciting thing for modellers is the large number of detailed original blueprints that are reproduced, including full 3-views, cutaways and loft-lines. There's definitely enough here for a skilled modeller to scratch-build from - but for the less ambitious, it's exciting to note that Jared himself is planning a pair of limited edition 1:72 kits of the GA-28A and 'B via his Retro Mechanix website.
I really enjoyed Jared's book in both its forms. From the perspective of a modeller contemplating a scratch-build, the print version is probably more useful as I found it easier to access and scale the drawings as required. Fascinating stuff - and with more to come, because Jared has just announced a similar study of Martin's proposal for the same BUAer specification -the Model 262.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: A highly detailed and very affordable study of a truly unique subject available in print and digital formats.Lows: None that I've noticed.Verdict: The book should certainly appeal to all aircraft enthusiasts interested in the weird and wonderful, while the inclusion of so many detailed blueprints and schematics can hardly fail to inspire advanced scratch-builders.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...