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Curtiss B-2 Condor
Role Heavy bomber
Manufacturer Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
Introduced 1929
Retired 1934
Status No known survivors
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Produced 1929-1930
Number built 13
Unit cost US$76,373 (1928)

The Curtiss B-2 Condor was a 1920s United States bomber aircraft. It was a descendant of the Martin NBS-1, which was built by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company for the Glenn L. Martin Company. There were a few differences, such as stronger materials and different engines, but they were relatively minor.

Contents

Development

The B-2 was a large fabric-covered biplane aircraft. Its two engines sat in nacelles between the wings, flanking the fuselage. It had a twin set of rudders on a twin tail, a configuration which was becoming obsolete by that time. At the rear of each nacelle was a gunner position. In previous planes, the back-facing gunners had been in the fuselage, but their view there was obstructed. A similar arrangement (using nacelle-mounted gun platforms) was adopted in the competing Keystone XB-1 aircraft.

The XB-2 competed for a United States Army Air Corps production contract with the similar Keystone XB-1, Sikorsky S-37, and Fokker XLB-2. The other three were immediately ruled out, but the Army board appointed to make the contracts were strongly supportive of the smaller Keystone XLB-6, which cost a third as much as the B-2. Furthermore, the B-2 was large for the time and difficult to fit into existing hangars. However, the superior performance of the XB-2 soon wrought a policy change, and in 1928 a production run of 12 was ordered.

A later version of the B-2, dubbed the B-2A, featured dual controls for both the pilot and the copilot. Previously, the control wheel and the pitch controls could only be handled by one person at a time. This "dual control" setup became standard on all bombers by the 1930s. There was no production line for the B-2A, though a B-2 was converted to follow its setup. The B-2 design was also used as a transport.

The B-2 was quickly made obsolete by technological advances of the 1930s, and served only briefly with the Army Air Corps, being removed from service by 1934. Following production of the B-2, Curtiss Aircraft left the bomber business, and concentrated on the Hawk series of pursuit aircraft in the 1930s.

Variants

Model 52
Company designation of the B-2.
XB-2
Prototype.
B-2
Twin-engines heavy bomber biplane. Initial production version; 12 built.
B-2A
Redesignation of one B-2 fitted with dual controls.
Model 53 Condor 18
Civil version of the B-2. Six built.

Military operators

 United States

Specifications (B-2)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5
  • Length: 47 ft 6 in (14.5 m)
  • Wingspan: 90 ft 0 in (27.4 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 3 in (4.9 m)
  • Wing area: 1,500 ft² (140 m²)
  • Empty weight: 9,000 lb (4,100 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 16,500 lb (7,480 kg)
  • Powerplant:Curtiss V-1570-7 "Conqueror" liquid-cooled V12 engine, 600 hp (450 kW) each

Performance

Armament

  • Guns: 6 × .30 in (7.62 mm) Lewis machine guns
  • Bombs: 2,500 lb (1,100 kg); 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) on short flights

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

References

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Notes

Bibliography

  • Bowers, Peter M. Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-370-10029-8.

External links


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