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Jack E. Hammond
AVSIG Member


Reged: 08/23/04
Posts: 8394
Loc: INDIANA
The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened?
      #257216 - 07/26/09 05:09 AM

Folks,

In the late 1970s the USAF decided to develop and purchase a new trainer which would combine all of the T-37 part and most of the T-38 training regime. Unlike the T-37 it would have a much higher transit speed and even more important the altitude it would train the pilot at: 47,000 feet. And it a lot less fuel and hours per hour costs.

But then something happened. The USAF was never clear about why they canceled the only new trainer being developed in the US since before the Vietnam War. All other trainers were developed from over seas designs. Some say the T-46A was canceled to prove that the Reagan administration could cancel some weapons projects. And the T-46A was one of the only two "major" weapons canceled by the Reagan administration.

Below are two pages from a aviation publication in 1984 on the T-46A. I am probably wrong, but I think what ever the short comings or problems were they could have been worked out and given the USAF the trainer they needed for the next three to five decades. And in my opinion Fairchild was not the type of company that would design a dog.

Any opinions or comments appreciated. And when I find the info that Fairchild sent me, I will post it.

Jack E. Hammond


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J. Wiley
Aviation Researcher


Reged: 05/01/04
Posts: 6326
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: Jack E. Hammond]
      #257252 - 07/26/09 03:44 PM

Beside the facts that it was underpowered, had poor handling and spin characteristics, poor engine performance, the program was badly managed and the program quickly escalated from a $3.2 Billion program to a $3.4 billion in one year (5%)

The engine was a poor performer and the USAF was already considering an engine upgrade. nd the Navy, smelling a real wet dog, had absolutely NO interest in the -46A.

Then too, some choked on the name "Eaglet".

And when the Air Force killed the Eaglet, it was the end of Fairchild Republic.


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Jack E. Hammond
AVSIG Member


Reged: 08/23/04
Posts: 8394
Loc: INDIANA
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: J. Wiley]
      #257278 - 07/26/09 07:24 PM

Dear John,

How did a famous company like Fairchild design such a dawg? And while I can "maybe" understand the bad flying characteristics, how does a simple trainer design require $3.4 billion! I mean almost all trainer designs are a private funded development -- ie with the idea that if we can not sell it to our government we can sell it to some other government.

Jack E. Hammond

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J. Wiley
Aviation Researcher


Reged: 05/01/04
Posts: 6326
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: Jack E. Hammond]
      #257289 - 07/26/09 08:09 PM

Originally it was argued the T-46 program would cost LESS than any upgrade to the -37 and would offer a longer life with lower operating costs. It was supposed to be a win-win.

According to some reports, some mods included new engines for the -37 (none specified) and extending the service life. Of course, at some point in time someone was going to have to address the fact that the final turn for landing in the -37 put the pilot outside the ejection seat envelope. The -37 seat was NOT a zero-zero seat and the normal sink rate on final placed the pilot in jeopardy.

Jane's reports in Mar86 that the CBO said the USAF could extend the -37s for $1.2 billion less than acquiring the -46A which by then had taken on the nickname, the "Thunder-piglet" in line with Republic aircraft being named thunder-something.

Like Beech, Fairchild Republic had Rutan build a 62% aircraft and the numbers looked good. But poor engine perf, bad cost over-runs, poor management of the program doomed the little pig.


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Stephanie Belser
Top Gun APC


Reged: 04/29/04
Posts: 5929
Loc: KFAM
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: Jack E. Hammond]
      #257352 - 07/27/09 04:01 PM

Quote:

How did a famous company like Fairchild design such a dawg?




Not original, by any means:

"If they ever build a runway that goes around the world, Fairchild will build an airplane that uses every inch of it."

--------------------
What the hell is an "aluminum falcon"?


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rheisner
Public Guest


Reged: 03/13/07
Posts: 2050
Loc: Southold, NY
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: Jack E. Hammond]
      #257356 - 07/27/09 05:57 PM

Quote:

How did a famous company like Fairchild design such a dawg?
.



Tell me one company that hasn't?

--------------------
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.
Katharine Hepburn


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J. Wiley
Aviation Researcher


Reged: 05/01/04
Posts: 6326
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: Jack E. Hammond]
      #257357 - 07/27/09 06:06 PM

Quote:

Dear John,

How did a famous company like Fairchild design such a dawg?

.




The same can be said for Consolidated Vultee and the B-32. They had the -24 design locked down. Interesting wing, good performance but with some problems. Then they get the default position for backup on the B-29 when Lockheed and Douglas back out of the competition.

The -32 comes up like a bunch of rookies with NO experience designed it. Take the cowl flaps for instance. There were controls for the UPPER and LOWER cowl flaps.. 8 switches. ?? The pilot's seat was also screwed up. Raise the seat to see outside the cockpit and you had virtually no scan inside for instruments. Lower the seat to see the instruments and you could not see out. ??? The pressurization sys was so bad they junked it and went with an unpressurized airplane, especially after LeMay decided to take the -29s in low. And on and on and on.

And performance was atrocious when it came to range, speed and altitude. None were met as I remember. One has to wonder if taking them all to Walnut Ridge soon after the war was a routine reduction or revenge. At any rate, the entire fleet was quickly chopped up including some that were mostly brand new with very few hours on engines or airframes.


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Ralph Jones
Top Gun


Reged: 08/31/01
Posts: 21214
Loc: 4CO2
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: J. Wiley]
      #257364 - 07/27/09 06:34 PM

Quote:

There were controls for the UPPER and LOWER cowl flaps.. 8 switches. ??




Considering the cooling problems they had with the R-3350's, I'd think that could come in handy.

Quote:

The pressurization sys was so bad they junked it and went with an unpressurized airplane, especially after LeMay decided to take the -29s in low.




I thought that decision was made as soon as the B-29 was selected as primary, as a low-tech fallback in case the B-29's pressurization and remote turrets didn't work out.

--------------------
Ralph Jones
LS-4a N49LS 6R


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J. Wiley
Aviation Researcher


Reged: 05/01/04
Posts: 6326
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: Ralph Jones]
      #257376 - 07/27/09 08:31 PM

Quote:

Considering the cooling problems they had with the R-3350's, I'd think that could come in handy.




Too complex and a single switch worked better. The crews found it a problem in flight test.

Quote:

I thought that decision was made as soon as the B-29 was selected as primary, as a low-tech fallback in case the B-29's pressurization and remote turrets didn't work out.




In a way you are correct but the ORIGINAL airplane was to have pressurization just like the -29. And as you have noted, they decided after the -29 experience that the -32 didn't need the complex remote turrets.

The -32, as most here know, is unique in many ways. The last combat sortie in the Pacific, last aerial engagement with 2 Japanese fighters claimed, the last airman killed in the Pacific and one of the few airplanes where NONE are left. ALL cut up and destroyed.

Edited by J. Wiley (07/27/09 08:32 PM)


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Mase Taylor
Top Gun


Reged: 04/30/04
Posts: 9446
Loc: SOCAL
Re: The Fairchild T-46A - What Happened? [Re: J. Wiley]
      #257384 - 07/27/09 09:58 PM




http://www.daveswarbirds.com/usplanes/aircraft/dominatr.htm

--------------------
Fly The Airplane As Far Into The Crash As Possible. - Bob Hoover 1922-2016 R.I.P.


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