Abstract The past oil crises have caused dramatic improvements in fuel efficiency in all industrial sectors. The aviation sector—aircraft manufacturers and airlines—has also made significant efforts to improve the fuel efficiency through more advanced jet engines, high-lift wing designs, and lighter airframe materials. However, the innovations in energy-saving aircraft technologies do not coincide with the oil crisis periods.
Aviation in World War I The word "fighter" was first used to describe a two-seater aircraft with sufficient lift to carry a machine gun and its operator as well as the pilot.
Some of the first such "fighters" belonged to the "gunbus" series of experimental gun carriers of the British Vickers company that culminated in the Vickers F. The main drawback of this type of aircraft was its lack of speed. Planners quickly realized that an aircraft intended to destroy its kind in the air had to be fast enough to catch its quarry.
Another type of military aircraft was to form the basis for an effective "fighter" in the modern sense of the word.
It was based on the small fast aircraft developed before the war for such air races as the Gordon Bennett Cup and Schneider Trophy. British scout aircraft, in this sense, included the Sopwith Tabloid and Bristol Scout. French equivalents included the Morane-Saulnier N.
Many of these proved ineffective as the pilot had to fly his airplane while attempting to aim a handheld weapon and make a difficult deflection shot.
The first step in finding a real solution was to mount the weapon on the aircraft, but the propeller remained a problem since the best direction to shoot is straight ahead. Numerous solutions were tried. A second crew member behind the pilot could aim and fire a swivel-mounted machine gun at enemy airplanes; however, this limited the area of coverage chiefly to the rear hemisphere, and effective coordination of the pilot's maneuvering with the gunner's aiming was difficult.
This option was chiefly employed as a defensive measure on two-seater reconnaissance aircraft from on.
A and the Royal Aircraft Factory B. Billy Bishop sitting in his Nieuport 23 with the machine gun just visible at the top of the picture mounted to fire over the propeller.
An alternative was to build a "pusher" scout such as the Airco DH.
The main drawback was that the high drag of a pusher type's tail structure made it slower than a similar "tractor" aircraft. A better solution for a single seat scout was to mount the machine gun rifles and pistols having been dispensed with to fire forwards but outside the propeller arc.
Wing guns were tried but the unreliable weapons available required frequent clearing of jammed rounds and misfires and remained impractical until after the war. Mounting the machine gun over the top wing worked well and was used long after the ideal solution was found.
The British Foster mounting was specifically designed for this kind of application, fitted with the Lewis Machine gunwhich due to its design was unsuitable for synchronizing. The actual aircraft used by Wintgens in his pioneering aerial engagement, his Fokker M.
The need to arm a tractor scout with a forward-firing gun whose bullets passed through the propeller arc was evident even before the outbreak of war and inventors in both France and Germany devised mechanisms that could time the firing of the individual rounds to avoid hitting the propeller blades.Doing more with less.
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