Tuesday, March 11, 2008


An Underdeveloped Airplane

A Chinese soldier with fixed bayonet guards a line of Curtiss P-40 Warhawks near the beginning of our involvement in WWII. Most airplanes get constantly upgraded through their months and years of service. The Brit Spitfire had at least 20 such upgrades. The P-51 Mustang had eight. The P-40 only had four upgrades before they quit making it in November, 1944. Had they continued to improve its engines and armament it could have rivaled the above named planes for fighter of the war. The shark teeth mouth on the underside of the front cowling was pretty cool in any event.
We know that the b in B-52 stands for bomber and that the f in F-15 stands for fighter and even that the a in A-10 stands for attack. So what does the p in P-40 and P-51 stand for? Answer tomorrow.


P is for Pursuit.
Well done.
And R is for reconnaissance, U is for utility, C is for cargo, H is for helicopter, O is for observation, A is for attack....

Any others you'd like explained?

I would have had trouble with a U designation. Thanks, Doug.
After thinking about it further, I realized that I didn't know what V stands for. After a bit of research, I think it stands for both "fixed-wing" and "vertical take-off".

The Navy uses (or used, anyway) the former and the Marines use the latter for both the Harrier and the Osprey. I don't know whether the "V" in OV-10 (the Bronco) means fixed-wing observation aircraft (to differentiate from observation helicopters), or VSTOL observation aircraft, or something else entirely.
See, there are limits to everyone's knowledge.
Identify and correct; identify and correct.

OK...so who here can say what the Y and Q prefixes are for, hmmm?
No idea on the Q, but I believe the Y has something to do with the plane being a prototype. Or something like that.
Right...Y denotes prototype (X denotes experimental), and the Q prefix is for drones.
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