By Tommy H. Thomason

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It takes all the running you can do to stay in place II...

Perhaps you were wondering why the trailing edge of the Vought A-7 Corsair II changed direction above the rudder? Probably not. However, the reason for that and its blunt nose is the critical requirement for minimum usage of the scarce real estate on an aircraft carrier. At the last moment before proposal submittal, a Vought executive took a drafting triangle and drew a line upward from the deck through the vertical fin above the rudder to minimize the overall length. (Whoever subsequently revised the side view in the proposal brochure forgot to change the location of the right arrow/line defining the length. Or it was too much trouble—no computer graphic programs then.)

Note that the proposal has a more pointed nose than the actual aircraft. During detail design, the fuselage had to be lengthened and blunting the nose minimized the impact. Note also that the proposal offered a folding horizontal tail as an option to further reduce the spot factor, which is the measure of the space used when the airplane was folded. The Navy passed on that idea.

No comments: