By Tommy H. Thomason

Monday, September 22, 2008

Development of the Davis Barrier

The Davis barrier was created by the Naval Aircraft Factory to replace the conventional barrier that was satisfactory for stopping single-engine propeller-driven airplanes that didn't pick up an arresting cable with the tail hook but not for twin-engine ones like the F7F Tigercat. The problem was that unlike the single-engine situation, where the propeller hit the barrier cable at a very shallow angle and wouldn't cut it, the nose gear of a twin-engine airplane would pull the cable out and forward, so when the propellers got to it, the cable might be at enough of an angle for it to be cut.

This wasn't exactly the situation here, but demonstrated the problem. In this test, the Davis barrier used a one-inch steel cable to actuate the retarding cable that was to snag the main landing gear. Fortunately the PBJ (U.S. Army Air Forces B-25) was unoccupied for the test, because a prop cut the actuating cable and flailed the cockpit with it. This resulted in the actuating cable becoming a canvas strap.

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