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Convair Advanced Designs: Secret Projects from San Diego, 1923-1962 Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Specialty Press (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580072186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580072182
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1 x 28 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,109,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Until it was sold to McDonnell Douglas in 1994 Convair, previously Consolidated was one of the major American aircraft companies producing some classic WW2 aircraft, such as the Catalina and the B-24 Liberator. In its early days as Consolidated the company became famous for its flying boat designs. Apart from those previously mentioned other machines took to the air, including the Coronado and the Corregidor and later, under the Convair name, the Tradewind.

These are just a few of the `headline' machines, there were many more. But behind these were the design studies that never left the drawing board. Some of these projects were ambitious to say the least and some down right bizarre. Picture a large passenger flying boat taking off on land! This was to be achieved by launching it from a high-speed land vehicle running on rails. There are dozens of these designs - which take up 117 pages before we get to the `Bomber program'. The most famous of these must be the B-36, but there were others, and again many project designs.

This book covers them all, many of them with highly detailed drawings. I find this book a real eye opener and should be of great interest to the `what if' modeller. --Ernie Lee - Model Aircraft Monthly

This new title deals with all aspects of the various projected aircraft designs that came out of Consolidated's (later renamed Convair) San Diego plant from 1923 through to 1962. The coverage is set in date order, with a narrative for each combined with any diagrams or artwork that was produced at the time. These diagrams include plans as well as projected payload and ordnance fitment, while the artwork is from the various official proposal documents and allows you to get an idea of what each concept would have looked like in three-dimensions. Pretty much all of the information in this title has not been seen before.

Verdict: An extremely useful title for anyone interested in the 'what if?' side of Consolidated's aircraft production. -- Model Airplane International - December 2010

Author Bradley worked for Convair, later General Dynamics, from 1957 until retiring in 1993 whereupon he enlisted as a volunteer archivist at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, specialising in their Convair archive. This CV has clearly informed his long-standing personal interest in the Convair advanced design studies and proposals that form the subject matter of his book. The book falls into three sections. The first is a brief company history that traces the evolution of the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation and its transformation into the massive aircraft manufacturer famous for its Catalina flying boat and Liberator heavy bomber. In March 1943, Consolidated and Vultee merged to form the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, formally renamed Convair in 1954 when it became the Convair Division of General Dynamics. This useful summary then segues into the first of the two major parts of the book which features descriptions of no less than 52 seaplane programmes from the TW-3 single-engined, single float biplane of 1923 to the extraordinary Flying Submersible design of 1952.

Only a few of these 52 seaplane designs were actually built and they include the well-known and less well-known Husky and Fleetster floatplanes; the Admiral, Commodore. Ranger Catalina, Coronado. Corregidor Tradewind and XP5Y-1 flying boats and the Sea Dart delta wing, hydro-ski jet flying boat. Of these, the Model 28 Catalina was the stand-out design in terms of production numbers and its legendary service record but readers will be intrigued by some of the Catalina-related projects that did not progress beyond the drawing board but are covered in this book. They include an amphibious Catalina with main wheels in streamlined pods between the wing lift struts, a bespoke military aerial survey version, a deep hull transport variant and several ideas for commercial passenger carrying Cats. Catalina enthusiasts will be fascinated with these proposals and the similarity of some of them to post-war civilian conversions - it is interesting to see that even the far-sighted designers at Consolidated had not formally considered a fire-fighting water bomber version!

The seaplane section then continues on through an amazing succession of ever more fabulous and incredible concepts that include a flying boat similar to a twin-engine Liberator; blended wing and hull designs; large flying wing floatplanes; trans-oceanic passenger carrying flying boats; triple-engined flying boats with the third engine in the nose; a proposal for a four-engined flying boat designed to take off from land using a high speed rail vehicle as its base; streamlined flying boats with high-aspect-ratio hydrofoils and gull wings and massive twin float seaplanes with what appear to be rather low-slung engines for water borne use. These take us to 1943 only! Thereafter, the drawing board designs get evermore futuristic and include wing-root mounted turbojets and six-engined oceanic flying boats; swept-wing and tail-less long-range attack seaplane bombers; assault seaplane transports; twin-hulled seaplanes and even supersonic attack seaplanes and nuclear powered flying boats, one of which was to be based on a modified SARO Princess flying boat. The last (1962) seaplane project in the book is the Flying Submersible, designed to be equally at home above and below the water! - this reviewer can recall reading about it in a contemporary issue of Meccano Magazine.

These 52 projects are fully described and illustrated with extraordinary plans and artist impressions from the CONVAIR archives and one has to be reminded that they were serious proposals and not material from science fiction books or The Eagle! The third section of the book covers a further 26 bomber projects, mostly still-born but including the Liberator, Dominator, Peacemaker, XC99, Privateer and XB-46 jet bomber, all of which did take to the air with varying degrees of success and longevity. This hardback book is very highly recommended, not least for its Catalina connections, and is worth every penny of the £23.99 price in the UK. -- David Legg - Catalina News Oct 2010 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews
6 people found this helpful.
4.0 out of 5 starsAlmost superb
on 22 April 2010 - Published on Amazon.com
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7 people found this helpful.
5.0 out of 5 starsIncredible research project
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5.0 out of 5 starsA really complete history of the company.
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4.0 out of 5 starsExcellent Overview of Convair's San Diego Works
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