The Hall XPTBH was a prototype American twin-engined seaplane, submitted to the United States Navy by the Hall Aluminum Aircraft Corporation in response to a 1934 specification for new bomber and scout aircraft. Constructed in an innovative fashion that made extensive use of aluminum, the XPTBH proved successful in flight testing, but failed to win favor with the U.S. Navy. No production contract was awarded, and the single aircraft built served in experimental duties before its destruction in a hurricane during 1938.
|The XPTBH-2 in flight|
|Manufacturer||Hall Aluminum Aircraft Corporation|
|First flight||February 1937|
|Retired||September 21, 1938|
|Primary user||United States Navy|
|Program cost||$309,000 USD|
|Fate||Destroyed in hurricane|
September 21, 1938
In late 1934, the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) issued a specification for new scout bomber and torpedo bomber designs. Eight companies submitted a total of ten designs in response, evenly split between monoplanes and biplanes.[N 1] The Hall Aluminum Aircraft Company submitted the only seaplane design; a single prototype was ordered by the Navy for evaluation on June 30, 1934. Given the designation XPTBH-1, it became the only aircraft to receive three mission-type letters under the U.S. Navy's designation system used between 1922 and 1962.
Hall's choice of the twin-float seaplane configuration was dictated by the Navy's requirement that the new torpedo-bomber design should be capable of carrying a standard naval torpedo of the type carried by destroyers. As ordered, the XPTBH-1 was intended to be fitted with Wright R-1820 "Cyclone" radial engines; delays in design caused by Hall relocating their production facility, difficulties with the contract, and doubts about the aircraft's performance potential led to a redesign, the aircraft becoming slightly smaller and the engines being changed to a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-1830 "Twin Wasp" radials. The changes to the aircraft resulted in it receiving the revised designation XPTBH-2.
Utilising Hall's standard aluminum tubular spar, the fuselage and wing leading edges were covered in aluminum, while the rest of the wing and the control surfaces were fabric-covered. The aircraft was well-armed defensively by 1930s standards, with a powered turret, designed by Hall, mounted in the nose and carrying a single .30-caliber machine gun. Hand-traversed mountings for a pair of machine guns were fitted in dorsal (top) and ventral (belly) positions aft. An optically flat glass panel was fitted in the nose below the turret for use by the bombardier; the aircraft's offensive weaponry, consisting of a Mark XIII aerial torpedo or, alternatively, up to 2,000 pounds (910 kg) of bombs, was carried in an internal bomb bay, the twin-float arrangement allowing for a clear release of the weaponry.
Delivered to the Navy on January 30, 1937,[N 2] the aircraft was officially presented to the public at Hall's Bristol, Pennsylvania factory in April of that year. The aircraft's early flight testing, starting in February and conducted by test pilot Bill McAvoy, showed that the XPTBH had few faults, with the only significant issue being a lack of roll authority – a reduction of the ability of the ailerons to turn the aircraft – as a result of the surface area of the floats. A modification to increase the area of the rudder solved the issue. The aircraft's water-handling characteristics were found to be excellent; the only significant complaints that surfaced during the testing period concerned the XPTBH-2's beaching gear, which was found to be extremely difficult to use in anything other than the calmest water.
Although the XPTBH-2 met most of its design specifications and was rated overall very good in flight testing, it failed to meet the contractual requirements for top speed and attack speed. In addition, the U.S. Navy did not consider a seagoing torpedo-bomber to be an aircraft for which there was an operational requirement; the fact that as a floatplane the aircraft was restricted to operation from water was also considered a negative, while the aircraft's "three-in-one" role led it to be viewed as a jack of all trades, purpose-designed aircraft for each role being considered superior. The company, however, blamed Navy politics for the lack of a production order.
Following the conclusion of its test program, the XPTBH-2 was used for experimental duties at the Naval Torpedo Station in Newport, Rhode Island, participating in trials of aerial torpedoes. Its service at Newport came to an end on September 21, 1938, when the XPTBH-2 was destroyed during the Great New England Hurricane. The XPTBH-2 was the last aircraft designed by Hall Aluminum; the company remained in business until 1940, when it was bought out by Consolidated Aircraft.[N 3]
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
The Douglas TBD Devastator was an American torpedo bomber of the United States Navy. Ordered in 1934, it first flew in 1935 and entered service in 1937. At that point, it was the most advanced aircraft flying for the Navy and possibly for any navy in the world. However, the fast pace of aircraft development quickly caught up with it, and by the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the TBD was already outdated.
The Devastator performed well in some early battles, but earned notoriety for its catastrophically poor performance in the Battle of Midway, in which the 41 Devastators launched during the battle produced zero torpedo hits and only six survived to return to their carriers. Vastly outclassed in both speed and maneuverability by the Mitsubishi Zero fighters they faced, most of the force was wiped out with little consequence except to distract the Zeros from the much more capable (and survivable) SBD Dauntless dive bombers that eventually sank four Japanese carriers and a heavy cruiser. Although a small portion of the Devastator's dismal performance was later attributed to the many well-documented defects in the US Mark 13 torpedo, the aircraft was immediately withdrawn from frontline service after Midway, being replaced by the Grumman TBF Avenger.Fiat RS.14
The Fiat RS.14 was an Italian long-range maritime strategic reconnaissance floatplane. The RS.14 was a four/five seat all-metal cantilever low/mid-wing monoplane powered by two wing-mounted 626 kW (840 hp) Fiat A.74 R.C.38 engines. It had a conventional cantilever tail unit with a single fin and rudder. Its undercarriage consisted of two large floats on struts. It had a glazed nose for an observer or bomb aimer. The pilot and copilot sat side by side with a wireless operator's compartment behind them. In the bombing role the RS.14 was fitted with a long ventral gondola to carry various combinations of anti-submarine bombs (up to 400 kg/882 lb).Fokker T.VIII
The Fokker T.VIII was a twin-engined torpedo bomber and aerial reconnaissance floatplane designed and manufactured by Dutch aviation company Fokker.
It was developed in the late 1930s as a more-capable successor to the Fokker T.IV. While the Dutch Naval Aviation Service had originally desired for its use in both the home waters and in the Dutch East Indies, the Second World War broke out as production was ramping up to meet these needs. In addition to its service in the Netherlands, both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Luftwaffe would operate small numbers of the type.Great Lakes XTBG
The Great Lakes XTBG-1 was an American prototype torpedo bomber, intended for service in the United States Navy as part of that service's plan to modernise its aerial striking force in the mid-1930s. The XTBG-1 was outperformed by the competing TBD Devastator, however, in addition to having instability problems and only a single prototype of the three-seat design was constructed during 1935.Grumman XSBF
The Grumman XSBF, also known by the company designation G-14, was an American biplane scout bomber developed by Grumman Aircraft for the United States Navy during the 1930s. Derived from Grumman's successful "Fifi" fighter, the aircraft was developed at a time when the biplane was giving way to the monoplane. In competition against other aircraft it proved to possess inferior performance in its intended role, and did not enter production. The sole prototype went on to serve as a liaison aircraft, as well as being used in experiments by NACA, before being destroyed in a crash in 1939.Heinkel He 115
The Heinkel He 115 was a three-seat World War II Luftwaffe seaplane. It was used as a torpedo bomber and performed general seaplane duties, such as reconnaissance and minelaying. The aircraft was powered by two 960 PS (947 hp, 720 kW) BMW 132K nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engines. Some later models could seat four, had different engines or used different weapon arrangements.List of United States bomber aircraft
This is a list of United States bomber aircraftList of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (1935–1939)
This is a list of notable accidents and incidents involving military aircraft grouped by the year in which the accident or incident occurred. Not all of the aircraft were in operation at the time. Combat losses are not included except for a very few cases denoted by singular circumstances.List of aircraft (H-He)
This is a list of aircraft in alphabetical order beginning with 'H'.List of bomber aircraft
The following is a list of bomber airplanes and does not include bomber airships, organized by era and manufacturer. A bomber is a military aircraft designed to attack ground or sea targets.List of seaplanes and amphibious aircraft
The following is a list of seaplanes and amphibious aircraft, which includes floatplanes and flying boats, by country of origin.
Seaplanes are any aircraft that has the capability of landing on water while amphibious aircraft are equipped with wheels to alight on land, as well as being able to land on the water. Flying boats rely on the fuselage or hull for buoyancy, while floatplanes rely on external pontoons or floats. Some experimental aircraft used specially designed skis to skim across the water but did not always have a corresponding ability to float.
This list does not include ekranoplans, 'Wing-In-Ground-effect' (WIG), water-skimmers, wingships or similar vehicles reliant on ground effect.List of torpedo bombers
This is a list of torpedo bomber aircraft, designed or adapted to carry a primary weapon load of one or more aerial torpedoes in an anti-shipping role. It does not include types equipped for the more general anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role.Vought XSB3U
The Vought XSB3U was an American biplane scout bomber developed by Vought-Sikorsky for the United States Navy during the 1930s. Developed as an alternative to the SB2U Vindicator monoplane, the aircraft proved unsatisfactory to the Navy in comparison, and development was not pursued.
|Patrol Torpedo Bomber|
1 Not assigned · 2 Designation reused
|Patrol Torpedo Bomber|