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Zveno I-4; Flying Aircraft Carrier?

Old 11-28-2009, 01:05 PM
Sky Sharkster
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Default Zveno I-4; Flying Aircraft Carrier?

The idea of a large "Mother" aircraft carrying a smaller "Parasite" airplane aloft has been around for years, and has been used successfully several times. However, the retrieval of the parasite aircraft by the mother ship is a bit more complicated. It has happened, though.
In the late 1920's the emerging Russian Air Force had a plan to carry aloft 2 (at first) fighters slung under the wings of the Tupolev TB-1 twin engine bomber. This concept was advanced by designer Vladimir Vakhmistrov and was approved for prototype production.
But the idea grew; Next they tried three fighters, two below the wings, one more above the fuselage. Eventually they tried (successfully) a remarkable inflight retrieval on a folding platform below the fuselage, called a "Spider". This was not intended to launch the aircraft, but to retrieve it inflight. With the spider extended and loaded, the bomber didn't have ground clearence for takeoff.
And it worked. Once. On April 5th, 1935, the Russians retrieved an I-Z fighter mid-flight. By now the mother ship was the TB-3, the four-engine version of the TB-1. The composite bomber with attached fighters (air-launch) was called the Zveno I-4 and it took off on that eventful day not with two parasite fighters, but four. Two above the wings, two below. After releasing the four fighters in-air, they retrieved a fifth.
And that wasn't all; The designer had plans to retrieve each aircraft in turn, to save their fuel and possibly to re-arm and re-fuel the fighters inflight.
Eventually the Aviamatka Z-6 bomber flew a single mission in the early stages of WWII with five parasite fighters, all successfully launched.
There are other examples of parasite or air-launched aircraft in history,
But the Zveno I-4 has to be the most remarkable!
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:13 PM
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I guess you could do it with a cargo plane with a large bomb-bay hatch at the rear so you could drop like PZ mini p-51.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:08 PM
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Default Flying Aircraft Carrier ?

When I saw the title I immediately thought of a 'flying aircraft carrier', such as in 'Sky Captain and World of Tomorrow', and of course 'Captain Scarlet' and their Cloudbase.

Perhaps I take things too literally.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:47 PM
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well, a design like that is possible, but would be very hard to build.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:21 PM
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The U.S.S Los angeles,The Akron and the Macon also come to mind.
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