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GOLDEN AGE


Huff-Daland LB-1


Light Bomber Aircraft


The Huff-Daland LB-1 bomber was realized in just nine completed models to go along with a single prototype.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 4/5/2019
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Specifications


Year: 1923
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Manufacturer(s): Huff-Daland Aero Corporation )USA
Production: 10
Capabilities: Ground Attack;
Crew: 4
Length: 45.93 ft (14 m)
Width: 66.50 ft (20.27 m)
Height: 14.76 ft (4.5 m)
Weight (Empty): 6,338 lb (2,875 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 12,423 lb (5,635 kg)
Power: 1 x Packard 2A-2500 engine developing 800 horsepower.
Speed: 118 mph (190 kph; 103 kts)
Ceiling: 11,155 feet (3,400 m; 2.11 miles)
Range: 430 miles (692 km; 374 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 530 ft/min (162 m/min)
Operators: United States
Huff-Daland produced a series of aircraft for American agricultural and military service that began with the HD-1B and ended with the experimental XLB-3 triplane bomber of 1930. While succeeded by the Keystone Aircraft Corporation (itself eventually falling under the Curtiss-Wright brand label), it nonetheless left its legacy with a line of early bombers in service to the United States Army Air Service (USAAS) during the 1920s. During World War 1 (1914-1918), United States Airmen mainly cut their teeth on bomber types of foreign origin and, in the post-war years, there stood a need for an indigenous light bomber platform to which Huff-Daland developed its "XLB-1" prototype.

To this point, the USAAS had committed to the Martin MB-2 (NBS-1) bombers but the service liked what it saw in the Huff-Daland prototype and commissioned for ten as the "LB-1" (the designation stemming from the words "Light Bomber" which reflected the aircraft's primary service category). For testing, a sole aircraft with a crew of three and powered by single a Packard 1A-2500 engine of 800 horsepower (in the nose driving a two-bladed propeller) was used and this example proved the design sound. Construction incorporated a steel tube frame covered over with fabric skin while the biplane wing arrangement remained typical for this period of aviation featuring parallel struts and a single bay configuration. The undercarriage ("tail dragger" type) was wheeled at the main legs and fixed in place. In testing, the aircraft outperformed the current MB-2s - certainly faster than the competing type.

The overall design showcased a maximum speed of 120 miles per hour with a cruising speed of 105 mph, a range out to 430 miles, and a service ceiling of 11,150 feet. Rate-of-climb reached 530 feet per minute. In comparison, the MB-2 reached a maximum speed of 99 mph, a cruise speed of 92 mph, a range out to 400 miles, a service ceiling up to 7,700 feet, and a rate-of-climb of 390 feet per minute.

In its finalized form as the LB-1, the bomber was given a Packard 2A-2500 engine of 800 horsepower. The crew was also increased from three to four and the bombload peaked at 2,750 lb. Defensive armament was a network of 5 x .303 Lewis machine guns on trainable mounts.

Despite the performance jump, Army authorities were not convinced of the merits of operating a single engine bomber over long distances and over enemy terrain. This terminated the LB-1's chances at seeing widespread production and service for attention then shifted to a twin-engined form - the XLB-3 of 1927. However, only one of this model was built as attention shifted once more to a more promising mark - the XLB-5 - which saw 36 of its kind manufactured under the Keystone name.






Armament



STANDARD:
5 x .303 Lewis machine guns on trainable mountings about the fuselage.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 2,750 lb of conventional drop ordnance.

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition

Variants / Models



• LB-1 - Base Series Designation; nine examples constructed; crew of four; outfitted with Packard 2A-2500 series engine (800hp).
• XLB-1 - Single-prototype form; crew of three; Packard 1A-2500 series engine (800hp) fitted.
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