Military Factory logo

Huff-Daland LB-1 - United States, 1923

Detailing the development and operational history of the Huff-Daland LB-1 Light Bomber.

 Entry last updated on 12/17/2014; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Huff-Daland LB-1  
Picture of Huff-Daland LB-1

The Huff-Daland LB-1 bomber was realized in just nine completed models to go along with a single prototype.

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.

Huff-Daland LB-1 Specifications

Service Year: 1923
Type: Light Bomber
National Origin: United States
Manufacturer(s): Huff-Daland Aero Corporation )USA
Total Production: 10

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 4
Overall Length: 45.93 feet (14 meters)
Overall Width: 66.50 feet (20.27 meters)
Overall Height: 14.76 feet (4.50 meters)

Weight (Empty): 6,338 lb (2,875 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 12,423 lb (5,635 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 1 x Packard 2A-2500 engine developing 800 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 103 knots (118 mph; 190 kph)
Maximum Range: 374 nautical miles (430 miles; 692 km)
Service Ceiling: 11,155 feet (3,400 meters; 2.11 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 530 feet-per-minute (162 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

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

Up to 2,750 lb of conventional drop ordnance.

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

United States

Model Variants

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.

Images Gallery