Comte AC-1 - Switzerland, 1927
Detailing the development and operational history of the Comte AC-1 Single-Seat Fighter Prototype.
Entry last updated on 11/9/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Swiss Comte AC-1 was outclassed by the French Dewoitine D.27 when it came time to fulfill a Swiss Air Force demand for such an aircraft.
The Comte AC-1 was a late-1920s attempt by local Swiss aero-industry to deliver - for service to the Swiss Air Force - a viable single-seat fighter aircraft of modern design. The system was designed by Swiss aviation pioneer Alfred Comte and intended to meet a standing Swiss Air Force requirement for such a combat aircraft. It eventually featured many qualities of contemporary aircraft of the period - an open-air cockpit, fixed "tail-dragger" undercarriage and forward-mounted wings. The wing mainplanes were given a high-mounted placement (ahead and above the pilot's position), braced by struts leading down to the underside of the fuselage. The aircraft carried a metal-skinned fuselage with wings and tail surfaces covered over in fabric. Proposed armament became 2 x machine guns over the nose synchronized to fire through the two-bladed propeller unit. Power was had from a French Gnome et Rhone radial piston engine of 420 horsepower, a licensed-produced copy of the British Jupiter IX series.
The completed aircraft, though still in prototype form, was flown for the first time on April 2nd, 1927. This led to its purchase by Swiss Fliegertruppe (Swiss Air Force) for formal evaluation. From this the aircraft was bypassed in favor of the French Dewoitine D.27 to fulfill the local fighter requirement.
The AC-1 continued to fly a bit longer as it was purchased by the Military Technical Service in mid-1928. Given the wings of a Dewoitine D.9 series aircraft, the AC-1 was able to achieve an altitude of 34,120 feet - a Swiss air record of the day. K+W handled the conversion work. Beyond this, it appears that the sole prototype managed very little before being given up for good.
As designed, the AC-1 could manage a maximum speed of 152 miles per hour with a range out to 280 miles. Empty weight was 920 kilograms against a MTOW of 1,320 kg. Dimensions included a length of 7.13 meters, a wingspan of 12 meters and a height of 3.12 meters.