The Swiss-originated Hafeli MA-7 stood as something of a failed culmination of a line that began with the earlier Hafeli DH-2 of 1916. The single-seat, single-engine biplane was developed as a fighter with the Swiss Air Force in mind, utilizing all of the lessons learned from the Air War of 1914-1918. August Hafeli, having built a body of work with time spent at A.G.O. of the German Empire before transitioning to K+W of Switzerland, once-again headed development of an aircraft which would bear his name.
NOTE: The MA-7 is also known as the "K+W MA-7" (K+W being the builder) and is formally designated the "Militar-Apparat MA-7".
The MA-7 was developed to satisfy a standing Federal Military Department requirement of the Swiss Air Force for an all-modern day fighter. The Hafeli approach relied on the proven over-under biplane wing structure while construction involved fabric-over-wood covering being used alongside metal used at critical sections of the aircraft. Instead of parallel struts at the mainplanes as seen in previous Hafeli entries, N-type supports were used to brace the upper and lower wing members. The initial prototype form carried the locally-built (under license) Hispano-Suiza 8Fb HS-42 V-8 water-cooled piston engine developing 300 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose. K+W was charged with the construction of the aircraft.
Armament would center on 2 x 7.45mm machine guns set at the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
A first-flight was recorded during 1925 and trials with the Swiss Air Force followed from February 1926 until April 1926, at which point the design was found to be lacking in performance and stability, leading the specimen to be returned to the manufacturer for necessary changes. K+W responded by succeeding the original HS-42 engine with the still-experimental - though more powerful - LFW-12 "X-1" engine of 400 horsepower in an attempt to enhance performance (the engine was the product of the Swiss locomotive and Machine Works). However, the powerplant proved too heavy and dimensionally large for the existing airframe to accept without a total reworking of the aircraft. As such, it was decided to abandon additional work on the MA-7 - leaving the Swiss Air Force to take on the French-made, all-metal Dewoitine D.1 fighter instead.
Just the single prototype was constructed for the MA-7 project.
As built, the MA-7 was given a length of 21.7 feet, a wing span of 32.5 feet, and a height of 9.1 feet. The single-engine arrangement and general airframe configuration allowed for a maximum speed of 160 miles-per-hour to be achieved with cruising speeds near 145mph. Range was out to 190 miles and its service ceiling could reach 24,900 feet (indeed, April 1926 saw pilot Max Cartier set a Swiss Air Record of 32,200 feet in the MA-7). Rate-of-climb was 1,810 feet-per-minute.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
SYNCHRONIZED / INTERRUPTOR GEAR
Automatic weapons are synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades via special mechanical gear arrangement.
Addition of more mainplanes to enhance inherent agility, providing a tactical edge in tight engagements.
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
Can accelerate to higher speeds than average aircraft of its time.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
Manual process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to exit in the event of an airborne emergency.
21.7 ft (6.60 m)
32.5 ft (9.90 m)
9.2 ft (2.79 m)
1,863 lb (845 kg)
2,679 lb (1,215 kg)
+816 lb (+370 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Hafeli MA-7 production variant)
biplane / over-under / straight
Design utilizes a dual-plane wing arrangement in which one mainplane member is seated above the other; biplanes enhance agility at the expense of added drag.
Dual mainplane configuration seating the members in an over-under fashion and poisitoned at different points along the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertains to the Hafeli MA-7 production variant)
1 x Hispano-Suiza 8Fb HS-42 V-8 water-cooled piston engine developing 300 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
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