Since the first days of rivalry between the Wright Brothers and Glenn Curtiss, aircraft manufacturers have been vying for lucrative military aircraft contracts and competing for prized long-term production runs. As a result, many advanced and now legendary aircraft have been designed, built, and flown in every generation of aviation development. Focusing on the Cold War era, this book shows readers how crucial fly-off competitions have been to the development of America’s military air arsenal.
This book not only explains in detail how fly-off competitions are conducted, it shows the reader what both competing aircraft designs looked like during their trials, and then what the losing aircraft would have looked like in operational markings had it actually won. Described in vivid detail are the specific aircraft and how they fared, as well as the inside political maneuvering and subterfuge involved in often-controversial aircraft contract awards.
Beginning with the Boeing B-47 Stratojet’s decisive victory over rival Convair and Martin designs and ending with today’s advanced unmanned aerial marvels, this book covers every era of Post-World War II aviation. Author Erik Simonsen uses 120,000 words of text and over 550 photos, some uniquely created for this work, to provide the reader with many of aviation’s most tantalizing ‘might have beens’.