Douglas Cloudster

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Cloudster
Douglas Cloudster.jpg
Role two-seat long-range biplane
Manufacturer Davis-Douglas Company
Designer Donald Douglas
First flight 24 February 1921
Retired 1926
Status Destroyed
Number built 1

The Douglas Cloudster was a 1920s American biplane aircraft. It was the only product of the Davis-Douglas Company; designed to make the first non-stop flight coast-to-coast across the United States.

Development[edit]

The Davis-Douglas Company was formed in July 1920 to enable Donald Douglas to design and build an aircraft capable of non-stop flight coast-to-coast across the United States. David R. Davis provided the financing for the company. The resulting aircraft was the Cloudster, a single-bay equal-span biplane of wooden construction. It was fabric-covered except for the forward fuselage, which was covered with sheet metal. The aircraft was powered by a 400 hp (298 kW) Liberty V-12 piston engine.

The Cloudster first flew on 24 February 1921 and attempted the coast-to-coast journey in June 1921. The aircraft failed to make a non-stop journey due to engine failure. In 1923, the Cloudster was sold and modified for sightseeing flights with two additional open cockpits and seats for five passengers replacing one of the fuel tanks. In 1925 it was again sold to T. Claude Ryan, who had it modified further by adding an enclosed cabin with ten seats.[1][2] It was subsequently used by a number of operators before it made a forced landing in shallow water off the coast of Ensenada, Baja California in December 1926. It was damaged beyond repair by the tide before it could be recovered.

Following failure of the coast-to-coast flight, Davis lost interest and Douglas went on to form the Douglas Company (later the Douglas Aircraft Company) in July 1921.

1945 Cloudster II[edit]

Main article: Douglas Cloudster II

Douglas Aircraft would revive the name in 1945 for a proposed general aviation aircraft with a pusher propellor, similar to the XB-42, as the Cloudster II.[3][4][5][6] The company's last effort in general aviation, it was not a success.[7][8]

Specifications 1920s Cloudster[edit]

Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920[9]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 36 ft 9 in (11.20 m)
  • Wingspan: 55 ft 11 in (17.04 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 0 in (3.66 m)
  • Gross weight: 9,600 lb (4,354 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Liberty L-12 V-12 piston engine, 400 hp (298 kW)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 120 mph (193 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 85 mph (137 km/h)
  • Range: 2,800 (as designed)[10] miles (4,506 (as designed) km)
  • Endurance: 33 hours

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Taylor 1989, p.773
  2. ^ Francillon 1979, p.57
  3. ^ Francillon, René J. McDonnell Douglas aircraft since 1920 (Putnam, 1979), p.432.
  4. ^ "5 Passenger Pusher" , March 1947, Popular Science article with rare photos
  5. ^ Cloudster II at Aerofile.com bottom of page
  6. ^ "Tail Pusher Plane Cruises 200 mph" , March 1947, Popular Mechanics
  7. ^ Francillon, p.433.
  8. ^ Flight August 28th 1947 page 220 stated that the original price was $30,000 but ballooned to $60,000 making sale of the Cloudster II "economically impractical".
  9. ^ Francillon 1979, p.59
  10. ^ normal range 550 mi (885 km)
Bibliography
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985), 1985, Orbis Publishing
  • Francillon, René J. (1979). McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-00050-1. 
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions.