|First flight||19 July 1932|
Design and development
In 1932, ČKD-Praga, the aircraft department of the Czechoslovak company Praga, entered a competition to design a new fighter for the Czechoslovak Air Force, with its design, the BH-44, competing against designs from Avia (the B-34) and Letov (the Š-231). The BH-44 was a single-bay biplane of mixed construction, with wooden wings and a fabric covered, steel-tube fuselage. Powerplant was a single Praga ESV water-cooled V12 engine.
The first prototype made its maiden flight on 19 July 1932. Performance was unimpressive, as the engine delivered only 370 kilowatts (500 hp) instead of the promised 560 kilowatts (750 hp). A second prototype (sometimes called the EH-144), fitted with a supercharged Praga ESVK engine, flew in April 1934, but performance remained disappointing. The first prototype was therefore re-engined with a 480 kilowatts (650 hp) Rolls-Royce Kestrel VII, flying in this form on 30 October 1934, and as such was evaluated by the Czechoslovak Air Force as the E-44. The imported Kestrel engine worked poorly with the fuel used by the Air Force, however, and the type was rejected, the B-34 being purchased instead.
Specifications (ESV engine, performance estimated)
Data from The Complete Book of Fighters
- Crew: 1
- Length: 7.62 m (25 ft 0 in)
- Wingspan: 9.25 m (30 ft 4 in)
- Wing area: 23.14 m2 (249.1 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 1,462 kg (3,223 lb)
- Gross weight: 1,837 kg (4,050 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Praga ESV water-cooled V12 engine, 560 kW (750 hp) (predicted power - actual power 370 kW (500 hp))
- Maximum speed: 330 km/h (205 mph; 178 kn)
- Endurance: 1.8 hours
- Time to altitude: 5.2 minutes to 3,000 m (9,800 ft)
- Green and Swanborough 1994, p. 483.
- Green and Swanborough 1994, p. 36.
- Green and Swanborough 1994, pp. 334–335.