|First flight||April 1944|
|Primary user||United States Navy|
The Taylorcraft LBT was a glider designed and built by Taylorcraft during World War II, in response to a United States Navy requirement for a glider bomb. One of three prototype "Glombs" ordered by the Navy, the LBT suffered from technical and performance difficulties, and was cancelled early in production, none of the aircraft seeing operational service.
Design and development
During December 1940, the United States Navy began studies of a proposed "glider bomb", which was intended to be an inexpensive, unpowered aircraft, remotely controlled from another, conventional aircraft, that would be capable of delivering bombs to an enemy target without putting aircrew at risk to the target's defenses. The glider bomb, or "Glomb", would be towed by an ordinary carrier-based aircraft to the area of its target; guidance following release of the glider from its towing aircraft was intended to be provided by a TV camera located in the nose of the glider, which would transmit its signal to a piloted aircraft, an operator aboard the control aircraft using radio control to steer the Glomb to its target. Following the Navy's initial evalulation, the Glomb comcept was deemed to be worth developing further, and the project was given official status by the Bureau of Aeronautics in April 1941.
The initial trials of the Glomb concept were conducted using conversions of existing gliders for unpiloted, remotely controlled flight; these tests seemed to indicate that the concept had promise, and a request for designs from industry was issued. Three companies were awarded contracts to develop operational "Glomb" aircraft, the contracts being given to Pratt-Read, Piper Aircraft, and Taylorcraft. The Taylorcraft design, designated LBT-1 by the Navy, was based on the company's LNT-1 training glider; two XLNT-1s, converted to remote control, had been tested as part of initial Glomb trials. The LBT-1 featured a high, strut-braced wing and tricycle landing gear; the aircraft was designed to carry a 2,000 pounds (910 kg) bomb as a warhead. In addition to its TV-and-radio remote guidance system, the LBT-1 retained a cockpit, allowing a pilot on board to fly the aircraft on training and evalulation flights.
The LBT-1 began evaluation by the Navy in April 1944. The Navy's contract called for the production of 100 of each type of Glomb; however, by October 1944, trials were beginning to indicate that the low expected performance of the glider bomb was a liability, and the Piper LBP-1 and LBE-1 were considered superior. Accordingly the LBT contract was cancelled; only 25 examples of the type were constructed, none of which would see any operational service.
- Crew: One (optional)
- Length: 25 ft 2 in (7.67 m)
- Wingspan: 35 ft (11 m)
- Wing area: 181 sq ft (16.8 m2)
- Gross weight: 3,930 lb (1,783 kg)
- Maximum speed: 314 mph (505 km/h; 273 kn) in dive
- Cruise speed: 240 mph (386 km/h; 209 kn) tow speed
- Bombs: 2,000 pounds (910 kg)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Parsch 2005
- Naval Aviation News January 1946, p.19.
- Trimble 1990, p.270.
- Friedman 1982, p.201.
- Dryden, Morten and Getting 1946, p.12
- "Pilotless Aircraft" (PDF). Naval Aviation News. Bureau of Aeronautics. January 1946. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Dryden, Hugh L.; G.A. Morton; I.A. Getting (May 1946). Guidance and Homing of Missiles and Pilotless Aircraft (PDF). Dayton, OH: Headquarters Air Material Command. ASIN B0007E4WJE. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Friedman, Norman (1982). U.S. Naval Weapons: every gun, missile, mine, and torpedo used by the U.S. Navy from 1883 to the present day. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-735-7. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- Parsch, Andreas (2003). "LB Series". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. designation-systems.net. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Trimble, William F. (1990). Wings for the Navy: A History of the Naval Aircraft Factory, 1917-1956. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-663-3. Retrieved 2011-01-29.