History RealLife / CoolPlane

21st Jun '16 12:02:35 PM Morgenthaler
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* The '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Me_262 Messerschmitt Me 262]]''' ''Schwalbe''[[note]]"swallow"[[/note]] was the world's first operational jet fighter. In UsefulNotes/WorldWarII stories, frequently appears as the sudden never-before-seen [[ThoseWackyNazis bad guy]] superplane that the daring AcePilot must shoot down in a one-on-one dogfight late in the story arc. In reality, it was a menace to Allied bombers, with its four 30mm cannons[[note]]one prototype variant of the Me 262 was even armed with a 50mm autocannon adapted from a tank gun[[/note]] and a load of 24 anti-aircraft [=R4M=] rockets, but it came too little and far too late to have a serious impact on the war. It was rarely able to fly missions due to the lack of fuel Germany was facing at the time, though it did use lower octane fuel than piston engine aircraft. Its development was slowed by a lack of reliable engines. An Me 262 can go 532mph at sea level. No allied escort fighter could come within 100mph of that without an altitude advantage to allow a diving attack[[note]] Some prop-driven fighters, such as the Tempest and the Mustang would actually accelerate faster in a dive than the Schwalbe, but the easiest way to shoot one down was to [[SittingDucks catch it trying to land at or take off from it's home base]][[/note]]. Given the iconic status of the original, flyable replicas using more modern engines are available, although the engines require special modifications to work with an airframe design whose original powerplants were heavier, larger, less reliable, less powerful, and painfully slow when reacting to throttle changes. While the original had some significant disadvantages as a combat aircraft [[note]] Advancing the throttles from idle to full power took a full fifteen seconds and once the pilot was committed to a landing the aircraft could not accelerate back to flying speed. So much as touching the throttles in flight invited a flameout and losing an engine made it a sitting duck so the pilot had little choice but to run it at or near full power all the time. The high speed combined with the short 200 meter range of the low velocity 30mm guns meant the pilot was always at risk of colliding with his target and usually had only one or two seconds to engage because he couldn't slow down. Successful pilots developed a tactic of diving through the escorts then climbing steeply under the target to scrub off speed and give them more time to aim, but some form of speed brake would have helped. Finally since the engines had a ''maximum'' lifespan of twenty hours and were liable to blow up at any time every takeoff was a white knuckle affair since an engine failure on takeoff was not recoverable.[[/note]] it was the first effective combat jet. The fact that it looks really cool doesn't hurt its appeal either.

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* The '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Me_262 Messerschmitt Me 262]]''' ''Schwalbe''[[note]]"swallow"[[/note]] was the world's first operational jet fighter. In UsefulNotes/WorldWarII stories, frequently appears as the sudden never-before-seen [[ThoseWackyNazis bad guy]] superplane that the daring AcePilot must shoot down in a one-on-one dogfight late in the story arc. In reality, it was a menace to Allied bombers, with its four 30mm cannons[[note]]one prototype variant of the Me 262 was even armed with a 50mm autocannon adapted from a tank gun[[/note]] and a load of 24 anti-aircraft [=R4M=] rockets, but it came too little and far too late to have a serious impact on the war. It was rarely able to fly missions due to the lack of fuel Germany was facing at the time, though it did use lower octane fuel than piston engine aircraft. Its development was slowed by a lack of reliable engines. An Me 262 can go 532mph at sea level. No allied escort fighter could come within 100mph of that without an altitude advantage to allow a diving attack[[note]] Some prop-driven fighters, such as the Tempest and the Mustang would actually accelerate faster in a dive than the Schwalbe, but the easiest way to shoot one down was to [[SittingDucks [[SittingDuck catch it trying to land at or take off from it's home base]][[/note]]. Given the iconic status of the original, flyable replicas using more modern engines are available, although the engines require special modifications to work with an airframe design whose original powerplants were heavier, larger, less reliable, less powerful, and painfully slow when reacting to throttle changes. While the original had some significant disadvantages as a combat aircraft [[note]] Advancing the throttles from idle to full power took a full fifteen seconds and once the pilot was committed to a landing the aircraft could not accelerate back to flying speed. So much as touching the throttles in flight invited a flameout and losing an engine made it a sitting duck so the pilot had little choice but to run it at or near full power all the time. The high speed combined with the short 200 meter range of the low velocity 30mm guns meant the pilot was always at risk of colliding with his target and usually had only one or two seconds to engage because he couldn't slow down. Successful pilots developed a tactic of diving through the escorts then climbing steeply under the target to scrub off speed and give them more time to aim, but some form of speed brake would have helped. Finally since the engines had a ''maximum'' lifespan of twenty hours and were liable to blow up at any time every takeoff was a white knuckle affair since an engine failure on takeoff was not recoverable.[[/note]] it was the first effective combat jet. The fact that it looks really cool doesn't hurt its appeal either.
17th Jun '16 10:57:07 AM KeegdnaB42
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* The canceled Boeing '''Sonic Cruiser''' would have traveled as far as a 747 without refueling, at Mach .98.



* The '''Boeing 787''' "Dreamliner" is a nice looking plane, with high tech composites and fuel efficiency. However it's {{Troubled Production}}, {{Schedule Slip}} and issues with it's batteries (the Li-ion batteries were [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_787_Dreamliner#Operational_problems catching fire]]) came during Boeing's DorkAge. Several high profile scandals hit the company just as the 787 was [[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21060541 grounded]], almost making this {{cool plane}} a CreatorKiller. Nonetheless a lot of Dreamliner technologies (engine efficiency features, aerodynamic advances, carbon fibre construction, etc) is being adapted to many of Boeing's mainstays with the updated aircraft getting a -8 designation suffix (such as the Boeing 747-8, which marries the iconic 747 fuselage to Dreamliner-style wings and engines; there is a planned Boeing 777-8X model that will cross the 777's large fuselage with 787 technologies and compete with the Airbus A350).

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* The '''Boeing 787''' "Dreamliner" is a nice looking plane, with high tech composites and fuel efficiency. However it's {{Troubled Production}}, {{Schedule Slip}} and issues with it's batteries (the Li-ion batteries were [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_787_Dreamliner#Operational_problems catching fire]]) came during Boeing's DorkAge. Several high profile scandals hit the company just as the 787 was [[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21060541 grounded]], almost making this {{cool plane}} a CreatorKiller. Nonetheless Fortunately the teething issues have mostly been sorted out and it is now on its way to being a mainstay in fleets of airlines across the globe. A lot of Dreamliner technologies (engine efficiency features, aerodynamic advances, carbon fibre construction, etc) is being adapted to many of Boeing's mainstays with the updated aircraft getting a -8 designation suffix (such as the Boeing 747-8, which marries the iconic 747 fuselage to Dreamliner-style wings and engines; there is a planned Boeing 777-8X model that will cross the 777's large fuselage with 787 technologies and compete with the Airbus A350). A350).
* While sadly never built, much of the advanced technology that was engineered for the 787 was leftover from its SpiritualPredecessor, the '''Boeing Sonic Cruiser''' project, a new delta-wing design approximately the size of the 767 that would cruise at Mach 0.98 providing significantly faster flights without the noise pollution and other complications of a true supersonic plane, all while doing so at around the same cost to operate as existing planes like the 767. When it was first proposed in the early 2000s it garnered a lot of interest from airlines, however 9/11 and the subsequent downturn in traffic and rise in oil prices led to its cancellation with development then shifting to the more conventionally design 787 which traded off the speed benefits for fuel efficiency.
11th Jun '16 1:59:18 PM Jake18
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* The '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_SBD_Dauntless SBD Dauntless,]]''' though nicknamed "Slow But Deadly" made a major contribution to the Pacific War, especially during the Battle of Midway (where they sank ''all four'' IJN aircraft carriers involved in the battle). When it was replaced by the Curtiss [=SB2C=][[note]]AKA the "Son-of-a-Bitch, Second Class[[/note]] Helldiver, many pilots were not happy, as they still deemed the Dauntless a superior aircraft. The Dauntless was also known for its exceptional maneuverability, durability and accuracy. So much, in fact, that many American pilots took ''aggressive'' stances against attacking enemy fighters once their ordinance was away. There is one account of a Dauntless that was beset upon by three Zeroes. He managed to shoot down two of them, and then knocked the third one out by chopping its wing off with his wingtip.
* In a similar vein to the above Dauntless, the '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TBF_Avenger Grumman TBF Avenger]]''' (or TBM for those manufactured by General Motors) was the most advanced American torpedo bomber of the war, and was considered a ''massive'' improvement over its predecessor, the TBD Devastator.[[note]]The Devastator was seen as all but worthless, aside from as live bait to draw enemy fighters away from the more useful Dauntless.[[/note]] Though five of the six Avengers that flew in the Battle of Midway were shot down, it proved to be very effective at its assigned job. Oh, and one of these planes was flown by a man known as Lt. JG. [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush George Bush]]. Not only was the Avenger an effective torpedo bomber, it was also the first aircraft in the U.S. Navy to be equipped with radar. Early night operations involved an Avenger launching with a squadron of Hellcats, which would then act as MissionControl for the fighters. One such operation lead to possibly the only instance of one torpedo bomber shooting down another when an Avenger's gunner engaged a Japanese Betty.

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* The '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_SBD_Dauntless SBD Dauntless,]]''' though nicknamed "Slow But Deadly" made a major contribution to the Pacific War, especially during the Battle of Midway (where they sank ''all four'' IJN aircraft carriers involved in the battle). When it was replaced by the Curtiss [=SB2C=][[note]]AKA the "Son-of-a-Bitch, Second Class[[/note]] Helldiver, many pilots were not happy, as they still deemed the Dauntless a superior aircraft. The Dauntless was also known for its exceptional maneuverability, durability and accuracy. So much, in fact, that many American pilots took ''aggressive'' stances against attacking enemy fighters once their ordinance was away. There is one account of a Dauntless that was beset upon by three Zeroes. He managed to shoot down two of them, and then knocked the third one out by chopping its wing off with his wingtip. The Dauntless would ultimately be credited with 138 enemy aircraft destroyed, the highest number of air-to-air kills for a non-fighter aircraft in WW2.
* In a similar vein to the above Dauntless, the '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TBF_Avenger Grumman TBF Avenger]]''' (or TBM for those manufactured by General Motors) was the most advanced American torpedo bomber of the war, and was considered a ''massive'' improvement over its predecessor, the TBD Devastator.[[note]]The Devastator was seen as all but worthless, aside from as live bait to draw enemy fighters away from the more useful Dauntless.[[/note]] Though five of the six Avengers that flew in the Battle of Midway were shot down, it proved went on to be very effective at its assigned job.job, being responsible for the sinking of both of Japan's massive ''Yamato''-class battleships. Oh, and one of these planes was flown by a man known as Lt. JG. [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush George Bush]]. Not only was the Avenger an effective torpedo bomber, it was also the first aircraft in the U.S. Navy to be equipped with radar. Early night operations involved an Avenger launching with a squadron of Hellcats, which would then act as MissionControl for the fighters. One such operation lead to possibly the only instance of one torpedo bomber shooting down another when an Avenger's gunner engaged a Japanese Betty.
7th Jun '16 12:15:33 PM morane
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* The oft-forgotten Granddaddy of the Apache was, weirdly, made by '''Lockheed''', a company not known for making helicopters. The '''AH-56 Cheyenne''' was a couple of ''decades'' ahead of her time, developed during the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar, it incorporated beyond-state-of-the-art technology such as a "rigid" (more properly called hingeless) rotor that gave it maneuverability that would be impossible to safely accomplish in a helicopter with the more conventional "articulated" rotor-head while simultaneously allowing for much greater airspeed capability. To further exploit that capability, the Cheyenne even featured a '''pusher-propeller''' that gave her a max speed of 212 knots (that's 244 miles per hour, only one mph slower than a Koenigsegg supercar). In the event of an engine failure at fast-cruise speed, the pusher-prop could simultaneously slow the Cheyenne's airspeed while acting like a ram-air turbine (a sort of 'windmill') to provide interim power to the lifting rotor and tail-rotor to help keep itself airborne long enough to find an adequate place to make an emergency landing. The gunner (who sits '''in front''' of the pilot, opposite the seating layout of most fighter-jets) sat in a seat capable of freely rotating 360 degrees. The Cheyenne's gun was mounted on a chin-turret directly beneath the gunner's seat, so the gun itself could be synchronized to rotate '''with''' the gunner's seat. Boasting a 30 mm cannon and a 40 mm grenade launcher to boot, the stub-wings allowed the helicopter to carry up to three-dozen TOW ('''T'''ube-launched '''O'''ptically sighted '''W'''ire guided) anti-tank missiles. Alas, Lockheed's single-engine design made many top brass wary, leading them to instead favor the AH-1 Cobra, resulting in the Cheyenne's cancellation. The Cheyenne was also notable for having one of the most instantly recognizable [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_AH-56_Cheyenne designs]] in history (it resembled no other helicopter ever built/flown before '''or''' since)

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* The oft-forgotten Granddaddy of the Apache was, weirdly, made by '''Lockheed''', a company not known for making helicopters. The '''AH-56 Cheyenne''' was a couple of ''decades'' ahead of her time, developed during the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar, it incorporated beyond-state-of-the-art technology such as a "rigid" (more properly called hingeless) rotor that gave it maneuverability that would be impossible to safely accomplish in a helicopter with the more conventional "articulated" rotor-head while simultaneously allowing for much greater airspeed capability. To further exploit that capability, the Cheyenne even featured a '''pusher-propeller''' that gave her a max speed of 212 knots (that's 448 km/h or 244 miles per hour, only one mph slower than a Koenigsegg supercar). In the event of an engine failure at fast-cruise speed, the pusher-prop could simultaneously slow the Cheyenne's airspeed while acting like a ram-air turbine (a sort of 'windmill') to provide interim power to the lifting rotor and tail-rotor to help keep itself airborne long enough to find an adequate place to make an emergency landing. The gunner (who sits '''in front''' of the pilot, opposite the seating layout of most fighter-jets) sat in a seat capable of freely rotating 360 degrees. The Cheyenne's gun was mounted on a chin-turret directly beneath the gunner's seat, so the gun itself could be synchronized to rotate '''with''' the gunner's seat. Boasting a 30 mm cannon and a 40 mm grenade launcher to boot, the stub-wings allowed the helicopter to carry up to three-dozen TOW ('''T'''ube-launched '''O'''ptically sighted '''W'''ire guided) anti-tank missiles. Alas, Lockheed's single-engine design made many top brass wary, leading them to instead favor the AH-1 Cobra, resulting in the Cheyenne's cancellation. The Cheyenne was also notable for having one of the most instantly recognizable [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_AH-56_Cheyenne designs]] in history (it resembled no other helicopter ever built/flown before '''or''' since)
5th Jun '16 8:22:14 AM Doug86
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* The '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F_13 Junkers F.13]]''' was an all-metal cantilever transport monoplane, with advanced aerodynamics, liquid-cooled engine, heated passenger cabin, and it flew first on June 25, 1919. That's right. A modern passenger airplane in the age of string and fabric biplanes, and even better, in a defeated militarily-occupied country torn by UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne and countless minor revolution attempts. The Germans mean business even when they're down.

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* The '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F_13 Junkers F.13]]''' was an all-metal cantilever transport monoplane, with advanced aerodynamics, liquid-cooled engine, heated passenger cabin, and it flew first on June 25, 1919. That's right. A modern passenger airplane in the age of string and fabric biplanes, and even better, in a defeated militarily-occupied country torn by UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and countless minor revolution attempts. The Germans mean business even when they're down.
4th Jun '16 12:34:49 PM TheOneWhoTropes
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The F-117 and B-2 are both RealLife examples of SinisterGeometry. Back when the F-117 was still a black project, two F-16 pilots on patrol saw an F-117 silhouetted against the moon but couldn't detect it on their radars. They thought that they had seen {{UFO}}s, but were later told the full story back at base and told to keep shut about it (it was super top-secret, after all).

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The F-117 and B-2 are both RealLife examples of SinisterGeometry. Back when the F-117 was still a black project, two F-16 pilots on patrol saw an F-117 silhouetted against the moon but couldn't detect it on their radars. They thought that they had seen {{UFO}}s, {{Flying Saucer}}s, but were later told the full story back at base and told to keep shut about it (it was super top-secret, after all).
29th May '16 6:31:21 AM Jake18
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Added DiffLines:

** Ironically, the Crusader's much-vaunted guns were actually [[ReliablyUnreliableGuns almost totally useless]] in dogfights, having a tendency to freeze up when the plane was maneuvering at high speed. Consequently, only four of the 19 air-to-air victories scored by the Crusader were accomplished with the guns, the remainder being scored with the Sidewinder missile.
16th May '16 2:57:07 PM StevieC
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* While the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-39_Airacobra P-39 Airacobra]] didn't get get much love by the Western allies during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII since its mediocre high-altitude performance was poorly suited to most air combat in the Western Theatre (because [[ExecutiveMeddling USAAF brass thought the turbocharger was "too expensive" and had it eliminated]]), it was a well-liked by pilots in the Eastern Theatre, where it racked up the highest number of individual kills of any American fighter design. The low-speed, low-altitude turning nature of most air combat on the Russian Front suited the P-39's strengths: sturdy construction, reliable radio gear, and good firepower (including either a nose-mounted 37mm or (more commonly for Russian models) 20mm cannon). As such, Soviet pilots fell in love with the P-39 after they received a large number through lend-lease. The usual nickname for the well-loved Airacobra among Soviet pilots was ''Kobrushka'', "little cobra", or ''Kobrastochka'', a portmanteau of Kobra and Lastochka (swallow), "dear little cobra".\\

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* While the [[http://en.'''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-39_Airacobra Bell P-39 Airacobra]] Airacobra]]''' didn't get get much love by the Western allies during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII since its mediocre high-altitude performance was poorly suited to most air combat in the Western Theatre (because [[ExecutiveMeddling USAAF brass thought the turbocharger was "too expensive" and had it eliminated]]), it was a well-liked by pilots in the Eastern Theatre, where it racked up the highest number of individual kills of any American fighter design. The low-speed, low-altitude turning nature of most air combat on the Russian Front suited the P-39's strengths: sturdy construction, reliable radio gear, and good firepower (including either a nose-mounted 37mm or (more commonly for Russian models) 20mm cannon). As such, Soviet pilots fell in love with the P-39 after they received a large number through lend-lease. The usual nickname for the well-loved Airacobra among Soviet pilots was ''Kobrushka'', "little cobra", or ''Kobrastochka'', a portmanteau of Kobra and Lastochka (swallow), "dear little cobra".\\



As a testament to the P-39's strengths, Chuck Yeager (who trained in the P-39 before moving on to the P-51), is on record as claiming he would have gladly taken the -39 to war. One great moment in his autobiography centers around a goodwill trip to Russia he took with Jacqueline Cochrane during the height of the Cold War: at one point, Yeager met up with a group of Soviet fighter pilots who had flown the P-39 during World War II. [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments He spent the rest of the evening swapping fond stories of the P-39 with the Russians.]]

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As a testament to the P-39's strengths, Chuck Yeager (who trained in the P-39 before moving on to the P-51), is on record as claiming he would have gladly taken the -39 to war. One great moment in his autobiography centers around a goodwill trip to Russia he took with Jacqueline Cochrane during the height of the Cold War: at one point, Yeager met up with a group of Soviet fighter pilots who had flown the P-39 during World War II. [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments He spent the rest of the evening swapping fond stories of the P-39 with the Russians.]]]]\\
\\
Enhanced late in the war to become the '''P-63 Kingcobra''', it didn't see much combat but did see frequent use as a towplane to pull a windsock-like fabric gunning-target for student-fighter-pilots to practise shooting at. These versions were known as the RP-63 "Pinball" and sometimes omitted the fabric target entirely, in favor of armoring the plane itself heavily and using more brittle bullets, these target planes would be flown by a foolhardy pilot. The canon that would fire through the propeller-hub of an ordinary P-63 would be removed, and instead the plane would have a sensor that could detect when the special practise bullets hit it, making a light on the propeller-spinner flash each time a bullet hit, reminding the student-pilots of a bumper on a pinball table, hence that variant's nickname.
16th May '16 2:49:58 PM StevieC
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* Germany had actually produced another single-seat fighter that was superior even to the D.VII, the Siemens-Schuckert D.IV, which could fly 3900 feet higher than the D.VII's service-ceiling, and was faster and more maneuverable than the D.VII at higher altitudes. Despite its superiority, its late arrival, in August of 1918, meant that by the time it reached service, the Allies had already sealed their victory.

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* Germany had actually produced another single-seat fighter that was superior even to the D.VII, the Siemens-Schuckert '''Siemens-Schuckert D.IV, IV''', which could fly 3900 feet higher than the D.VII's service-ceiling, and was faster and more maneuverable than the D.VII at higher altitudes. Despite its superiority, its late arrival, in August of 1918, meant that by the time it reached service, the Allies had already sealed their victory.



* Earlier in the war when America was worried that Britain may fall, they realized that even the B-29 couldn't fly a round-trip bombing run from the continental United States to Germany and back, and so ordered the Consolidated B-32 Dominator, a plane that was indeed capable of precisely that. By the time that the first B-32 made her maiden flight, however, Germany had already surrendered, and so it only made it to the Pacific theatre a few weeks before Japan surrendered, but the B-32 does hold the distinction of being the last Allied aircraft to be engaged in aerial combat by Axis pilots in World War 2.

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* Earlier in the war when America was worried that Britain may fall, they realized that even the B-29 couldn't fly a round-trip bombing run from the continental United States to Germany and back, and so ordered the Consolidated '''Consolidated B-32 Dominator, Dominator''', a plane that was indeed capable of precisely that. By the time that the first B-32 made her maiden flight, however, Germany had already surrendered, and so it only made it to the Pacific theatre a few weeks before Japan surrendered, but the B-32 does hold the distinction of being the last Allied aircraft to be engaged in aerial combat by Axis pilots in World War 2.
16th May '16 2:48:33 PM StevieC
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Added DiffLines:

* Earlier in the war when America was worried that Britain may fall, they realized that even the B-29 couldn't fly a round-trip bombing run from the continental United States to Germany and back, and so ordered the Consolidated B-32 Dominator, a plane that was indeed capable of precisely that. By the time that the first B-32 made her maiden flight, however, Germany had already surrendered, and so it only made it to the Pacific theatre a few weeks before Japan surrendered, but the B-32 does hold the distinction of being the last Allied aircraft to be engaged in aerial combat by Axis pilots in World War 2.
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