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In Memoriam

Klaas Willem Jonker
(Wilko)
† April 30, 2018

On Monday 30 April 2018, Wilko Jonker died after a long illness at the age of 58. He leaves behind a wife and two children. The Dutch military aviation and plastic modeling were his hobby and on this website he shared all the knowledge he has collected over the years. His hobby has been able to distract him from the persistent disease in his body until the last week of his life. The contacts with other hobbyists were a major support for him.

This website will be maintained by different people for as long as possible, so that other enthusiasts can continue to benefit from extensive content.

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Friday, 22 November 2019 10:54

Brewster B.339 Buffalo

History

In 1935, the US Navy released a new requirement for a carrier-based fighrter to replace the Grumman F-3F, a biplane.
The new aircraft manufacturer Brewster came with the XF-2A-1 a metal monoplane and Grumman came with the XF4-1, a biplane. The Seversky XFN-1, a naval version of the P-35 was dropped because the performance did not meet the requirements. Grumman also failed, but the XF4-1 was further developed by Grumman into the Grumman Wildcat.
The XF-2A was to some extent a further development of the first Brewster, the Brewster SBN, which was later developed into the SB2A-Buccaneer (or Bermuda as the RAF marked this aircraft.)
The somewhat older, but very reliable Wright Cyclone R-1820 was chosen as power source for the aircraft; Grumman had opted for the more modern Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp.
The Cyclone was fitted with a single-stage compressor, thus perfomrnace at 15000 feet was less than at ground level. The Twin Wasp was equipped with a two-stage compressor, and provided, at the same cylinder capacity better performance.
During the flight tests of the prototype, operformed in 1938, the Buffalo turned out to outperform the XF4-1. Also, the US Navy thought the Twin Wasp too complicated in comparison with the Wright Cyclone.
The XF2A-1 was modern for its time with an all-metal body and linen-covered control surfaces. Further, it had a hydraulically retractable landing gear, flaps and shared a streamlined canopy. The fuel capacity was relatively small, just 606 l, the Wright Cyclone R-1820-22 of 950 horsepower at start was equipped with a single-stage compressor, causing its power to decrease at higher altitudes. The climb rate of over 2500 ft/min was quite good and the maximum  speed was reasonable with 447 km/hr at an altitude of 4879 m.
By improvement of the airintake an de the aerodynimcs os the engien cowling the top speed was increased to 489 km/hr.
The armament consisted of a fixed .50 inch machine gun plus  one fixed .30 inch machine gun in the nose.

The first test flights of the prototype started in January 1938.
Brewster finally got the contract for 54 aircraft under the designation F2A-1 and the first delivery took place in May 1939. However, the delivery rate was very low, mainly due to the building, a former car factory. The factory was actually unsuitable for mass production of aircraft, not least because of the location, away from an airfield.
The first production aircraft was equipped with a Wright Cyclone R-1820-34 rated 940 hp at teke-off, a larger tail fin and the armament was expanded with two .50 inch machine guns in the wings. Also all kinds of additional equipment increased the overall weight, so the climb rate decreased to 2600 ft/min.
Due to problems in production just eleven examples were delivered, the rest being delivered to the Finnish Air Force under the designation Model 239.
The US Navy issued a follow-up order of 43 examples of an improved version, called F2A-2. This version had a more powerful Wright R-1820-40 engine rated 1200 hp, an improved propeller, but still lacked armor for the pilot and self-sealing fuel tanks.
The weight increased to 2700 kg, but despite the speed increased to a maximum of 520 km/hr at 5000 m, however the climb rate was further reduced to 2500 ft/min.
The US Navy bought 100 examples of another improved version, designated F2A-3Of the F2A-3, ordered in January 1941, though the US Navy had become more and more unsatisfied with the Brewster F2A and its manufacturer.
The F2A-3 had self-sealing tanks in the wings, an elongated body, whereby the weight is further increased and also armor for the pilot was added. This reduced performance still further and the maneuverability was more and more decreased.
One of the problems of the BRewster F2A had to do with the main landing gear. The support had a tendency to bend and thereby scrape against the edge of the wheel space, so that the landing gear could not be fully retracted. In practice, this was solved by removing some of the support. However, a hard landing could break them.
In this version, this problem became even more frequently, so the type was soon referred back to the second line or used as a trainer.

Versions.

Brewster XF2A-1:
the prototype
Brewster F2A-1:
first production version for the US Navy equipped with a Wright R-1820-34 Cycloneand two .50 inch machine gus in the wing. 11 examples built.
Brewster F2A-2:
43 examples for the US Navy adn US Marines equipped with a Wright R-1820-40 Cyclone and four machine guns in the wings.
Brewster F2A-3:
108 examples of an improved F2A-2 for the US Navy with a enlarged range and provisions for a bomb load under the wings.
Brewster XF2A-4:
test version of the F2A-3.
Brewster B-239:
Export version of the F2A-1 for Finland with a Wright R-1820-G5 and four machine guns.
Brewster B-339B:
Export-version for Belgium, 40 examples built.; two delivered, the rest was delivered to the British FAA.
Brewster B-339C:
24 examples of an export version for Netherlands East Indies with a Wright GR-1820-G-105 Cyclone.
Brewster B-339D:
48 examples of an export version for Netherlands East Indies with a 1200 hp (894.8 kW) Wright R-1820-G-205A Cyclone.
Brewster B-339E:
170 examples of an export version of the F2A-2 as Buffalo Mk. I for the Royal Air Force with a Wright GR-1820-G-105 Cyclone.
Brewster B-339-23:
Also referred to as B-439; export version of the F2A-3 for the Netherlands East Idies with 1000 hp Wright GR-1820-G205A engine; 20 examples built, but all were delivered to RAAF and some to USAAF

 

Technical information Brewster B-339C/D
Dimensions:
Length: 7,92 m Wingspan: 10,67 m
Height: 3,66 m Wing area: 19,42 m2
Weights:
Empty weight: 2076 kg Max. start weight: 3125 kg
Performances:
Max. speed: 494 km/hr Rate of climb:  4700 ft/min (ca 1500 m/min)
Range: 1553 km Service ceiling:  abt 10000 m
Miscellaneous:
Engine type:

One Wright Cyclone GR-1820-G105A rated 1100 hp (B-339C)

One Wright Cyclone G-205A rated 1200 hp (B-339D)

Crew: One
Armament: Two 12.7 mm machine guns plus two 7.7 mm machine guns

 

Technical information Brewster B-339-23
Dimensions:
Length: 8,03 m Wingspan: 10,7 m
Height: 3,68 m Wing area: 19,42 m2
Weights:
Empty weight: 2146 kg Max. start weight: 3247 kg
Performances:
Max. speed: 424 km/hr Rate of climb:  3100 ft/min (ca 945 m/min)
Range: 1553 km Service ceiling:  abt 10000 m
Miscellaneous:
Engine type:

One Wright Cyclone GR-1820-G5B rated 1000 hp

Crew: One
Armament: Four 12.7 mm machine guns