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Author Topic: C-64 Noorduyn Norseman  (Read 7256 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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C-64 Noorduyn Norseman
« on: December 28, 2017, 03:46:46 PM »

From Wikipedia article on the history of the design.

General characteristics

Crew: 1
Capacity: 10
Length: 32 ft 4 in (9.86 m)
Wingspan: 51 ft 6 in (15.70 m)
Height: 10 ft 1 in (3.07 m)
Wing area: 325 sq ft (30.2 m2)
Empty weight: 4,240 lb (1,923 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 7,400 lb (3,357 kg) ;7,540 lb (3,420 kg) with floats
Fuel capacity: 100 imp gal (120 US gal; 450 l) in two wing roots + optional 37.4 imp gal (44.9 US gal; 170 l) or 2x 101.6 imp gal (122.0 US gal; 462 L) auxiliary tanks in the cabin
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN1 9 cyl.air cooled radial piston engine, 600 hp (450 kW)
Propellers: 3-bladed Hamilton Standard, 9 ft 0.75 in (2.7623 m) diameter

Performance

Maximum speed: 155 mph (249 km/h; 135 kn) landplane; 138 miles per hour (120 kn; 222 km/h) (skis); 134 miles per hour (116 kn; 216 km/h) (floats)
Cruise speed: 130 mph (209 km/h; 113 kn) KTAS @ 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
Stall speed: 68 mph (109 km/h; 59 kn)
Range: 932 mi (810 nmi; 1,500 km) @ 10,000 ft (3,000 m)

Image of restored UC-64 Norseman from Wikimedia Commons--"Restored USAAF Noorduyn UC-64 at the USAF Museum in Dayton OH."


LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: C-64 Noorduyn Norseman
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 04:39:19 PM »

Thanks Marty. It's actually Noorduyn, not Noordyun.  I've been spelling it wrong.

The "Norseman" was a 1934 Canadian design intended to be the ideal bush plane.  It's a very basic fabric-covered steel tube and wood construction, ten-place airplane - single engine, fixed landing gear, high wing, strut-braced monoplane with a big door on the left side of the fuselage for easy loading of people or cargo. The engine was the ubiquitous Pratt & Whitney R-1340 AN-1 WASP rated at 600 hp for takeoff (basically the same engine as on NR16020).  Most had two-bladed props but some had three blades. Not sure why.  Covington Aircraft Engines in Oklahoma is the world's largest overhaul/re-build facility for P&W radials. I asked my friend Blaine Abbott at Covington why you'd hang a three-blade prop on an R-1340.  He said the geared AN-2 version of the engine takes a three-blade prop.  He said a three blade prop on an AN-1 would be rare, but a 1943 vintage beautifully restored Norseman currently for sale has a three-blade prop on an AN-1 engine. It's an issue because the fisherman remembers a three-blade prop on the plane he hauled up.

Beginning in 1942, the U.S. Army bought a total of more than 700 Norseman as the UC-64A. On June 30, 1944 the "U" designation was dropped and the UC-64A became the C-64A. Most were used in Alaska.  According to Spragg, 212 C-64s served with 8th and 9th Air Force in the ETO. They were used as utility transports assigned to bomb groups and repair facilities.  Think of them as pickup trucks.

The airplane carrying Glenn Miller was C-64A serial number 470285 assigned to the 35th Air Depot Group and Depot Repair Squadron of Eighth Air Force Service Command, 2nd Strategic Air Depot based at Abbotts Ripton, aka Alconbury, airfield. The 2nd Strategic Air Depot handled service and repair for 1st Air Division B-17s.

There's a 1943 Operator's Manual for the UC-64A at http://www.avialogs.com/index.php/item/56039-t-o-01-155cb-1-pilot-s-flight-operating-instructions-for-c-64a-airplanes.html

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the C-64 with respect to the Miller flight is that it has no de-icing or anti-icing capability.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 04:41:30 PM by Ric Gillespie »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: C-64 Noorduyn Norseman
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 05:07:57 PM »

Thanks Marty. It's actually Noorduyn, not Noordyun.  I've been spelling it wrong.

Subject fixed--on the second try.   ::)

Quote
Most had two-bladed props but some had three blades. Not sure why.  ... a 1943 vintage beautifully restored Norseman currently for sale has a three-blade prop on an AN-1 engine. It's an issue because the fisherman remembers a three-blade prop on the plane he hauled up.

Among my RC friends, 3-bladed props were recommended in situations in which a 2-blade propeller of comparable load would be too long for the landing gear.

I've read that the most efficient prop is one-bladed.  The Internet is divided on that question.

An F2A World Record was set in 2001 for control-line speed using a one-bladed prop.

"36,000 RPM, 1 Blade Prop, and 208+ MPH Control Line Model Airplane."

The video is very entertaining.

It's not the only strange feature of the airplane.  It also has just one wing and one stab.

I suppose the important point is not what is actually true about the merits of 2- vs 3-bladed props, but what the US Air Force believed about the merits of the prop swap for the C-64 in 1943-1944.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 05:09:42 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: C-64 Noorduyn Norseman
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2017, 05:43:55 PM »

Alchetron:

"It was a UC-64A Norseman (s/n 44-70285) flown by F/O John R. S. Morgan in which Major Glenn Miller was flying as a passenger when he disappeared over the English Channel on December 15, 1944."

From Ric:

Quote
Somewhere Spragg got the idea that 470285 was a C-64B, but if you go to JoeBaugher.com, you'll see that the aircraft was clearly a C-64A produced in Fiscal Year 1944. 
JoeBaugher.com:

"70285 (MSN 550) Delivered to USAAF July 5, 1944; Newark, New Jersey July 5, 1944; shipped to the 8th Air Force, England July 14, 1944; 35th Depot Repair Squadron, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire.  Disappeared over the English Channel on December 15, 1944 while en route from Bedford, England  to Paris, France. Band leader A. Glenn Miller was lost along with the pilot John Morgan and  Lt. Colonel Baessell. The pilot departed Abbots Ripton at about noon on the 15th with orders  to pick up his passengers at Twinwood Farm, a satellite to RAF Cranfield, located three miles  north of the centre of Bedford. After picking up Lt. Colonel Baessell and Major Miller, it  departed for Villacoublay, France in marginal conditions, with Bordeaux being the aircraft's  ultimate destination; Villacoublay was located some ten miles southwest of the centre of Paris.  The aircraft was never heard from again.  No trace of the aircraft or its occupants has ever been found."

Quote
There were only ten C-64Bs, 2 in FY 1942 and 8 in FY 1943.  All were transferred from the RCAF to the USAAF. 

From that URL:

Serial Number Criteria:

Description Criteria: C-64B

Data last updated: Tue Mar 15 09:25:04 2016

42-53520 ... 42-53521
Noorduyn UC-64B-ND Norseman
MSN 83/84, ex RCAF 3532, 3533
53521 to civil registry as N57370

43-5105 ... 43-5108
Noorduyn UC-64B Norseman
MSN 96/99.  To RCAF as 496/499.
5105 (MSN 96) to RCAF as 496.  To USAAF Mar 29, 1943. 
5106 (MSN 97) to RCAF as 497.  To USAAF Mar 29, 1943
5107 (MSN 98) to RCAF as 498.  To USAAF Mar 29, 1943.  In takeoff accident
at Little Evies Lake, Yukon, Canada Oct 16, 1943.
5108 (MSN 99) to RCAF as 499.  To USAAF Mar 29, 1943. 
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 11:52:10 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Matt Revington

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Re: C-64 Noorduyn Norseman
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2019, 05:42:09 AM »

In regard to the 3 vs 2 bladed props, this page says the US army (at Wright Field during the war) tested and found the 3 bladed props improved the performance of the Norseman

https://canavbooks.wordpress.com/category/new-release/page/3/

The stats that Marty lists from wiki in the first post in this thread that mention the 3 blade prop are for the Mark V Norseman produced after the war
« Last Edit: January 01, 2019, 07:20:56 AM by Matt Revington »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: C-64 Noorduyn Norseman
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2019, 09:02:32 AM »

Good work Matt.  I think that clears up the mystery of why some C-64s had three blade props.  There are no known photos of 44-70285 (the Miller aircraft) but all wartime photos of Norsemen, with the sole exemption of the aircraft at Wright Field, show two-bladed props.

According to Wikipedia, "In postwar production, the Canada Car and Foundry in Fort William, Ontario acquired rights to the Norseman design, producing a version known as the Norseman Mk V, a civilian version of the wartime Mk IV."

C-64 44-70534, in the National Museum of the USAF collection, has a three-bladed prop but, like all of the NMUSAF aircraft, it has been "fully restored" and "is marked as a Norseman based in Alaska late in WWII."
The aircraft is actually a post-war Norseman that served in Canada.  According to Baugher's list,
"70534 (MSN 799) Built for RCAF as A591, direct to USAAF as UC-64A/44-70534. Attached to 2152RU, Dec 20, 1948 damaged in landing accident at Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada.  Attached to 6RU, Mar 10, 1949 damaged in a taxi accident at  Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada.  By 2012 was hanging from the ceiling in the USAF Museum."

Bottom line:  We can safely assume that the Miller aircraft had a two-bladed prop.  The fisherman's recollection that the aircraft he pulled up had a three-bladed prop is one of several discrepancies between what he members seeing and Norseman 44-70285. 

Assessing the credibility of the fisherman's story is a classic exercise in evaluating an anecdotal recollection.  I'll be addressing that in detail in the next TIGHAR Tracks.


 
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