Today was another great day at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museums! I learned some, for me at least, mind blowing information from one of the docents there! His name is Rene, and he is amazing at what he does. I once got a fifty year overview on radar from the man in half an hour, it just blew me away. Well today I was in for another shocker, this time about two different subjects, err....well, mainly two ;) I was learning about our F6F Hellcat built by Grumman, back in the days where private companies too an interest in the war effort. I had a few extra minutes to spare before my Robert, my boss, was going to be back from getting some water so I thought I What can I learn about this plane that won't be on the board, and people will find really interesting? All I had to do was look over to the left of the plane and there was Rene sitting at the docent desk! I knew he'd have something for me, and sure enough he had some incredible facts!!!! I'll just give the two I found most..well, shocking, genius, and awesome:
1) They actually had a mechanism for starting the planes when the batteries were dead, such as when perhaps the carriers generators were down due to a strike on them, or your battery failed. Underneath the nose of the Hellcat there is a little door that says something along the lines of "Cartridge loading". What happens is you take what is really just a twelve gauge shotgun shell filled with black power, shove it into the slot for it and punch a button in the cockpit to ignite it and.....whhhoosh! You have a working engine. In this case the powder is ignited driving the engine around into its' cycle. Something interesting with how that works is, quite a few other planes did the same thing, even the famed: B-52 could use it on their outside engines, once the outside were working they pumped pressurized air into the other engines to get them moving.
2) The Hellcat also used something called water and alcohol injection. Now before you throw up your hands and say, "Hey! There were using bio-fuel back in WW2" I hate to say it, but they didn't. You would use this injection method only in a situation when you needed absolutely max power. There is a little button you press in the cockpit and it inserts a very fine stream of mist,(50/50 Alcohol and water) into the cylinder, the water multiplies in size as it is instantly vaporized and with the alcohol in the mix it ignites as well causing the water not to dampen the power and simply drive the cylinder heads at an accelerated rate. The extra force generated is hard on the engine long term so the initiation of water and alcohol into the cylinder is only in situations such as taking off from a carrier with a full load, on a Hellcat that'd be one 500 pounder plus standard armament.
That's all for now! I really need to keep talking to that docent :D
Oh, I met someone new today! So if your reading this, "Hi!" Ben!