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Bugatti 100P Rebuilt: The Plane That Could've Turned the Battle of Britain

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the blast-from-the-past dept.

United Kingdom 353

concertina226 writes "A team of engineers is working together to recreate the Bugatti Veyron (or Bugatti 100P), an art deco-era fighter plane designed for World War II that would have broken the air speed record in 1940 — only the plane was never flown. Featuring forward pitched wings, a zero-drag cooling system and automated flight control assistance, plane was capable of reaching an air speed of 500mph, which would have made it the fastest and most advanced plane of its time."

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There was a mockup in the late 60s. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388111)

Somehow, in the video [youtube.com] it doesn't look like it's going 500 mph.

Re:There was a mockup in the late 60s. (1, Informative)

phrostie (121428) | about 5 months ago | (#46388349)

It wasn't a Nazi plane.
it was Italian

Retarded contractions in the title (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388571)

Seriously, could've?
 
Dice should rename Slashdot to Slangdot. Things like this and giving Billy Nye so much attention for being a credible expert make me shake my head. OOOOOH, look, a childrens' "science guy!" Maybe he knows someone at NASA. Or, as I have seen in these parts, maybe that's Nasa. So much for journalism.

Re:Retarded contractions in the title (1)

Holi (250190) | about 5 months ago | (#46388765)

woulda-shoulda-coulda.

It's a valid contraction, so why the hissy fit?

Re:Retarded contractions in the title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388823)

b/c itz k00l 2 talk like this lol

Already Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388115)

It was already beat by the RAF [youtube.com] .

Re:Already Lost (2)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46388311)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dornier_Do_335 [wikipedia.org] could potentially beat the shit out of RAF .. and so could ME 262 . Just consider the allies lucky .. they were not built in large numbers ...

Re:Already Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388413)

Just consider the allies lucky .. they were not built in large numbers ...

Indeed. Nobody helped the Allied war effort as much as Hitler. Really, the Royal Army should give him a medal for all he did to ensure Germany's defeat.

Re: Already Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388777)

We have a Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (which I suspect is what you mean), but alas, never a Royal Army.

Re:Already Lost (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46388451)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dornier_Do_335 [wikipedia.org] could potentially beat the shit out of RAF .. and so could ME 262 . Just consider the allies lucky .. they were not built in large numbers ...

They also lacked range. By the time they flew to London, they only had enough fuel to stay for a matter of minutes before returning to base. The RAF Spitfires were flying from local airfields, so could spend much more time in the fight. The really decisive fighter of WWII was the American P51 Mustang, not because it was the fastest, or most maneuverable, but because it could carry large external fuel tanks, greatly extending its range. It could accompany bombers from England to Berlin, or from the Marianas to Tokyo. It is not the best fighter than wins, but the best fighter that actually shows up for the fight.

Re:Already Lost (4, Insightful)

imikem (767509) | about 5 months ago | (#46388591)

And the P-51 also happened to have plenty of fight in it, aside from the range. Superb aircraft.

Never flown? But it could break a record? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388117)

Right.

Not a Nazi Plane (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388123)

"Bugatti, who had gained French citizenship between the two wars, decided to hide the craft in pieces in crates in a barn in the French countryside to prevent it from being discovered by the Nazis."

Learn to read.

Re:Not a Nazi Plane (4, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about 5 months ago | (#46388387)

It is also not a 'jet' fighter. Props to the submitter for not including that mistake from TFA.

Re:Not a Nazi Plane (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46388607)

I see what you did there.

I'm watching you...

Re:Not a Nazi Plane (1)

unitron (5733) | about 5 months ago | (#46388709)

It is also not a 'jet' fighter. Props to the submitter for not including that mistake from TFA.

In the original submission, he or she included that mistake.

And I see that the calling it a fighter plane mistake persists, in spite of there being no indication that this thing was ever intended to be a weapons platform (or ever could have been without some serious changes, and maybe not even then, since it was designed to go fast in a straight line, but not necessarily to be capable, without coming apart in mid-air, of the aerobatics necessary in a dog fight).

Re:Not a Nazi Plane (1)

Soulskill (1459) | about 5 months ago | (#46388411)

I've updated the headline to reflect this.

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388603)

Flamebait.

Re:Not a Nazi Plane (3, Insightful)

tunabomber (259585) | about 5 months ago | (#46388601)

...but the Nazis could have found it since they were occupying France at the time.
In order to find the parts of a cutting-edge racing plane, you just have to THINK like the parts of a cutting-edge racing plane.

All joking aside, I saw this plane at the EAA museum in Oshkosh a number of years ago and despite whatever complaints people may have about its utility as a combat plane, if nothing else it is an incredibly beautiful machine. It looks like something out of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, except more curvaceous and birdlike.

Engines (4, Insightful)

shortscruffydave (638529) | about 5 months ago | (#46388129)

If the main thing about this aircraft is it's high speed, it seems odd to me that the replica is going to be powered by engines which will only allow it to reach a fraction of the quoted max speed

Re:Engines (4, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | about 5 months ago | (#46388211)

There are a lot of "coulds" in this article.

Saying it would be a match for the Spitfire is probably wishful thinking - just because it can go fast in a race doesn't mean you can mount weapons on it and still have it go as fast. It also may have handling issues that requires very high pilot skill to land and take off - and you have to remember that in WWII pilots were let loose on Spitfires and the like with relatively low hours. There may also be other problems that would surface (which is possibly why they don't want to go over 200 mph with the replica) such as it may suffer from flutter at high speeds; flutter will destroy an airframe in seconds.

Re:Engines (3, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about 5 months ago | (#46388609)

There may also be other problems that would surface (which is possibly why they don't want to go over 200 mph with the replica) such as it may suffer from flutter at high speeds; flutter will destroy an airframe in seconds.

With the engines that far back, I suspect that the "computer control" was a hydraulic system to counter PIO (at the time designers were still willing to flirt with small amounts of instability.) At higher speeds that planform sure looks to me like the center of lift would move forward and, expert pilot or no, hasta la vista.

Hey tardo, it's its not it's (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388227)

It's as if the internet is full of wack jobs. Do you not know when to use its? Do you know it exists, its?

Re:Hey tardo, it's its not it's (0, Flamebait)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 months ago | (#46388423)

It's as if the internet's full of wack job's. Do you not know when to use its? Do you know it exist's, its?

FTFY.

Re:Engines (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388317)

At least if the Nazis did win we wouldn't be having so much crime from niggers and spics, wouldn't have to listen to faggots who want to get married and have the worst of what straight men deal with, and wouldn't have to get modded down by bleeding heart liberals who think the ghetto niggers are their friends and want to be their pals. I bet the Nazis would have the spine to do something about the excessive number of baby boomers too. Entitlement mentality, meet pistol whip!

Seriously the problem with old people is that supply exceeds demand. Old people are worse than worthless. Worthless would mean not contributing or producing anything. Old people nowadays do one better! They don't contribute or produce but they demand more and more money. The next five generations won't be able to pay this back, but fuck it, that's their problem right? Best thing that could EVER FUCKING HAPPEN TO AMERICA is if all the niggers swam back to Africa with a baby boomer under each arm.

Re:Engines (1, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 5 months ago | (#46388653)

High horse power piston engines useable for this kind of plane are not build anymore.
Like ... 50 years or so.
If you wanted some 500hp plus engines you have to reinvent / redevelop / reengineer them.

Re:Engines (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 months ago | (#46388803)

Counter intuitively, adding horsepower to a given aircraft design doesn't generally add much top speed. Instead you generally get improved climb capability.

Horsepower is linear in nature: a horsepower (or a pound of thrust) grows exactly to scale of the amount available. But wind resistance isn't. Drag more/less grows exponentially. Particularly at the higher end of the flight envelope, doubling the speed of an aircraft far more than doubles the amount of drag on the aircraft. Thus, adding 20% more horsepower might only give you a top speed gain of a few percentage points.

Above about 100 MPH or so, what generally makes a plane faster is "making it clean" - reducing elements of drag. For example, one of the worst possible shapes for creating drag is a circle. EG: a round pipe. Simply flaring the pipe can reduce the drag by 90% or more! Wires have the same problem - they create an intense amount of drag.

An example of an early "clean" plane is the Mooney M20 series. Compare the Mooney M20E with the M20J. The E is smaller and lighter than the J, has the same horsepower as the J, but the J cruises at 200 MPH while the E does about 175. Much of that improvement was gained by simply streamlining the air ventilation on the engine, directly behind the prop.

Re:Engines (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#46388889)

Drag more/less grows exponentially.

Relative to what?

If your answer is velocity, you're wrong.

Hmmm (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 5 months ago | (#46388131)

Dimensionally identical to the original, but will only go 200mph instead of 500mph. I'm sure they could source an engine(s) to make it go the original 500mph if they wanted to.

Re:Hmmm (1)

miller701 (525024) | about 5 months ago | (#46388149)

I'm guessing the twin motorcycle motors have a very good power/weight ratio.

Re:Hmmm (2)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about 5 months ago | (#46388495)

The Hyabusa motor is also relatively cheap. If it crashes during testing, there's less to lose. If it's a success, they might have plans to source a larger pair (one for each prop).

Re:Hmmm (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 5 months ago | (#46388627)

And in particular, they're much lighter than the original Bugatti engines -- which will do nice things for the plane's stability in flight.

But (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388133)

... the allies had Christopher Plummer!

Two things (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 months ago | (#46388137)

I get the computer controlled part, since forward swept wings are inherently unstable, but not how such control was going to be accomplished in 1939. Also, this 500mph historical plane, with modern fabrication and knowledge, is going to be limited to 200mph because they could only manage to fit 400HP of engine in it. And yet the original was supposed to fly 2.5 times as fast with only 2.25x the horsepower? Drag doesn't scale that way.

Re:Two things (5, Funny)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46388225)

Its a paper plane. Paper planes always look great on paper.

Re:Two things (2)

JoeIsuzu83 (1005645) | about 5 months ago | (#46388395)

Its a paper plane. Paper planes always look great on paper.

Agreed. Mine design similar, but it runs on excrement and will achieve Mach 1 (fully armed). Jack

Re:Two things (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388599)

Forward swept wings are prone to static aerolastic divergence at lower speeds than aft swept, and this can become a wing design driver. For an aft swept wing, aileron reversal can become your headache. The dynamic aerelastic stability (aka flutter) concequences I can't comment on (at least without digging through references or asking a colleague).

If I remember correctly, the X-29 was inherrently longitudinally unstable, but that was a design decision. Although the geometry of the fwd swept wing makes it a little difficult, the wing could simple have been attached further aft to make the rigid body mode stable (the key relationship in the RB stability is the relative position b/n the aerodynamic center (AC) and the CG.

Re:Two things (0)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 5 months ago | (#46388687)

since forward swept wings are inherently unstable,
That is nonsense.
The whole reason you habe forward swept wongs is: it makes the plane extremly stable.
And yet the original was supposed to fly 2.5 times as fast with only 2.25x the horsepower? Drag doesn't scale that way. According to my physics book it does. But well, it is 30 years old. You miss the fact that the plane is not in original scale and weight and that we can not conlcude about propellers (shape/size) etc.

What is "computer-directed flight control"? (3, Insightful)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 5 months ago | (#46388141)

I'm curious - what exactly does "computer-directed flight control" mean for a plane from 1939?

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388153)

I'm curious - what exactly does "computer-directed flight control" mean for a plane from 1939?

International Business Machines and Prescott Bush would have willingly aided the German Nazi Party as has been well-documented by truth-seeking historians. Either that or Microsoft's Flight Simulator for Microsoft DOS.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388373)

I'm curious - what exactly does "computer-directed flight control" mean for a plane from 1939?

International Business Machines and Prescott Bush would have willingly aided the German Nazi Party as has been well-documented by truth-seeking historians. .

Which is actually slightly less relevant to the article than the fact that Al Gore made his money off of oil. Because the plane would use gasoline, obviously.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (5, Informative)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 5 months ago | (#46388179)

what exactly does "computer-directed flight control" mean for a plane from 1939?

This whole article is full of lazy incomplete writing.

To wit -

WWII Bugatti 100P Plane Rebuilt: Jet Fighter that Could Have Won Battle of Britain for the Nazis

A group of airplane enthusiasts have rebuilt the Bugatti 100P, an advanced fighter jet from 1940

The word 'Jet' appears nowhere else in the article, nor does it appear the 'jet' was ever built as a 'fighter.'

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388369)

From the FA:

. . . the plane featured cutting-edge technology for its time, including two eight-cylinder 4.9 litre race car engines producing 450 horsepower each . . ..

Oh, wait. Did that say cylinder? Yep. It's not a jet. worthless, sensationalist hacks that don't understand the topic.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (2)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about 5 months ago | (#46388575)

TFA links to The Daily Mail. I hope that doesn't need explanation...

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#46388775)

And the picture has two contra rotating propellers. It ain't no jet. May be jet black paint could be used. But that about it.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (4, Interesting)

dbc (135354) | about 5 months ago | (#46388221)

Interesting question. "Computers" as we think of them today, were built using vacuum tube logic at that time. I'm not sure when miniature tubes came into being, but I think they are post-war. Vacuum tubes have reliability problems, dislike vibration, generate a lot of waste heat, and consume huge amounts of power. Not really good choices for a fighter aircraft. In any case, if it were a vacuum tube computer, it would have been an analog computer, no doubt. But, recall that at the time, the term "computer" was used to refer to all different kinds of mechanical computers. Battleship targetting computers, for instance, were marvels of mechanical design and intricate gearworks. Perhaps there was some kind of analog computation done with a gear box.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (1)

Duhavid (677874) | about 5 months ago | (#46388447)

True. But there were some mechanical "computors" back then. Fire control computers come to mind, and date back to WWI.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#46388867)

I've no idea if this plane used tubes, but there were plenty of tubes in planes of that day. Mostly in their radios and such. They don't waste nearly as much electricity as you'd think. What they do have a problem with is that they need High voltage AC to heat the plate. But in a multiple hundred horsepower plane with an alternator on board that's not really a problem. There are plenty of examples of Russian planes from that time period still in service all over the world. One of the great things about tubes is, when they go, you just plug in a new one. Try doing that with a transistor.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388239)

It means the plane was the size of a warehouse and could help the pilot with his math homework.

Really though, I can find nothing about computer directed flight controls on the bugatti100p.com site [google.com] . It seems to be something made up by some article writer.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (1)

DrHyde (134602) | about 5 months ago | (#46388383)

It would have been an electrical (or possibly mechanical if they could make it light enough) analogue computer. Analogue fire control computers were common on naval ships from WW1 onwards, and used in bomb sights and anti-aircraft guns in WW2. I presume that it would just be a moderately complex negative feedback system.

Mind you, the pictures make it look like it wouldn't really have been a useful military plane. Too small to carry any significant load, guns, or fuel. It was designed as a racer, not a military plane, and while companies like Supermarine could apply lessons from racing to mass-produced military machines, they still had to design the military machines from scratch and not just do quick adaptations to existing designs. The Spitfire, for example, has its origins in a 1931 design, and had two substantial re-designs before finally entering service in 1938. Even if the Germans get their hands on this unfinished prototype in mid 1940 when France falls, there's not a chance that they'd get anything related to it into production until they're already getting their heads kicked in by the Red Army and RAF Bomber Command.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (2)

sjf (3790) | about 5 months ago | (#46388455)

You're right. If it existed, it would have been a mechanical computer, likely gyroscopically controlled. Norden had an autopilot coupled bombing computer in production in the very early 30's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org]
Indeed autopilots are almost as old as the biplane.

"Computers" as we think of them today simply didn't exist then. The nearest things to that would be the Bombe and Colossus later in the war.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 5 months ago | (#46388527)

Mind you, the pictures make it look like it wouldn't really have been a useful military plane. Too small to carry any significant load, guns, or fuel.

Not to mention the balsa wood and doped fabric skin. I have serious doubts about its integrity at high airspeed, where the stresses go up a whole lot faster than people originally expected. That 3000 pound weight was nice for racing but wouldn't have survived long in combat.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (1)

Revv (227309) | about 5 months ago | (#46388839)

The structure was balsa wood sandwiched between layers of hardwood. This is now the Mosquito was built. From the photos, it appears the ailerons are fabric covered. This was typical of late thirties aircraft. The allies replaced their fabric covered ailerons with metal ones during the war because they did not work at high speeds. I don't think the Germans did.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388679)

Even if the Germans get their hands on this unfinished prototype in mid 1940 when France falls, there's not a chance that they'd get anything related to it into production until they're already getting their heads kicked in by the Red Army and RAF Bomber Command.

No credit at all to the 8th Air Force?

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (1)

imikem (767509) | about 5 months ago | (#46388743)

Where are mod points when you need them? This is exactly correct. The 100P is a curiosity. It would have had near-zero impact on the war.

Hitler and Göring losing their nerve at the critical juncture of the Battle of Britain and giving up on airfield and radar installation raids was what, thankfully, turned the tide.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (3, Informative)

Soulskill (1459) | about 5 months ago | (#46388445)

Looks like a mangling of this quote: "Automatic wing-flaps, that changed the wingprofile for extra lift or less drag. Adjustment automatic according to airspeed, throttle etc. This system was also capable of acting as an airbrake, or be used during dives. The same system also automatically lowered and raised the retractable landing gear." Source [bugatti100p.com]

I've tweaked the summary to refer to automation, rather than computers.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 months ago | (#46388573)

You keep doing this and we're not going to have anything to complain about. Then what are we supposed to do?

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (2)

hey! (33014) | about 5 months ago | (#46388617)

Well, electrical, mechanical and electro-mechanical analog computation was a hot research in the 30s and 40s. People forget that "op-amp" (invented in 1941) stands for "operational amplifier" -- a device originally intended to do analog integration.

The fire control computers on WW2 naval ships were highly sophisticated electromechanical computers, although obviously too large for an airborne system. On the other hand the contemporary Norden bomb sight was, in effect, a compact, specialized analog computer.

The idea of connecting such a system directly to control something directly would have been very advanced for its time. Cybernetics as a practical discipline was in its infancy. I suspect the "computer-directed flight control" refers to flight surfaces that are automatically adjusted based on several user inputs such as throttle and yoke. This is the kind of thing that would be handled by a computer in a modern high performance aircraft, or by some complicated manual procedure in a racing aircraft of the era. That woudl arguably a kind of special purpose computation although calling it a "computer-controlled flight controller" would be a stretch.

Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about 5 months ago | (#46388815)

This: http://www.google.com/patents/US2279615 [google.com]

Trivia: what is the difference between a simplistic computer and a fancy automaton?

Maintenance? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 5 months ago | (#46388155)

I bet maintenance would've been a bitch. I might have been able to fly fast, but there might also have been a lot of "hanger queens" too. The design is meaningless if you can't keep the planes in the air.

Oh my (5, Insightful)

muecksteiner (102093) | about 5 months ago | (#46388159)

Even by Slashdot standards, this is one of the dumbest headlines, ever.

Bugatti was no Nazi. He lived and worked in pre-war France, and was not a Nazi supporter at all. The reason the thing did not fly back then was because Bugatti, who had build the plane in France prior to it being invaded by Nazi Germany, successfully hid it from the invaders so they would not get their hands on it. Or rather, the technology used in it: in any case, the plane in the form it was built was never, ever, a "Nazi plane". Nor would it have been useful at all as a warplane: this thing, amazing as it is, is a pure racer, with zero capabilities for being armed. Nor would it probably have been much good in a dogfight, either: that crate was built to be fast, with everything else being a secondary consideration.

This headline is pure drivel, and really should be corrected ASAP.

Re:Oh my (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 5 months ago | (#46388289)

From the project's website: "The plane also met the criteria for a light-weight fighter". Here is the link: http://bugatti100p.com/ [bugatti100p.com]

Re:Oh my (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46388457)

It had a gross takeoff weight of ~3000 pounds, which is about half the Spitfire's gross.

So, where was it supposed to put the guns, if it had been converted to a fighter?

Sounds like this thing could have been a perfect replacement for a Gloster Gladiator, but not much else.

Re:Oh my (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388749)

Nor would it probably have been much good in a dogfight, either: that crate was built to be fast, with everything else being a secondary consideration.

This headline is pure drivel, and really should be corrected ASAP.

Maybe, maybe not.

The Spitfire's origins was also a dedicated racer....

The Mosquito (aka The Wooden Wonder) was also mainly wood and canvas; also very fast and from what I've read could take a surprising amount of battle damage...

Sensationalist (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388171)

From TFU:

"The Bugatti 100P was not ready in time for the September 1939 deadline to enter the Coupe Deutsch aircraft race, ... If the Germans had been able to get hold of the Bugatti, it is believed that the plane could have outperformed the British Supermarine Spitfire planes during the Battle of Britain."

Incredible how unrealistic/sensationalist how people can be. The prototype was not ready in Sept 39, it was hidden in France and hence can only be found there by the Germans after May 1940 and still it is assumed to take part in the Battle of Britain on the summer of 1940? And according to the title it is even supposed to win the war at that time???

Re:Sensationalist (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 months ago | (#46388635)

You don't understand secret weapons, do you?

They're supposed to just pop out of nowhere, break at least two physical laws and otherwise be incredibly unlikely. If they didn't do that, the other side would just make whole armies of them. RTFM [marvel.com] .

Ignorant author (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 5 months ago | (#46388177)

The caption for the lead photo in the article, showing a sleek, double-propeller-driven aircraft:

"A group of airplane enthusiasts have rebuilt the Bugatti 100P, an advanced fighter jet from 1940".

Re:Ignorant author (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46388249)

It isn't mutually exclusive. A turboprop is a jet engine mated to a propeller. The thing is you had NEITHER available in 1940.

Re:Ignorant author (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388583)

No, a turboprop is a gas turbine engine mated to a propeller, and generally doesn't direct its exhaust rearward, so doesn't gain appreciable thrust from it.

Gas turbines also happen to be used in jet-powered aircraft (turbojets, mostly only used cruise missiles, and some very high-speed military planes, like the SR-71, now), as well as helicopters, tanks, ships and power stations (turboshafts). A turbofan (especially a high bypass turbofan, as used in most jetliners) is actually a hybrid, getting much of its thrust from the ducted fan, rather than the exhaust.

Re:Ignorant author (1)

Revv (227309) | about 5 months ago | (#46388883)

Most high speed piston engined aircraft during WWII used thrust from their exhausts to increase speed. I cannot imagine why you would direct a turbo-prop's thrust anywhere other than to the rear.

Lots of WWII radiators generated little or no drag. The P-51 Mustang's radiator actually was sort of a jet engine, expanding its cooling air through a nozzle in the rear, generating zero net drag.

Re:Ignorant author (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388795)

It isn't mutually exclusive. A turboprop is a jet engine mated to a propeller. The thing is you had NEITHER available in 1940.

From Wikipedia on jet engines [wikipedia.org] : "They had their first HeS 1 centrifugal engine running by September 1937. Unlike Whittle's design, Ohain used hydrogen as fuel, supplied under external pressure. Their subsequent designs culminated in the gasoline-fuelled HeS 3 of 1,100 lbf (5 kN), which was fitted to Heinkel's simple and compact He 178 airframe and flown by Erich Warsitz in the early morning of August 27, 1939, from Rostock-Marienehe aerodrome, an impressively short time for development. The He 178 was the world's first jet plane.[8]"

Re:Ignorant author (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46388309)

Also the French had decent military hardware when WWII started. Including aircraft. The defeat was more a matter of organization and tactics.

Perhaps the reason it never flew... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388207)

...was that its 1940 flight control computers were not exacty available in a flight-friendly form-factor.

Just reinstalled my PC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388261)

FUCK BETA.

Re:Just reinstalled my PC (1)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | about 5 months ago | (#46388533)

FUCK BETA.

Yes the Bugatti beta from 1939 is designed to dupe anon cowards into registering as /. members. This design is to win the "Beta Battle" for smart phone interfaces. If /. had this "Beta" back in 1939 it could have won the iPad/iPhone forum interface wars!

Fact checking? We don' need no steenkin... (3, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | about 5 months ago | (#46388275)

As usual, linking to the people who actually know what they are talking about [bugatti100p.com] would have helped.

Instead we have a story with the headline "WWII Bugatti 100P Plane Rebuilt: Jet Fighter that Could Have Won Battle of Britain for the Nazis" in bold print directly over a photograph of a plane with a propeller.

Amazingly enough, even the Daily Fail article [dailymail.co.uk] which the International Business Times cribbed for this story contained more accurate information.

Maybe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388277)

"an airplane that never flew and for which there are no known plans and few relevant drawings"

The source is suspect, TFA is sloppy/mushy in terms of its pitching this as a warplane (and the caption calls it a 'fighter jet'), the summary here repeats it's a "fighter plane designed for World War II" when it seems to be designed to be raced once, over a course, to break an air speed record.

Whatever. 'Maybe' some or all of the claims could have been borne out had this ever been built or had managed to fly. Most likely? NO.

What? (1)

edibobb (113989) | about 5 months ago | (#46388291)

Computer directed flight control in 1940? Must have been a very large plane.

Re:What? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 5 months ago | (#46388543)

A mechanical contraption, not a Turing machine, comparable to a slide rule or the bomb sights of that era.

Germany lost the BoB because of Hitler's stupidity (2)

SensitiveMale (155605) | about 5 months ago | (#46388297)

Germany had, for all intents and purposes, won the Battle of Britain before Hitler decided to change the successful tactic of attacking primarily military targets to civilian targets.

Re:Germany lost the BoB because of Hitler's stupid (3, Insightful)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 5 months ago | (#46388453)

The Germans lost the battle for many reasons. They were losing aircraft fast, not just in combat but due to maintenance needed. Planes have to be pulled out of the line and refurbished every so often. They can't fight forever. Unknown to the Germans, the British were far out producing them in fighter aircraft. Almost double the production. The problem the British faced was a lack of pilots to man those aircraft, and a degradation of the support infrastructure. Same as pilots, the ground crew, maintenance and airfield engineers were wearing out. But, so were the German ones. It turned into a battle of attrition. The Germans were deeper to begin with, but the British were losing less over time. The Germans eventually broke first. Their change in tactics was to cover the wearing out of their air force.

Re:Germany lost the BoB because of Hitler's stupid (0)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#46388605)

That's the first time I've ever heard that. The British basically knew where the Germans were going to attack every time, because they had already cracked the enigma code. That helped them choose the correct time to engage, and by the time the Germans really focused on bombing cities, the main battles had been won, the RAF had clearly established superiority.

That is thanks to Alan Turing et al.

Re:Germany lost the BoB because of Hitler's stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388821)

Wrong.

They were rarely able to decode messages quickly enough for what you describe.

OTOH they had two coastal radar systems and the observer corps one the planes had crossed the cost.

And a master strategist in Hugh Dowding, head of Fighter Command.

I yield to nobody in my admiration of Alan Turing, but this is overstating the case.

what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388301)

Why all this hyperbole? It was a little air racer. Small in stature means no armor or armanent. Limited visability for the pilot means he never saw the plane that killed him. Loaded with shortcomings not loaded for bear. 900 hp was so 5 years before the Bug. No stretch in the design so it would not be able to handle 2000 hp motors later on. A French company not a Nazi one. The French fought the Nazis, remember. Ettore was great but no reason to think he would make a world beater with his first airplane. A cool item from the past. Not The Nazi Plane That Could Have Won The Battle Of Britain. Please be more circumspect in your postings.

Authoritative Source (2)

jamesl (106902) | about 5 months ago | (#46388361)

History, facts and performance from the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) which has the original on display.
http://www.airventuremuseum.or... [airventuremuseum.org]

What that "Nazi Plane" Has in Common with Unicorns (1)

demon driver (1046738) | about 5 months ago | (#46388375)

Mary-Ann Russon [ibtimes.co.uk] , Technology Reporter for the International Business Times UK, believes in them, while both don't exactly exist.

Jet Prop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388419)

Twin props on a jet. Now that's innovative.
I guess pusher props would get too hot from the jet wash.....

Yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388427)

If the picture is true to the original design, this aircraft has very little to recommend it as a fighter. Machine guns, even the .30 cal or 8mm types used in the early days of WW2, are big and heavy. Add a couple of hundred rounds per gun. If you decide to add a 20mm cannon or two because rifle caliber machine guns really aren't heavy enough to do significant damage to an enemy aircraft the weight goes up again. Don't forget some armor plate around the pilot so that your expensive aircraft and well trained pilot can make it home after a dogfight (ask the Japanese navy about what happens when you don't think about survivability). Put enough fuel into the aircraft for at least a 500 mile range and some endurance during the fight. Make sure that the fuel tanks are self sealing and heavy. Raise the cockpit canopy so that the pilot can see and more importantly take off and land. Then throw the legendary Bugatti eccentric engineering into the mix which would just about guarantee that the aircraft couldn't be maintained or serviced.

It might be a good plane for your enemy to fly,

Is this what passes for journalism these days ? (1)

no_go (96797) | about 5 months ago | (#46388449)

Unbelievably bad !

The Bugatti 100 wasn't a JET , much less an "advanced fighter jet". (Note to the author: Jet isn't synonym with combat aircraft).

It wouldn't be computer controlled . No computers with the right size and speed for controlling an aircraft where available (also, for the size, the control surfaces would be "muscle" powered, as where all aircraft of comparable size and era).

Being on the prototype stage, it would not ever be combat ready and in wide operational use for it to make any difference on the Battle of Britain (The prototypes for the Spitfire and the bf109 had first flights in 1936 and 1935 , operational around 1938 and 1937).

Compared to the previous issues, the "zero-drag cooling system" is of little consequence.

Also, no excuse for the author not being an "expert" on the subject .
Some basic fact checking ("oh, look it s got a propeller" or "when was the first flight control computer introduced ?") would keep the piece honest. (but would certainly intrude upon the the sensationalist tone).

Won the Battle of Britain? (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 5 months ago | (#46388467)

From the looks of it, it would have a fuel range barely enough to cross the Channel.

I also have doubts about the top speed, given the wave drag of the leading edges. However, that's a maybe. With the motorcycle engines instead of (for instance) a pair of turbocharged racing engines the replica is going to be flying at only 40% of the original's planned Mach number so a lot of things are going to be very different. On the other hand, some aeronautical engineering grad student could probably do a nice paper on simulated performance of the original.

By the way: the Spitfire cooling system was not only dragless, it produced thrust.

Such a stupid click-bait article (4, Insightful)

WarSpiteX (98591) | about 5 months ago | (#46388473)

My God, Slashdot has gone to shit over the years. That kind of unresearched clickbait nonsense would not have made a post 10 years ago.

The aircraft in the picture is:

1. Too small.
2. Unarmed.
3. Unarmored.

Let's explain:

Once you add armament and armor, the Bugatti would be a LOT slower. Probably slower than the Bf-109 that set the 469mph record.

To compensate, you'd need a bigger engine. The 109, which was a small fighter to begin with (half the size of a P-51 and a third the size of a P-47), was already running a big engine for its size and barely had enough room to upgrade to the DB605 during the middle of the war. This Bugatti is tiny. It's powered by two 4.9L engines that produce 450hp each. In 1940, the 109 had the DB601 with a displacement of 34L and produced ~1200hp. By 1945, the DB605 was up to 37L and produced about 1800hp.

The Bugatti wouldn't be big enough to run an engine that big, and while I'm sure one of you is going to ask "but it doesn't need to"... yes it does. If it's to carry enough fuel, armaments, and ammunition, it needs to have an engine that can propel it forward at combat speeds with all that extra weight, and an airframe that can hold all that. You don't get a lunar lander to the moon in Kerbal Space Program with a pair of solid fuel boosters, and you don't get an armed and armored fighter to loiter over Britain for an hour with two 4.9L engines. Not happening. Physics disagrees.

Incidentally, the 109's already small size was one of the major problems for the Germans during the Battle of Britain. It didn't have the fuel capacity to stay over London for anything more than 15-20 minutes and still be able to return to France.

Re:Such a stupid click-bait article (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 5 months ago | (#46388787)

You don't get a lunar lander to the moon in Kerbal Space Program with a pair of solid fuel boosters

I was almost ready to take that on as a challenge, but the best I've done with pure solid-booster rockets in KSP is orbiting a satellite or manned craft, and that required no less than 6 boosters plus a stack of separators for the circularization burn. All stock parts, though - there's probably a mod that will get you to munar orbit in a single stage, but that's obviously cheating.

Re:Such a stupid click-bait article (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#46388873)

Lets go a little further into the issues;
1. Size. You talked about this a bit but range was more important. The racing aircraft was designed to take off, fly a few laps around a short course and land. There is no way it had enough fuel to get to England, fight and get back.
2. Armament. The aircraft had none. To add armament would mean weight and stiffening. The wings did not have enough strength to accommodate machine guns, ammunition and the pounding caused by firing.
3. Armor. Most combat aircraft had some of the following things to help it survive being shot at; self sealing fuel tanks, armored cockpits, redundant flight controls armored engine compartment, strengthened structure, etc. A race aircraft would not need any of these ans would be very vulnerable to enemy fire.

The Bugatti was a race aircraft and not a combat aircraft. Yes it could go fast but was useless in combat.

Pretty Wildy Innacurate Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388477)

Not a veyron (never had that name applied)
Not a jet (prop driven)
Not a fighter (never planned to have weapons of any kind - the 110p was a proposal to make it a pursuit craft but that was never finished)
Not capable of 500 mph (claims based on production estimates, not field-tested accurately measured top speed)
Not built for the Nazi's (and specifically split up and hidden from them)

It's a shame they went for sensationalist exaggeration instead of detailing the already-interesting-enough story about discovering and reproducing a lost piece of aviation history. It doesn't have to be the fastest in the world or capable of winning the war for the Nazi's to still be very very interesting.

I'll believe it when I see it (2)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 5 months ago | (#46388487)

I'm actually surprised they're trying this; I wouldn't want to be the first one to take it up. Two things that are almost guaranteed trouble in aircraft are counter-rotating propellers and especially shaft-driven propellers. I see insufficient rear control surfaces (what are they going to do when they start to hit compressibility?), poor-to-no stability, and almost impossible emergency exit. The concept of an aircraft with poor visibility and no room for fuel or weapons as a fighter is laughable. They're not testing Bugatti's concept, because they're not powering it sufficiently to test the one thing it might have been good at - speed.

Veyron is a car, not an airplane (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388587)

Why does the submitter think the Veyron is this airplane (the 100p)? Even the linked site acknowledges that the Veyron is a car:
http://google.com/search?q=site%3Abugatti100p.com+Veyron

True (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46388725)

I cant find any record of it being called Veyron anywhere. They know something we don't?

small and weak engines (1)

Toshito (452851) | about 5 months ago | (#46388723)

Having only 900hp total with 2 engines while other fighters of that era had between 1000hp and 1500hp with only one engine.

In times of war you don't want some high tech complex machine like this, you want clever and simple design, easy to repair and reliable.

Idiotic supposition is idiotic (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 5 months ago | (#46388805)

First, thanks for linking a page with autoplaying video, LOVE THAT.

Second: combat aircraft are about much, much more than speed. Note this line: "...The reigning air speed record of the time was 469mph, set by a German Messerschmitt plane in 1939...." That was the plane that LOST the Battle of Britain, by the way.

The Bf109 was 10% faster than the Spitfire during the Battle of Britain anyway, an even faster plane - assuming it would remain so, after the addition of reasonable fuel tanks, armor, guns, ammunition, and a fighting canopy - would have helped how?

Note, the power/weight ratio for this racing plane, 3.44 lbs/hp, is precisely the same (curious?) as the unloaded combat Spitfire. Wing loading is much less, but if we presume the addition of 1000+ lbs of combat-necessary weight, that would be rather worse.

No, this is a clever design, a very pretty bird, and will be interesting to see fly. I would be a little nervous, without seeing the wind-tunnel results, of flat spins and yaw control generally, not to mention forward-swept wings being notoriously twitchy in practice.

SG-1 (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 5 months ago | (#46388807)

It kinda reminds me of a Goa'uld Death Glider. So it's really a good thing the Nazis didn't find it.
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