FDB-1 | The new obsolete Fighter

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The Canadian Car and Foundry or Can-Car FDB-1 was a highly modern Biplane that, due to its late appearance in 1938, never went into service and only a single plane was built.
It featured many (for the time) modern design elements like a fully enclosed cockpit, a full metal construction with flush riveting and a retractable landing gear.
During its existance, it mostly sat in a hangar until 1945, where it was destroyed in a fire.

History

Canadian Car and Foundry wanted to expand into the aviation industry after producing the Grumman SF-1 under license, but as they had no previous experience in aircraft design, they hired the Georgian designer Michael Gregor (Mikheil Grigorashvili) to create a fighter aircraft for them. Michael was at the time still doubting the benefits of a monoplane compared to a biplane, and as such he decided to design a Biplane in 1938. He believed the idea to have some merit, as a lot of major powers still operated Biplanes in fighter units. The name FDB-1 was chosen to represent its intended role as a Fighter Dive Bomber.

A wooden model for wind tunnel testing was sent to Hawker Aircraft in the United Kingdom in early 1938 and construction started shortly after in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It was completed in December the same year and test flights began on the 17th December. During the first test flight, the pilot George Adye noted that the visability was severely restricted while another pilot described it as being “blind as hell.”
The pilots were impressed by its manouverability, the FTB-1 suffered from oversensitive controls and too far lowered flaps.

RCAF testflights were able to push the FTB-1 to a top speed of 420km/h at 4’000m while the Grumman F3F-1 could only reach 372km/h, but as the FTB-1 never carried its armament or any other military equipment, the actual speed would be quite a bit slower. There were plans to fit either the Pratt & Whitney R-1535 SB4-G or the R-1380 Twin Wasp, but those engines were never fitted to the aircraft. Overall the performance advertised by Gregor and Can-Car was overly optimistic.
Further tests by the RCAF revealed more problems with the aircraft such as heavy canopy vibrations while performing manouvers or at high speed, and until those were issues were fixed, testing was paused.
During mock fights with Hurricane Mk.Is, it had superior maneuverability compared to the monoplanes below 4’600m, but that was probably only due to the aformentioned lack of military equipment on the aircraft.

In a final effort to attract any customers, Can-Car entered the New York-to-Miami air race in 1940. Shortly after takeoff, the oil pressure dropped and the FTB-1 was forced to land disqualifying it.
There was some interest by the Mexican government, but the Can-Car was refused an export license and no other interested customers could be found.

Specifications

Crew: 1
Length: 6.6m
Wingspan: 8.5m
Height: 2.858m
Wing Area: 30.6m2
Empty/Loaded Mass: 1’306kg / 1’860kg
Powerplant: 1x Pratt & Whitney R-1535-72 9-cylinder radial engine with 700hp

Maximum Speed: 420km/h (unarmed)
Cruising Speed: 330km/h
Climbrate: 14m/s
Range: 1’585km

Offensive Armament: 2x .50Cal machineguns (proposed)
Suspended Armament: 2x 116lb bombs under the wings

Pictures

60f855fe957d7512859fb232_CCF-Gregor-FDB-1-in-the-Canadian-Car-and-Foundry-factory-at-Fort-William

60f855fe478b8c47cf8bfc31_CCF-Gregor-FDB-1--5-

Sources

Milberry, Larry: “Aviation in Canada” ISBN 0-07-082778-8

Molsen, Ken M.: “Canadian Aircraft since 1909” ISBN 0-92000211-0

2 Likes

This aircraft would make a great and unique addition to the game, I would love to see it added :D

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we need more early ww2 vehicles added this would be a good addition underneath maybe the gladiator Mk 2?

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Would always be happy to see more Canadian content. I first heard about this video from a YouTube channel called Ed Nash.

Yes, please. More Canadian things.