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Re: [Designations] Douglas D-558-I

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  • Andreas Parsch
    ... The phrase ... is not a military airplane and therefore could not fit into the Navy designation scheme is a bit misleading, IMHO. It couldn t fit into
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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      On Friday 31 December 2004 07:21, Jos Heyman wrote:
      > Found the following in Naval Aviation News, Jan 1947, page 25, which
      > explains why the D-558-I has no Navy designation:
      >
      > "Though the airplane will contribute much to the design of military
      > aircraft, it itself is not a military airplane and therefore could
      > not fit into the Navy designation scheme. The contractor's model
      > number was accepted as its designation."

      The phrase "... is not a military airplane and therefore could not fit
      into the Navy designation scheme" is a bit misleading, IMHO. It
      couldn't fit into the designation scheme, because there simply was no
      means in that scheme to designate a pure research aircraft, be it
      military or not. There was no such thing as an "VX" class for
      experimental fixed-wing aeroplanes. In an official USN listing of
      aircraft designations dated 14 June 51, the D-558 was listed in the
      "VF" (Fighter) class!

      Interestingly, designations like "D-558" were later made official USN
      designators! In the document BUAER INSTRUCTION 05030.4 "Model
      Designation of Naval Aircraft, Guided Missiles and KD Targets", dated
      17 Oct 57, it says in paragraph 3.b.:

      "Research Airplanes: Airplanes designed and constructed for research
      purposes are designated by the designer's code letter (see 3.a.5.)
      followed by his design project number, for example: "D-652" would
      designate a naval research aircraft designed by Douglas and would be
      the 652nd design project by Douglas."

      I don't know when this rule was first introduced (at some time after Oct
      51), but it was formally in effect until the establishment of the
      tri-service MDS system in 1962. However, off the top of my head I can't
      quote another actual designation following that rule.

      Andreas
    • Jos Heyman
      I totally agree with Andreas statement. I did not accept the statement of Naval Aviation News either but merely quoted what the publication at that time said.
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 3, 2005
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        I totally agree with Andreas' statement.
        I did not accept the statement of Naval Aviation News either but merely
        quoted what the publication at that time said.

        As far as I known, the only other experimental that was designated by
        its manufacturer's model number is the Vought V-137, the small size
        version of the F5U.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Andreas Parsch [mailto:aparsch@...]
        Sent: Monday, 3 January 2005 5:34 AM
        To: Military_Aircraft_Designations@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [Designations] Douglas D-558-I


        On Friday 31 December 2004 07:21, Jos Heyman wrote:
        > Found the following in Naval Aviation News, Jan 1947, page 25, which
        > explains why the D-558-I has no Navy designation:
        >
        > "Though the airplane will contribute much to the design of military
        > aircraft, it itself is not a military airplane and therefore could
        > not fit into the Navy designation scheme. The contractor's model
        > number was accepted as its designation."

        The phrase "... is not a military airplane and therefore could not fit
        into the Navy designation scheme" is a bit misleading, IMHO. It
        couldn't fit into the designation scheme, because there simply was no
        means in that scheme to designate a pure research aircraft, be it
        military or not. There was no such thing as an "VX" class for
        experimental fixed-wing aeroplanes. In an official USN listing of
        aircraft designations dated 14 June 51, the D-558 was listed in the
        "VF" (Fighter) class!

        Interestingly, designations like "D-558" were later made official USN
        designators! In the document BUAER INSTRUCTION 05030.4 "Model
        Designation of Naval Aircraft, Guided Missiles and KD Targets", dated
        17 Oct 57, it says in paragraph 3.b.:

        "Research Airplanes: Airplanes designed and constructed for research

        purposes are designated by the designer's code letter (see 3.a.5.)
        followed by his design project number, for example: "D-652" would
        designate a naval research aircraft designed by Douglas and would be
        the 652nd design project by Douglas."

        I don't know when this rule was first introduced (at some time after Oct

        51), but it was formally in effect until the establishment of the
        tri-service MDS system in 1962. However, off the top of my head I can't
        quote another actual designation following that rule.

        Andreas



        Web access to this group:
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Military_Aircraft_Designations/
        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • David
        ... And the D-558-2 Skyrocket. I ve never known why Douglas used the same design number for a completely different plane. Must have been a contractual reason.
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 3, 2005
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          At 04:20 PM 1/3/05 +0800, Jos Heyman wrote:
          >
          >I totally agree with Andreas' statement.
          >I did not accept the statement of Naval Aviation News either but merely
          >quoted what the publication at that time said.
          >
          >As far as I known, the only other experimental that was designated by
          >its manufacturer's model number is the Vought V-137, the small size
          >version of the F5U.

          And the D-558-2 Skyrocket. I've never known why Douglas used the same
          design number for a completely different plane. Must have been a
          contractual reason.

          >
          >-----Original Message-----
          >From: Andreas Parsch [mailto:aparsch@...]
          >Sent: Monday, 3 January 2005 5:34 AM
          >To: Military_Aircraft_Designations@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: Re: [Designations] Douglas D-558-I
          >
          >
          >On Friday 31 December 2004 07:21, Jos Heyman wrote:
          >> Found the following in Naval Aviation News, Jan 1947, page 25, which
          >> explains why the D-558-I has no Navy designation:
          >>
          >> "Though the airplane will contribute much to the design of military
          >> aircraft, it itself is not a military airplane and therefore could
          >> not fit into the Navy designation scheme. The contractor's model
          >> number was accepted as its designation."
          >
          >The phrase "... is not a military airplane and therefore could not fit
          >into the Navy designation scheme" is a bit misleading, IMHO. It
          >couldn't fit into the designation scheme, because there simply was no
          >means in that scheme to designate a pure research aircraft, be it
          >military or not. There was no such thing as an "VX" class for
          >experimental fixed-wing aeroplanes. In an official USN listing of
          >aircraft designations dated 14 June 51, the D-558 was listed in the
          >"VF" (Fighter) class!
          >
          >Interestingly, designations like "D-558" were later made official USN
          >designators! In the document BUAER INSTRUCTION 05030.4 "Model
          >Designation of Naval Aircraft, Guided Missiles and KD Targets", dated
          >17 Oct 57, it says in paragraph 3.b.:
          >
          > "Research Airplanes: Airplanes designed and constructed for research
          >
          >purposes are designated by the designer's code letter (see 3.a.5.)
          >followed by his design project number, for example: "D-652" would
          >designate a naval research aircraft designed by Douglas and would be
          >the 652nd design project by Douglas."
          >
          >I don't know when this rule was first introduced (at some time after Oct
          >
          >51), but it was formally in effect until the establishment of the
          >tri-service MDS system in 1962. However, off the top of my head I can't
          >quote another actual designation following that rule.
          >
          >Andreas
          >
          >
          >
          >Web access to this group:
          >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Military_Aircraft_Designations/
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >Web access to this group:
          >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Military_Aircraft_Designations/
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          David Tanner 352-392-4718 (voice)
          tanner@... 352-392-3591 (fax)
          2372 New Physics Bldg. / Univ. Florida / Gainesville FL 32611-8440
          WWW: http://www.phys.ufl.edu/~tanner/
        • Andreas Parsch
          ... Thanks. Anyway, had the quoted rule existed at that time, the official designation would have had to be U-137 ;-). Andreas
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 3, 2005
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            On Monday 03 January 2005 09:20, Jos Heyman wrote:
            >
            > As far as I known, the only other experimental that was designated by
            > its manufacturer's model number is the Vought V-137, the small size
            > version of the F5U.

            Thanks. Anyway, had the quoted rule existed at that time, the official
            designation would have had to be U-137 ;-).

            Andreas
          • Ran Barton
            David- Your comment about D-558 designations led me to browse around, and the page at http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/douglas_d558.htm suggests
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 5, 2005
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              David-

              Your comment about D-558 designations led me to browse around, and the
              page at http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/douglas_d558.htm
              suggests your contractual suggestion is accurate.

              Further background appears in
              <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/d-588-i.htm>
              and <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/d-588-ii.htm>.
              My favorite comment here, regarding the D-558-I, is: "The
              instrumentation used onboard this airplane to record detailed wing and
              tail pressures was designed at Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA,
              during the 1930's for use on dirigibles." Wonderful.

              Anyway, back on topic, the Skyrocket page says, "Shortly after the
              D-558 I Skystreak research project was started, the contract was
              modified to include investigation of sweptback wings in addition to
              the straight wings of the Skystreak. In August of 1945, the decision
              was reached to split the program into a Phase 1 that was a
              straight-wing aircraft and a Phase 2 that was a swept-wing airplane.
              The redesigned aircraft was named D-558 II Skyrocket. The Skyrocket
              was the phase-two version of what had originally been conceived as a
              three-phase program, with the phase-one aircraft having straight
              wings. The third phase, which never came to fruition, would have
              involved constructing a mock-up of a combat-type aircraft embodying
              the results from the testing of the phase one and two aircraft."

              It also mentions the fact that the drop aircraft was a P2B-1S, which
              is something I have forgotten entirely, assuming I ever knew it. I'd
              been assuming it was a USAF B-29.

              Last question... the Global Security site says that the D-558-II, late
              in its life, tested the influence of dummy stores and tanks on its
              stability and handling. Can anyone please point to an online or
              published picture of a D-558-II with any of these stores present?

              I've always loved both of these Douglas planes, and have been curious
              about their common designation, too.

              Cheers,
              Ran

              On Mon, 03 Jan 2005 13:28:10 -0500, David <tanner@...> wrote:
              >
              > And the D-558-2 Skyrocket. I've never known why Douglas used the same
              > design number for a completely different plane. Must have been a
              > contractual reason.
            • sirius
              Somewhere I have a book about the pilot who flew most of the test flights in the D-558. It s been ages since I read it and I can t recall if it s by him or
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 5, 2005
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                Somewhere I have a book about the pilot who flew most of the test
                flights in the D-558. It's been ages since I read it and I can't recall
                if it's by him or about him. I believe his name was William Bridgeman or
                something similar to that. I'll do some digging through the boxes of
                books and see if I can find it and then see what it says about
                designations, drop aircraft, etc.

                Might take a while, but I should be able to find it eventually. :-)

                Jeff



                > Your comment about D-558 designations led me to browse around, and the
                > page at http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/douglas_d558.htm
                > suggests your contractual suggestion is accurate.
                >
                > Further background appears in
                > <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/d-588-i.htm>
                > and
                <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/d-588-ii.htm>.
                > My favorite comment here, regarding the D-558-I, is: "The
                > instrumentation used onboard this airplane to record detailed wing and
                > tail pressures was designed at Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA,
                > during the 1930's for use on dirigibles." Wonderful.
                >
                > Anyway, back on topic, the Skyrocket page says, "Shortly after the
                > D-558 I Skystreak research project was started, the contract was
                > modified to include investigation of sweptback wings in addition to
                > the straight wings of the Skystreak. In August of 1945, the decision
                > was reached to split the program into a Phase 1 that was a
                > straight-wing aircraft and a Phase 2 that was a swept-wing airplane.
                > The redesigned aircraft was named D-558 II Skyrocket. The Skyrocket
                > was the phase-two version of what had originally been conceived as a
                > three-phase program, with the phase-one aircraft having straight
                > wings. The third phase, which never came to fruition, would have
                > involved constructing a mock-up of a combat-type aircraft embodying
                > the results from the testing of the phase one and two aircraft."
                >
                > It also mentions the fact that the drop aircraft was a P2B-1S, which
                > is something I have forgotten entirely, assuming I ever knew it. I'd
                > been assuming it was a USAF B-29.
                >
                > Last question... the Global Security site says that the D-558-II, late
                > in its life, tested the influence of dummy stores and tanks on its
                > stability and handling. Can anyone please point to an online or
                > published picture of a D-558-II with any of these stores present?
                >
                > I've always loved both of these Douglas planes, and have been curious
                > about their common designation, too.
                >
                > Cheers,
                > Ran
              • Energizer
                Checking the Dryden Flight Research Center website indicates that external stores testing was done with aircraft # 3. There are no pictures on that web site
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 5, 2005
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                  Checking the Dryden Flight Research Center website indicates that external
                  stores testing was done with aircraft # 3. There are no pictures on that
                  web site showing the aircraft configured with the external stores however an
                  examination of the one picture (high res) of the cockpit does show that
                  circuit breaker # 10 was used for "External Stores Jettison".
                  http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/D-558-2/HTML/E49-032.html

                  I looked at every high res picture on this page and cannot find any
                  (really!) evidence that there are hard points on that very thin wing that
                  could be used to support external stores.

                  D-558-2 Skyrocket Images
                  http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/D-558-2/index.html

                  Fred
                  WPAFB











                  New email address effective 8 Nov2004. (we'll have the old email address
                  until the end of the year at least.)

                  craftyfred@...
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Ran Barton" <ranbarton@...>
                  To: <Military_Aircraft_Designations@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 11:12 AM
                  Subject: Re: [Designations] Douglas D-558-I



                  David-

                  Your comment about D-558 designations led me to browse around, and the
                  page at http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/douglas_d558.htm
                  suggests your contractual suggestion is accurate.

                  Further background appears in
                  <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/d-588-i.htm>
                  and <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/d-588-ii.htm>.
                  My favorite comment here, regarding the D-558-I, is: "The
                  instrumentation used onboard this airplane to record detailed wing and
                  tail pressures was designed at Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA,
                  during the 1930's for use on dirigibles." Wonderful.

                  Anyway, back on topic, the Skyrocket page says, "Shortly after the
                  D-558 I Skystreak research project was started, the contract was
                  modified to include investigation of sweptback wings in addition to
                  the straight wings of the Skystreak. In August of 1945, the decision
                  was reached to split the program into a Phase 1 that was a
                  straight-wing aircraft and a Phase 2 that was a swept-wing airplane.
                  The redesigned aircraft was named D-558 II Skyrocket. The Skyrocket
                  was the phase-two version of what had originally been conceived as a
                  three-phase program, with the phase-one aircraft having straight
                  wings. The third phase, which never came to fruition, would have
                  involved constructing a mock-up of a combat-type aircraft embodying
                  the results from the testing of the phase one and two aircraft."

                  It also mentions the fact that the drop aircraft was a P2B-1S, which
                  is something I have forgotten entirely, assuming I ever knew it. I'd
                  been assuming it was a USAF B-29.

                  Last question... the Global Security site says that the D-558-II, late
                  in its life, tested the influence of dummy stores and tanks on its
                  stability and handling. Can anyone please point to an online or
                  published picture of a D-558-II with any of these stores present?

                  I've always loved both of these Douglas planes, and have been curious
                  about their common designation, too.

                  Cheers,
                  Ran

                  On Mon, 03 Jan 2005 13:28:10 -0500, David <tanner@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > And the D-558-2 Skyrocket. I've never known why Douglas used the same
                  > design number for a completely different plane. Must have been a
                  > contractual reason.



                  Web access to this group:
                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Military_Aircraft_Designations/
                  Yahoo! Groups Links
                • David Huie
                  ... Didn t he appear once on the front cover of Time as pilot of the X-3? David Huie
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 5, 2005
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                    >
                    > Somewhere I have a book about the pilot who flew most of the test
                    > flights in the D-558. It's been ages since I read it and I can't recall
                    > if it's by him or about him. I believe his name was William Bridgeman or
                    > something similar to that. >

                    Didn't he appear once on the front cover of Time as pilot of the X-3?

                    David Huie
                  • Ran Barton
                    Following a discussion on the Aviation Enthusiast Corner, I actually ordered a copy of Bridgeman s Lonely Sky today, for $0.73. The URL for the book
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jan 5, 2005
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                      Following a discussion on the Aviation Enthusiast Corner, I actually
                      ordered a copy of Bridgeman's Lonely Sky today, for $0.73. The URL
                      for the book suggestion, and a discussion of the crash that led to his
                      death, is at:
                      http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/specs/douglas/d558ii.htm

                      Ran


                      On Wed, 5 Jan 2005 12:12:55 -0500, sirius <sirius@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Somewhere I have a book about the pilot who flew most of the test
                      > flights in the D-558. It's been ages since I read it and I can't recall
                      > if it's by him or about him. I believe his name was William Bridgeman or
                      > something similar to that. I'll do some digging through the boxes of
                      > books and see if I can find it and then see what it says about
                      > designations, drop aircraft, etc.
                      >
                      > Might take a while, but I should be able to find it eventually. :-)
                      >
                      > Jeff
                      >
                      >
                      > > Your comment about D-558 designations led me to browse around, and the
                      > > page at http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/douglas_d558.htm
                      > > suggests your contractual suggestion is accurate.
                      > >
                      > > Further background appears in
                      > > <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/d-588-i.htm>
                      > > and
                      > <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/d-588-ii.htm>.
                      > > My favorite comment here, regarding the D-558-I, is: "The
                      > > instrumentation used onboard this airplane to record detailed wing and
                      > > tail pressures was designed at Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA,
                      > > during the 1930's for use on dirigibles." Wonderful.
                      > >
                      > > Anyway, back on topic, the Skyrocket page says, "Shortly after the
                      > > D-558 I Skystreak research project was started, the contract was
                      > > modified to include investigation of sweptback wings in addition to
                      > > the straight wings of the Skystreak. In August of 1945, the decision
                      > > was reached to split the program into a Phase 1 that was a
                      > > straight-wing aircraft and a Phase 2 that was a swept-wing airplane.
                      > > The redesigned aircraft was named D-558 II Skyrocket. The Skyrocket
                      > > was the phase-two version of what had originally been conceived as a
                      > > three-phase program, with the phase-one aircraft having straight
                      > > wings. The third phase, which never came to fruition, would have
                      > > involved constructing a mock-up of a combat-type aircraft embodying
                      > > the results from the testing of the phase one and two aircraft."
                      > >
                      > > It also mentions the fact that the drop aircraft was a P2B-1S, which
                      > > is something I have forgotten entirely, assuming I ever knew it. I'd
                      > > been assuming it was a USAF B-29.
                      > >
                      > > Last question... the Global Security site says that the D-558-II, late
                      > > in its life, tested the influence of dummy stores and tanks on its
                      > > stability and handling. Can anyone please point to an online or
                      > > published picture of a D-558-II with any of these stores present?
                      > >
                      > > I've always loved both of these Douglas planes, and have been curious
                      > > about their common designation, too.
                      > >
                      > > Cheers,
                      > > Ran
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Web access to this group:
                      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Military_Aircraft_Designations/
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >


                      --
                      Ran Barton
                      <ranbarton@...>
                    • Domenico sgarlato
                      ... Hi, when I was very young (that means quite a lot of time ago) I read somewhere a list of mission symbols, prefixes and suffixes in US military
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jan 13, 2005
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                        Il giorno 2-01-2005 22:34, Andreas Parsch, aparsch@... ha scritto:

                        >
                        > On Friday 31 December 2004 07:21, Jos Heyman wrote:
                        >> Found the following in Naval Aviation News, Jan 1947, page 25, which
                        >> explains why the D-558-I has no Navy designation:
                        >>
                        >> "Though the airplane will contribute much to the design of military
                        >> aircraft, it itself is not a military airplane and therefore could
                        >> not fit into the Navy designation scheme. The contractor's model
                        >> number was accepted as its designation."
                        >
                        > The phrase "... is not a military airplane and therefore could not fit
                        > into the Navy designation scheme" is a bit misleading, IMHO. It
                        > couldn't fit into the designation scheme, because there simply was no
                        > means in that scheme to designate a pure research aircraft, be it
                        > military or not. There was no such thing as an "VX" class for
                        > experimental fixed-wing aeroplanes. In an official USN listing of
                        > aircraft designations dated 14 June 51, the D-558 was listed in the
                        > "VF" (Fighter) class!
                        >
                        > Interestingly, designations like "D-558" were later made official USN
                        > designators! In the document BUAER INSTRUCTION 05030.4 "Model
                        > Designation of Naval Aircraft, Guided Missiles and KD Targets", dated
                        > 17 Oct 57, it says in paragraph 3.b.:
                        >
                        > "Research Airplanes: Airplanes designed and constructed for research
                        > purposes are designated by the designer's code letter (see 3.a.5.)
                        > followed by his design project number, for example: "D-652" would
                        > designate a naval research aircraft designed by Douglas and would be
                        > the 652nd design project by Douglas."
                        >
                        > I don't know when this rule was first introduced (at some time after Oct
                        > 51), but it was formally in effect until the establishment of the
                        > tri-service MDS system in 1962. However, off the top of my head I can't
                        > quote another actual designation following that rule.
                        >
                        > Andreas

                        Hi,
                        when I was very young (that means quite a lot of time ago) I read somewhere
                        a list of mission symbols, prefixes and suffixes in US military designations
                        and I remember there was a W meaning "ricerche speciali" (special
                        researchs). In fact, I never found a Navy aircraft (in the 1922-1962 era)
                        designated by the mission symbol W - except radar picket planes - and I
                        decided that what I read was simply a mistake.
                        About the Buaer instructions dated 17 Oct 57, the D-652 designation of the
                        example it is fictitious or a real Douglas design? It's perhaps another
                        internal des of the D-558-II? With numbers close to this 652 I remember only
                        D-671 and D-684, two proposals for the requirement that was the baseline of
                        the X-15.
                        Nico
                      • Andreas Parsch
                        ... It must have been an error. W was never used to indicate special research by the Navy, it always meant (Early) Warning . ... I m quite sure this is
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jan 13, 2005
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                          Domenico sgarlato wrote:

                          >
                          > Hi,
                          > when I was very young (that means quite a lot of time ago) I read somewhere
                          > a list of mission symbols, prefixes and suffixes in US military designations
                          > and I remember there was a W meaning "ricerche speciali" (special
                          > researchs). In fact, I never found a Navy aircraft (in the 1922-1962 era)
                          > designated by the mission symbol W - except radar picket planes - and I
                          > decided that what I read was simply a mistake.


                          It must have been an error. "W" was never used to indicate "special
                          research" by the Navy, it always meant "(Early) Warning".


                          > About the Buaer instructions dated 17 Oct 57, the D-652 designation of the
                          > example it is fictitious or a real Douglas design?


                          I'm quite sure this is only a fictitious example.

                          Andreas
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