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Doblhoff WNF-342 - Germany (Nazi) - others
Serial: WN342 Unit: unknown Experience with the first two machines showed that the high fuel consumption of the tip-jets would make the WNF-342's operating costs prohibitive, and so a major design change was introduced in the V3 and V4 prototypes. The tip-drive system was retained for take-off, hovering and landing only, a selective clutch enabling the engine (now a 140hp Siemens-Halske Sh.14A radial) to drive a conventional pusher propeller for forward flight while the rotor blades 'free-wheeled' in autorotative pitch. To clear this propeller the rotor pylon was raised above the cabin and the tail unit was redesigned as a twin-boom assembly, that of the V3 carrying two end-plate oval fins and rudders while that of the V4 had a single fin and rudder mounted on the tailplane centre. Gross weight of the V3, a single-seater with 9.88m diameter rotors, was 548kg. The V4 had side-by-side open cockpits for a crew of two. The V3 was destroyed early in its test programme by ground resonance vibration, but the V4 had completed 25 hours of testing before, in April 1945, it was hastily taken westwards to prevent its capture by the advancing Soviet forces. It eventually fell into American hands, Doblhoff later accompanying it back to the United States to assist with further tests before joining McDonnell to work on development of the XV-1. Stepan, who had done most of the test flying on the WNF-342, joined Fairey in the United Kingdom after the war, while Laufer went to work for the SNCA du Sud-Ouest in France.