National Geographic : 1950 Sep
322 Past Golden Gate Bridge Flies a Navy Neptune, Long-range Guardian of the Seas Newest version of the Lockheed P2V, the sleek piston-engine plane is specially equipped to hunt down the new snorkel submarines that "breathe" through a tube and can travel for weeks under water. Neptunes have amazingly long range-"long legs." airmen say. One, the famed Truculent Turtle, set a world record of 11,236 statute miles for nonstop flight without refueling. crack buildings, and deafen the neighbors. For helicopters the ramjet has already proved practical, because the rotor blades that lift and propel them revolve at high enough speeds. Ramjets mounted directly on the blades cause them to turn. In St. Louis, the McDonnell Aircraft Cor poration points with parental pride to its sprightly offspring, "Little Henry," which it calls the world's first successful ramjet heli copter. Its development was financed by the Air Force. Two tiny 10-pound ramjet engines on the rotor blades enable Little Henry to flit about like a bird. Howard Hughes, in California, is develop ing for the Air Force a "flying crane," a jet powered helicopter so large that, if successful, it might be used to lift trucks, bridge sections, or even an Army tank across a mountain. Two turbojet engines are mounted in the fuselage. From there, compressed air at high pressure is channeled to the tips of the rotor blades, where it is mixed with fuel and burned, making the rotor revolve on much the same principle as a rotary lawn sprinkler. Jet thrust can be used to propel the novel craft forward. In close secrecy, nuclear physicists and aircraft engine experts are working on the problem of atomic power for airplanes. If such a plane is designed, its range, they be lieve, will be virtually limitless. No wonder airmen feel and talk like Air Force Maj. Charlie Cole, at Williams, in Arizona: "General Arnold and General Spaatz were in on the ground floor in their day and saw the development of propeller aviation all the way up. We're in on the ground floor of something even bigger. The limit is as far as you can see the stars."