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Model 146
Martin Model 146.gif
Martin Model 146 during competition c. 1935, USAF photo
Role Heavy bomber
Manufacturer Glenn L. Martin Company
First flight 1935
Status Experimental prototype
Primary user United States Army Air Corps (intended)
Produced 1935
Number built 1
Developed from Martin B-10

The Martin Model 146 was an unsuccessful American bomber design that lost a 1934–1935 bomber design competition to the prototype for the Douglas B-18 Bolo (itself soon supplanted by the B-17 Flying Fortress).

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/1
  • ✪ The Plane Crash That Changed Aviation Forever


I want you to think about the things you do in order to parallel park your car. ⏹ Position your car. ⏹ Check your mirrors. ⏹ Start backing up. ⏹ Straighten the steering wheel. ⏹ Begin turning your steering wheel to the left. ⏹ Check how close you are. ⏹ Turn right and continue backing up ⏹ Adjust your position. These steps might seem needlessly over-complicated. Sure, parallel parking is going to be difficult the first time you do it but once you get the hang of it these steps are in your head and all you need to do is follow them. In fact, you are not even conscious of doing it. How do you parallel park? You just... do. Well, what if I told you there was a time when people flew planes much like how you drive a car. No checklists, no remote controls, nothing. The pilots would take the plane out of the hangar, take off, fly, land without using any kind of external tools. All of that changed on the 30th of October, 1935. 1935! World War II hasn't started. Everything was technically supposed to be peaceful until... ...yeah... So you really can't blame the US Army Air Corps for wanting to prepare themselves starting by replacing their old B-10 bomber. The US Army Corps asked for companies to design a bomber that could: 1. carry a "useful bombload" 2. fly at 10,000 feet 3. fly for 10 hours straight 4. fly at a top speed of at least 320km/h. Also if they felt like over-achieving that day they also had optional specifications. 1. A flying range of 3,200 kilometers. 2. With a speed of 400km/h Participating companies would need to present their prototypes at a "fly-off" here in an airfield in Ohio. In the end, there were only three competitors: The Douglas DB-1 The Martin Model 146 and The Boeing Model 299 dubbed by the papers as The Flying Fortress. Why Flying Fortress? Well, if you put these planes right next to each other... and... oh yeah, it's self-explanatory. The Flying Fortress had four engines when the others just had two. It had five thirty caliber machine guns and could carry up to 2.2 tonnes of bombs. One of the machine guns was positioned at the nose (which was highly unusual) and yes that is where we got... No question, it was the most sophisticated plane ever made. The plane flew from its manufacturing site in Seattle all the way to Ohio and it only took 9 hours and 3 minutes at a speed of 406 kmph Faster than their competition and the requirements. Also, to up the ante, just a little bit the US Air Corps were planning to buy at least 200 bombers and with a per unit cost of nearly a hundred grand there was a lot of money at stake. The first evaluation was successful and the Air Corps had secretly decided to purchase 65 of these looking at the performance right in front of them. And then came October 30th, 1935. The Fortress made it onto the runway, took off only for seconds, before climbing, stalling, banking and nosediving into the ground before -- The crash killed the pilot and one other crew member. It didn't matter how amazing the bomber performed till then it had crashed disqualifying Boeing from the competition. The contract, therefore, went to the Douglas B-18 Bolo by default even though it was severely underpowered. The US Army Air Corps, however, didn't want to abandon this beast because this was an impressive plane and this... ...was crap. With the help of a legal loophole they managed to purchase 13 Flying Fortresses so they could figure out what went wrong. The initial evaluation showed no mechanical problems. After several rounds of rigorous testing, there were no flaws in the bomber. And then they turned to a place they never thought to look. The pilot. The pilot had a great many responsibilities and while keeping track of all these things he forgot to disengage the gust locks. Gust locks are usually engaged when the plane is on the ground so that the wind blowing around the plane doesn't start moving the controls of the plane. Basically, an aerial air brake. And the pilot, simply forgot to release this hand brake. To quote a reporter, "There was too much airplane for one man to fly." The obvious solution was to train the pilots so that they didn't forget things like this. But a lot of people felt doubtful since the pilot Major Ployer Hill was the chief of instruction at the US Army Air Corps and so was not lacking in either skill or expertise. They had to come to terms with the fact that because this plane was so sophisticated more training could not be the answer. And then they came up with the most ridiculous idea. What if we don't subject pilots to more training but instead to a neat little tool the pre-flight checklist. The pilots wrote a list of things down that they absolutely had to do before taking off. They kept the list as short and simple as possible short enough to fit an index card. The pre-flight checklist actually managed to solve all their problems and Boeing won the Army's trust by flying the Flying Fortress for several years without a single incident. The US Army Corps, convinced of its safety bought a small number initially and ended up buying nearly ten thousand units by the end of the Second World War. It's important to remember that these pilots were not idiots. They knew how to taxi, take-off, fly, land, and taxi back. They knew how to check the brakes, oils, engines, doors and of course, the gust locks. Dumb stuff you don't need specialist training for. The world of aviation had been changed for good. After this point in history, every large aircraft that was manufactured needed a large number of complicated procedures that needed to be completed successfully for it to function properly. Except they weren't complicated, simply because now they had checklists for EVERYTHING. But that was in 1935. Getting back to today, planes have definitely gotten way more complicated and sophisticated to extents that it's impossible to have a single person control the whole plane. But because the pre-flight checklist had simplified the whole process of taking off any idiot with little to no training could do it with no problems by simply following the checklist. The problem comes when you want to land but that's a whole other video. But moving away from airplanes and aviation this is exactly the kind of situation we've found ourselves in in today's society. We have large collaborative projects where each individual is a highly skilled worker working in a highly specialized job and is required to complete their teeny, tiny part of the ginormous project with no problems whatsoever so that the whole project doesn't fail. Humans don't make mistakes because we are stupid or don't have the necessary skills. If anything, we are incredibly intelligent and skilled and every single amazing thing we've done in the last couple of decades is because of that. But along with all of that intelligence, skill and most importantly, specialization we have also found ourselves with a whole lot of stuff that we can't keep track of. Our civilisation has grown so sophisticated and complicated that there is too much airplane for one man to fly. Do you want to build a skyscraper? The smallest mistake could bring the building down. Do you want to build a website? The smallest mistake could bring your servers down. Do you want to operate on a patient? The smallest mistake could kill the patient. Do you want to fly a plane? The smallest mistake could have bankrupted what is today the largest airplane manufacturing corporation. These mistakes seem small when you look at the big picture and that's what the human brain thinks about but eventually a tiny but vital part of the machinery will slip and you will forget to disengage the freaking gust locks. But we don't have to deal with these human flaws by improving our brain's memory and processing capacity by augmenting our brains with a quantum computer or something. All you need is a sheet of paper and a pen and you're all set.


Design and development

Although generally satisfied with the speed and bombload of the Martin B-10, the United States Army Air Corps expressed a requirement for a bomber with long range. Two competitions were held in 1934-35: one for fast bombers capable of flying 2,200 miles (3,500 km), and a second for the experimental prototype of a 5,000-mile (8,000 km) bomber.

The Martin 146 was built for the first competition, competing with the Boeing Model 299 (later the B-17) and Douglas DB-1 (later the B-18). Two versions were submitted for the competition, the Model 146 (actual aircraft) and the Model 146A (design only). The only significance between the two was the planform, the 146 center section was rectangular with the outer wing being tapered while the 146A had a constant taper.

The Model 146 bore a striking resemblance to the earlier Martin B-10, with the same configurations of turret and cockpits and even the same two Wright R-1820 Cyclone engines – albeit with 50% more power than the 600 hp Cyclones of the original B-10. The biggest differences between this aircraft and the Martin 139 (B-10) was that it was wider, allowing the pilot and co-pilot to sit side by side [1] and was equipped with Fowler flaps, the first large aircraft equipped with them.

The Model 146 was not successful but it led the Martin company to begin research into contemporary aviation technology. Some offshoots included the innovative Martin 145 proposed for the long-range bomber competition as well as the early studies that would lead to the Model 179 (later to emerge as the wartime Martin B-26). The aircraft was eventually returned to the factory and scrapped.

Specifications (Model 146)

General characteristics



See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. ^ "Model 146." Archived 2007-08-26 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: 5 December 2o12.
  2. ^ Martin 146 Specifications.' Archived 2012-02-25 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: 5 December 2012.
  • Baugher, Joe. "Martin B-10". Encyclopedia of American Aircraft. Retrieved: 4 July 2007.
  • Taylor, John W. R. "Martin B-10". Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the Present. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1969. ISBN 0-425-03633-2.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 September 2019, at 21:39
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