April 21, 2013

Q-15 Whirlwind 03

Q-15 Whirlwind 03 by JonHall18
Q-15 Whirlwind 03, a photo by JonHall18 on Flickr.
The Q-15 Whirlwind was an experimental aircraft that was primarily used for reconnaissance duties although it was also occasionally used for light air support (like the version we see here, the Q-15E, which had a 22mm machine gun fitted to the underside). The radical design of the craft was the result of a need for a small vertical take off and landing vehicle and was the brainchild of legendary engineer Ernst Varga. To counter the torque problems associated with the rotor engine, its exhausts doubled as stabilizing jets, providing thrust counter clockwise to the rotor’s clockwise movement. The crew usually consisted of two - a pilot and a gunner/spotter. Although other craft went into production from the Q program the Whirlwind was the most successful, and in all over 2,000 were produced.