SNECMA C.400 Atar Volant
|VTOL RESEARCH VEHICLE||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / SNECMA|
Following initial research and development work conducted during 1952 and 1953, SNECMA carried out, in 1954, tethered flight tests with a remotely-controlled VTOL model powered by a 45kg SNECMA pulse-jet engine. These tests were made to investigate control and stability problems, and in the following year vertical rig tests of a full-scale Atar turbojet oil system and gimbal-rig tests of jet-deflection and stabilization devices were made.
The construction of the full-scale Atar Volant was begun in 1955, and subsequently four versions were built, as follows:
C.400 P.1. Pilotless remotely-controlled research vehicle comprising an Atar 101 DV turbojet (2,900kg of thrust) with jet-deflection nozzle for directional control, mounted vertically inside a nacelle, on a tubular four-wheel undercarriage. An annular fuel tank was fitted around the centre of the nacelle, with radio control equipment above it, and the vehicle was equipped with gyroscopic control. Tested on gyroscopic rig in 1955. First tethered flight test in specially-built gantry on September 22, 1956. Total of 205 flights made subsequently to study stabilization and the effect of wind.
C.400 P.2. Basically similar to C.400 P.1, but with platform above air intake carrying ejection seat for pilot, instrument panel and controls. Directional control by jet-deviation, using jets of air bled from compressor to deflect main efflux. Lateral turning by air jets on landing gear struts. Annular tanks containing 500kg of fuel surround engine compressor, giving endurance of over four minutes. Weight at take-off 2,600kg. Tethered tests in the gantry began on April 8, 1957. First free flight on May 14, 1957. Total of 123 tethered and free flights made by Spring of 1958.
C.400 P.3. Development of C.400 P.2 built around Atar 101E turbojet (3,500kg of thrust) and with tilting ejection seat inside enclosed cockpit. As part of the test programme, this version was mounted horizontally on a railway truck with the tail-pipe facing forward and then towed at speeds between 40 and 80km/h, to test the effect of airflow on the jetstream during a simulated rapid vertical descent.