Republic XF-12 Rainbow

1946

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Republic XF-12 Rainbow

Designated XF-12, when F stood for 'photo' in the pre-1947 system, and later XR-12, the Rainbow was a high-speed high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, intended to scout targets over Japan for the B-29s. This may have happened if the programme had started earlier, because when the war ended with the atomic bombings, the first aircraft was only partly complete. Republic still hoped to make the Rainbow into a 46-seat airliner, which they called the RC-2. Their selling point was speed, for which customers would pay a premium. Unfortunately, the expected postwar boom was not immediate and the airlines bought the slower but roomier DC-4 and Boeing 377 instead. An XR-12 was not delivered to the Air Force until late 1948, but crashed on its second test flight. The other Rainbow was sent to a gunnery range.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Each engine nacelle was as long as a P-47 Thunderbolt.

The tail fin design was later used in reduced size on the F-84 Thunderjet.

To fit inside the confines of the laminar flow wing, the Rainbow had large, thin, single wheels. One wheel fell off after a hard landing but the XF-12 was only lightly damaged.

The Rainbow had its own darkroom in order to develop reconnaissance images on the way back from a long photo mission.

Republic XF-12 Rainbow on YOUTUBE

Republic XF-12 Rainbow

Specification 
 MODELXF-12
 CREW5-7
 ENGINE4 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360 "Wasp Major", 2250kW
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight45950 kg101303 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan39.36 m129 ft 2 in
  Length28.59 m94 ft 10 in
  Height8.63 m28 ft 4 in
  Wing area152.30 m21639.34 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed684 km/h425 mph
  Cruise speed640 km/h398 mph
  Ceiling13000 m42650 ft
  Range7000 km4350 miles

Comments
Charles Janczak, e-mail, 29.09.2012 16:40

The Rainbow is without a doubt one of the most beautiful aircraft ever built,Kartveli at his best.

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Klaatu83, e-mail, 24.09.2012 14:56

It has been claimed that the Rainbow was the fastest piston-engined, 4-engine aircraft ever built. If it wasn't, it must have come pretty close.

The only other aircraft built to meet the same AAF requirement for which the Rainbow was built was Howard Hughes' twin-engine XF-11, which was the aircraft in which Hughes was nearly killed when he it crashed during it's maiden flight. In the end, the AAF didn't buy either of those aircraft because, by then, the war was over and they simply weren't needed.

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Specboy, e-mail, 04.05.2012 01:27

Surely a museum would have been interested in this plane?!

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Steve, e-mail, 23.10.2011 23:24

What a sleek looking aircraft

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ta roberts, e-mail, 23.09.2011 19:54

If I had real money I would build one today could any plane outdo this badboy I think not.

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choqing, 18.06.2011 12:35

Just the most beautiful airplane to ever fly.

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Daniel L. Berek, e-mail, 22.03.2009 23:46

Pan American World Airways seems to have expressed interest in this proposal. This would have been one of the most elegant airliners aside from the Lockheed Constellation to grace the skies:
rides.webshots.com /photo /2501471570048918155xwsbOi

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3VI, e-mail, 15.12.2007 12:02

Surely ONE OF the most beautiful...

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Lek, e-mail, 02.09.2007 00:10

Just the most beautiful airplane to ever fly.

reply

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