|FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / USA / Curtiss|
The CB (Curtiss Battleplane), unofficially known as the "Liberty Battler", was an experimental two-seat fighter developed and flown early in 1918 as a result of difficulties being experienced with the Liberty-engined version of the Bristol F2B. Powered by a 425hp 12-cylinder Liberty 12 water-cooled engine, the CB two-bay biplane was an early example of "Curtiss ply" construction - two layers of 5cm wide wood veneer being cross-laminated over a form to build up a monocoque fuselage shell. In an effort to maintain fuselage streamlining, the radiators were slung under the upper wing centre section, where they were found to have a seriously detrimental effect on the airflow. The fairing of the upper wing into the top fuselage contour resulted in a very narrow wing gap, with consequent aerodynamic penalties. While it provided the rear gunner with an excellent field of fire, it impaired the forward and downward view of the pilot, necessitating the provision of small windows in the fuselage sides. Flown in May 1918, the sole prototype CB proved to have extremely poor handling characteristics and crashed early in its test programme.