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In 1984, I was assigned to the 6512th Test Sq at Edwards, also referred to as Test Ops. Test Ops provided most of the test support functions at Edwards: safety chase, photo chase, and conducted what one would call “cats ‘n’ dogs” test programs – test programs too small to warrant a dedicated Combined Test Force. I guess you could call this one of the dogs…

 

I don’t remember all of the details (I suppose I could Google it), but apparently political pressure forced an evaluation of the turbine powered version of the P-51 Mustang. To be fair, it kind of looked like a Mustang, but beyond that it was pretty much an all new aircraft. It started with proposals from Cavalier Corp for a counter-insurgency (COIN) platform and garnered political support as an adjunct to the A-10. Cavalier eventually folded but the concept wouldn’t go away and, somehow, Piper was left holding the bag with the model PA-48 Enforcer.

 

A Test Ops pilot and his trusty engineer (me - a test pilot once quipped at me "Engineers are great, everybody should have one!") were sent to the Piper facility at  Lakeland Florida to evaluate Piper's Enforcer test program prior to the aircraft coming out to Edwards for evaluation. Without further comment, this is some of what we saw…

 

Ship #1, N481PE

N481PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840124 30cr

 

N481PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840125 01cr

 

N481PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840124 36cr

 

N481PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840124 23cr

 

N481PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840124 19cr

 

N481PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840124 14cr

 

Ship #2, N482PE

N482PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840125 07cr

 

N482PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840125 03cr

 

PA-48 N482PE KLAL 19840124 26cr

 

N482PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840124 29cr

 

N482PE piper PA-48 KLAL 19840124 17cr

 

PA-48 N482PE KLAL 19840124 37cr

 

In the Edwards boneyard in 1990

N482PE piper PA-48 KEDW 19900509 02cr

 

Thanks for looking

Sven

 

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Beautiful pictures.

Such a shame she never saw production and service.

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THANK YOU SVEN ! ... You just made my day 👍 I’ve got a file filled with info and i plan on scratchbuilding this plane someday. It is a long term goal that you just brought even closer. Those pictures give me a lot of the detail i will need so i am definitely bookmarking this page. Again Thank you 

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Brilliant Keith, best collection of Enforcer photos I've see, like a lot of others I'd love to be able to model them, though I doubt we'll ever see a kit of one nowadays, in my scale (1/72) or any other. :( Thanks for sharing them with us.

Steve.

 

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Fantastic Keith, thank you very, very much for sharing! Crystal clear!

 

Saving for my future 1/48 attempt, which will probably be 3/4 done when a new conversion kit is announced.

 

I hope you don't mind me posting these: I recently found some (unfortunately poor quality) video on YouTube of the Enforcers during this same testing period. It was amazing to finally hear what one sounded like. You'll note the company men are very insistent that these are not P-51s!

 

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Excellent photos.  I have a long stalled project to build one by mangling the 1/72 Airfix.  The kit is beyond the point of no return.  These pics will be useful, other than the web my main reference is the page and drawing in an old Observers Book of Aircraft!

Cheers

Will

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Some very interestng pictures as always, thanks again for sharing these !

As for how Piper got the Turbo-Mustang, Cavalier's founder was so willing to get the concept produced that he sold the rights to Piper (a much larger company than Cavalier), closed down his company and joined Piper to work on the Enforcer.

I remember how much interest this aircraft generated in the specialised press in those days and I find very interesting that not too dissimalar concepts keep being proposed today.

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On 10/18/2017 at 11:01 PM, k5054nz said:

I hope you don't mind me posting these:

Happy to see them. Remember talking with both Larsen and Singleton during our time at Lakeland. McCallum's statement bout the prop brings to mind one of the stories we were told by some of the Piper folks. To be honest, we weren't sure if some of what we were told was true or if they were pulling our leg, but the following as related to us as, what our Navy brethren would call, TINS (This Is No S#!t). Here goes...

 

You'll note that the diameter of the prop is smaller than a standard Skyraider prop. One guy told us that an unmodified Skyraider prop was fitted originally, but someone forgot that for a tail-dragger, you first bring the airframe level during takeoff. During the high-speed taxi test, the tail was lifted and the tips of prop began to take divots of asphalt out of the Lakeland runway!! The solution was to cut the blades shorter by running them through a band saw. So in our mind's eye we could just see a guy in the metal shop, pack of Luckys tucked in his T-shirt sleeve, running these blades through a band saw. Sounded a bit incredible to me. Wouldn't be easy at that stage of the game to change all the performance predictions based on a smaller prop.

 

If you look at the prop on the Enforcer in the US Air Force Museum, the ends of the prop blades are open. We were also told that you could tell one bird from another from the whistling of the prop as it was spinning. Sure enough, when we were in the windowless control room and the Enforcers taxied by, one aircraft had a higher pitch than the other. Go figure.

On 10/19/2017 at 4:15 AM, Giorgio N said:

As for how Piper got the Turbo-Mustang, Cavalier's founder was so willing to get the concept produced that he sold the rights to Piper (a much larger company than Cavalier), closed down his company and joined Piper to work on the Enforcer.

I remember how much interest this aircraft generated in the specialised press in those days and I find very interesting that not too dissimalar concepts keep being proposed today.

Thanks for that Giorgio. One of our own comments at the time was that if the concept of a light attack aircraft was really needed/wanted, there were better options out there based on modern design and production methods. The Enforcer had some serious drawbacks having been securely tied to a design that originated some 40 years earlier. Variations of the Tucano or PC-9 would have fit the bill much better, and indeed, they have gone on to do just that. The USAF is now selling A-29 Super Tucanos to Afghanistan and proposing them of other small air forces. 

 

On 10/18/2017 at 6:47 PM, stevehnz said:

like a lot of others I'd love to be able to model them, though I doubt we'll ever see a kit of one nowadays, in my scale (1/72) or any other.

Steve - I would like to see a kit of it myself (in 1/72) only because I got that close to one. IIRC, Merlin (or was it Beechnut?) made a kit of the Enforcer in 1/72, but I've never seen it. I also worked on the F-16XL program for almost two years. Would love to see a good kit of that one in 1/72. So far, I've had to resort to chopping up the old Monogram kit, but even then, fixing everything on that kit is beyond me.

 

Thanks all for your comments.

Sven

Edited by Old Viper Tester

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I love these old pictures of unusual planes. Thanks for posting and keep them coming

 

Andy

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6 hours ago, Old Viper Tester said:

Steve - I would like to see a kit of it myself (in 1/72) only because I got that close to one. IIRC, Merlin (or was it Beechnut?) made a kit of the Enforcer in 1/72, but I've never seen it.

 

I have the Merlin in my stash. 

 

You do not miss out on much. ;) 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre 

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20 hours ago, Old Viper Tester said:

Happy to see them. Remember talking with both Larsen and Singleton during our time at Lakeland. McCallum's statement bout the prop brings to mind one of the stories we were told by some of the Piper folks. To be honest, we weren't sure if some of what we were told was true or if they were pulling our leg, but the following as related to us as, what our Navy brethren would call, TINS (This Is No S#!t). Here goes...

 

You'll note that the diameter of the prop is smaller than a standard Skyraider prop. One guy told us that an unmodified Skyraider prop was fitted originally, but someone forgot that for a tail-dragger, you first bring the airframe level during takeoff. During the high-speed taxi test, the tail was lifted and the tips of prop began to take divots of asphalt out of the Lakeland runway!! The solution was to cut the blades shorter by running them through a band saw. So in our mind's eye we could just see a guy in the metal shop, pack of Luckys tucked in his T-shirt sleeve, running these blades through a band saw. Sounded a bit incredible to me. Wouldn't be easy at that stage of the game to change all the performance predictions based on a smaller prop.

 

If you look at the prop on the Enforcer in the US Air Force Museum, the ends of the prop blades are open. We were also told that you could tell one bird from another from the whistling of the prop as it was spinning. Sure enough, when we were in the windowless control room and the Enforcers taxied by, one aircraft had a higher pitch than the other. Go figure.

Thats for that Giorgio. One of our own comments at the time was that if the concept of a light attack aircraft was really needed/wanted, there were better options out there based on modern design and production methods. The Enforcer had some serious drawbacks having been securely tied to a design that originated some 40 years earlier. Variations of the Tucano or PC-9 would have fit the bill much better, and indeed, they have gone on to do just that. The USAF is now selling A-29 Super Tucanos to Afghanistan and proposing them of other small air forces. 

 

Steve - I would like to see a kit of it myself (in 1/72) only because I got that close to one. IIRC, Merlin (or was it Beechnut?) made a kit of the Enforcer in 1/72, but I've never seen it. I also worked on the F-16XL program for almost two years. Would love to see a good kit of that one in 1/72. So far, I've had to resort to chopping up the old Monogram kit, but even then, fixing everything on that kit is beyond me.

 

Thanks all for your comments.

Sven

 

An 1/72 F-16XL would also be very, very high on my list ! I also went through the cut n'paste process on the Monogram kit following that famous article (and IIRC adding a few mods myself) but never got to complete the job. I've been looking for another kit for years to try and build the two-seater but with no success

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Fantastic pics and a really great story mate!

The Enforcer and F-16XL are 2 kits I'm crying out for!

I have got a Mustang in 72nd that I plan to modify but at the moment I have no were near the skill required for the job!

I hope you don't mind me saving theses pics for the build?

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3 hours ago, Maverick231 said:

I hope you don't mind me saving theses pics for the build?

Maverick - I'm fine with the the 'right click and save' for personal use, otherwise there wouldn't have been much point in posting them here. Besides, you never know when the next data storage debacle will occur (a la Photobucket) and then where would we all be?

 

Good luck on your P-51 conversion. As for the XL, I'm holding a little hope that Skunkworks will scale down their 1/48 kit. Until then, I'll keep planning on bashing the old Monogram kit. I'll eventually post some XL pics beyond what I posted for reference in Pappy's WIP (how's that going BTW?). Right now I'm scanning Tomcats and Eagles from Red Flag exercises from Kodachromes in my spare time - a relatively slow process...

 

Sven 

OVT

Edited by Old Viper Tester
typo correction

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Thanks mate really appreciate it!

Id just be happy to find a Monogram XL but I've found their as rare as hens teeth!

Looking forward to seeing your XL progress mate!

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