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Fighter / Attack:
   Bell P-39 Airacobra
   Bell P-63 Kingcobra
   Brewster Buffalo
   Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair
   Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
   Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
   Douglas A-1 Skyraider
   Douglas A-26 Invader
   Douglas SBD Dauntless
   Fairey Firefly
   Focke-Wulf Fw 190
   Grumman F4F Wildcat
   Grumman F6F Hellcat
   Grumman F7F Tigercat
   Grumman F8F Bearcat
   Grumman TBF Avenger
   Hawker Hurricane
   Hawker Sea Fury
   Lockheed P-38 Lightning
   Messerschmitt Bf-109
   Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen
   North American P-51 Mustang

   Polikarpov I-16
   Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
   Supermarine Spitfire
   Yakovlev Yak-3
   Yakovlev Yak-9


Trainers:
  
Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan (C-45)
   Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
   Boeing / Stearman PT-17

   Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
   Commonwealth CA-1 Wirraway
   DeHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
   DeHavilland DH-82 Tiger Moth
   Fairchild PT-19 Cornell
   Hunting / Percival Provost
   Meyers OTW
   Nanchang CJ-6
   Naval Aircraft Factory N3N
   N. Am. BT-9 / BT-14 / Yale
   N. Am. T-6 Texan / SNJ / Harvard
   N. American T-28 Trojan

   Piaggio P149
   Ryan PT-22 Recruit

   Scottish Aviation T1 Bulldog
   Vultee BT-13 Valiant
   Yakovlev Yak-11
   Yakovlev Yak-18
   Yakovlev Yak-52


Bombers:
   Avro Lancaster
   Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
   Boeing B-29 Superfortress
   Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
   Consolidated B-24 Liberator
   Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

   Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
   DeHavilland Mosquito
   Fairey Swordfish
   Heinkel He-111 / Casa 2.111

   Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon / Ventura
   Martin B-26 Marauder
   North American B-25 Mitchell


Transports:
   Beechcraft C-45 (AT-11)

   Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (KC-97)
   Curtiss C-46 Commando
   Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota
   Douglas C-54 Skymaster

   Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
   Fairchild C-123 Provider
   Grumman C-1 Trader (S-2)
   Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
   Lockheed C-69 Constellation


Utility / Observation / Special Duty:
   Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper
   Aeronca L-16 Grasshopper
   Antonov AN-2 Colt
   Auster AOP 6/9
   Avro 652 Anson
   Avro Shackleton
   British Taylorcraft I-V
   Cessna L-19 / O-1 Bird Dog
   Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster
   Cessna T-50 / UC-78 Bobcat
   Consolidated PBY Catalina

   DeHavilland U-6A / L-20 Beaver
   Fairey Gannet
   Fairey Swordfish
   Fieseler Fi156 Storch
   Grumman S-2 Tracker (C-1)
   Grumman HU-16 Albatross
   Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
   Junkers Ju 52/3m

   Lockheed P2V Neptune
   Max Holste M.H.1521 Broussard
   Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

   Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
   North American L-17 Navion
   N. Am./ Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
   Piper L-4 Grasshopper
   Stinson L-5 Sentinel
   Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
   Westland Lysander


Jets:
   Aero L-29 Delfin
   Aero L-39 Albatros
   Aermacchi MB-326
   Avro Vulcan
   BAC Strikemaster
   Blackburn (BAC) Buccaneer
   Canadair Tutor
   Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
   DeHavilland Vampire
   DeHavilland Venom
   English Electric Canberra
   English Electric Lightning
   Folland Gnat
   Fouga CM-170 Magister
   Gloster Meteor
   Grumman F9F Panther
   Hawker Hunter
   Hispano HA-200 Saeta
   Hunting Jet Provost
   Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
   Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
   McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
   McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
   Messerschmitt Me-262
   Mikoyan MiG-15
   Mikoyan MiG-17
   Mikoyan MiG-21
   N. Am. F-86 Sabre / FJ-4 Fury
   N. Am. F-100 Super Sabre
   N. Am. / Rockwell T-2 Buckeye
   Northrop T-38 Talon / F-5
   PZL / WSK TS-11 Iskra
   Saab J35 Draken
   Soko G-2A Galeb
   Temco Pinto & Super Pinto


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Brewster F2A Buffalo

(Variants/Other Names: See History below)


Brewster Buffalo (VL Humu)
VL Humu HM-871 (Finnish prototype variant of the Brewster F2A)
(Photo courtesy of Keski-Suomen Muesum, Finland.)

History: Recognizing in 1936 that the day of the biplane flying off carrier decks was ending, the US Navy sent a proposal to manufacturers specifying a monoplane configuration, wing flaps, arrester gear, retractable landing flaps and an enclosed cockpit. Brewster’s design, the F2A, featured all-metal construction except for fabric control surfaces, a Wright Cyclone piston engine (allowing the plane to exceed 300 mph), four fixed machine guns and attachments for two 100 pound bombs. In June 1939 the first of 54 F2A-1 production planes was delivered, the first nine sent to equip VF-3 aboard USS Saratoga.

By late 1940 the Navy was receiving the F2A-2, an improved version with a more powerful engine, better propeller and built-in flotation gear. Unfortunately the plane was overweight and unstable, especially compared to the Japanese Zero, and would soon be replaced by the Grumman Wildcat.

About 200 land-based versions were bought by the British, who called it the Brewster Buffalo; they were sent to the Far East in an attempt to free up Spitfires and Hurricanes in Europe. Used in the defense of Burma and Singapore, the Buffalo was overmatched by the Japanese and eventually withdrawn from service. In fact, the only successful combat enjoyed in the Far East was the 100 Buffaloes of the Netherlands East Indies Army fitted with a larger (1,200 hp) Wright engine. Only by maintaining a high altitude and diving suddenly out of the sun were the Dutch able to defeat the Zero in Java and Malaya.

A significant user of the Buffalo was the Finnish Air Force. Though unloved by the British, Australians, Americans, Belgians and Kiwis, 44 Buffaloes were flown by the Finnish LLv24 Squadron, and the aircraft was beloved and found to be very effective in the hands of its Finnish pilots. No fewer than 12 pilots became aces in Buffaloes, and the aircraft is remembered fondly by many.

A Finnish variant of the F2A, the VL (Valtion Lentokonetehdas) Humu was intended as a replacement for the Finnish Air Force's worn-out F2A-1 Buffalo fighters, which could not be replaced due to poor wartime availability of imported combat aircraft. The most significant changes from the original F2A-1 were a wooden wing (necessary due to material shortages) and a Russian M-63 engine purchased from Germany. The project soon fell behind schedule and the Humu proved to be inferior to the F2A-1 due to a higher aircraft weight, among other factors . Only one aircraft was delivered, and it never entered Finnish service.   [History by Jeff VanDerford with significant contributions by P. Kojo and Sampo Vuorinen.]

Nicknames: Beer Barrel (RAF nickname); Flying Barrel; Suicide Barrel; Peanut Special; Pylly-Waltteri (Finland); Taivaan Helmi ("Sky Pearl" in Finnish).

Specifications (F2A-3):
        Engine: One 1,200-hp Wright R-1820-40 Cyclone radial piston engine.
        Weight: Empty 4,723 lbs., Max Takeoff 7,159 lbs.
        Wing Span: 35ft. 0in.
        Length: 26ft. 4in.
        Height: 12ft. 1in.
        Performance:
            Maximum Speed: 321 mph
            Cruising Speed: 258 mph
            Ceiling: 33,200 ft.
            Range: 965 miles
        Armament: Four forward-firing 12.7-mm (0.5-inch) machine guns, plus two 100-pound bombs.

Number Built: ~420

Number Still Airworthy: None, but at least one is rumored to be under restoration for flight.

Links:
Annals of the Brewster Buffalo
Buffalo BW-372 Recovery from Russian Lake  |  March 2000 Update
Finnish Brewsters
The Last Brewster
VL Humu

 


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All text and photos Copyright 2006 The Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
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