World War 2 Documentary

Forgotten aircraft: The Abrams Explorer

The Abrams Explorer is a unique aircraft specifically designed for aerial survey and mapping functions. Built in 1937, the aircraft was designed by Kenneth Ronan, former chief designer for Stinson, and Edward Kunzl, also of Stinson. Dr. Talbert Abrams, founder and CEO of the then newly-formed Abrams Air Craft Corporation and the established Abrams Aerial Survey Corporation of Lansing, Michigan, envisioned the aircraft as an obstruction-free camera platform for survey and mapping businesses, a design in which the US Army showed interest. The initial requirement was to provide the capability for aerial photography, aerial survey, and mapping from near sea level up to an operating altitude of 20000 feet. It was to provide an unobstructed field of view for the several cameras which meant displacing the usual struts, wing panels, engine cowls, and propeller arc away from the cameraman’s normal line of sight. The aircraft was to have an endurance of at least eight hours, climb quickly to altitude, and cruise at a speed of 180 to 200 knots. The resulting configuration was a specially designed two-place non-conventional mid-wing pusher monoplane which had twin booms extending back from the wing trailing edge to support the tail assembly. The-two place crew nacelle was located entirely forward of the wing leading edge and included clear safety glass windows over most of area above the cockpit floor. This is similar to the bombardier’s nose section of a World War II medium bomber
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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Monday, December 27th, 2010 World War 2 Planes

25 Comments to Forgotten aircraft: The Abrams Explorer

patsematary
December 27, 2010

@NVanWendy this is the same think I made! maybe was the same designer? :)

Wendallandinc
December 27, 2010

My father worked for Abrams at the time the Explorer was built. He had his hands in the avionics for the plane. As I recall there was only one person who could fly it very well as it the arrangement of the landing gear made the plane very unstable on takeoff and landing.

macnutz
December 27, 2010

I’ve never even heard of this one. Big thanks for posting.

redbrackets
December 27, 2010

The Mustang is a great aircraft ! the first Rolls Royce engine was the Merlin 61, and from 1943 the Packard built Merlin 68 ( 1520 h.p. Packard V-1650-3) was fitted to the P51B, And the legend was born !

MadMichigander1313
December 27, 2010

@redbrackets

Originally the A-36 version of the Mustang used the Allison engine, but someone realized the potential and tried the aircraft with the Merlin engine. This created the Mustang we all know and love, a real game changing aircraft.

NVanWendy
December 27, 2010

Nose section by Piasecki…

schlusselmensch
December 27, 2010

That must have been an absolute joy on a 95 degree day. Sort of like a flying terrarium.

skinengine
December 27, 2010

Nice post! Very unique!

NeoQuello
December 27, 2010

forgotten?? i wonder why.?? maybe it was ugly as fuck???

painterjohn512
December 27, 2010

Man i dg this stuff!!

osdotf
December 27, 2010

@Carlton1812 Not sure how P-51s, Spitfires, Merlins or Joe Lucas got into this, but Ted Abrams and his wife, Leota, were great friends of Michigan State University in East Lansing where I had the pleasure to meet them when they donated $250,000 in 1961 to complete funding for the Abrams Planetarium. For many years after, Abrams Aerial Survey annually updated the huge backlit aerial campus photograph displayed inside the MSU Student Union.

vd172hb
December 27, 2010

looks like a dutch prototype the schelde s21

vd172hb
December 27, 2010

looks like a dutch prototype the schelde s21

grubbyjeans
December 27, 2010

I’m building a Piper PA-7 for FPV. Can’t post a link but search for “Piper PA-7 Sky Coupe” to locate.

ZListon
December 27, 2010

It might be ugly but I bet it was unique to fly. imagine the view. There is very little in front of you. Seems like someone could use the design to build a great R/C camera ship. I love it. This Bomberguy is the shiznit.

greenseaships
December 27, 2010

I

MUST

BUILD ONE!

Billy982810
December 27, 2010

lol That is one ugly bird. but cool.

guitarheroclanklol
December 27, 2010

this is one interesting aircraft.

transdrole
December 27, 2010

Nowadays it’s illegal to be that ugly.

andrebrannan1953
December 27, 2010

Please remember it took a British engine to enable it to perform as well. Also the P-51 was built to British specifications.

fancyflier
December 27, 2010

There was indeed, made by Edgely, but the Optica was aimed at the low altitude surveillance market as a cheaper option than a helicopter for police work, pipeline inspection and the like. Same design concept though as you say, although the Optica had a ducted fan rather than a conventional prop.

redbrackets
December 27, 2010

I think there was a British aeroplane inspired by this Abrams design, built during the early 80′s and i think called an “Optica” ?

redbrackets
December 27, 2010

Don’t i remember the mustang having to have a ROLLS ROYCE merlin to achieve the range and performance you are talking about ?

Carlton1812
December 27, 2010

Dink29 is a douche bag

To know shit from shinola is uniquely American. What can you tell us about Photogrammetry, about Talbert Abrams? Keep your trapper shut my friend. Your closed mouth is the only virtue you have.

Clauteaux
December 27, 2010

No, NACA engine cowling only.

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