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F9C Sparrowhawk 1/20 Desktop Model

F9C Sparrowhawk 1/20
F9C Sparrowhawk 1/20
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F9C Sparrowhawk 1/20
Model Description

This collectable model F9C Sparrowhawk represents a small class of aircraft – planes designed to be carried by other aircraft. In this case, the aircraft were the giant Navy airships USS Akron and USS Macon. Painstakingly built from Philippine mahogany by skilled craftsmen using a wealth of detail, this 1/20-scale model F9C Sparrowhawk makes a great gift for any veteran, aviation enthusiast or history buff.

At 20 feet long and with only a 25-foot wingspan, the Sparrowhawk was ideal for service in the fighter complement of large rigid-framed airships because of its small size. Although the Sparrowhawk was armed, its primary duty was reconnaissance, and it provided the airships it served with a much wider search area. Akron was reported to have a complement of three Sparrowhawks, while Macon was discovered at its underwater resting place with four in its hangar.

The Sparrowhawk was powered by a Wright R-975 radial engine, giving it a top speed of 176 mph. Armament was two ,30-caliber machine guns.

To achieve launching and recovery from the airship, a hook/anchor system was developed, dubbed by crews as "the flying trapeze". The Sparrowhawk had a hook mounting on its top wing that attached to the cross-bar of the trapeze. For launching, the biplane's hook was engaged on the trapeze inside the (internal) hangar, the trapeze was lowered clear of the hull into the airship's slipstream and, engine running, the Sparrowhawk would then disengage its hook and fall away from the airship. For recovery, the biplane would fly up underneath its mother ship, moving slightly faster than the airship, and in a somewhat tricky maneuver hook onto the trapeze

On May 3, 1932, the Akron cruised over the coast of New Jersey with Rear Admiral George C. Day, President of the Board of Inspection and Survey, on board, and for the first time tested the "trapeze" installation for in-flight handling of aircraft. The aviators who carried out those historic hook-ups, first with a Consolidated N2Y trainer and then with the prototype Curtiss XF9C-1 Sparrowhawk, were Lt. Daniel W. Harrigan and Lt. Howard L. Young.

A single F9C Sparrowhawk survives in the National Air & Space Museum’s Stephan F Udvar-Hazy Center.