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Christmas Bullet

From PlaneSpottingWorld, for aviation fans everywhere

The Christmas Bullet was an airplane designed on behalf of the United States Army Signal Corps by "Dr." William Christmas in 1918. It is considered by many[citation needed] to be the worst aircraft ever constructed.

Christmas had little expertise in aircraft manufacturing or design, but convinced two brothers, Henry and Alfred MaCorey, to back him. They then paid a visit to the [[Continental Motors|aircraft company where Christmas convinced management that his planned airplane would be the key element in an audacious plot to kidnap Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

Convinced by his story they started to build the plane named "The Bullet" or the "Christmas Bullet". His design (such as it was, Christmas does not appear to have drawn any plans) lacked any kind of struts or braces for the wings. Christmas apparently believed that, in flight, the wings would flex or even flap like those of a bird to provide lift.

On its maiden flight, the wings of the Bullet peeled from the fuselage and the airplane crashed. The pilot was killed. A second plane was built to similar specifications, with an identical outcome. His first test flight had been conducted using a "Liberty Six" engine (a cut-down variant[citation needed] of the famous Liberty V12, very likely[citation needed] the prototype); afterward he was reprimanded by the Army for wasting their expensive new engine without authorization.

Some histories[citation needed] record the U.S. government paid Christmas $100,000 to avoid a patent-infringement suit over the use of ailerons, but this has never been substantiated, and Christmas is not among the leading candidates to be recognized as the inventor of the aileron.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Christmas Bullet".