Plane of the Week #6: Piper PA-48 Enforcer
This is a plane that seems to have slipped down the cracks of history and never was given the opportunity to show what it was capable of. The Piper PA-48 started life originally as the Cavalier Turbo Mustang III. Thus the story really starts with the Cavalier Mustang.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalier_Mustang
Some registered on the FAA N number registry in case you want to find one yourself:http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry ... 0&PageNo=1
The Cavalier Mustang was born out of Trans Florida Aviation Inc under the ownership and leadership of David Lindsay. David apparently was a fan of the P-51 Mustang from WW2 since in 1957 he formed Trans Florida Aviation Inc with the intention of turning surplus P-51s into private-high performance 'buisness' planes. In order to do this he bought up some surplus Merlins with a wee bit more HP, modified the cockpit/fuselage, heightened the vertical stab, and made optional wing tip tanks. The USAF soon realized though that a (then) modernized P-51 (should say F-51) would be a perfect COIN (Counter Insurgency) aircraft for South/Central
American allies of the US...remember, this is in the height of the Cold War and those darn Commies were the bad guys!
Eventually they developed the Cavalier Turbo Mustang III by throwing a Rolls Royce Dart 510 Turboprop in the airframe to create a dedicated COIN or CAS (Close Air-Support) aircraft for a USAF competition. Unfortunately, they were far to small of an operation to support the Turbo Mustang, thus the project was sold to Piper. In Piper's hands it recieved the Piper model number PA-48 and name of Enforcer. In 1971, the Cavalier operation closed its doors with David going to help out the Enforcer program. At this time the Enforcer was participating in COIN/CAS competitions with the USAF. In which it performed very well, go figure the stellar performance of the Mustang showed through especially with a turbo prop engine! However, the military never took on the project, thus the Enforcer never recieved any military designation (hence the PA-48 model # from Piper being used). Also, a military pilot never flew the Enforcer even in competition. So it was a pure civilian program in every including MOST of the funding. However, the stellar performance was all for not, the military never bit so the Enforcer went into the shadows. Piper was not too happy with that though and continued lobbying for a second chance. They got it in 1984 with another USAF competition. Yet again, the Enforcer beared its teeth and performed well. Yet again, no orders came. There were 4 of these made: 3 are left. I know of only 1 that is complete and on display and
that is at the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, Ohio. I have seen this sweet thing in person and I have to say, it was heart warming for this vintage enthusiast to see a vintage design given another go at life. The noticable differences to me were the large wing tip tanks, taller vertical stab, raised bubble canopy, re-shaped wing, very long nose with of course a massive exhaust duct and the 4 big prop blades. Some of the changes are obvious in origin: Longer nose to house the Lycoming Turbo Prop later installed, taller fin to compensate for increased torque from the bigger blades, raised cockpit to increase pilot's field of view. The wing itself though looks almost original except for the tip tanks. However, it needed much strengthening to handle the host of rockets, gun pods, and dumb ordnance that was to be carried.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_PA-48_Enforcerhttp://www.aviastar.org/air/usa/piper_pa-48.php
The USAF Museum's Enforcer:http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsh ... asp?id=614
A.F. Scrub has provided the sim community with an Enforcer that is available here on SimV for
FS9 and FSX:http://simviation.com/1/search?submit=1 ... er&x=0&y=0
As well as a CFS2 version. I have not even downloaded this but I encourage you to give it a whirl, at the very least it might peak your intrest by checking out a 3D model of it.
One last note on this bird before I go, my current generation particularly in the US has seen many of its member go into combat. I have too many friends that either already served, are serving (one for I think his 3rd time), and some are still waiting to go to Afghanistan. The war there is COIN through and through. This plane, the Enforcer, is one of many COIN designs offered to the USAF, USMC, and US Army as well as our allies for use in the COIN role. The dedicated COIN aircraft like the Enforcer proved to be far more affective than even the legendary A-10 in their roles. However, that is pretty much all they are good for; COIN and CAS (FAC goes with these regularly). Without going on to big of a tangent, suffice to say their designs involve compromises to achieve their performance. These compromises unfortunately have seen the demise of all of these dedicate craft since the Vietnam war. The latest victim is the A-29 Super Tucano which, eventhough it won a USAF Light Attack competition with a contract award, recieved NO production order. Now, personally I feel my friends, my neighbors, my classmates,