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Douglas Cloudster II Aircraft Information

Douglas Cloudster II

Cloudster II

National origin: United States of America
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company
First flight: 12 March 1947
Status: Prototype only
Number built: 1

The Douglas Cloudster II was an American prototype five-seat light aircraft of the late 1940s. It was of unusual layout, with two buried piston engines driving a single pusher propeller. Only a single example was built, which only flew twice, as it proved too expensive to be commercially viable.

Design and development

During the early 1940s, Douglas Aircraft Corporation developed a configuration for high-performance twin-engined aircraft, in which the engines were buried in the fuselage, driving propellers mounted behind a conventional tailplane, in order to reduce drag by eliminating drag inducing objects such as engines from the wing. This layout was first demonstrated in the Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster bomber, which first flew in 1944, showing a 30% reduction in drag compared with a conventional twin-engined layout, while eliminating handling problems due to asymmetric thrust when flying on one engine.

Owing to the initial success of the XB-42, Douglas adopted this promising new layout for a medium range airliner, the DC-8 and a five seat light aircraft suitable for executive or air charter use, the Model 1015 or Cloudster II.

The Cloudster II was a low-winged monoplane with a retractable nosewheel undercarriage. The pilot and four passengers sat in an enclosed cabin well ahead of the unswept, laminar flow wing. Two air-cooled piston engines were buried in the rear fuselage, driving a single 8 foot diameter two-bladed propeller, mounted behind the empennage via driveshafts taken from P-39 fighters. Two air intakes forward of the wing directed cooling air to the engines, which then exhausted beneath the fuselage.

The Cloudster II made its maiden flight on 12 March 1947. Although the aircraft's performance and handling were good, it suffered from excessive vibration, and overheated when it was on the ground. Further development was abandoned late in 1947, with the prototype only having flown twice, as the post-war civil flying market had not developed as hoped, while the selling price had risen from an originally planned $30,000 to $68,000, rendering the aircraft commercially unviable.


Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920

General characteristics

Crew: 1
Capacity: 4 passengers
Length: 39 ft 10 in (12.13 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft 4 in (10.78 m)
Height: 12 ft 0 in (3.66 m)
Empty weight: 3,200 lb (1,451 kg)
Gross weight: 5,085 lb (2,307 kg)
Powerplant: 2 x— Continental E-250 six-cylinder air-cooled piston engine, 250 hp (190 kW) each


Maximum speed: 229 mph (369 km/h; 199 kn) at 1,200 ft (365 m)
Cruise speed: 200 mph (170 kn; 320 km/h)
Range: 950 mi (826 nmi; 1,529 km)
Ferry range: 1,175 mi (1,021 nmi; 1,891 km)
Service ceiling: 22,200 ft (6,767 m)
Rate of climb: 1,500 ft/min (7.6 m/s)

Douglas Cloudster

Comparable aircraft

Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster
Douglas DC-8 (piston airliner)
Planet Satellite

Francillon, René J. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920. London:Putnam, 1979. ISBN 0-370-00050-1.

Douglas Cloudster II Pictures

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Source: WikiPedia

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