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SO THERE I WAS, just like SAAB engineers with their 21A fighter: They wanted to convert it to jet power. For details, see “Saab 21—Where’s My Prop?” here at SimanaitisSays.
A Miscalculation. Bo Widfeldt recounted in Saab 21 A and R, Profile Publications Limited, 1966, “When the detailed plans for the conversion were studied, it was calculated that the necessary airframe alternations would be of the order of 20 percent. In fact, when the 21R was finally ready for construction, it differed from the original 21A by more than 50 percent.
Swapping a V-12 piston engine’s spinning prop for the Goblin 3’s turbine thrust worked out to be more complicated than engineers envisioned.
GMax/Fltsim Fooling. By contrast, my project would be much simpler: I had a GMax Saab 21A for my Microsoft Flight Simulator FS9, and all I needed was to delete the prop, put in a couple of scoops and wing tanks, and change a few entries in the aircraft’s Fltsim .cfg file defining its performance.
Adieu, Windows XP. In the midst of this easy-peasy project, my GMax/Fltsim world had a meltdown of its iMac 27’s Windows XP partition (which had worked just fine thank you for some 10 years).
Fortunately, files were backed up on the computer’s Bootcamp, part of the partitioning process. And I had a perfectly nice Dell laptop PC sitting largely idle (except for watching Metropolitan Opera On Demand on its cool 2-in-1 easel).
True, there’d be plenty of file swapping, but the GMax Saab 21R jet was no more than a 20-percent modification of my 21A prop version.
Wait. Where have I heard that 20-percent jazz before?
Here are tidbits of the GMax 21A to 21R conversion. All in good fun.
From Prop to Jet. The 21A is powered by an inverted Daimler-Benz V-12. I had already devised GMax animation of its engine hatches, along with necessary ingress/egress of its pilot.
By the way, at first I pondered the pilot’s means of access until the Profile Publications documentation arrived. A photo of a lineup of 21A’s showed a retracting ladder, dropped side window, and pivoting canopy section.
DB 605 vs Goblin 3. Engines are good fun to model, especially in deciding how wacko to go with details. Spark plugs and fuel injectors on each bank of the DB V-12 were just about my limit.
By contrast, the Goblin 3 was basically a bunch of nestled tubes. I had fun with a couple of spinning compressors which are buried inside (one of them is visible until the engine is up to speed; then it’s replaced by a red disc rotating in the exhaust). Talk about wacko; sorta like artisans sculpting gargoyles high up cathedral spires.
Minor Details. Fabricating the Goblin 3’s sizable air inlets necessitated redesign and reanimation of the hatches. And a new instrument panel was called for: Flight instrumentation is identical. But, of course, power monitoring is completely different.
There were other workarounds, perhaps related to the Windows XP crash or laptop limitations; I won’t know until I opt for a big-screen PC one of these days. In the meantime, I’ll remember the Saab engineers’ optimism…. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022