XB-3 at the Taipingsi Airfield

Republic of China XB-3 Prototype

republic of china flag Republic of China (1944)
Prototype Bomber – 1 Built

The XB-3 was a prototype medium bomber designed by the Republic of China in 1942. Although outdated for its time, the plane showed decent performance. It was lost in its third test flight and as a result, the project was abandoned and all documents concerning it were destroyed.

History

With the demands of the Republic of China Air Force in mind, the Institute of Aviation Studies and the Third Aviation Factory began designing a medium bomber. The designers were Zheng Baoyuan (郑葆源) from the Third Aviation Factory and Tang Xunyi (勋贻) from the Institute of Aviation Studies. The design was finalized in mid-1942, and was ready to be produced in September. However, due to constant Japanese harassment bombings, only one model was produced from between September of 1942 and January of 1944. The plane was produced at Dong Bu Sha He Bao (东部沙河堡).

The plane was disassembled at the factory in March of 1944 and shipped over to Taipingsi Airfield for flight tests. When the XB-3 arrived at the airfield, it was immediately reassembled and test flights began. Unfortunately, due to an engine malfunction, the pilot lost control during landing and destroyed the prototype. Luckily, the pilot survived but sustained serious head injuries.

As a result of the accident, the project was cancelled, and all information and documents concerning it were destroyed.

Design

The design of the XB-3 was heavily influenced by the SB-2M-103. The airframe was nearly identical other than the materials it was constructed with. The spars and airframe were created with quality Szechuan wood, while the skin of the plane was made with a mixture of bamboo and wood. The engine, flight instruments and landing gear were all taken from the SB-2M-103, which was outdated and inferior by 1944. The notable difference between the XB-3 and SB-2M-103 was the cockpit and nose of the plane which were copied from the Ilyushin DB-3. As a result, plane was nearly entirely based off of the DB-3 and SB-2M-103.

The defensive armament the plane would have had would also have been taken from the SB-2M-103, which would be ShKAS machine gun. However, some sources say that it may have been reequipped with American sourced guns.

Production

Only one XB-3 was made at the Third Aviation Factory in Dong Bu Sha He Bao (部沙河堡). This was all the Third Aviation Factory could produce under the constant harassment from Japanese bombers.

Tests

The XB-3 went through a total of 3 test flights before it’s accident.

On the first flight test, the XB-3 was piloted by Huang Rongxiang (黄荣想), although some sources claim that it was flown by Li Yangqin (李焱芹)*. The flight test was to test taxiing, take off and landing. The pilot claimed that the plane handled well, very much like the SB-2M.

On the second flight test, it was piloted by Tan Xunyi (勋贻), but once again other sources claim that it was piloted by Li Chen (李琛)*. The second test was to determine the maneuverability of the XB-3 at low altitude. It pulled many basic and advanced combat maneuvers, and the pilot once again complimented the plane on its performance.

On the third and final flight test, the plane was in the air for 30 minutes before heading back to base due to an engine malfunction. The plane made it back to base but upon landing, the pilot lost control of the plane and one of the wheels hit the runway, flipping the plane and breaking its wings. Miraculously, the plane didn’t catch fire and the pilot was able to be dragged out by the ground crew and rushed to the hospital with a major concussion and serious head injuries.

Due to the catastrophic failure on the third flight test, the flight data was not recorded. The designers finally put an end to the project due to the injuries of the test pilot and the fact that the design was simply outdated, as it was based on a 1934 design. To save themselves from embarrassment, the designers burnt all documents on the XB-3.

*The reason why there is confusion about the pilots was probably because there was mix up of the backup pilot and the official pilot. This is understandable as all the documents of the XB-3 were destroyed.

 

XB-3 Specifications
Engine: 2x Klimov M-103A (1,000 hp)
Crew: 1x Pilot

2x Gunners

Armament: 2-3x ShKAS 7.62 mm
Bomb Load: 1,500kg (at most)

Gallery

XB-3 Side View
XB-3 Side View
XB-3 at the Taipingsi Airfield
XB-3 at the Taipingsi Airfield

Sources

Wei, G., Cheng, Y., & Zhang, W. (2014). 研轰-3. 中国飞机全书., (2017), 研轰-3。百科, (2017), 研轰-3轰炸机.百科

 

About Leo Guo

Leo Guo is a 17 year old student living in West Vancouver, Canada. He is a plane enthusiast and likes to write about them in his spare time. He also serves proudly in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, hoping to serve in the armed forces one day.

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