Douglas B-23 / C-67 Dragon
In an attempt to rectify the shortcomings of their DB-1 design, Douglas developed in 1938 an improved version and the proposal seemed sufficiently attractive for the US Army to award a contract for 38 of these aircraft under the designation B-23 and with the name Dragon.
Landing gear was retractable tailwheel type, but the engine nacelles had been extended so that when the main units were lowered in flight they were faired by the nacelle extensions and created far less drag.
The main difference was the switch to much more powerful engines (the most powerful then available), the 1450-hp Wright R-2600-1 Cy-clone 14. The army adopted the proposal as the B-22, but soon switched to a further improvement designated B-23. The B-23 Dragon included the first US Army tail gun position, a hand-aimed .03-in (12.7-mm). Nose, dorsal and ventral positions each had one 0.30-in (7.62-mm). The tail wheel is offset to allow the tail gunner to access his position from the fuselage. Maximum bomb-load was 2177 kg (4800 lb), all internal.
In the Fiscal Year 1939, a batch of 38 B-23 Dragons was funded, following successful trials with the prototype in the summer of 1939.
First flown on 27 July 1939, the B-23s were all delivered to the US Army during that year. Early evaluation had shown that performance and flight characteristics were disappointing. Furthermore, information received from the European theatre during 1940 made it clear that development would be unlikely to result in range, bombload and armament capabilities to compare with the bomber aircraft then in service with the combatant nations, or already beginning to emerge in the USA. As a result these aircraft saw only limited service in a patrol capacity along the US Pacific coastline before being relegated to training duties.
During 1942 about 15 of these aircraft were converted to serve as utility transports under the designation UC-67, and some of the remainder were used for a variety of purposes including engine testbeds, glider towing experiments and weapons evaluation. They were popular executive transports after the war.
A total of 38 examples were built, all powered by Wright R-2600 Cyclone engines.
Douglas UC-67 Dragon (C-67)
Engines: 2 x Wright R-2600-3 Cyclone 14, 1193kW / 1578 hp
Max take-off weight: 13824 kg / 30477 lb
Empty weight: 8659 kg / 19090 lb
Wingspan: 28.04 m / 92 ft 0 in
Length: 17.78 m / 58 ft 4 in
Height: 5.63 m / 18 ft 6 in
Wing area: 92.25 sq.m / 992.97 sq ft
Max. speed: 454 km/h / 282 mph
Cruise speed: 338 km/h / 210 mph
Ceiling: 9630 m / 31600 ft
Range: 2253 km / 1400 miles
Armament: 1 x 12.7mm (0.50in) + 3 x 7.62mm (0.30in) machine-guns, 2000kg of bombs