Hughes Bloodhawk

The Hughes Aviation Bloodhawk is the latest in a line of superlative aircraft from Hollywood’s premiere aircraft manufacturer: Howard Hughes. The Bloodhawk is the epitome of style and function, engineered as much for appearance as for deadly effectiveness.

The Bloodhawk first manufactured in 1936 is powered by a fuel-injection Allison V-1690 engine that produces 1,288 horsepower; the craft also uses a pusher-prop that allows it to attain speeds of just over 300 m.p.h. in level flight (with 350 m.p.h. possible in a dive).

The Bloodhawk’s pusher-prop and rear wing design poses some problems, however. Though extremely maneuverable at high speeds, the Bloodhawk does not perform well at low velocities and has an unusually high stall speed. Damage to the nose-mounted canard wings exacerbates this problem. These stubby wings, counterbalanced by the engine, play an integral part in keeping the aircraft aloft.

The Bloodhawk’s weaponry (nose-mounted cannons—two .30-caliber and two .40-caliber) are manufactured by Browning, and were designed for both a high fire-rate and low incidence of jamming. The weapons’ location and sighting systems are precision balanced for accuracy, earning the Bloodhawk a reputation for lethality despite its relatively modest armament. Under-wing pylons allow the aircraft to carry rockets or external fuel tanks as required, though the latter have a detrimental effect on the aircraft’s handling; they are generally only used when moving aircraft from one location to another or on long-range escort missions.

Though the Bloodhawk incorporates few revolutionary ideas, the design’s balance of new and old concepts makes it in a superlative aircraft and one of the most sought-after designs in North America.

The Bloodhawk is currently a backbone design among Hollywood aviators, particularly the Hollywood Knights. A handful are also in service with the Republic of Texas, the Empire State and Dixie. The latter are the subject of considerable acrimony between Hughes and the Confederacy (which has led to the blacklisting of Dixie-based clients). A recent raid on Manhattan by Dixie forces in which the Confederate pilots used several captured Bloodhawks has further heightened tensions.

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