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FMA IA.33 Pulqui II




Intended to replace the Gloster Meteor F.Mk 4s in service with the Argentine air force, the I.Ae.33 Pulqui II (Arrow II) was designed by a team headed by Dr Kurt Tank, roughly inspired by the Ta 183. Tank arrived in Argentina in 1947, not speaking Spanish but with the plans for the German project TA-83 from the factory Focke Wulf.  The first plane that Tank made in Argentina was a copy of the TA-83 which was his starting point. 
It embodied some of the results of the advanced research carried out in Germany during World War II, incorporating a shoulder-mounted wing with 40deg of sweep-back, and a T-tail with all-swept surfaces. Landing gear was retractable tricycle-type and power provided by a Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet mounted in the rear fuselage. The pilot was accommodated on an ejection-seat in a pressurised cockpit, protected by armour and a bulletproof windscreen, and a sliding canopy that could be jettisoned in emergency, and auto pilot.
By 1950 the first prototype of the Pulqui II was ready for testing.  It was piloted for the first time by Captain Edmundo Weiss on June 27, 1950. 
Captain Edmundo Weiss is with the Pulqui II
It had its official debut on February 8, 1951.  Tank called Peron in Buenos Aires from Cordoba and advised him that the airplane would arrive to the airport before the President himself.  Sure enough, he was correct.  During the presentation ceremony Peron expressed his admiration and gratitude for Tank.
The Pulqui II's first tragedy occurred in May of that year after 28 test flights when a defect caused the death of Captain Vedania Mannuwal, a fighter pilot.  This led to the third prototype and many more test flights.  Two days before the newest version was to be presented to Peron in October of 1952, another crash cost the life of Otto Behrens who was an important part of the entire process. (Otto Behrens, the test pilot died; a few days before his death he said that the airplane was "the worst he had ever experienced as a test pilot"). His death was mourned by the entire country, especially the Germans now working in Argentina.  By 1953 the fourth prototype was ready for testing. It was not until 18 September 1959 that the last was flown.
Unfortunately, just when the project was ready to bear fruit, a coup turned the country upside down.  Many of the scientitst and enginners associated with the project were forced from the country, including Kurt Tank.  The new government showed little interest in keeping the project alive, although those who remained struggled to make it work.  In a desperate attempt to change momentum, FMA planned a high profile test flight from Cordoba to Moron back to Cordoba including three quick rounds over the Buenos Aires airport, without supplementary fuel tanks.  The pilot, Captain Rogelio Balado, was able to make the entire trip, but a fault in the system caused a lack of oxygen for him and he crashed on landing in Cordoba. 
In 1954 a world tour was planned to exhibit the airplane to possible buyers.  FMA also received visitors from the USSR, US (from the company that manufactured the P-86 Sabre) and Egypt who were interested in the airplane.

Brigadier Ahrens from the Argentina Air Force approached FMA requesting an estimate on the fabrication of 100 Pulquis.  He was advised that 10 could be available immediately and that number 100 would be finished within 5 years.  Ahrens decided to give the contract to the Americans for 100 F-86 Sabres because they would be available immediately.  This basically ruined FMA's future possibilities to export the Pulqui II. 
In the intervening period the Dr Tank and his team had left Argentina. These factors, coupled with serious financial problems, meant that development was initially halted in 1953, and finally cancelled with the fall of Peron in 1955.

Engine; 1 x Rolls-Royce Nene, 2268kg
Wingspan; 10.60 m / 34 ft 9 in
Length; 11.68 m / 38 ft 4 in
Height; 3.50 m / 11 ft 6 in
Wing area; 25.10 sq.m / 270.17 sq ft
Max take-off weight; 5550 kg / 12236 lb
Empty weight; 3600 kg / 7937 lb
Max. speed; 1050 km/h / 652 mph
Ceiling; 15000 m / 49200 ft
Crew; 1
Armament; 4 x 20mm cannon



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