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BURGESS HT-B; HT-2 SPEED SCOUT

The Burgess HT-2 Speed Scout was an experimental United States observation/fighter seaplane.

The Speed Scout’s airframe was made of wood with a fabric covering, except for the engine cowling which was aluminum; the aircraft was powered by a Curtiss OXX-2 engine. Despite being underpowered, 8 were purchased by the US Navy in 1917 following demonstration flights on 19 May 1917.

In the late autumn of 1916, the US Navy framed a requirement which, issued on 17 November, called for a float-equipped single-seat fighting scout with a max speed of at least 153km/h and an endurance of 2.5 hrs. It was envisaged that a 165hp Gnome Monosoupape 9N rotary engine would be used.

To meet this requirement, W Starling Burgess of the Burgess Company of Marblehead, Mass, a division of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation, produced the HT-B which was demonstrated to the Navy Department on 19 May 1917.

A fabric-covered wooden sesquiplane in which close attention had been paid to aerodynamic cleanliness, the HT-B had fabric-covered K-type interplane struts, the short floats embodying shock absorbers. The intended armament comprised a single 7.62mm machine gun, but the rotary engine being unavailable, the HT-B was fitted with a water-cooled Curtiss OXX-2 of 100hp. With this it was underpowered, max attainable speed being 137km/h. Nevertheless, the Navy considered the HT-B to possess excellent aerodynamic and hydrodynamic qualities, placing a contract for six examples (later amended to include two additional aircraft).

Known unofficially as the Speed Scout, the first HT-B was delivered to Squantum on 11 September 1917, and the second to Pensacola in the following month, neither carrying armament. These were followed by six more of a slightly modified version known as the HT-2, all being delivered by the end of 1917.

BURGESS HT-2 SPEED SCOUT
Introduced: 1917
Crew: 1
Built: 2 + 6
Length: 6.78 m
Wingspan: 10.46 m
Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss OXX-2, 100 hp
Maximum speed: 153 km/h

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