In the annals of aviation, Huff-Daland and Co, Inc. of Ogdensburg, New York is not exactly one of the better known aircraft companies. Only a few aviation historians still remember this company today. Nevertheless, Huff-Daland and its successor Keystone manufactured a line of large biplanes which served as the primary bomber aircraft of the US Army Air Corps in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Although the Huff-Daland/Keystone series of bombers were relatively conservative in design and performance, the USAAC liked them because of their low cost, their reliability, and their stable flying characteristics.
The Huff-Daland series of biplane bombers begins with the XLB-1 (23-1250), which first appeared back in 1923. Departing from prior bomber design practice, this aircraft was powered by a single enormous 800 hp Packard 1A-2540 V-12 water-cooled engine instead of the more traditional pair of lower-powered engines. It was a tapered-winged biplane with a single bay of struts, and was of fabric-covered steel-tube construction. A single vertical tail was fitted. It carried a crew of three, with two sitting side by side behind the engine and a gunner sitting in a position near the single tail. The bombs were all carried internally, and the bomb aimer sighted through a window in the belly rather than from the normal nose position. The armament consisted of two Lewis machine guns mounted on the gunner's position and two 0.30-inch Browning machine guns fixed on the leading edge of the lower wings. A total bombload of 1500 pounds could be carried.
Nine service-test LB-1s were ordered in 1925 which were identical to the XLB-1 except for the installation of an improved Packard 2A-2540 engine plus the addition of a seat for a fourth crew member. These planes were known as "Pegasus" by the Huff-Daland company, although this was not an official USAAC name. Their serials were 26-377/385. The first flight of an LB-1 took place in July of 1927. The LB-1 had about the same performance as the XLB-1, but was able to carry a much larger bomb load of 2750 pounds, although the range was reduced by half.
The Huff-Deland company proposed an LB-1A which would be an improvement of the LB-1, but Army experience with the LB-1 planes suggested that a single-engined format for bombers was unsatisfactory from a safety standpoint. The Army decided that henceorth all of its bombers would have a multi-engined format, and no further LB-1s were ordered.
Specification of the Huff-Daland LB-1:
One 787 hp Packard 2A-2540 V-12 water-cooled engine. Maximum speed 121 mph at sea level, 117 mph at 6500 feet. Cruising speed 114 mph. Landing speed 55 mph. Service ceiling 14,425 feet, Absolute ceiling 17,300 feet. Initial climb rate 176 feet per minute. An altitude of 6500 feet could be attained in 23.5 minutes. Range 940 miles. Weights: 5704 pounds empty, 10,346 pounds gross. Wingspan 85 feet, length 62 feet, height 19 feet 3 inches, wing area 1604 square feet. Armed with two Lewis machine guns in the gunner's position plus two 0.30 inch machine guns fixed on the leading edge of the lower wings.