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The Pirate Fighters are small combat seaplanes used by the Air Pirates in TaleSpin.

Background

Originally designed and developed as combat aircraft intended for military use, the CT-37 instead ended up in the hands of the Air Pirates.

Technical Details

The CT-37 is a small seaplane built with a biplane wing configuration, the only fighter plane to do so since the end of the Great War. The wings are attached to the sides of the plane and are connected by metal braces for stability. The plane is 15 feet in length.

Instead of landing gear, the CT-37 uses pontoons mounted on the bottom of each wing brace. While the pontoons allow for water landings, they have a tendency to gain momentum during fast maneuvers, making the plane difficult to steer at times. In addition, the rocker-like shape of the pontoons' undersides can cause the plane to flip over during landings if the nose section is too far forward.

The plane has a standard tail assembly, albeit with a large rudder, the design of which allowing for very quick side-slipping (turning maneuvers using only the rudder). However, the rudder is powerful enough that even the slightest correction would put the plane in an uncontrollable spinning dive.

Working in unison, the CT-37's wing surfaces allows for extraordinary maneuverability rivaling that of Khan Industries' Panther fighters.

With the exception of the standard blue and brown colorways, pirate-operated CT-37s are much different than they originally were. Several of them boast new components, as many have replaced or salvaged parts in them, all have had something done to the controls and instruments, and a select few have been completely overhauled — although operations of this degree are considered a luxury to the parts-hungry Air Pirates.

The pirate fighters are used frequently in shipping raids and in combat with air patrol planes. As a consequence, the CT-37s have the lowest survival rate of any one-man aircraft in service. Though several planes a month are lost to gunfire, crashes, or even ordinary wear and tear, the Air Pirates always appear to have an endless supply of them — at least enough at any one time for each pirate to use. This suggests the notion that the pirates may actually construct their own CT-37s from scratch, or at the least, salvage enough parts from the wrecks to rebuild them.

Each pirate, to some extent, personalizes the plane that he pilots. While each pirate-modified CT-37 carries illegal radio equipment, other custom features can also be incorporated into it. Some pirates install homemade ejection seats, while others placed makeshift bomb racks onto the underside of their planes. Very few pirates add a custom paint job to their planes, mostly because they lack sufficient rank to do so.

The most important modifications, however, are those done to the armaments. Originally, the CT-37 came standard equipped with two 20mm caliber cannons mounted on the wing stabilizers. Observers claim that the guns on the fighters have not been replaced, and that were modified to use various types of ammunition — an important innovation, since the pirates' raids seldom provide them with the one unique type of ammo that the guns had originally required.

The most notable modification to the CT-37 involves the addition of a third pair of wings to the airframe, resulting in a CT-37 with an extremely rare triplane wing configuration. The only known CT-37 to feature a third pair of wings is Don Karnage's personal plane, the Tri-Wing Terror, which is equipped with four extra cannons for increased firepower.

While the CT-37 has its fair share of advantages, it also has its weaknesses. The most critical design flaw lies in the plane's construction; The engine, fuel tank, and cockpit are all packed into the fuselage, making a large portion of the plane vulnerable to attack. A few well placed shots up the belly, and the CT-37 goes down in flames.

The plane's powerplant is also a critical fault. The Viper Turbo-1 engine performs well enough during normal flight, but steep climbs have an unknown effect on the fuel manifold and air intakes, making it stall in midair.

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Episodes
"I Only Have Ice for You" • "Time Waits for No Bear" • "A Touch of Glass" • "It Came From Beneath the Sea Duck" • "The Bigger They Are, the Louder They Oink" • "The Idol Rich" • "Stormy Weather" • "Plunder and Lightning" • "From Here to Machinery" • "Mommy for a Day" • "Molly Coddled" • "Polly Wants a Treasure" • "Vowel Play" • "Bearly Alive" • "Her Chance to Dream" • "All's Whale That Ends Whale" • "The Golden Sprocket of Friendship" • "For a Fuel Dollars More" • "A Bad Reflection on You" • "On a Wing and a Bear" • "A Star is Torn" • "A Spy in the Ointment" • "The Balooest of the Bluebloods" • "A Baloo Switcheroo" • "Whistlestop Jackson, Legend" • "Double or Nothing" • "Feminine Air" • "Last Horizons" • "Flight of the Snow Duck" • "Save the Tiger" • "The Old Man and the Sea Duck" • "War of the Weirds" • "Captains Outrageous" • "The Time Bandit" • "For Whom the Bell Klangs" • "Citizen Khan" • "Gruel and Unusual Punishment" • "Jolly Molly Christmas" • "My Fair Baloo" • "Waiders of the Wost Tweasure" • "Flight School Confidential" • "Bringing Down Babyface" • "Jumping the Guns" • "In Search of Ancient Blunders" • "Louie's Last Stand" • "Sheepskin Deep" • "Pizza Pie in the Sky" • "Baloo Thunder" • "Bullethead Baloo" • "Destiny Rides Again" • "Mach One for the Gipper" • "Stuck on You" • "The Sound and the Furry" • "The Road to Macadamia" • "The Ransom of Red Chimp" • "Your Baloo's in the Mail" • "Paradise Lost" • "The Incredible Shrinking Molly" • "Bygones" • "Flying Dupes"
Locations
Cape SuzetteHigher for HireLouie's PlaceWildcat's HouseboatKhan IndustriesThembriaPirate IslandWalla-Walla-Bing-BangMacadamiaTinabulaPanda-La
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Sea DuckAir TaxiBroncosKhan TransportIron VultureSpruce MoosePirate Fighters
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Spin ItI'm GoneHome is Where the Heart IsSky PiratesMonkey In Your TankFriends for Life
Objects
Idol of the Spirit-SwitcherMELThe Ruby WingsThe Three Bells of Tinabula
See also
The Jungle BookThe Disney Afternoon