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Italian designer Luigi Stipa in 1931 demonstrated a new way to increase propeller efficiency. For this he surrounded the propeller with a special ring fairing. This design is called an intubated propeller (sometimes called an impeller) and is considered the forerunner of the turbofan engine. One of the first to put the idea into practice (around the same time as Stipa's own Stipa-Caproni plane) were engineers Frank Nixon (pictured right) and Carl Hall of Compton, California, USA.

In 1933, they purchased the Felio SP-2 Ranger parasol monoplane, part number X-12211, from its designer Harold Felio. The airplane was modified and from the photo it is easy to see how. Engineers installed a ring fairing with guide vanes and claimed in the pages of Flying Magazine a fantastic increase in efficiency. Speed increased by "39 to 140 percent." A "reduction in landing speed" was also reported. In theory, that's what it should have been. But, alas, there is no credible confirmation that the plane flew in this fashion.


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