Jun 032012
 
Flight Tests of the Prototype Grumman F6F-5K Target Drone (1946-7)

This article reproduces the “Final Report on Flight Tests of Prototype F6F-5K High Speed Target Drone with Eclipse-Pioneer P-1K Auto-Pilot,” Report No. R-0168, produced by the Naval Air Material Center, Naval Aircraft Modification Unit located in Johnsville, Pennsylvania in 1947. The following paragraphs reproduce the main conclusions of the report, a high resolution version of […]

Apr 192012
 
Stroop "X-Wing" Convertible Speed Planes (1935-9)

Robert C. Stroop is one of the many obscure Depression-era aeronautical inventors who created innovative if somewhat impractical designs that, for various reasons, never saw their full potential. The author has unable to uncover much about the background of Mr. Stroop apart from a few interesting facts. In surviving correspondence with the Army Air Corps, […]

Apr 142012
 
Bell XF-109 VTOL Fighter Brochure and Mock-up Inspection Program (1959)

In our final article in a series on the Bell D188A/Model 2000 (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L—both spurious designations invented by the Bell marketing department) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present a brochure and mock-up inspection guide dating from February 1959. A preview of the brochure is shown to the left; it is remarkable for being […]

Mar 232012
 
Bell D188A/Model 2000 VTOL Fighter Mock-up Report—February 1959

In our latest article in a series on the Bell D188A/Model 2000 (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L—both spurious designations invented by the Bell marketing department) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present this huge, heavily illustrated mock-up report dating from February 6, 1959. By this time, the Air Force had become a significant partner in the program, […]

Mar 062012
 
Curtiss-Wright XF-87 Turboprop Fighter-Bomber Proposal (1949)

The Curtiss-Wright XF-87 Blackhawk was a prototype all-weather jet interceptor designed as a replacement for the Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighter. It was a large mid-wing aircraft with four Westinghouse XJ34-WE-7 turbojets paired in underwing pods, with a mid-mounted tailplane and tricycle undercarriage. Two crew members sat side-by-side under a spacious single canopy. The […]

Feb 282012
 
Proposal for Improved Bell XP-77 (1944)

The gallery above reproduces “The XP-77 Airplane,” a report by Bell Aircraft Corporation dating from around June 1944 found in US Army Air Force (USAAF) files held in National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. The report is both a review of the development work done on the Bell XP-77 wooden light weight fighter and […]

Feb 212012
 
Rocket-Boosted North American P-51D Mustang (1945)

The gallery above reproduces “Flash Performance of the P-51D Airplane Equipped with Acid Aniline Rocket Motor,” a test report of The Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin Field, Florida dated October 3, 1946. The object of the tests was to determine the operational suitability of the P-51D airplane equipped with an acid-aniline rocket motor. Two P-51D-25 […]

Feb 152012
 
Early Lockheed XF-90 Concepts — the L-153, L-167 and L-169 Studies

The Lockheed XF-90 was built in response to a 1945 Air Force requirement for a long range penetration fighter and bomber escort. It was an attractive aircraft heavily influenced by the company’s experience with the P-80, sharing a similar intake and low wing configuration. However, it was designed to operate at higher speeds, with a […]

Jan 242012
 
Republic AP-47 Mixed-Power Ground Support Airplane Proposal (1948)

The gallery above reproduces a letter from Republic Aviation Corporation to the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics dated September 16, 1948 enclosing revised drawings of the Republic AP-47 mixed-power ground support airplane proposal. The letter was found in USAF files (which may have been those of the Colonel J.S. Holtoner also referenced in the […]

Jan 092012
 
Bell D188A/Model 2000 VTOL Fighter Reports—January to February 1959

In our latest article in a series on the Bell D188A/Model 2000 (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present a pair of Bell reports from early 1959—a Progress Report from January and a report on Experimental Model Programs dating from February 6. In the abstract to the Progress Report, Bell notes that […]

Dec 202011
 
Lockheed P-80A for the U.S. Navy (1947)

In the third installment of an unplanned series on the navalized Lockheed P-80A, Serial No. 1028/Navy Serial 29668, we present a U.S. Naval Air Test Center (NATC) report dating from June 23, 1947 on flight tests of the Shooting Star as an overload fighter with wing tip auxiliary fuel tanks installed—project TED No. PTR 1116. I […]

Nov 222011
 
Lockheed P-80A for the U.S. Navy (1946)

After publishing our original article on P-80A, Serial No. 1028/Navy Serial 29668, naval aviation historian Tommy Thomason sent us additional photos of the aircraft under test at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland in 1946. According to Tommy, both bridle and pendant configurations were evaluated for catapult launch of the Navy’s P-80A. The bridle cable was attached to […]