Sep 052011

In our fourth article in a series on the Bell D188A (a.k.a. XF-109 / XF3L) supersonic VTOL fighter of the late 1950s, we present a Bell design data summary from November 1957. Due to the large size of this document, we have broken it into three separate parts.

On June 28, 1957 Bell Aircraft Corporation started work on the Initial Phase I design for a VTOL fighter, under Contract NOas 57-836-c. All work performed under this contract was to be completed and the articles delivered during December 1957.

The complete data to be furnished were described in a separate work statement dated May 24, 1957. In addition to the submittal of engineering reports and drawings, preliminary tests would be conducted on wind tunnel and special models. A preliminary mock-up of the airplane would be completed during the six month program. The purpose of the document was to include, in reduced form, all drawings of the D188A airplane.

To view the report in detail, please click through the image gallery above, which reproduces the Introduction, Summary, General Description, Airframe, and Propulsion System sections of the report. These feature many interesting illustrations, general arrangement drawings, and wind tunnel model photos of the aircraft.

All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 72


Report No. D188A-945-214, “Navy VTOL Fighter Program, Volume 1: Summary of Design Data,” Bell Aircraft Corporation, November 15, 1957, in the files of the National Archives II at College Park, MD, RG 72

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