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GOT: Curtiss XP-37 to XP-71 and XF14-C

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#1 Romantic Technofreak

Romantic Technofreak

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 05:04 AM

(Reconstruction 10/28/2012)


XP/YP-37:


(Text probably also from Joe Baugher, but, at least in the moment, not possible to retrieve)


In early 1937, the USAAC expressed an interest in seeing how much the performance the P-36 could be improved if its radial engine were replaced by the new turbosupercharged Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engine. On February 16, the USAAC placed an order with Curtiss for a single P-36 airframe to be powered by this new engine.


In response to this USAAC request, Curtiss's chief designer Donovan Berlin fitted a 1150 hp Allison V-1710-11 turbosupercharged engine to the original Model 75 prototype airframe. He positioned the three Prestone cooling radiators immediately behind the engine. In order to balance the aircraft and to make room for the radiators, the pilot's cockpit was moved quite far aft. Except for the cockpit relocation and the V-12 liquid-cooled engine, the XP-37 was otherwise identical to the P-36.


The modified Model 75 prototype was redesignated Model 75I by Curtiss and was delivered to the Army as a new airframe. It was designated XP-37 with Army serial number 37-375. The XP-37 flew for the first time in April 1937 and was delivered to the army in June.


The XP-37 attained a maximum speed of 340 mph at 20,000 feet and a service ceiling of 35,000 feet. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be reached in 7.1 minutes. Gross weight was 6350 lbs. The aircraft was equipped with what was the standard USAAC armament of the time--one 0.30-in and one 0.50-in machine gun mounted in the fuselage and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc.


Almost from the first, the XP-37 aircraft ran into trouble. The supercharger was extremely unreliable, and the performance of the aircraft fell short of expectations. In addition, the positioning of the cockpit that far aft on the fuselage resulted in extremely poor visibility, especially during takeoffs and landings. The XP-37 was retired to an Army mechanics' school in August 1941 with a total of only 152 hours of flying time.


Although the new engine/supercharger combination was quite troublesome in the XP-37, the Army was nevertheless impressed by the potential of the design, and on December 11, 1937 they ordered 13 service test YP-37s. Serials were 38-472/484. These used Allison V-1710-21 engines fitted with improved B-2 superchargers, revised nose contours, a 25-inch increase in fuselage length aft of the cockpit, and most of the aerodynamic improvements worked out on the XP-37. The first one of these flew in June of 1939. However, the YP-37s continued to suffer with the same supercharger problems of the X-model and did not live up to their potential. All but one of the YP-37s were out of service or retired to mechanics' schools by early 1942. The highest-time aircraft had only 212 hours. The last active example (38-474) was transferred to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) for research in August 1942. It survived until January 1946.


The YP-37 was powered by a 1000 hp Allison V-1710-21. Wing span was 37 feet 3 1/2 inches, length was 32 feet 11 1/2 inches, and wing area was 236 square feet. Weights were 5592 lbs empty, 6700 lbs gross. Maximum speed was 340 mph at 10,000 feet. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be attained in 8 min 30 sec. Service ceiling was 34,000 feet.


In the meantime, the USAAC had already held a competition for a new fighter in January 1939, and had chosen another Berlin design, the Model 75P which was also derived from the P-36. This was eventually to emerge as the famous P-40. All further work on the P-37 was abandoned.


Sources:
Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979
The Curtiss Hawk 75, Aircraft in Profile No. 80, Profile Publications, Ltd. 1966
War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1961.



XP-37.jpg


Picture from Aircraft Enthusiast Corner (http://www.aero-web....tm?display=7480)


YP-37.jpg






The P-40Q:





The P-40Q was an experimental project which attempted to produce a really modern fighter out of the existing P-40. The modifications were in fact so drastic that there was very little in common with earlier P-40 versions.


Two P-40Ks (serial numbers 42-9987 and 42-45722) and one P-40N (serial number 43-24571) were extensively modified with revised cooling systems, two-stage superchargers, and structural changes which markedly altered their appearance. The project was assigned the designation XP-40Q.


The first XP-40Q was P-40K-10-CU ser no 42-9987 fitted with a new cooling system, a longer nose, and a four-bladed propeller. The radiators were moved into an under-fuselage position, with intakes between the undercarriage legs.


The most prominent XP-40Q feature, used on 42-45722 and 43-24571, was the cutting down of the rear fuselage and the addition of a bubble canopy as on the "XP-40N". Later the wingtips were clipped. The result was an aircraft which bore almost no resemblance whatsoever to its parent P-40 line. The V-1710-121 engine was fitted with water injection, resulting in a power of 1425 hp. Speed increased to 422 mph at 20,500 feet, making it the fastest of all the P-40s. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be reached in 4.8 minutes, and service ceiling was 39,000 feet. Four 0.5-inch machine guns were carried by the prototypes. Wingspan was 35 feet 3 inches (after clipping), and length was 35 feet 4 inches (2 feet longer than the P-40N).


The proposed production models of the P-40Q were to have carried either six 0.50-inch machine guns or four 20-mm cannon, but the XP-40Q was still inferior to contemporary production Mustangs and Thunderbolts, and development was therefore abandoned. Consequently, the production life of the P-40 ended with the N version.


The second XP-40Q was briefly used for postwar air racing. Registered NX300B, the second XP-40Q was an unauthorized starter in the 1947 Thompson Trophy race. It was in fourth place when it caught fire and had to drop out of the race.


Insertion: Contributor Aaron on http://aeroweb.brook...tiss/xp-40q.htm says: "On October 1945,a Curtiss XP-40Q suffered an engine failure during a test flight near Muroc,California and belly landed in a sweet patato field. The pilot was not injured."


Sources:
War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.
The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.
United States Military Aircraft since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.
Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.
The Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk, Ray Wagner, Aircraft in Profile, Volume 2, Doubleday, 1965.
Hawk Dynasty: The Curtiss Hawk Monoplanes, Ken Wixey, Air Enthusiast No 72 (1997).





XP-40Q.jpg




The XP-42:





The fourth Curtiss P-36A (serial number 38-4) was used by the US Army and NACA for aerodynamic research in an attempt to overcome the aerodynamic drag penalty inherent in large-diameter air-cooled radial engines as compared to narrower liquid-cooled Vee-type engines. The aircraft was given the company designation of Model 75S, and the USAAC assigned it the designation of XP-42.


As initially delivered in March of 1939, the XP-42 had a special 1050 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1830-31 radial engiine fitted with a long extension fitted to the propeller shaft and nose casing which permitted the use of a streamlined nose with a large propeller spinner. The intake for cooling air was located under the engine, and the intake for carburetor air was located above the engine.


The initial configuration of the XP-42 suffered from serious overheating problems and from vibrations of the propeller shaft. Attempts to cure these problems resulted in no less than twelve different cowling designs being tested on the XP-42. Various types of cowl flaps were fitted, and short-nose high- and low- inlet velocity cowlings were tried with and without fans. The nose was progressively shortened until the airplane gradually once again resembled a P-36A.


The XP-42 was entered by Curtiss in the 1939 USAAC fighter competition. Although the XP-42 was faster than the P-36A, it was slower than the XP-40. Consequently, the XP-42 lost out to the XP-40 for production orders.


The XP-42 was finally scrapped in January 1947.


Sources:
Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979
The Curtiss Hawk 75, Aircraft in Profile No. 80, Profile Publications, Ltd. 1966
War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1961.
The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.




(One picture originally was from samoloty.ow.pl. Very sorry about this website not existing any more! 10/28/2011)


The first three pictures can be found on airwar.ru:


XP-42ofi.jpg


XP-421.jpg


XP-42Model75S.jpg


Picture from http://history.nasa....-4305/app-e.htm. You see it´s nearly a P-36 again.


XP-422.jpg






The XP-46:





At the time when the Curtiss P-40 fighter was initially entering production, Curtiss's chief designer Donovan Berlin was already thinking about its successor. The P-40 was already largely obsolescent by contemporary European standards even before it had entered production, and early war experience in Europe suggested that more speed, more protection, and more firepower would very soon be required.


Influenced by contemporary British and French thinking, Berlin submitted his ideas to the USAAC. The USAAC was sufficiently impressed that they issued a Circular Proposal (CP 39-13) based on Berlin's proposal. The Army ordered two prototypes from Curtiss under CP 39-13 on September 29, 1939. The designation was XP-46 and the serials were 40-3053 and 40-3054.


The XP-46 was generally similar to its P-40 predecessor, but was somewhat smaller and featured a wide-track, inwardly-retracting undercarriage. The engine was to be the newly-developed Allison V-1710-39 (F3R) twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled Vee of 1150 hp. This same engine was also later to power the D-version of the P-40. In view of the relatively high wing loading, automatic leading-edge slots (a la Bf 109E) were fitted to the outer portions of the wing to give increased aileron control near the onset of the stall. Armament was to be two 0.50-in machine guns in the nose below the cylinder banks and no less than eight 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings. This made the XP-46 the most heavily-armed American fighter up to that time. A month after the initial XP-46 order, the USAAC modified their requirement and called for the provision of self-sealing fuel tanks and armor protection for the pilot. The maximum speed when fully armed and armored was to be a rather ambitious 410 mph at 15,000 feet.


In order to save time and get something in the air as quickly as possible, the second prototype (40-3054) was delivered without armament or radio. This aircraft was redesignated XP-46A. The XP-46A was actually the first to fly, taking to the air on February 15, 1941. Even with all the military equipment taken off, the XP-46A was just barely able to achieve 410 mph at 12,200 feet, the required maximum speed when fully equipped.


When the fully-equipped XP-46 flew for the first time on September 29, 1941, the additional weight of the military equipment slowed the fighter down to only 355 mph at 12,200 feet.


In the meantime, while the XP-46 and XP-46A prototypes were still under construction, the USAAC decided in June of 1940 not to order the P-46 into production, but rather to order a similarly-powered version of the already-existing P-40. This was eventually to emerge as the P-40D. This option had the advantage in not disrupting Curtiss production lines by the introduction of a completely new airframe at a critical period. In the event, this turned out to have been a wise decision, since the fully-equipped XP-46 was actually slower than the P-40D.


Specification of the Curtiss XP-46:


One 1150 hp Allison V-1710-29 liquid-cooled engine. Armed with eight 0.3-inch machine guns in the wings and two 0.50-inch guns in the nose. Maximum speed of 355 mph at 12,300 feet. Climb to 12,300 feet in 5 minutes. Service ceiling of 29,500 feet. Range at maximum cruising speed was 325 miles. Weights were 5625 pounds empty, 7322 pounds loaded, and 7665 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 34 feet 4 inches, 30 feet 2 inches long, 13 feet 0 inches high, and wing area 208 square feet.


Sources:
War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.
The American Fighter, Enzo Anguluci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.
Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.





XP-461.jpg


XP-462.jpg




The XP-53:





Following the failure of the XP-46 to win any Army production orders, the Curtiss company proposed another design in their search for the eventual replacement for the P-40. This was the Curtiss Model 88, which was an improved XP-46 powered by the yet-to-be-built 1600-hp Continental XIV-1430-3 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled inverted Vee engine.


The Model 88 was to use the fuselage and tail assembly from the P-40D combined with a NACA laminar flow wing. Armament was to have consisted of eight wing-mounted machine guns. The mainwheel retraction scheme reverted to the sequence used by the original P-40, with the mainwheels rotating 90 degrees before they retracted rearwards into wing wells. Maximum speed was projected to be 430 mph.


On October 1, 1940, the USAAC ordered two examples of the Model 88 under the designation XP-53. Serials were 41-140 and 41-19508. In a conference held six weeks later, the USAAC informed Curtiss-Wright of its need for a fighter combining laminar flow wing technology with the British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Since the XP-53 was already being designed for laminar-flow wings, Curtiss proposed to convert the second XP-53 airframe (41-19508) to the Merlin engine while it was undergoing construction. This airframe was redesignated Model 90 by the company. The USAAC accepted this idea, and assigned the designation XP-60 to the new aircraft. The other XP-53 airframe was to retain the Continental engine.


However, while the XP-53 and XP-60 were both undergoing construction, the Army cancelled the XP-53 order because of the excessive delays in the temperamental Continental XIV-1430 engine. The XP-53 never flew. As it turned out, the Continental engine never did enter production, and all of those aircraft projects which had planned for it ultimately failed.


In November 1941, the XP-53 airframe was converted into a static test airframe in support of the P-60 project, and its bullet-proof windshield, self-sealing fuel tanks, and armament were scavenged and transferred to the XP-60.


Sources:
Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.
War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.
The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.






The XP-60:





The story of the Curtiss P-60 is a rather sad one. This aircraft was a desperate attempt on the part of Curtiss to design a replacement for the venerable P-40. It went through a dizzying series of changes in engines, changes in requirements, and changes in designations, the gyrations of which are difficult to keep straight. Its ultimate failure was a reflection of changing USAAF requirements, but was also a reflection of a company which was beginning to run out of fresh new ideas.


The story of the Curtiss P-60 is quite convoluted and rather difficult to follow. Nevertheless, pour yourself a cup of coffee and follow along :-).


The convoluted history of the P-60 actually begins back with the Curtiss XP-46. Following the failure of the XP-46 to win any Army production orders, the Curtiss company proposed yet another design in their search for the eventual replacement for the P-40. This was the Curtiss Model 88, which was basically an improved XP-46 powered by the yet-to-be-built 1600-hp Continental XIV-1430-3 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled inverted Vee engine. The Model 88 was to use the fuselage and tail assembly of the P-40D combined with a NACA laminar flow wing. Armament was to have consisted of eight wing-mounted 0.50-inch machine guns. The mainwheel retraction scheme reverted to the sequence used by the original P-40, with the mainwheels rotating 90 degrees before they retracted rearwards into wing wells. Maximum speed was projected to be 430 mph.


On October 1, 1940, the USAAC ordered two examples of the Model 88 under the designation XP-53. Serials were 41-140 and 41-19508. However, in a conference held six weeks later, the USAAC informed Curtiss-Wright of its need for a fighter combining laminar flow wing technology with the British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Since the XP-53 was already being designed for laminar-flow wings, Curtiss proposed to convert the second XP-53 airframe (41-19508) to the Merlin engine while it was undergoing construction. This airframe was redesignated Model 90 by the company. The USAAC accepted this idea, and assigned the designation XP-60 to the new aircraft. The XP-60 was to take the 1300-hp Packard-built Rolls Royce Merlin V-1650-1 engine as used in the XP-40F then under development. The other XP-53 airframe was to retain the Continental engine.


However, while the XP-53 and XP-60 were both undergoing construction, the Army cancelled the XP-53 order because of the excessive delays in the temperamental Continental XIV-1430 engine. The XP-53 never flew. As it turned out, the Continental engine never did enter production, and all of those aircraft projects which had planned for it ultimately failed.


In November 1941, the XP-53 airframe was converted into a static test airframe in support of the P-60 project, and its bullet-proof windshield, self-sealing fuel tanks, and armament were scavenged and transferred to the XP-60.


During construction of the XP-60 aircraft, it was decided to replace the rearward- retracting P-40 style landing gear with a new inward-retracting gear similar to that which had been fitted to the abortive XP-46. Initially, the XP-60 was fitted with a British-built Merlin 28 engine. The Model 90 (XP-60) flew for the first time on September 18, 1941, only eleven days before the first flight of the disappointing XP-46. The performance of the XP-60 was disappointing as well, with a top speed of only 387 mph at 22,000 feet. It took 7.3 minutes to reach an altitude of 15,000 feet, and service ceiling of 29,000 feet. Some of the reason for the disappointing performance was due to the wing surface not being finished to the degree of smoothness required for the laminar flow wing. Another factor was the fact that the Merlin engine did not deliver the guaranteed output. Empty weight was 7008 pounds, gross weight was 9277 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 9700 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 45 feet 5 1/4 inches, length 33 feet 7 1/2 inches, height 12 feet 4 inches, and wing area 275 square feet.


On two occasions, the XP-60 had suffered damage as the result of undercarriage failures. During the test flights, it was found necessary to enlarge the vertical and make some minor modifications. These resulted in a change in company designation to Model 90A.


The XP-60 (41-19508) was modified in August of 1942 with the installation of a Packard Merlin V-1650-3 (license-built Merlin 61) of 1350 hp with a two stage supercharger. A four-bladed propeller was fitted. The aircraft was redesignated XP-60D by the Army and Model 90B by the factory. By the time that the changes were made, the intervening Army designations B and C had been assigned to other improved versions of the XP-60. The XP-60D (41-19508) was destroyed in a crash on May 6, 1943.


In late 1941, concern was expressed that the license-built Merlin engine would be in such great demand for other aircraft that there would likely be engine shortages which would delay the P-60 program. Consequently, consideration was given to alternative powerplants for the P-60. The liquid-cooled Allison V-1710 engine was selected on the basis of reliability and availability. On October 21, 1941, a contract for 1950 P-60As was approved. The turbosupercharged Allison V-1710-75 liquid-cooled engine offering 1425 hp at 25,000 feet was specified as the powerplant.


However, on November 17, 1941, it was concluded that the P-60A would be underpowered if the Allison engine were used, and that either a more powerful engine should be found or else another fighter be built instead of the P-60A.


Following Pearl Harbor, officials had second thoughts about the desirability of interrupting P-40 production at such a critical point by the introduction of a completely new type. On December 20, 1941, work on the P-60A project was ordered halted, and on January 2, 1942, the production order for the 1950 P-60A fighters was officially cancelled in favor of more P-40Ks and Ls plus some Curtiss-built P-47G Thunderbolts.


However, the P-60 program was not to be scrubbed completely. The Army decided that three experimental P-60s should be built--one XP-60A, one XP-60B, and one XP-60C. The XP-60A (serial number 42-79423) was to have the Allison V-1701-75 engine and a General Electric B-14 turbo- supercharger. The XP-60B (serial number 42-79425) was to be similarly powered, but was to use the Wright SU-504-2 turbosupercharger. The XP-60C (serial number 42-79424) was to use the experimental Chrysler XIV-2220 sixteen-cylinder engine. Normally, a switch in engines was considered by the Army as calling for change of model number as well, but such was not the case here.


The first of these new experimental P-60 aircraft was the XP-60A. The Allison-powered XP-60A could be considered as an adaptation of the XP-60 wing to a new fuselage and a new powerplant, in much the same spirit as the XP-60 could be regarded as a P-40D with a new wing. The XP-60A was given the company designation of Model 95A (Model 95 having been a design study which had been discontinued). Nose and fuselage contours of the XP-60A (serial no 42-79423) were extensively revised to accommodate the Allison engine, and armament was reduced to six 0.50-inch guns in the wings. A four-bladed propeller was fitted.


The XP-60A made its initial ground taxiing tests in late October of 1942. However, during one of these tests, a minor fire occurred in the engine due to the lack of cooling air in the shrouds surrounding the exhaust manifold. The turbosupercharger and long exhaust manifold were therefore removed from the aircraft, and short exhaust stacks were substituted. The XP-60A (42-79423) flew for the first time in this form on November 11, 1942. Empty weight was 7806 pounds, gross weight was 9616 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 10,160 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 41 feet 3 3/4 inches, length 33 feet 7 1/2 inches, height 12 feet 4 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. Estimated maximum speed (never achieved in tests) was 420 mph at 29,000 feet and 324 mph at sea level. It was estimated that an altitude of 15,000 feet could be attained in 6.5 minutes. Service ceiling was 35,200 feet. The maximum speed (especially at low altitudes) and the initial climb rate were rather disappointing. The XP-60A aircraft was soon dismantled and some of its parts were used in the later XP-60C and XP-60E.


The poor performance of the XP-60A had caused official interest in the P-60 fighter to sour, the project being in serious danger of being cancelled outright. However, Curtiss-Wright proposed to the Army that the XP-60C prototype then under construction be fitted with the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial air-cooled engine driving a pair of three-bladed contrarotating propellers. The substantial improvement in performance that this modification promised to provide aroused sufficient interest that in November 1942 the Army issued a letter contract for the production of five hundred R-2800-powered production P-60A-1-CU fighters. The first 26 aircraft on this production contract, Army serials 43-32762/32787, were to be delivered as service test models designated YP-60A.


The XP-60C (Model 95C, Army serial number 42-79424) was originally to have had an airframe similar to that of the XP-60A and XP-60B, but fitted with the new and experimental 2300 hp Chrysler XIV-2220 engine. Since this engine was experiencing development difficulties, an order was given in September 1942 to complete this aircraft with a 2000-hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-53 engine driving a a pair of three-bladed contrarotating propellers. Armament was reduced to four 0.50-inch machine guns. First flight of the XP-60C was on January 27, 1943. Apart from somewhat high elevator and rudder forces, the aircraft's flight characteristics were generally satisfactory.


The single XP-60B (Model 95B, Army serial number 42-79425) was to have been similar to the XP-60A but with a Wright instead of a General Electric supercharger for the V-1710-75 engine. The aircraft was never completed in this configuration. On December 2, 1942, the Army ordered that it be fitted with a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 radial engine in place of the original V-1710. Unlike the XP-60C, a single-rotation four-bladed propeller was to be used. In this form, the aircraft was redesignated XP-60E. Owing to the lighter propeller installation of the XP-60E as compared to that of the XP-60C, it was found necessary to move the R-2800 engine forward by ten inches. Owing to a fault experienced during the initial ground running tests which necessitated a change of engines, the first flight of the XP-60E did not take place until May 26, 1943.


During the latter part of April 1943, the USAAF decided to undertake a series of comparative tests at Patterson Field with various fighter types in an attempt to weed out the least desirable types so that it could concentrate on the best types. Curtiss-Wright was notified by the Army that the XP-60E would have to be delivered for tests within four days. Since the XP-60E had not yet made its first flight, Curtiss-Wright decided to substitute the XP-60C in its place. The XP-60C was hastily reassembled and delivered to Patterson Field.


During trials with the XP-60C at Patterson Field, it proved impossible to obtain full rated power. In addition, the experimental wing finish had peeled off from the leading edge of the wing, destroying the smooth laminar-flow characteristics and resulting in a further loss of speed. Consequently, the XP-60C made a very poor impression on the Army, being in fact inferior to the Republic P-47D and the North American P-51B. The P-60 series was henceforth eliminated from any further consideration for production. In June 1943 the Army contract for the P-60A-1-CU was reduced from 500 to just two aircraft.


The XP-60C was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-53 engine delivering 2000 hp. Empty weight was 8698 pounds, gross weight was 10,785 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 11,835 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 41 feet 3 3/4 inches, length 34 feet 1 inches, height 12 feet 4 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. Maximum speed was 414 mph at 20,350, 324 mph at sea level. An altitude of 30,000 feet could be attained in 6 minutes, and initial climb rate was 3890 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 37,900 feet. Normal range was 315 miles. Armament consisted of four 0.50-inch machine guns with 300 rpg mounted in the wings.


Following the return of the XP-60C to Curtiss-Wright, some further tests were undertaken, but a forced landing terminated all testing work with this aircraft.


By this time, there was essentially no chance for the P-60, since the P-47 and P-51 seemed to satisfy all the Army's needs for fighters. Nevertheless, the Army agreed to test the delayed XP-60E which had missed out on the May 1943 trials at Patterson Field. In January 1944, the XP-60E (Model 95D) was flown to Elgin Field for official tests. The engine was a Pratt & Whitney R2800-10 eighteen-cylinder radial offering 2000 hp. Empty weight was 8285 pounds, gross weight was 10,320 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 11,520 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 41 feet 3 3/4 inches, length 33 feet 11 inches, height 12 feet 6 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. Maximum speed was 410 mph at 20,200, 391 mph at 24,200 feet, and 405 mph at 15,000 feet. An altitude of 15,000 feet could be attained in 4.8 minutes. Service ceiling was 38,000 feet. Normal range was 315 miles. Armament consisted of four 0.50-inch machine guns with 250 rpg mounted in the wings. USAAF test pilots found that the XP-60E did not compare very favorably in level flight performance with later fighters, but it did match them in climbing rate. The aircraft was sensitive to slight changes in flight condition and had to be constantly retrimmed. Stability in level flight was poor and the climing speed was difficult to maintain.


In May of 1944, Curtiss-Wright finally recognized that the P-60 was a lost cause, and indicated to the Army that they wanted to discontinue all further work on the project. However, the USAAF insisted that the company follow through on its agreement and complete at least one of the two YP-60A aircraft still under construction under the revised P-60A-1-CU contract. These aircraft had been redesignated YP-60E owing to the number of design modifications incorporated that were related to the XP-60E.


One of the YP-60As was to see the light of day as a YP-60E. This was the second YP-60A, serialled 43-32763. It flew for the first time on July 15, 1944, powered by a 2100 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18 eighteen-cylinder radial engine driving a single four-bladed propeller. It differed from previous P-60s in having a bubble canopy over the cockpit and revised fuselage and vertical tail shapes, so that it ended up looking a lot like a P-47D-25 Thunderbolt. Empty weight of the YP-60E was 8225 pounds, gross weight was 10,270 pounds, and maximum takeoff weight was 11,520 pounds. Dimensions were wingspan 41 feet 3 3/4 inches, length 33 feet 11 inches, height 12 feet 6 inches, and wing area 275 square feet. Estimated maximum speed was 405 mph at 24,500. Initial climb rate was estimated at 4200 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 34,000 feet. Armament consisted of six 0.50-inch machine guns with 267 rpg mounted in the wings.


Only two test flights of the YP-60E were undertaken by Curtiss-Wright before the aircraft was transferred to Wright Field. By this time, the Army had absolutely no need for the P-60, and no further trials were undertaken. The YP-60E was eventually disposed of as surplus after the war. It was purchased by James DeSanto and was entered in the 1947 National Air Races with Race No. 80 and civil registration NX21979, but crashed on a qualifying flight.


Here is a brief summary of serial numbers, which may help to make the history of the P-60 a bit less confusing :-)




41-140 Curtiss XP-53 - cancelled before construction
41-19508 Curtiss XP-53 ---> XP-60 ---> XP-60D
42-79423 Curtiss XP-60A
42-79424 Curtiss XP-60C
42-79425 Curtiss XP-60B --> XP-60E
43-32762/32787 Curtiss YP-60A 32763 to YP-60E, rest cancelled.
43-32789/33262 Curtiss P-60A-1-CU - all cancelled June 1943.


Sources:
Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.
War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.
The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.
American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982.






Picture from the USAF museum website.


XP-60C3.jpg






http://img.photobuck...ano/XP-60C1.jpg


http://img.photobuck...dano/XP-60E.jpg


http://img.photobuck...dano/XP-60D.jpg


Picture from http://www.aero-web....tm?display=7560 (Aircraft Enthusiast Corner).


http://img.photobuck...ano/XP-60C2.jpg










The XP-62:





In January of 1941, the Army issued a requirement for a heavily-armed, high-performance interceptor fighter. The fighter was to be built around the 2300 hp Wright R-3350-17 "Duplex Cyclone" twin-row, eighteen-cylinder air cooled radial engine. This was the heaviest engine yet to be mounted in a fighter, and was the same engine that was to power the B-29 bomber, then under development. Built-in armament was to comprise no less than EIGHT 20-mm cannon or TWELVE 0.5-inch machine guns. Guaranteed maximum speed was to be 468 mph at 27,000 feet.


Curtiss's proposal was submitted to the Army on April 29, 1941. Their design was a cantilever low-wing monoplane with retractable main landing gear and tailwheel. The Wright R-3350 engine was to drive a pair of contrarotating three-bladed propellers. Since the aircraft was intended for high altitude operation, the engine was to be fitted with a turbosupercharger and the aircraft was to be equipped with a pressurized cabin. The pressurized cabin feature was a design first for a new single-seat fighter, the earlier Lockheed XP-38A being an adaptation of an existing design.


On June 27, 1941, the Army ordered two prototypes, one under the designation XP-62 and the other under the designation XP-62A. The XP-62 prototype was to be delivered within fifteen months, and the XP-62 was to be delivered three months later.


On August 2, 1941, some changes in specifications were submitted for approval. The principal changes were a reduction in maximum speed to 448 mph and an increase of 1537 pounds in loaded weight. A mock-up inspection took place in December, and ninety changes were recommended. The status of the XP-62 project was reviewed on January 1, 1942, and it was recommended that the loaded weight be reduced from 15,568 pounds to 14,000 pounds by revising the structure, by removing four of the eight cannon, and by eliminating the propeller anti-icing equipment.


Proposals were submitted on January 13, 1942 for 100 production P-62 fighters, the first of which was to be delivered in May of 1943. A letter contract for 100 P-62s was approved on May 25, 1942. However, the contract was terminated by the Army on July 27, 1942 since it was feared that production of the new P-62 would have adversely affected deliveries of critically-needed Curtiss-built P-47G Thunderbolts.


Even though no production of the P-62 was envisaged, work on the XP-62 continued. The pressure cabin proved to be a problem, and delays in its delivery caused the first flight to the XP-62 to be pushed back. Eventually, it was decided that the first flight testing of the XP-62 should take place without the pressurized cabin being fitted. The first flight of the XP-62 (serial number 41-35873) took place on July 21, 1943. The portion of the contract covering the XP-62A was cancelled on September 21, 1943.


A limited amount of flight testing had been conducted with the XP-62 by February 1944 when it was decided to install the pressure cabin for general development work. However, by this time the XP-62 project had a very low priority and work proceeded very slowly. In the fall of 1944, the XP-62 was finally scrapped without any further flight testing.


Specification of Curtiss XP-62:


Powerplant: One 2300 hp Wright R-3350-17 "Duplex Cyclone" twin-row, eighteen-cylinder air cooled radial engine. Performance: The following performance figures are manufacturer's estimates, since only limited flight testing of the XP-62 took place. Maximum speed: 448 mph at 27,000 feet, 358 mph at 5000 feet. Normal range: 900 miles. Maximum range: 1500 miles. Climb to 15,000 feet in 6.9 minutes. Service ceiling: 35,700 feet. The weights of the XP-62 were 11,773 pounds empty, 14,660 pounds normal loaded, and 16,651 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 53 feet 7 3/4 inches, length 39 feet 6 inches, height 16 feet 3 inches, and wing area 420 square feet.


Sources:
War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume 4, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.
Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1987.
The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.


Picture from the USAF museum website.


http://img.photobuck...idano/XP-62.jpg






The XF14C:


Text from http://www.daveswarb...craft/xf14c.htm


Attempting to regain its position as a supplier of fighter aircraft to the U.S. Navy (a position then dominated by Grumman Aircraft), Curtiss proposed in early 1941 the development of a high-performance, heavily-armed fighter designed around a liquid-cooled engine. At that time the Navy was dedicated to air-cooled engines, but Curtiss' experience with the P-40 gave the company good grounds for its faith in a liquid-cooled unit, and on June 30, 1941 it received a contract for two prototypes, to be designated XF14C-1. The Lycoming XH-2470-4 engine in the first prototype failed to deliver the expected performance during wind tunnel testing, and the Navy eventually concluded that the performance of the XF14C-1 would be inadequate by the time it could be ready to enter service, and the program was cancelled in December 1943. Because the first airframe was virtually complete, the Navy suggested that it be flown with the Wright XR-3350-16 Cyclone engine, driving six-blade contra rotating propellers. In this configuration the aircraft was redesignated XF14C-2, and the first flight was made in July 1944. Performance again fell below expectations, and the R-3350 engine continued to suffer teething problems. The progress of the war in the Pacific made further development of the XF14C-2 unnecessary, and the program was cancelled in the early months of 1945.



http://img.photobuck...ano/XF14C-2.jpg






The XP-71:





The Curtiss XP-71 was the result of a 1941 proposal to the Army by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri for a large escort fighter. The Curtiss design called for a high-wing monoplane with a tricycle landing gear. It was to be powered by a pair of turbosupercharged 3450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360-13 Wasp Major 28-cylinder air-cooled radials. The engines were to be situated in underwing-mounted nacelles and were each to drive a pair of contrarotating propellers in a pusher arrangement. The pressurized cockpit was to have had two crew members seated in tandem. The proposed armament consisted of two 37-mm cannon and one 75-mm (!) cannon mounted in the nose.


Estimated maximum speed of the XP-71 was 428 mph at 25,000 feet. Service ceiling was to have been 40,000 feet, and an altitude of 25,000 feet was to be reached in 12.5 minutes. Estimated weights were 31,060 pounds empty, 39,950 pounds gross, and 46,950 pounds maximum. The dimensions were wingspan 82 feet 3 inches, length 61 feet 10 inches, height 19 feet 0 inches, and wing area 602 square feet.


The USAAF ordered two XP-71s, but later had doubts that such a large and heavy warplane would ever be viable, and the project never reached the prototype state. It was officially canceled on August 26, 1943.


Sources:
The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.
American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.


Picture from the USAF museum website.


http://img.photobuck...idano/XP-71.jpg


Done! Hope you enjoyed anyway, RT


Edited by Romantic Technofreak, 30 July 2013 - 04:00 PM.

  • CORSNING likes this

#2 GregP

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:54 AM

Hi RT,
What a nice writeup of a bunch of obscure types. I had not realized the XP-71 was even a project! A NEW obscure type!

Again, thank you for your usual excellent efforts.

Neat stuff. I think the XP-60E had potential. Too bad the Air Corps though otherwise. It was only flown once or twice as I recall. What a waste! I'm pretty sure it outperformed the P-47 in all respects.

#3 Mark J

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 03:33 PM

Yeah, thanks RT, I'm a fan of Curtiss and D. Berlin. Nice compilation.

cheers

#4 Ricky

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 06:20 PM

[:0]RT, you really are the King of GOT topics! Fantastic!

Am I the only one who thinks the XP-37 is the love-child of a P-40 and a GeeBee Racer?:D

#5 Kutscha

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 06:24 PM

It is a big heavy book of some 608 pages but almost all of the fighters (some 1700 types)that flew are in it.

The Complete Book of Fighters
Green/Swanborough
ISBN 0-86101-643-2

#6 Nick Sumner

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 08:13 PM

Excellent post, many thanks!

#7 Romantic Technofreak

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 01:52 AM

For these words of course I have to thank you, friends! But I would be nothing without my loyal audience!!!

It's true that with the chances of the net we have the opportunity to create a special quality. It needed

- Greg's idea
- various, combinable text and image sources
- the existence of online translation devices, at least sometimes
- a little ambition

and, of course, the applauding audience. So, the results look really to be satisfying. Only thing is that it takes time. But the next GOT topic is already in planning!

Best regards, and thanks again, RT



#8 Romantic Technofreak

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 01:34 AM

From the XUsenet Picture Archive I got these exceptionally beautiful winter pictures of the XP-46. Enjoy!

Posted Image

Posted Image

Regards, RT

#9 Wuzak

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 05:22 AM

The XP-71 had an interesting installation of its engines.

Being a pusher type installation isn't, in itself, that radical, I guess. It did cereate a few problems for the R-4360 that needed to be solved - such as the fact that the cooling air was going backwards from its original design, there being some obstacles in the way such as the engine supercharger and carby. This was overcome by installing a fan to impart the cooling air flow.

The real interesting part of the XP-71 engine installation, however, was the location of the turbochargers, which were positioned side by side, with their shaft axes fore/aft, about half chord along the wing root.. The exhaust exited through outlets on the fuselage side behind the trailing edge of the wing.

#10 Trexx

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 08:16 AM

Oh my.

I've got some reading to do! Whoa.

[8D]





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