Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender

The Curtiss -Wright XP -55 Ascender ( Curtiss -Wright CW -24, Model 249C ) is a very unconventional design for a fighter aircraft that meet the demand for the best possible visibility for the pilot with low air resistance and high firepower should. He went to the same tender ( R40C ) from 1939 back as the XP -54 Vultee of the XP -56 and Northrop, which also declared its different from the usual form. The XP -55 reached in the tender, with a large gap to the XP -54, the second place.


The exceptional design of the aircraft should have but caused concern among managers at the client side. So the company in a largely mixed construction ( steel tube truss fuselage, wing wood) was forced, first at his own expense to build 1:1 model constructed to demonstrate the feasibility. It was known as CW -24 B and was paid by a 202 kW ( 275 hp) Menasco C- 68 is driven by a pressure screw. This aircraft allowed to solve a number of stability issues that had been shown in the course of flight testing. The results were in any case so that the USAAF the company on July 10, 1942 the contract for the construction of three prototypes granted, the first of which made ​​its maiden flight in July 1943. About four months later, it was destroyed by an accident during the tensile tests. The second aircraft arrived on 9 January, the third on 25 April 1944 to the flies. When testing showed Although appealing flight performance, but also problems and shortcomings in slow flight. This and that breaking up the age of jet propulsion led to the discontinuation of development.


The XP - 55 has canards and a pusher propeller, which was a very unconventional construction at that time. The motor was behind the cockpit and the trailing edge of the airfoil. This was one of the reasons for their high sweep. The wings had ailerons and flaps, and placed short of the ends, the tail fins that rose equal installments on the top and bottom. The elevator, designed as a mass- balanced pendulum rudder with co whipping auxiliary oars, sat at the bow. The chassis was designed for the first time at the company, as a tricycle landing gear with single wheels on each strut. Since the originally planned engine from Pratt & Whitney was not yet available, given the three aircraft 12 - cylinder engines Allison V- 1710.