Ryan X-13 Vertijet

The Ryan X -13 Vertijet was an experimental aircraft with jet engine, which could start from a vertical position and land and thus belongs to the genus of the rear starter. In contrast to other aircraft of this type, the X -13 had no wheels at the rear, on which they could stand, but needed a ramp. At the top of this ramp a safety rope was attached to the X -13 itself einklinkte means of a hook on the fuselage nose under the cockpit.


To start the X -13 program led the consideration of some engineers of Ryan Aeronautical Company, whether the FR-1 Fireball would be suitable for vertical takeoffs and landings. A number of designs have been published for future VTOL aircraft, and in 1947 joined the United States Navy with Ryan a contract for the development of a submarine - based and jet-powered VTOL from.

In Ryan we came to the decision, a jet engine with variable thrust jet is the best solution, and we completed a follow-up contract for the construction of an unmanned prototype. On October 20, 1950, this prototype first flew, powered by an Allison J33 jet engine. After a further test flights we mounted a cockpit (which consisted of a fuel tank of a Boeing B-47 ) and so the first manned flight with test pilot Peter Girard took place on 24 November 1953. So Ryan was able to gain valuable experience for the construction of the X -13.

However, the Navy discontinued the support for the program to write out a new development for propeller -driven rear starter, however not participate in the Ryan. The Air Force, however, had seen the program, and asked Ryan to the new development of a VTOL aircraft, now officially referred to as X -13. He should have the information required by the Navy properties of a rear starter and be as Ryan's earlier experimental aircraft equipped with a jet engine.

Ryan then built an airplane with a short fuselage, delta wings and a conventional rigid chassis, which was an unusual structural design for a rear starter. The first Vertijet (serial number 54-1619 ) took off on 10 December 1955. The first tests graduated from the X -13 in the normal horizontal flight, to test the airworthiness, for which the landing gear was mounted.

On 28 May 1956, the first vertical hovering flight took place. The technicians had omitted the landing gear on the second prototype, instead of the nose wheel a fishing hook was attached, and the main wheels had been reduced to small posts. The X - 13 should be injected with the hook on a rope, which was attached to a launch pad. Since the pilot had a poor downward visibility (which is a major obstacle to the other rear starter developments represented ), they had attached to the ramp easy height markings, which simplified the pilot the latching and unlatching. The transition from hover to horizontal flight succeeded for the first time on 28 November 1956 and on 11 April 1957 there was the first " complete " flight with notching of the ramp, transition to horizontal flight and back to hover flight and ultimately the re- latches in the ramp instead. At a demonstration in front of about 3,000 spectators, this process was repeated on 30 July of the same year.

On September 30, 1957, the X -13 flew for the last time, and the program was discontinued. The X -13 had fulfilled the expectations of this experimental model, but you could see already the development of additional rear starter as a dead end, which is a successor prevented. The first X -13 now belongs to the National Air and Space Museum and is on loan to the San Diego Aerospace Museum, California. The second copy is on display in the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.