Vultee XP-54

The Vultee XP -54 (factory designation Model 84, unofficially referred to as Swoose Goose ) was an American fighter aircraft from 1943, of which only two prototypes were built.


The XP -54 was built in response to a request of the U.S. Army Air Corps. The XP -54 won the bid against the competing designs Curtiss -Wright XP -55 and Northrop XP - 56th Vultee Aircraft had the XP -54 derived from his earlier model V -78, which already had a very similar design layout. After completion of the first construction with wind tunnel tests, a contract for a prototype was completed on 8 January 1941. Then the second prototype was appointed on 17 March 1942.

The XP -54 had a pusher propeller. The double tail booms were connected by the horizontal stabilizer. In the wings with a so-called coated profile ( " ducted wing section " ), the cooler the proposed Pratt & Whitney X -1800 engine were integrated. This engine was not fully developed, so you replaced it with an equally water-cooled Lycoming XH- 2470. Already in September 1940, the XP -54 was redesigned from a fighter for low altitude to a height of fighter aircraft. It received a turbocharger, a pressurized cabin and heavy armament. The flying weight thereby rose sharply.

The XP -54 was a unique aircraft in many ways. The pilot was driven by a kind of lift from the ground to the cockpit. The nose of the aircraft could be reduced down to 3 degrees up or 6 degrees. In the nose of the aircraft were two 37- mm - T-9 - cannons and two 12.7 -mm machine guns. The guns were also mitgekippt with the nose of the aircraft, so there was a compensating optics for the pilot.

The first flight took place on 15 January 1943. Flight tests showed a strong below the contractually guaranteed flight performance. The development of the Lycoming XH- 2470 engine was canceled and instead a planned installation of an Allison V- 3420 engine. The rebuilding effort and cost prevented the mass production. The first prototype with the USAF serial number 41-1210 was further tested, but the engine problems finally finished the project after 86 flights. The second prototype with the serial number 42-108994 flew only once on May 24, 1944. Photographs of the second prototype show the painted serial number 41-1211, but which was probably deposited by mistake on the first flights.

Parallel to the XP -54, a variant was commissioned to time located in developing water-cooled 42- cylinder radial engine Wright R -2160 from the Army. Called the XP -68 design was abandoned after a short development time due to the large technical implementation problems.