It’s strange, yes, and was developed out of breakfast derived food shapes, but the Vought XF5U could have been outstanding. Instead of witnessing the unbelieveable numbers that science and testing had suggested, they decided jets were the future and killed the program before it’s first flight. Obviously if we needed jets, we couldn’t have new technology show it up and devalue the big contracts now can we?
It had 2 x 2,000 horsepower radial engines buried inside running through gearboxes and a cockpit position allowing close grouping of guns right in the nose for direct aiming. The size of the propellers would have allowed a low disc loading (what helicopters and the V-22 Osprey have) and delivered supreme climb performance and with the efficiencey of the body shape, a low drag top speed. They were estimating over 550mph with fantastic manuverability. All of that came from testing of the old “flying flapjack”
From the testing of this plane that only had a pair of 80hp engines, they found out that in a stiff breeze, the takeoff roll was nearly zero and it’s top speed was 125mph. The possibility of seemingly vertical takeoff from the deck of a carrier and a very wide speed range capability woke everyone up to an evolved and dominant possibility. They designed the XF5U.
It did a few test hops and had vibration problems it never sorted out by the time the government made the call. It cancelled the program but oddly, it ordered the two XF5U’s they built to be scrapped. But, there was a problem. It turned out they were built so solidly and tough, they needed a wrecking ball to do it.
Models are now the only way to see the idea in acction, so here’s a few RC acction videos of the planes i question. Personally, I would love to build some sort of version of the Yellow plane but I can only imagine if the XF5U was produced, what the reno racing crowd would have done cramming in a pair of R3360's and storming around with 7,0000hp on tap! Enjoy: