Military Review

Experienced fighter Grumman XP-50 Skyrocket (USA)

26

The only experienced XP50. Photo Airwar.ru


In 1935, the company Grumman joined the work on a promising carrier-based fighter, and the result was the appearance of an experimental aircraft XF5F-1. For a number of reasons, this plane did not go into production. In parallel, by order of the Air Corps of the Army, a land-based fighter-interceptor was created. This car stayed in stories called the XP-50 Skyrocket.

Parallel development


The terms of reference from the US Navy provided for the creation of a promising fighter with high flight performance. Particular emphasis was placed on take-off and landing characteristics, maneuverability and rate of climb. The first program of 1935 was not successful, but its results interested the command of the land aviation.

Grumman offered the Navy a twin-engine fighter project with the designation G-34. This development also interested the Air Corps of the Army, resulting in a second order. The army wished to receive a new fighter based on the G-34, adapted for operation on land airfields.

Experienced fighter Grumman XP-50 Skyrocket (USA)
The projection of the aircraft. Figure All-aero.com

Design work was carried out in 1938-39. On November 25, 1939, the army and Grumman signed a contract to continue work, build and test a prototype. In accordance with the army nomenclature, the aircraft received the designation XP-50. From the base carrier-based fighter, he "inherited" the name Skyrocket.

Similarities and differences


For obvious reasons, the Air Corps could not accept an existing machine for fleet and therefore put forward its own tactical and technical requirements. For their implementation, the developer company had to significantly rework the existing XF5F project. However, even after that a fairly high degree of unification remained.

Once again, it was a question of an all-metal twin-engine airplane with a direct wing and an N-shaped tail. However, the armament requirements led to a serious alteration of the fuselage and some systems. First of all, they removed all the elements necessary for operation on an aircraft carrier. The wing now had no hinges for folding, and a hydraulically-driven hook was removed from the fuselage. We also reviewed the composition of the equipment in accordance with other operating conditions.

To fulfill the requirements for armament, the fuselage was lengthened due to the developed nose cone. Now this part protruded beyond the leading edge of the wing and protruded forward relative to the propellers. At the same time, the layout of the fuselage remained the same: behind the bow compartment of the weapons were placed a cabin and instruments. Due to the restructuring of the fuselage, the appearance of the aircraft has changed. Previously, the fuselage "hung" on the trailing edge of the wing, and now the main units of the airframe smoothly mated, like on other machines.


Both fighters from the Grumman were distinguished by a characteristic narrow fuselage. Photo Airwar.ru

For the XP-50 developed an updated wing. It retained the two-spar design, profile and dimensions, but lost its folding hinge. The tail has remained the same, N-shaped. As before, the planes were in the stream from the propellers, which increased the efficiency of the rudders.

Two Wright XR-1820-67 / 69 Cyclone piston engines with a capacity of 1200 hp were placed in the gondolas on the wing. with superchargers. Used Hamilton Standard screws, similar to those used on the XF5F. The fuel system included wing fuel tanks with a supercharged neutral gas.

The XP-50 received machine gun and cannon weapons suitable for combating air and ground targets. Two 20 mm automatic guns 20 mm AN / M2 (Hispano-Suiza HS.404) and two large-caliber machine guns .50 in AN / M2 (Browning M2) were placed in the nose compartment. The ammunition of the guns consisted of 60 shells per barrel, machine guns - 500 rounds each. Under the wing, there were units for hanging two 100-pound bombs.

Alteration of the fuselage led to a major change in alignment, which necessitated the restructuring of the chassis. The main racks remained in place in the engine nacelles. The tail wheel was abandoned, and a compartment with a retractable long arm appeared in the nose of the fuselage.


Top view: noticeable similarities with the base XF5F. Photo Aviation-history.com

The land fighter in its dimensions almost did not differ from the base deck machine. The wing span remained the same, 12,8 m. Due to the new nose, the length increased to 9,73 m. Changing the chassis increased the height to 3,66 m.

The XP-50 was a bit heavier than its predecessor. Dry weight - 3,77 tons, normal take-off weight - 5,25 tons, maximum - 6,53 tons. Mass growth could worsen take-off and landing performance, but this was not critical for a land vehicle.

The estimated maximum speed exceeded 680 km / h, the ceiling - 12,2 km. The climb was planned to be brought up to 1400-1500 m / min. Additional fuel tanks made it possible to obtain a practical range of up to 1500-2000 km.

Short trials


Deck XF5F-1 was built in the spring of 1940 and then made its first flight. Experienced XP-50 based on it was built in a few months. At the very beginning of 1941, he went to ground tests, after which preparations for the first flight began.


Motors started, take off soon. Photos San Diego Air and Space Museum

The first flight took place on February 18, 1941 and passed without any incident. The aircraft had good maneuverability and controllability and did not show any significant flaws. This was probably due to the fact that all the main structural elements have already been tested in the framework of the previous project. However, refinement of new systems and assemblies was still required.

In parallel with the correction of minor defects, measurements were made of the main flight characteristics. In each flight, it was possible to obtain higher performance, but the aircraft did not reach the calculated parameters. This was prevented by an accident that occurred in the 15th test flight.

On May 14, 1941, test pilot Robert L. Hall once again took the XP-50 into the air. During the execution of the designated flight program, one of the engine turbochargers was destroyed. The fragments inflicted multiple damage to the aircraft - among other things, they interrupted the hydraulic system pipeline and the landing gear cable. The pilot was not taken aback and tried to save the car. Through active maneuvering and the use of the surviving systems, he managed to get the main racks out, but the bow remained stowed.

On the ground, it was believed that landing without a nose stand would end in an accident and ordered the pilot to escape. R. Hall turned toward the nearest pond and jumped with a parachute. Soon, the pilot landed safely. The experienced XP-50 without control crashed and sank - without casualties and destruction.

New project


The customer and the developer decided to stop the XP-50 project and did not begin to build new prototypes. The accumulated experience was proposed to be used when creating a new fighter. Grumman improved the existing project and in May 1941 introduced the G-51. The Army Air Corps assigned him the XP-65 index. The development was paid from the funds remaining after the sudden termination of the previous project.


Fighter in flight. Photo Airwar.ru

Soon there was a proposal to finalize a new project for the needs of the army and navy. On the basis of the "ground" XP-65, it was proposed for the army to carry out a deck aircraft for the Navy - later it was called the F7F Tigercat. However, the creation of standardized fighters was associated with a host of problems of various kinds. In particular, the requirements of two customers in some cases could contradict each other.

Over time, the opinion about the G-51 project has changed. The Navy began to fear that work on the aircraft for the Air Corps would hit the development of the deck F7F. The fleet began to put pressure on the army and industry to abandon the XP-65. Curiously, the army did not resist, because the command doubted the ability of the “Grumman” to cope with work for two customers. In addition, the development of the XP-65 threatened other projects from recognized market leaders and “old friends” of the army.

In January 1942, the order for the XP-65 was canceled, but work on the F7F continued. On November 2, 1942, this aircraft made its first flight, and the next year entered service.

The XP-50 project in its original form had to be completed due to an accident. However, its further development, despite disputes and organizational problems, led to the appearance of a new successful aircraft. Unlike its predecessors, the F7F Tigercat successfully reached the series and managed to take part in the battles of World War II.
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  1. Avior
    Avior 1 July 2020 06: 14 New
    +2
    The base of the chassis is very small, the small distance between the undercarriage of the nacelle and the nose strut creates additional hazards when landing.
    I had already started to read, I thought that the tests ended in a crash during landing. But it turned out that it hadn’t come to that
    1. Octopus
      Octopus 1 July 2020 09: 37 New
      +4
      Quote: Avior
      The base of the chassis is very small, the small distance between the undercarriage of the nacelle and the nose strut creates additional hazards when landing.

      Some strange claims about the nose-up aircraft bonding. Do you know that in those years, as a rule, they didn’t do the nose stance at all?
  2. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 1 July 2020 07: 30 New
    -1
    In profile, the shape of the fuselage and the overall silhouette of the "Schwalbe" resembles ..
  3. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 1 July 2020 07: 30 New
    -1
    In profile, the shape of the fuselage and the overall silhouette of the "Schwalbe" resembles ..
    1. Potter
      Potter 1 July 2020 09: 31 New
      +4
      Aerodynamics, however, is the same in the States and in Germany. And the fact that the fuselage resembles that of a jet machine, I also noticed. And this is natural - the characteristics of the aircraft were already approaching the first reactive ones. The Germans could not borrow from the Germans, purely for years this option does not work out.
  4. Free wind
    Free wind 1 July 2020 08: 03 New
    +2
    I wonder why the fairings were not placed on the screws. The same Zero, Foke-Wolves, our La, had fairings. That such engines were so that they immediately overheated .. But the engine seems to be not weak in the foker.
    1. NIKN
      NIKN 1 July 2020 10: 12 New
      +6
      Quote: Free Wind
      But the foker engine seems to be not weak.

      In Fw-190, the cooling system was generally the most original, there the fan was used with revolutions more than the screw shaft in multiples.
    2. Octopus
      Octopus 1 July 2020 11: 35 New
      +3
      Quote: Free Wind
      I wonder why the fairings were not placed on the screws. The same Zero, Foke-Wolves, our La, had fairings.

      This is a feature of American aviation during the war. They made airplanes without worrying. Bonding is a long and difficult process; heat dissipation is the main problem of serious engines of that time. There is no need to spend energy on finalizing aerodynamics, if you can just take a bigger engine (and more expensive), since they have it (which was done).

      Moreover, we are talking about Grumman, the same Grumman, who even made the lining, because they went to w, that's why.
      1. Narak-zempo
        Narak-zempo 1 July 2020 11: 57 New
        +2
        Quote: Octopus
        There is no need to spend energy on finalizing aerodynamics, if you can just take a bigger engine (and more expensive), since they have it (which was done).

        Well, yes, they said about American decks that this was a victory of power over aerodynamics.
        I wonder why they did not order motors for Lend-Lease?
        1. Octopus
          Octopus 1 July 2020 12: 07 New
          +3
          Quote: Narak-zempo
          why didn’t they order motors under Lend-Lease?

          But why?

          All planes that could at once to perceive the PV2800 engine, before the war they killed (I-185, Su-6), there was no time to make new ones. America’s in-flight uniforms are not very specific, they knew about Merlin in the USSR from Hurricanes for a long time and were not particularly interested - altitude is not needed, it’s difficult to provide quality service at front-line aerodromes (after all, the British most importantly were air defense, that is, comfortable home airfields) , 130 octane is not there.

          So it’s almost impossible to improve the Soviet situation under the engines, the main thing is to use what is reasonable. By the end of the war, they somehow learned how to do it.
          1. Narak-zempo
            Narak-zempo 1 July 2020 14: 11 New
            0
            We have an Er-2 all war without normal engines.
            1. Octopus
              Octopus 1 July 2020 14: 21 New
              -1
              Quote: Narak-zempo
              Yer-2 was the whole war without normal engines.

              What would he do with normal motors? I flew to Berlin, make people laugh?
            2. Alf
              Alf 1 July 2020 19: 09 New
              0
              Quote: Narak-zempo
              We have an Er-2 all war without normal engines.

              And the option with the M-105?
              1. Narak-zempo
                Narak-zempo 1 July 2020 19: 23 New
                0
                Quote: Alf
                And the option with the M-105?

                Considering that it was designed for the 120-hp M-1800 that was never brought before, the one hundred and fifth was clearly weak for him, which is why they tried to adapt the entire Charomsky diesel war to it.
                Yes, and one hundred and fifth can be called normal with a stretch - the whole war spitting oil.
        2. Alf
          Alf 1 July 2020 19: 08 New
          0
          Quote: Narak-zempo
          I wonder why they did not order motors for Lend-Lease?

          Timely receipt was not guaranteed. After the PQ-17, deliveries slowed down for almost half a year; hardly anyone would have expected such a thing.
          1. bubalik
            bubalik 1 July 2020 21: 21 New
            0
            After PQ-17 deliveries were inhibited
            ,,, the main Lend-Lease was through the Far East.
            1. Alf
              Alf 1 July 2020 21: 27 New
              +1
              Quote: bubalik
              After PQ-17 deliveries were inhibited
              ,,, the main Lend-Lease was through the Far East.

              I agree, but still, relying on "will-not be" during the war is somehow not an ice. Moreover, the factories already worked to the limit, and in addition to the plan for airplanes with M or ASH, it was still possible to release something that might well be on the joke due to an untimely delivery .. Isn’t it easier to count on a tit in your hands? They relied on T, LAGG, Yak, and no one was going to Sherman, AeroCobra and other foreigners. Moreover, the aircraft with Allison or Merlin or Pratt will be different in design from the products manufactured on the conveyor and produce different machines ...
      2. Alexey RA
        Alexey RA 2 July 2020 15: 14 New
        0
        Quote: Octopus
        Moreover, we are talking about Grumman, the same Grumman, who even made the lining, because they went to w, that's why.

        Oh yeah...
        © midnike
        On the left is the Zero. In the center is Wildcat. On the right is Hellcat. The lap sheathed ate 15 km / h of speed.
        Plus a one-piece power pack without cutouts for ease. As a result, the Hellcat glider was 850 kg heavier than the Wildcat.

        If you want a lot of planes - forget about aerodynamics, only technology and a powerful engine compensating for its sophistication. smile
        1. Octopus
          Octopus 2 July 2020 16: 11 New
          0
          How to say.

          Here Grumman stood out with his approach even against the American background. Compare with the Corsair and Mustang.
        2. Alf
          Alf 2 July 2020 17: 59 New
          0
          Quote: Alexey RA
          As a result, the Hellcat glider was 850 kg heavier than the Wildcat.

          But what strength ...
        3. Narak-zempo
          Narak-zempo 4 July 2020 21: 04 New
          +1
          Quote: Alexey RA
          If you want a lot of planes - forget about aerodynamics, only technology and a powerful engine compensating for its sophistication

          Boeing also riveted planes in thousands, and not some fighters, but B-17 and B-29. And with aerodynamics even bother.
  5. Octopus
    Octopus 1 July 2020 09: 35 New
    +2
    F7F Tigercat successfully reached the series and managed to take part in the battles of World War II.


    Mistake. Yes, the plane reached the series, but the first such aircraft reached Okinawa only in mid-August. So nominally he participated in the war, purely in chronology, but about the battles - this was not.
  6. Undecim
    Undecim 1 July 2020 10: 34 New
    +5
    Alteration of the fuselage led to a major change in alignment, which necessitated the restructuring of the chassis.
    In fact, the opposite is true. Changing the chassis layout required a change in the design of the fuselage, since the front strut in the previous version had nowhere to hide. USAAC command insisted on changing the chassis layout.
  7. Lontus
    Lontus 2 July 2020 07: 58 New
    +1
    According to this scheme (on 2 air-cooled engines), it was necessary to make an attack aircraft instead of the Il-2 at the beginning of the Second World War.
    Given the lack of powerful engines by the beginning of the war, use the M-63 as the I-16.

    -additional pilot protection,
    - reliable mass production engine,
    The combat load is radically greater than that of the IL-2.
    -If necessary, it is easier to add rear shooters.

    With the outbreak of war, if industry fails, it will be possible to dismantle engines from I-16 and others.

    An interesting version of the twin-hull attack aircraft based on the twin I-16 (as a twin-mustang)
    1. Alf
      Alf 2 July 2020 18: 00 New
      0
      Quote: Lontus
      An interesting version of the twin-hull attack aircraft based on the twin I-16 (as a twin-mustang)

      More precisely possible?
  8. Al_lexx
    Al_lexx 21 September 2020 17: 27 New
    0
    Thank you.
    I missed this article in due time. Pts interesting.