XP-54 Swoose Goose
|P-54 Swoose Goose|
The XP-54 Swoose Goose was a prototype fighter built by the Vultee Aircraft Company. They had submitted a proposal in response to a U.S. Army Air Corps request for an unusual configuration. The Vultee design won the competition, beating the Curtiss XP-55 and the Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet. Vultee had designated it Model 84, a descendant of their earlier Model 78. After completing preliminary engineering and wind tunnel tests, a contract for a prototype was awarded on January 8, 1941. A second prototype was ordered on March 17, 1942.
The XP-54 was designed with a pusher engine in the aft part of the fuselage. The tail was mounted rearward between two mid-wing booms, with the propeller between them. The design included a "ducted wing section" developed by the N.A.C.A that enabled installation of cooling radiators and intercoolers in the wing. The Pratt & Whitney X-1800 engine was initially planned, but after its development was discontinued the liquid-cooled Lycoming XH-2470 was substituted.
In September 1941, the XP-54 mission was changed from low altitude to high altitude interception. So, a turbo-supercharger and heavier armor had to be added, and the estimated empty weight increased from 11,500 to 18,000 lb (5,200 to 8,200 kg).
The XP-54 was unique in several ways. A pilot’s seat acted as an elevator for cockpit access from the ground. The pilot lowered the seat electrically, sat in it, and raised it into the cockpit. Also, the nose section could pivot through the vertical, three degrees up and six degrees down. In the nose, two 37 mm T-9 cannon were in rigid mounts while two .50 cal machine guns were in movable mounts. Movement of the nose and machine guns was controlled by a special compensating gun sight. Thus, the cannon trajectory could be elevated without altering the flight attitude of the airplane.
Flight tests of the first prototype began on January 15, 1943. Initial trials showed performance substantially below guarantees. At the same time, development of the XH-2470 engine was discontinued and, although it appeared possible to substitute the Allison 3420 engine without substantial airframe changes, the projected delay and costs resulted in a decision not to consider production buys.
The prototypes continued to be used in an experimental program until problems with the Lycoming engines and lack of spare parts caused termination.
- Crew: one, pilot
- Length: 54 ft 9 in (16.69 m)
- Wingspan: 53 ft 10 in (16.41 m)
- Height: 14 ft 6 in (4.42 m)
- Wing area: 456 ft² (42.4 m²)
- Empty weight: 15,262 lb (6,923 kg)
- Loaded weight: 18,233 lb (8,270 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 19,337 lb (8,771 kg)
- Powerplant: 1× Lycoming XH-2470-1 liquid-cooled piston engine, 2,300 shp (1,715 kW each)
- Maximum speed: 381 mph at 28,500 ft (613 km/h at 8,700 m)
- Range: mi (km)
- Service ceiling: 37,000 ft (11,30 m)
- Rate of climb: ft/min (m/min)
- Wing loading: 40 lb/ft² (196 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.13 hp/lb (0.20 kW/kg)
- 2x 37 mm T-12/T-13 cannons
- 2x .50 cal M2 machine guns
- William Green (1961). War Planes of the Second World War - Fighters, (Vol 4). London: MacDonald
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