20-Foot Spin Tunnel (645) Models and Tests N-Z

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Back Arrow.jpg Back to 20-Foot Spin Tunnel

Forward Arrow.jpg Models A-M

For a good resource on models tested in this facility, see Compilation of Test Data in 111 Free-Spinning Airplane Models Tested in the 15-Foot and 20-Foot Free-Spinning Tunnels. Frank S. Malvestuto, Jr., Lawrence J. Gale, and John H. Wood. 1947. RM-L7E15.


[top] N-9M

The Northrop N-9M was a one-third scale aircraft used for the development of the Northrop #XB-35 and YB-35 Flying Wing long-range bomber program. It was first flown in 1942. Nearly all flights were terminated by mechanical failures and the first N-9M crashed west of Muroc Army Air Base on 19 May 1943. The pilot, Max Constant, was killed as he attempted to recover the aircraft from a right-hand, nose-down spin. When Northrop's Flying Wing bomber program was canceled, all remaining N-9M flight test aircraft, except for the final N-9MB, were scrapped.

Project #107 photos from July 1943.

[top] Next Generation Trainer (NGT)

The USAF initiated the Next Generation Trainer (NGT) program in 1977, to produce an aircraft that would replace the Cessna T-37 primary trainer and take over the lower end of the Northrop T-38 training spectrum. The final five bidders were Cessna, Fairchild, General Dynamics, Rockwell and Vought. Vought and General Dynamics declined to respond to the final request for proposals. On July 2, 1982, the USAF announced it had selected Fairchild Republic as the winner of the NGT contest. The total USAF procurement was planned at 650 aircraft for delivery from 1987 to March 1992. In March 1986 the USAF had announced the termination of it planned T-46A program, in favor of upgrading the existing Cessna T-37 fleet, and although the first of 10 production aircraft (85-1596 to 85-1605) made its first flight on January 14, 1987, the program was terminated on March 13, 1987. (From 1000AircraftPhotos.com).

[top] Cessna T-37

The T-37 served as the U.S. Air Force's primary pilot training vehicle for over 52 years after its first flight in 1954. In the spring of 1952 the United States Air Force (USAF) issued a request for proposals for a "Trainer Experimental (TX)" program, specifying a lightweight two-seat basic trainer for introducing USAF cadets to jet aircraft.

The initial prototype crashed during spin tests. Later prototypes had new features to improve handling, including long strakes along the nose, and an extensively redesigned and enlarged tail. After these modifications the USAF found the aircraft acceptable to their needs, and ordered it into production as the T-37A. Production aircraft remained tricky in recovering from a spin; the recovery procedure was complex compared with most aircraft.

Photos are from 1956, Project #341.

This is one of the T-37 configuration variations that was tested when Cessna was attempting to compete on the Air Force Next Generation Trainer (NGT) completion. There were a couple other tail locations examined in addition to the one pictured, and we also tested the original Tweet configuration.

1956 Report

History From Another Viewpoint

[top] Fairchild T-46A

The Fairchild Republic T-46A was a light jet trainer aircraft which was announced winner of the NGT (Next Generation Trainer) competition on July 2, 1982. Its first flight was in October 1985. Only three were built when the NGT program was cancelled in 1986. This was the last project of the Fairchild Republic Corporation, which closed its New York facility after 60 years of operation. (see article on flight.)

Test 505 in 1983

Test 505C in 1986

For an unknown reason, this test photo was taken in 1987, after the program was cancelled.

[top] General Dynamics M-210

[top] Grumman NGT

The Grumman NGT was a one off private venture trainer. It used the same platform as the Peregrine single engined business jet. Only one was built; it crashed in late 1983 and was not replaced.

[top] Northrop NGT Trainer

The Northrop 350 entry in the Next Generation Trainer (NGT) competition. This model was tested in 1980, project #510.



[top] Rockwell NGT Trainer

The Nova was Rockwell's entry in the Next Generation Trainer (NGT) competition.


[top] OMAC

Originally named the OMAC I, the OMAC Laser 300 was a business aircraft built in 1981. The Laser 300 program became one of the first projects carried out cooperatively by NASA and private industry. A joint team used the Langley 12-Foot Low Speed Tunnel to investigate the stability and control characteristics the unusual design. Special attention was paid to behavior at high angles-of-attack and to stall and spin resistance. The results were unfavorable, indicating poor longitudinal stability at high angles-of attack.


This model of the OMAC was test #511 in 1986.

[top] OV-10 Bronco

The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s. The concept aircraft was to operate from expedient forward air bases using roads as runways. The was capable of short takeoffs and landings, making it ideal for aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious assault ships without using catapults or arresting wires.

NASA has used a number of Broncos for various research programs, including studies of low speed flight carried out with the third prototype in the 1970s, and studies on noise and wake turbulence. One OV-10 remained in use at NASA's Langley base in 2009.

Photos from Project #423 in 1965 on the Air Force OV-10A.

[top] P-39

The Bell P-39 Airacobra was one of the main fighter aircraft when the US entered WWII, used by the US, Soviets, French, British, and Italian. The innovative aircraft also was the first fighter with a tricycle undercarraige. First flown in 1938, it was introduced in 1941.

In June 1939 the prototype was ordered by General Henry 'Hap' H. Arnold to be evaluated in NACA wind tunnels to find ways of increasing its speed, by reducing parasitic drag. Speed was increased 16%. NACA wrote, "it is imperative to enclose the supercharger within the airplane with an efficient duct system for cooling the rotor. In August 1939, Larry Bell proposed that the production P-39 aircraft be configured without the turbocharger. After several variations, 60 aircraft were built as P-39Ds with armor, self-sealing tanks and enhanced armament. These P-39Ds were the first Airacobras to enter into service with the Army Air Corps units and would be the first ones to see action. Five variants of this model were produced.

Soon after entering service, pilots began to report that “during flights of the P-39 in certain maneuvers, it tumbled end over end.” Most of these events happened after the aircraft was stalled in a nose high attitude with considerable power applied. An informal study of the P-39’s spinning characteristics was conducted in the NASA Langley Research Center 20-foot Free-Spinning Tunnel during the 1970s. A study of old reports showed that during earlier spin testing in the facility, the aircraft had never tumbled. However, it was noted that all testing had been done with a simulated full ammunition load, which drew the aircraft’s center of gravity forward. After finding the original spin test model of the P-39 in storage, the new study first replicated the earlier testing, with consistent results. Then, the model was re-ballasted to simulate a condition of no ammunition load, which moved the aircraft’s center of gravity aft. Under these conditions, the model was found to often tumble when thrown into the tunnel. (Lednicer, David A. "Aerodynamics of the Bell P-39 Airacobra and P-63 Kingcobra." SAE paper 2000-01-167. Warrendale, Pennsylvania: SAE International, 9 May 2000.)

P-38D Project #79 in April 1943.

XP-39E Project #83 in August 1941.

[top] P-40

The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft which first flew in 1938. After trying unsuccessfully to improve the XP-40's speed, the aircraft were evaluated at Langley to identify solutions for better aerodynamic qualities. Based on the data obtained from Langley research during March and April of 1939, Curtiss moved the radiator forward, added a new air scoop, made improvements to the landing gear doors and the exhaust manifold.

The P-40B or Tomahawk IIA had extra machine guns in the wings and a partially protected fuel system.

P-40B Project #73 in February 1941.

The P-40E or P-40E-1 was similar in most respects to the earlier P-40D variant, except for a slightly more powerful engine and an extra gun in each wing. Some aircraft also had small underwing bomb shackles. Supplied to the Commonwealth air forces as the Kittyhawk Mk IA. The P-40E was the variant that bore the brunt of air-to-air combat by the type in the key period of early to mid 1942.

P-40F, featured Packard V-1650 Merlin engine in place of the normal Allison, and thus did not have the carburetor scoop on top of the nose. The P-40F was extensively used by U.S. fighter groups operating in the Mediterranean Theater.

The P-40E and F variants were tested as Project #s86 and 87 January - March 1942.

See photos from testing in Full-Scale Tunnel and Unsymmetrical Tail Loan Investigation. Also, a full-scale P-40E Warhawk was tested at Langley from March to July 1942.

[top] P-47

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was one of the main US Army Air Forces fighters of World War II. The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, takes its name from the P-47. The XP-47A proved to be inferior to German fighters and the all-new XP-47B was offered in 1940. The aircraft exhibited minimal problems and the Army Air Force ordered 171 P-47Bs. An engineering prototype P-47B was delivered in December 1941, with a production prototype following in March 1942, and the first production model provided in May.

These photos of test #71 are from February 1941.

[top] P-59

The Bell XP-59A Airacomet was America's first turbojet aircraft. Built for testing purposes, it proved that turbojet-powered flight was feasible and efficient. The first flight by a Bell pilot was October 1, 1942, followed by the first military pilot to fly a turbojet the next day. A year later, Ann Baumgartener Carl of the Women Airforce Service Pilots flew the production model, YP-59A, and became the first American woman to fly a jet airplane. The P-59 was not a great success, but did provide USAAF experience with the operation of jet aircraft in preparation for the more advanced types.

Bell XP-59A and YP-59A aircraft had rounded vertical stabilizers and wingtips while the production A and B models had squared surfaces. The YP-59A can be distinguished from the XP-59A because Ys had nose armament.

Project #78 in September 1741 using the XP-59 design.

Project #119 in February 1944 was using the XP-59A design.

Project #120 using the XP-59B design.

[top] P-60

The Curtiss P-60 went through a lengthy series of prototype versions. None of these versions reached production. The aircraft featured a low drag laminar flow wing, a Continental XIV-1430-3 inverted vee engine, and eight wing-mounted machine guns. This proposal was accepted and a contract for two prototypes was in October 1940 with the aircraft designated the XP-53. Within two months the Army Air Corps modified the contract to require the second prototype be completed with a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. That aircraft was re-designated XP-60.

Flight tests of the XP-60 prototype had problems. In addition to landing gear problems, the laminar-flow wing surface finish was affecting speeds, and there was a relatively high radiator drag. The single prototype built flew on 18 September 1941. Consequently, work on the P-60A was stopped on 20 December 1941.

XP-60 Project #74 in May 1941.

[top] P-61

The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was the first operational U.S. military aircraft designed for night interception of aircraft. The first flight was in May 1942, with formal introduction in October 1944. The aircraft was retired from government service in 1954.

A contract for two prototypes and two scale models to be used for wind tunnel testing was awarded on 10 January 1941. These models, designated XP-61, were tested in May 1941, Project #75.

[top] P-63

The Bell P-63A Kingcobra was an attempt to correct issues with the P-39 Airacobra. Although not adopted by the US military, it was used by the Soviet Air Force.

Before the prototype ever flew in 1942, the US Air Force ordered production models of the P-63A, with deliveries on October 1943. The first prototype flew for the first time on 7 December 1942. It was destroyed on 28 January 1943 when its landing gear failed to extend. The second prototype followed on 5 February 1943. It too was destroyed, this time due to an engine failure.

Project #173 of the P-63A-1-BE with "V" tail in May 1943.

[top] P-75

The General Motors P-75 Eagle was a fighter aircraft design submitted by the Fisher Body Division. Its first flight was in 1943. The program was cancelled in 1944 after only a small number of prototypes and production aircraft had been completed, as it was no longer required. The P-75A did not complete formal performance trials due to termination of the production contract. Ultimately, only eight XP-75s and six P-75As were built

The original design was a patchwork of older aircraft: outer wing panels from the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, tail assembly from the A-24 (SBD), undercarriage from the Vought F4U Corsair, and general layout as in the Bell P-39 Airacobra.

Project #111 in 1943.

Project #125 in 1944.

[top] P-80

P-80s at LAFB

The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first jet-fighter operationally used by the Army Air Force. Designed and built in 1943, production models were not ready for use in WWII. The original XP-80 prototype was the Lulu-Belle was designed by Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works team. Testing of the early versions proved costly with the deaths of two pilots.

The P-80 was acquired by Langley AFB in 1948.

MX-409 Project #128 in July 1945.

[top] P-88

The McDonnell P-88 was a prototype originating in 1946. It was designed as a long-range fighter to escort bombers. Changes in military priorities in 1950 led to cancellation of the project. Proposed changes in the next prototype were cancelled in 1958.

Project #306 in July 1952.

[top] Piper PA-30

The Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche was developed from the single-engined Comanche. It was the most fuel efficient aircraft in its class. Training accidents on the original Twin Comanche was reduced by raising the minimum airspeed at which engine-out flights were conducted. In the 1960s, engine-out stalls were performed as part of training at low altitudes. Tests photos are from 1968, project #436.

[top] Piper PA-46

The Piper PA-46 Malibu was a family of light aircraft. Development began in the late 1970s with the first flight in November 1979. These test photos are from 1980.

[top] Piper T-Tail

The Piper "T", or T-Tail, was a general aviation aircraft produced in the 1980s and 1990s.

1976 - short-tail prototype, project #478


These test photos date to 1978-79. These tests were part of the General Aviation Pin tests. See also C-23 Sundowner, Yankee, and Cessna 172. Related video: Stall/Spin Evaluation of a Twin-Engined General Aviation Airplane. Related report: Flight Investigation of the Effects of an Outboard Wing-Leading-Edge Modification on Stall/Spin Characteristics of a Low-Wing, Single-Engine, T-Tail Light Airplane, Stough, H. Paul, III; DiCarlo, Daniel J.; and Patton, James M., Jr., NASA TP 2691, 1987.

Model test photos from 1981, project #502.

In 1982, this metal Piper T model was tested in the Ames Research Center.

[top] Radio Controlled Models at Plum Tree Site



[top] Republic Model

Test photos from October 1945.

[top] Rotary Balance Testing

[top] S-2

The Grumman S-2 Tracker was known as the S2F prior to 1962. Introduced in 1952, it was an anti-submarine warfare aircraft used by the US Navy until the mid-1970s. The prototype, XS2F-1, was ordered in 1950. A popular airplane, it was used by navies around the world.

XS2F-1, project #281, testing in 1952. Test engineer was Fred Healy.

[top] S-3 Viking

The Lockheed S-3 Viking was a Navy aircraft to identify and track submarines. It also also provided electronic warfare and surface surveillance capabilities to the carrier battle group. Its first prototype flight was in January 1972 and was retired from the Navy carrier operations in January 2009. A variant, the S-3B N601NA, has been operated by NASA since 2009.

Test dates 1971-75, project #457. From L-R: Louis White, Tod Burk, unknown.

[top] SC-1 Seahawk

The Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk was a scout observation aircraft. It was originally built with fixed wheel undercarriages and then ferried out to Navy bases where floats were attached. It first flew in 1944 and losses were high due to hard water landings. This model, project #142, dates to 1945.

[top] Shuttle Bus

Early staight-winged Shuttle concept


[top] SNC-1

The Curtiss-Wright SNC-1 was an unarmed advanced training version of the CW-22N. The Navy ordered 150 aircraft in November 1940 to meet the expanding need for training. Further orders brought the total to 305 aircraft which were designated SNC-1 Falcon.

Project #90 in September 1942.

[top] Spin Recovery Parachute Systems

[top] Stall/Spin Resistance Studies

1983 Flow Visualization using Fluorescent Oil for stall/spin resistance studies. These photos are used by Sammy Mason in his book Stalls, Spins and Safety, now available as an eBook.

[top] T2J-1

The North American T2J-1 Buckeye was a Navy training aircraft. The T2J-1 Buckeye were produced at the North American plant south of Columbus, Ohio. The aircraft had enjoyed nearly five decades of service when retired from the Navy in 2008.

Project #258 in 1957.

[top] T-34

Early versions of the Beechcraft T-34 date to the late 1940s and 1950s and were piston driven. These were succeeded by the upgraded T-34 Mentor which was a turboprop. This test model is of the later version when tests were conducted in 1978. The photo is a rotary balance tests of the Beechcraft-NASA radio controlled model. An associated video is available.


1978: T-34C (see also 12-Foot Low Speed Tunnel)

1973-79: T-34C project #468

[top] T-45 Goshawk

The McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk was a land-based training jet, but used by the Navy as a carrier-capable trainer. Its origins date back to the mid-1970s, with its first flight in 1988. It was formally introduced in 1991.

Rotary Balance tests in 1984

Test photos from Project 516 in 1987.

These test photos are from 1991.

[top] T-48

The Cessna T-48, not to be confused with the Navy T-48 MPATS, was a proposed aircraft that was never built. Test photos for project 515 are from 1987.

[top] TBF

The Grumman TBF Avenger was a torpedo bomber first flown in August 1941. Entering the service in 1942, it weas first used in combat at the Battle of Midway, where six of the airplanes were lost. Despite the losses, the TBF became one of the most outstanding torpedo bombers of WWII. Although heavily modified afterwards, it continued in military use until the 1960s.

Two prototypes were ordered in 1941, the first called the XTBF-1. It was first flown on August 1, 1941. Although one of the first two prototypes crashed, rapid production continued.

XTBF-1 Project #69 in May 1941.

See also XTBF-1 for photos on the testing of the full-scale aircraft, testing in the 16-Foot Transonic Tunnel, and drag testing in Full-Scale Tunnel.

[top] TBY

The original design of the TBY was not by Consolidated Aircraft, but rather by Vought. The prototype XTBU-1 Sea Wolf was damaged in a rough arrested landing trial, and when repaired a month later was again damaged in a collision with a training aircraft. The production TBY Sea Wolf was a torpedo bomber of World War II. There were many production delays and the aircraft never saw combat. Only 180 of the type were built before cancellation of the program with the surrender of Japan.

XTBU-1 Project #68 in 1941.

[top] Tumble Wings



Generic tumble wings for tests in 1993.

[top] V-173

The Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake" designed by Charles H. Zimmerman was an experimental test aircraft built as part of the #XF5U fighter aircraft program. The original prototype was built of wood and canvas and featured a conventional, fully symmetrical aerofoil section (NACA 0015). Designed as a "proof-of-concept" prototype, the initial configuration V-173 was built as a lightweight test model which flew in November 1942. The development version, the Vought XF5U-1, was a larger aircraft with all-metal construction, and much heavier.

The developmental V-173 made its last flight 31 March 1947. It is now part of the Smithsonian collection.

Project #67 in 1941.

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See also Test 132 in Full-Scale Tunnel.

[top] VariEze

The Rutan VariEze is a high-performance, homebuilt canard aircraft. The first prototype, which used a Volkswagen engine, flew in 1975 after four months of construction. The VariEze was tested in the Full-Scale Tunnel. This model was tested in 1979.

[top] WF-2

The Grumman WF-2 was one of the first carrier-based early warning aircraft, serving from 1958 - 1977. It was designated the E-1 Tracer under the new Navy numbering system. The aircraft was outfitted with a radar system that analyzed the Doppler shift in reflected radar energy to distinguish a flying aircraft from clutter.

Project #351 in 1957.

[top] X-5

The Bell X-5 was the first aircraft with variable sweep wings. The flawed design, however, could lead to irrecoverable spins which led to the destruction of the second aircraft and the death of its pilot in 1953. The sole surviving X-5 is now at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

These photos are of project #310 in October 1953.

[top] X-13

The Ryan X-13 Vertijet was an experimental vertical take-off and landing aircraft in the 1950s. The jet was to take off vertically, hover, and then transition to horizontal flight. The first prototype (#54-1619) was fitted with temporary landing gear and made its first horizontal flight on December 10, 1955. This test photo, project #320, is from September 1955.

[top] X-15

See X-15 for detailed information on development of aircraft at NASA Langley.

Project #339 in 1958.

[top] X-22

In 1962, the US Navy announced their request for two prototype aircraft with V/STOL capability. Bell Helicopter already had intensive experience with VTOL aircraft and was able to utilize an already developed test mockup. In 1964 the prototype was ordered by the Navy and received the X-22 designation. The Bell X-22 was a X plane with tilting duct fans. Besides vertical/short take off, the X-22 was successful in transitioning between hovering and horizontal flight. First flown in March 1966, the prototype crashed in August of that year. The second prototype is on display in the Niagara Aerospace Museum, New York.

These test photos from 1963 - 1964 are Project #417.

[top] X-29 FSW

The Grumman X-29 Forward Swept Wing (FSW) was an experimental aircraft. It first flew in December 1984 from Edwards AFB, and two aircraft were tested before the program was retired. NASA was involved in testing this aircraft until 1991.

Test photos from 1982.

These test photos from project #495 were taken in 1983.

[top] X-31 and Rockwell-MBB Snake

The X-31 was a collaborative effort between Rockwell-Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm to test fighter thrust vectoring technology. Thrust vectoring allows the X-31 to fly in a direction other than where the nose is pointing, resulting in significantly more maneuverability than most conventional fighters. An advanced flight control system provides controlled flight at high angles of attack where conventional aircraft would stall.

These photos are of a preliminary design of a highly maneuverable fighter called Snake and are from tests in 1986. This aircraft was never built.

The following photos of the X-31A model were from project #517 in 1987.

X-31 model tests #517B in 1988.

The following photos of the model X-31 are from tests in 1995.

[top] XA-32

The Brewster XA-32 was an experimental attack aircraft that never went into production. The first flight of the XA-32 prototype was not until 22 May 1943, two years after the design was proposed; and almost every aspect of performance fell short of the specifications.

Project #103 from May 29, 1943.

[top] XA-41

The Vultee XA-41 was originally planned as a dive bomber, however the contract was changed to low-level ground attack. The design was quickly outdated and never went into production. A single prototype flew in February 1944. It was used by Pratt & Whitney until 1950 for testing engines.

Project #113 in October 1943.

[top] XB-35

The Northrop XB-35 and YB-35 were experimental bombers using the flying wing design. Only prototype and pre-production aircraft were built with the first flight in 1946. The program was cancelled in 1949.

Project #108 photos from July 1943. The tests in this spin tunnel focused on the tumbling tendencies of the aircraft.

[top] XB-43

The Douglas XB-43 was prototype jet-powered bomber. Despite being the first American jet bomber to fly, it suffered stability issues and the design did not enter production. Only two were ever built.

MX-475 (XB-43) Project #191 in September 1945.

[top] XBDR-1

The Interstate XBDR-1 was a design for an assault drone - an early television-guided missile. Wind tunnel tests of a scale model were conducted in both the Gust Tunnel (see report and the 20-Foot Spin Tunnel, however no full-scale examples of the aircraft were built before the project was cancelled.

Project #122 was conducted in July 1944.

[top] XBTC

The Curtiss XBTC was an experimental bomber developed during WWII however, not formally introduced until after the war. It was entered into competition with the Douglas XBTD-1, Martin XBTM-1 Mauler, and Kaiser-Fleetwings XBTK-1. The two XBTC-2 models were built with counter-rotating propellers but differing wing configurations. The planes were delivered to Patuxent Naval Air Station in July 1946. One crashed in February 1947 and the other that November.

The XBTC-2B, Project #124 was from December 1944 - February 1945.

[top] XC-142

The Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) XC-142 is a tiltwing experimental aircraft designed to investigate the operational suitability of vertical/short takeoff and landing transports. The partners pulled out due to a lack of interest after demonstrating its capabilities successfully. As the program ended, the remaining flying copy was turned over to NASA for research testing from May 1966 to May 1970.

Photos are from Project #407 in 1964.

[top] XCG-16

The General Airborne Transport XCG-16 was a Burnelli style lifting fuselage military assault glider. A 1/2-scale model, a full-scale model, and a flyable XCG-16 were built. The glider did not go into production.

The first flight in September 1943 ended in a non-recoverable spin and the death of one of three test pilots due to shifting of unsecured ballast shifting the center of gravity. Project #114 was in October of that year.

[top] XF-92

The Convair XF-92 was an experimental delta-wing aircraft. By the time the aircraft was ready for testing, the concept of the point-defense interceptor seemed outdated and the F-92 project was cancelled. They also decided to rename the test aircraft as the XF-92.

In 1948, the aircraft was shipped to Muroc Dy Lake where Chuck Yeager was the first Air Force pilot to fly it. In 1953, Scott Crossfield began a series of flights on behalf of NACA. These tests revealed a violent pitch-up tendency during high-speed turns. The addition of wing fences alleviated this problem. Crossfield was not fond of the aircraft, saying "Nobody wanted to fly the XF-92. There was no lineup of pilots for that airplane. It was a miserable flying beast. Everyone complained it was underpowered." (see NASA Fact Sheet)

Project #281, 1952

[top] XF5U

The Vought XF5U "Flying Pancake" was an experimental fighter aircraft designed by NACA researcher Charles H. Zimmerman. This unorthodox design consisted of a flat, somewhat disc shaped body serving as the lifting surface, with propellers located on the leading edge at the wingtips. The XF5U-1 was a larger version of the original #V-173 (see alsoV-173 testing).

The project was cancelled in 1947 and the lone V-173 prototype transferred to the Smithsonian Institute.

XF5U-1 Project #126 in 1945

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[top] XF8B-1

The XF8B-1 fighter-bomber was the heaviest carrier-based airplane built before the end of World War II. It was referred to as the "five-in-one fighter": fighter, interceptor, dive bomber, torpedo bomber, or level bomber. The first flight was in November 1944, just one month after these test photos from Project #117.

[top] XF14C

The Curtiss XF14C naval fighter introduced in 1944. The Navy ordered two prototypes designated XF14C. The engine choice for the XF14C-1 proved inadequate and was cancelled in 1943. The aircraft equipped with eighteen-cylinder twin-row radial air-cooled engine and three bladed contra-rotating propellers was designated the XF14C-2. Ultimately, only the XF14C-2 prototype was completed, flying for the first time in July 1944. The program was cancelled in 1945.

Project #96 on the XF14C-1 and -2 in June 1942.

[top] XFG-1

The Cornelius XFG-1 had a forward swept wing and lacked a tail plane. The FG stood for fuel glider, and it was envisioned to be towed and used for transporting fuel. Two prototypes were built, completing 32 flights in 1944-1945. The fuel glider concept was abandoned with the end of WWII.

Project #112 in July 1944.

[top] XFV-12A

The Rockwell XFV-12 was a prototype supersonic United States Navy fighter which was first built in 1977. The XFV-12 combined the Mach 2 speed and AIM-7 Sparrow armament of the F-4 Phantom II in a VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) fighter for the small Sea Control Ship which was under study at the time. On paper, it looked superior to the subsonic Hawker Siddeley Harrier attack fighter. However, it proved unable to produce enough thrust for vertical flight, even with an installed engine with more thrust than its empty weight, and the project was abandoned.

1974, Project #470

See also, building 643 and building 644 for additional tests.

[top] XFY-1

The Consolidated Vultee (later Convair) XFY-1 Pogo was an experimental vertical take-off and landing aircraft. It was intended to be a fighter capable of operating from a small warship rather than an aircraft carrier. Lockheed and Convair were awarded contracts in 1951 to design the prototypes. The first tethered flight of the XFY-1 occurred in 1954. The last flight was in 1956.

Project #286 in 1952

See also Longitudinal Stability Characteristics of the Consolidated Vultee XFY-1 Airplane with Windmilling Propellers, a report from 1954 on rocket-propelled testing at Wallops; and a video of a XFY-1 model flight test in the Full-Scale Tunnel.

[top] XNQ

The Fairchild XNQ, Model 92, was the fastest trainer aircraft trainer when designed in 1946. Two prototypes were built and delivered to the Navy in 1947, but were rejected due to exhaust fumes leaking into the cockpit. After modifications, the Air Force ordered 100 aircraft, but later canceled the order in favor of the Beech #T-34.

The first prototype crashed in 1950. The second aircraft, privately owned, was still on the civil register on 15 January 2006 and is airworthy.

Project #192 in April 1946.

[top] XP-55

The Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender (CW-24) was a 1940s prototype fighter. A highly unusual design for its time, it had a canard configuration, a rear mounted engine, swept wings and two vertical tails. It would also be the first Curtiss fighter aircraft to use tricycle landing gear.

Curtiss-Wright built a flying full-scale model which was tested in the Full-Scale Tunnel. In 1942, the Army Air Forces issued a contract for three prototypes under the designation XP-55. On 15 November 1943, the first was lost while testing the aircraft's stall performance. The aircraft suddenly flipped over on its back and fell in an uncontrolled, inverted descent.

Project #81 Canard model in September 1941.

Project #180, Model mounted in free-to-pitch rig for analysis of deep-stall recovery problem, July 1945.

[top] XP-62

The Curtiss XP-62 was a prototype fighter aircraft built for the Army Air Corps. Two prototypes were ordered in 1941: XP-62 and XP-62A. On 25 May 1942 a contract for 100 P-62 fighters was awarded. Before construction could begin, the contract was terminated in favor of urgently needed P-47 Thunderbolts.

The first flight of the XP-62 was in July 1943. The XP-62A was canceled the following September. These photos from Project #91 are from March 1942.

[top] XP-67

The McDonnell Moonbat was a prototype interceptor aircraft. Upstart aerospace parts manufacturer McDonnell Aircraft was eager to begin manufacturing its own aircraft. The advanced design never approached its anticipated level of performance. The project was cancelled in September 1944 after the sole completed prototype was destroyed by an engine fire. Its first flight was in January 1944.

On 30 September 1941, McDonnell received a contract for two prototypes, a wind tunnel model, and associated engineering data. The Model IIa was designated as the XP-67.

Photos are of Project #85 in February 1942.

[top] XP-69

The Republic XP-69 was designed as a fast high altitude fighter, and was planned to incorporate recent technological innovations such as an experimental engine, pressurized cabin, laminar flow wing, and contra-rotating propellers. The Army Air Corps canceled in May 1943 the contract in favor of the Republic XP-72.

Project #89 in March 1942.

[top] XP-71

The Curtiss XP-71 was a proposal for an advanced heavy escort fighter aircraft. Two prototype aircraft were ordered in November 1941. The Army Air Corps reconsidered the need for advance escorts prior to construction beginning. The requirement for the advanced fighter project led to the cancellation of the XP-71.

Project #101 in March 1943.

[top] XP-77

The Bell XP-77 was to be a lightweight fighter using what were considered non-strategic materials during WWII. Mainly constructed of wood, it was equipped with tricycle landing gear, and a sleek bubble canopy. The prototype proved tricky to handle and the project was canceled.

The aircraft's first flight was in April 1944 but the flight tests revealed vibration problems due to directly mounting the engine to the airframe. The second aircraft was destroyed when it entered an inverted spin while attempting an Immelmann, and the pilot bailed out. The development was terminated in December 1944.

Project #99 in August 1942.

[top] XP-79

The Northrop XP-79 was a flying wing concept flown once on 12 September 1945. The pilot lost control while performing a slow roll 15 minutes into the flight. The nose dropped and the roll continued with the aircraft impacting in a vertical spin. Test pilot Harry Crosby attempted to bail out but was struck by the aircraft and fell to his death.

Project #129, prototype MX-365, March 1944

[top] XP-83

The Bell XP-83 (MX-511) was a prototype escort fighter designed as a twin-jet airplane. Early wind tunnel reports had pinpointed directional instability. The first prototype was flown in February 1945 where it was found to be underpowered and unstable. The limited flight testing was satisfactory although spins were restricted. The second prototype incorporated an extended tail. The XP-83 project was canceled in 1947.

Project #130 in June 1944.

[top] XPB3Y

The Consolidated XPB3Y was a proposed extra-long-range flying boat, a seaplane version of the popular PB2Y Coronado. Construction of a prototype was ordered on April 2, 1942 but then cancelled on November 4 of the same year due to the higher priority accorded to other Consolidated projects.

Project #149 in January 1942.

[top] XS-1

During WWII, the NACA was charged with discovering how to deal with compressibility issues. However, NACA's wind tunnel testing procedures were physically constrained from recreating natural conditions in the transonic speed ranges. As early as 1941, researcher John Stack was advocating that the agency pursue the construction of a high-speed research aircraft to examine compressibility issues.

During March, 1945, Bell presented a design proposal at Wright Field to the Army Air Force and NACA. Langley researcher John V. Becker stated that the plane met agency design criteria, and the aircraft was capable of transonic speeds, urging the Army to accept the design as it was a significant advance over any airplane currently flying.

The contract to build a transonic aircraft was signed in March 1945. Bell Aircraft was tasked to construct three experimental airplanes capable of exploring transonic research issues, assigning three numbers to the aircraft. The X-1 program was initially designated MX-524, then changed to MX-653. It retained the designation MX-653 until the fall when the aircraft were labeled as XS-1 (Experimental Supersonic Contract #1) and remained so-designated throughout the initial life of the project. By 1948, internal Air Force designations had changed and the program has since been identified simply as X-1. The MX-653 program was classified confidential and all X-1 performance data were labeled secret.

MX-653 Project #148 1945

[top] XSB3C

In 1941, the Curtiss XSB3C was a proposal to the Navy to replace the SB2C. It was considered inferior to the competing Douglas XSB2D-1, also tested in this wind tunnel. The XSB3C prototype project was cancelled in 1942 before being built.

Project #88 in May 1942.

[top] XTB2D-1 Skypirate

The Douglas XTB2D-1 Skypirate was a torpedo bomber originally intended for the USS Midway. Two prototypes were completed but the program was cancelled at the end of WWII when the aircraft was deemed unnecessary. Tests conducted at NACA were project #134 and project #140.

[top] YAO-1

The Grumman YAO-1 Mohawk was designed as a photo observation and reconnaissance aircraft to work from small, unimproved fields. It had a bubble canopy and mounted cameras. Its initial flight was in March 1959. For more detailed information, see the Mohawk website.

Test #363 in 1959, design 134.

[top] YF-17 Cobra

The Northrop YF-17 Cobra was a lightweight fighter (LWF) designed for the Air Force technology evaluation program. Although it lost the LWF competition to the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the YF-17 was selected for the new Naval Fighter Attack Experimental (VFAX) program which led to the F/A-18 Hornet.

1973: Project #467

1974 Northrop News: YF-17 Special Edition

[top] Yankee

Airplane Flight Tests

1971-74: Project #461 as part of the General Aviation testing. See also Cessna 172, C-23 Sundowner, and Piper T-Tail. Related video: Stall/Spin Evaluation of a Twin-Engined General Aviation Airplane. Related report: Flight Investigation of the Effects of an Outboard Wing-Leading-Edge Modification on Stall/Spin Characteristics of a Low-Wing, Single-Engine, T-Tail Light Airplane], Stough, H. Paul, III; DiCarlo, Daniel J.; and Patton, James M., Jr., NASA TP 2691, 1987.

1975 Project #469

1976 Flip-up Tail

1978 testing of Hi-Wing (project #488) and Shoulder Wing (project #490) models


1991 Vented Tail Tests

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