American Secret Pusher Fighters of World War II

American Secret Pusher Fighters of World War II

XP-54, XP-55, and XP-56

Book - 2008
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During the 1930s, American tactical aircraft ranged from small biplanes to all-metal monoplanes, but they lacked the range, performance, and firepower required to combat a new foe in the darkening skies over Europe. With their 300-mph top speeds, these airplanes represented the "step before the step" in achieving the higher performance of legendary fighters used in World War II, but the secrets of what became America's first "next generation" fighters lay in the design, construction, and flight testing of radical new airplanes that broke the rules of aeronautical engineering and were intended to push performance envelopes to new limits. Although the Materiel Division of the Air Corps faced a daunting task, unique designs from Vultee, Curtiss-Wright, and Northrop ultimately emerged to win contracts for building experimental prototypes of airplanes with very different configurations. Powered by either inline or radial piston powerplants, these new designs looked more futuristic on paper than anything seen before, but the acid test was to see how they flew. Would they become record-breaking champions, or frustrating aeronautical "problem children" confounding their engineers, builders, and pilots? Noted author Gerald H. Balzer tells this story using original factory photos and comprehensive information that has never before been published. This fascinating tale of America's first Pusher Fighters highlights the trials and tribulations of innovative designers, dedicated builders, and courageous test pilots, each of whom contributed to bringing the Vultee XP-54 "Swoose Goose," Curtiss-Wright XP-55 "Ascender," and Northrop XP-56 "Black Bullet" into reality.
Publisher: North Branch, MN : Specialty Press, c2008
ISBN: 9781580071253
1580071252
Characteristics: x, 182 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm

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