The V-173 Became The XF5U, Or Flying Flapjack. America’s First Near VTOL Plane.

by Daniel Russ on July 27, 2012

V-173 Flying Flapjack

V-173 Flying Flapjack

 

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The V-173 Became The XF5U, Or Flying Flapjack.

The V-173 Or Flying Flapjack 

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The V-173 Became The XF5U, Or Flying Flapjack.

The V-173 Or Flying Flapjack. 

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Engineer Charles Zimmerman was wondering why the entire plane could not be a wing. He was faced with drag problems at the tip end of small stubby wings created by high aspect wing ratio configuration. So he had the idea that by placing the propellers at the end of the fuselage, or at the end of the wing in essence, this might abate drag.

 

 

It worked. It features]d 427 sq ft wing area. It first flew on the 23rd of November 1942 and was subsequently abandoned on 15 March 1947. In 190 flights, and 130 hours in the air it proved to be remarkable plane with high maneuverability and good speed. Charles Lindberg flew it and found it to have exceptional flight characteristics especially at low speeds. Tests resulted in flying saucer reports.

 

 

Zimmerman and Vought were now leading the country in VSTOL or what we now term Near STOL flight. The extended front wheels allowed plenty of lift on short take offs. In air it was easy to “upright” and maneuver in. That said, it;s strange look and the rapid pace of aeronautics left it behind.

 

 

 

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