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XP-55

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XP-55 Museum

Curtiss-Wright XP-55 AscenderEdit

The Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender (company designation CW-24) was a 1940s United States prototype fighter aircraft built by Curtiss-Wright. Along with the Vultee XP-54 and Northrop XP-56, it resulted from United States Army Air Corps proposal R-40C issued on 27 November 1939 for aircraft with improved performance, armament and pilot visibility over existing fighters; it specifically allowed for unconventional aircraft designs. A highly unusual design for its time, it had a canard configuration, a rear mounted engine, swept wings and two vertical tails. Because of its pusher design, it was sarcastically referred to as the "Ass-ender".

Like the XP-54, the Ascender was initially designed for the Pratt & Whitney X-1800 engine and had to be redesigned when that engine project was cancelled. It would also be the first Curtiss fighter aircraft to use tricycle landing gear.

Specifications (XP-55) Edit

Curtis XP-55 Ascender side view.

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 29 ft 7 in (9.0 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 7 in (12.4 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 0 in (3.0 m)
  • Wing area: 235 ft² (21.83 m²)
  • Empty weight: 6,354 lb (2,882 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 7,710 lb (3,497 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 7,930 lb (3,600 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Allison V-1710-95 liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,275 hp (951 kW)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 390 mph at 19,300 ft (628 km/h)
  • Range: 635 mi (1,020 km)
  • Service ceiling: 34,600 ft (10,500 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,350 ft/min (11.9 m/s)
  • Wing loading: lb/ft² (kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.16 hp/lb (0.27 kW/kg)

Armament

4 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in the nose

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