Curtiss XF15C Stingeree

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Brief Summary:
In the short time in the mid 1940’s where jets had not been demonstrated to operate on an aircraft carrier came the mixed-powered concept in which the aircraft had both a propeller and a jet engine. The Curtiss XF15C was an example of this concept with it being tested in-between the end of the propeller driven aircraft age and the dominance of the jet engine age, as we all know it wasn’t long after the introduction of this concept that jet powered aircraft had proven they could take off from carriers putting an end to the mixed-powered concept.

History:

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As the World War was ending new technologies were being developed with engineering in industries evolving rapidly, jet propulsion one of the newer technologies to advance rapidly during the war was taking it’s shape in many of the fighting nations on the globe. Although it was slowly ending the age of propeller based aircraft on land there was one area where it was uncertain of how the jet engine could function.

Carrier based aircraft have a shorter chance of landing and taking off compared to their land based counterparts and because many of the early jet engines took much longer to take off compared to their propeller based counterparts it was unknown if a jet powered aircraft could take off from the carriers of the era.

Enter in the concept of mixed-power in which the best of both worlds could be applied with a jet powered engine and a propeller based engine, a few examples of this concept sprung up in 1944 and 1945. The one focused on here is the Curtiss XF15C Stingeree.

In 1944 the XF15C had begun it’s life with the designer Ray Blaylock who had helped design the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and the Republic P-47 before was tasked to design a sleek, single seat, low-wing monoplane design with a bubble canopy and tricycle landing gear.

From this design the propulsion for the aircraft was to be a mix of the best of both worlds with the end of the propeller era engines and the beginning of the jet engines combined into one. The plane was to be powered by the 2100hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp 18 cylinder Air-Cooled Radial Piston engine in the nose of the aircraft, an Allis Chalmers J36 Centrifugal Flow Turbojet was positioned in the rear fuselage to power the aircraft also.

In 1945 the design had been completed and produced resulting in the planes maiden flight on February 27th 1945 with test pilot Harvey Gray, the test flight showed promising results with a top speed of 466mph (750km/h) at 20,000 feet (6096m) was achieved, however as tests continued the plane had a lot of cooling issues due to the placement of the jet engine alongside the propeller engine also suffering overheating issues.

A further 2 prototypes were built to test however the problems of the aircraft alongside one of the prototypes crashing caused the navy to loose interest in the navy alongside new competitors on their way to being tested in the fast changing environment of the mid 1940’s for aircraft development.

It’s two major competitors at the end of it’s testing period in October 1946 was the new Ryan XF2R Dark Shark which was a more powerful mixed-powered aircraft as well as the all jet-powered McDonnell FH Phantom and North American FJ Fury prototypes also demonstrating that they were able to be used of aircraft carriers and achieve higher top speeds without the need of a propeller which killed of the XF15C.

A single XF15C remains and is currently stationed at Hickory Aviation Museum, North Carolina since 2014 where before it was stationed at Quonset Air Museum in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. It remains one of the last aircraft of developed by Curtiss to be displayed and also their last adventure into the carrier based fighters.

Performance:

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Crew : 1
Length : 13.32m (43’8 feet)
Wingspan : 15m (48’00 feet)
Height : 4.65m (15’3 feet)
Wing Area : 400 square feet (37 square meters)
Empty Weight : 5737kg (12648lb)
Standard Weight : 7543kg (16630lb)
Maximum Weight: 8841kg (18698lb)
Engine: 1x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp 18 cylinder Air-Cooled Radial Piston Engine (2100hp) + 1x Allis Chalmers J36 Centrifugal Flow Turbojet 2700lbf (12kn)
Service limit : 12700m (41800 feet) (7.91mi)
Maximum range : 2229m (1385mi)
Maximum speed : 755km/h (469mph) (using both engines)
Cruise Speed : N/A
Rate of climb : 25.5m/s (5020feet/m)
Armaments : 4x 20mm cannons (two per wing) 800 rounds
Hardpoints : 2x 1000lb bombs or 8x 5inch rockets

Additional Images:

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Sources:

2 Likes

ill never say no to unique/prototypes like this

I love mixed-propulsion planes, and I want them to be added! +1

USA desperately needs some TT superprops. To bad one of the most viable is a Prem already. +1 so long as its available long term

1 Like

Very cool aircraft +1

I did not even see the jet like engine when I looked at it. Scratch that I think that’s the exhaust.

Mixed propulsion aircraft are hella cool, major +1 from me!

Big +1 that looks so fun lmao