Model Airplane News
May, 1938

Model Airplane News Cover for May, 1938 by Jo Kotula Curtiss XP-37

Curtiss XP-37
Model Airplane News Cover Art for May, 1938
by Jo Kotula
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The new Allison turbocharged engine made a great impression on aircraft designers and buyers. It is no wonder that the Army, who was quite satisfied with the Curtiss P-36 fighter, oredered an experiment. One of the P-36 fighters was to be modified to use the new Allison powerplant. In response to this, Curtiss' chief designer Donovan Berlin fitted a 1150 hp Allison turbosupercharged engine to a p-36 airframe. He positioned the three Prestone cooling radiators immediately behind the engine. In order to balance the aircraft and to make room for the radiators, the pilot's cockpit was moved quite far aft. However, except for the cockpit relocation and the V-12 liquid-cooled engine, the XP-37 was otherwise identical to the P-36.

 The Curtiss P-36

The P-36

The Curtiss XP-37      The Curtiss XP-37

Curtiss XP-37
the way, waaa-y back cockpit
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P>The XP-37 attained a maximum speed of 340 mph at 20,000 feet and a service ceiling of 35,000 feet. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be reached in 7.1 minutes. Gross weight was 6350 lbs. The aircraft was equipped with standard USAAC armament of the time--one 0.30-in and one 0.50-in machine gun mounted in the fuselage and synchronized to fire through the propeller arc.

 The Curtiss P-37 in Popular Mechanics March, 1938

The XP-37

in Popular Mechanics March, 1938
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Almost from the first, the XP-37 aircraft ran into trouble. The supercharger was extremely unreliable, and the performance of the aircraft fell short of expectations. In addition, the positioning of the cockpit that far aft on the fuselage resulted in extremely poor visibility, especially during takeoffs and landings. The XP-37 was retired to an Army mechanics' school in August 1941 with a total of only 152 hours of flying time. In the meantime, the USAAC had already held a competition for a new fighter in January 1939, and had chosen another Berlin design, the Model 75P which was also derived from the P-36. This was eventually to emerge as the famous P-40. All further work on the XP-37 was abandoned.

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