Model Airplane News|
Curtiss X15-C "Stingaree"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for October,1947
by Jo Kotula
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Late in World War II, Admiral John S. McCain (the Grandfather of the 2008 Presidential candidate) influenced the the US Navy to experiment with a "mixed-power" concept for shipboard fighters in which the airplane would use a piston engine for cruise and an auxiliary turbojet to provide supplementary power for take-off, climb and maximum speed. Initial evaluation of bids resulted in orders for for three prototypes of the Ryan XFR-1 and 100 production FR-1s. Jo Kotula was apparently enamored by notion of composite power because he featured it on five covers in addition to this one:
The Navy desired a more powerful airplane and contracted with Curtiss for an appreciably more powerful XF15C-1, to be powered by a 2,100hp Pratt & Whitney radial engine and an Allis-Chalmers turbojet capable of 6,000 lb thrust. Four wing-mounted 20mm cannon were to comprise the armament. The first prototype crashed during a landing approach, due to control problems that were eliminated by replacing the low-set horizontal tail surfaces with a T-tail arrangement. The flight test program continued until October 1946, when the Navy lost interest in the mixed power arrangement and cancelled further development.
Photos of the Curtiss X15-C "Stingaree"
(middle) on static display at the New England Air Museum
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The XF15C-1 was the last fighter that Curtiss made for the U.S. Navy; it was made obsolete by the advent of pure jet fighters capable of meeting the Navy's requirements. However, the idea of composite power did not die as quickly. The Navy developed the AJ "Savage" as a two engine composite bomber capable of delivering a nuclear bomb from an aircraft carrier. See our discussion of the January, 1952 Cover of M.A.N.
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