Model Airplane News
February, 1951

Model Airplane News Cover for February, 1951 by Jo Kotula Lockheed XF-90

Lockheed XF-90
Model Airplane News Cover Art for February, 1951
by Jo Kotula
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The Lockheed XF-90 was developed as a long-range penetration fighter and bomber escort. Performance of the design was considered inadequate, and the XF-90 never entered production; the McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo was eventually selected.

 The Lockheed XF-90    The Lockheed XF-90      The Lockheed XF-90

Lockheed XF-90
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After a redesign from its original delta planform, the Lockheed Model 90 was built as a mock-up in 1947. The final design featured sweptback wings, a sharply-pointed nose and two turbojet engines, providing a total thrust of 6,200 lbf,mounted side-by-side in the rear fuselage and fed by side-mounted air intakes. The wings had leading-edge slats and ailerons on the trailing edge. The pressurized cockpit was fitted with an ejector seat and a bubble canopy. Proposed armament was six 20 mm cannons. The use of heavy gauge aluminum, along with heavy forgings and machined parts, resulted in an extremely well-constructed and sturdy airframe. However, these innovations also resulted in an aircraft which had an empty weight more than 50 percent heavier than its competitors.

The XF-90 was the first USAF jet with an afterburner and the first Lockheed jet to fly supersonic. It also incorporated an unusual vertical stabilizer that could be moved forward and backward for horizontal stabilizer adjustment. Because Lockheed's design proved underpowered, McDonnell's XF-88 won the production contract in September 1950. one prototype survived three atomic blasts at Frenchman Flat within the Nevada Test Site in 1952.

In 2003, the heavily damaged hulk was recovered from the Nevada test site and moved to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. It is currently undergoing minor restoration in one of the Museum's restoration facility hangars. Its wings have been removed, and its nose is mangled from the nuclear blasts. During the decontamination process, all the rivets had to be removed to remove radioactive sand. At present, the museum plans to display the XF-90 in its damaged, mostly unrestored condition, to demonstrate the effects of nuclear weaponry

The XF-90 lived on in popular culture as the aircraft of the Blackhawks comic book. (The Blackhawks began their career flying the Grumman Skyrocket another failed design. The Blackhawks apparently picked flshy planes with poor performance.

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 152 of the Wings Friend or Foe series  The Lockheed XF-90

Trading card representation of the Lockheed XF-90
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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Click Here for more information about the Lockheed XF-90.

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