Designed to meet a lightweight shipboard fighter requirement
in competition with the Berliner-Joyce XFJ-1
and Curtiss XF9C-1, the XFA-1 was built by the General
Aviation Corporation, the successor to the US Fokker Aircraft Corporation, and was tested by the US Navy in
March 1932. Powered by a 400hp Pratt & Whitney
R-985A Wasp Junior engine, the XFA-1 was a single-bay
staggered biplane with the upper wing gulled into
the fuselage. It employed all-metal construction with
fabric skinning for wing and tail surfaces, proposed
armament being two fuselage-mounted 7.62mm machine guns. The XFA-1 was not notably successful
during Navy trials and further development
|A three-view drawing (1673 x 1360)|
| Take-off weight||1138 kg||2509 lb|
| Empty weight||833 kg||1836 lb|
| Wingspan||7.77 m||26 ft 6 in|
| Length||6.75 m||22 ft 2 in|
| Height||2.82 m||9 ft 3 in|
| Wing area||16.26 m2||175.02 sq ft|
| Max. speed||273 km/h||170 mph|
| Range||603 km||375 miles|
Note: although the Navy did purchase a small number of Curtiss F9C "Sparrowhawk" fighters in preference to the XFA-1, they were little used on aircraft carriers. For that role the Navy preferred the Boeing F4B and Curtiss F11C "Goshawk", both of which were larger but had better performance.
Instead, the Curtiss F9C fighters were relegated to use as "parasite" fighters, deployed from the airships USS Akron and USS Macon. However, neither of those "flying aircraft carriers" lasted very long, both crashing into the ocean within two years of their commissioning. After that the Navy had no further use for the remaining F9C "Sparrowhawks", which were declared obsolete and placed in storage. One still survives as a museum display.
Although this airplane was produced by the successor to Fokker's U.S. subsidiary, it's design clearly owed little or nothing to Fokker's influence. Apart from everything else it was fabricated out of metal while, at that time, Fokker's aircraft were constructed largely out of wood. Unfortunately, the Navy preferred a fighter produced by Boeing, the F4B.
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