Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon
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Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon

Under the designation Lockheed XFV-1, the company completed and flew the first of two prototypes of a single-seat VTOL research aircraft. Powered by a 4362kW Allison XT40-pA-6 turboprop engine, the Salmon was one of a number of tail-sitter designs originated in the early 1950s. Basically, the aircraft was a conventional mid-wing monoplane without normal landing gear. The tail had equal-span cruciform surfaces each incorporating a shock-strut and castoring wheel, and the aircraft was intended to stand vertically on its tail unit for take-off and landing. However, as the 5294kW T54-A-3 engine intended for the proposed XFV-2 VTOL fighter derivative did not materialise, the XFV-1 was fitted with a temporary conventional undercarriage and operated from this until the whole programme was cancelled in June 1955 and construction of the second prototype abandoned. Span was 9.40m, maximum take-off weight 7358kg and maximum speed estimated at 933km/h.

Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon

Lockheed XFV-1 SalmonA three-view drawing (1278 x 846)

Klaatu, klaatu83=lycos.com, 16.05.2011

This aircraft, and the Convair XFY "Pogo", were designed to satisfy an ill-conceived Navy requirement for a fighter that could take off and land in a vertical attitude from small platforms on Navy or Merchant ships. Both were powered by a turboprop engine, the Allison T-40, that fell far short in terms of mechanical reliability. Apart from that difficulty, however, the entire concept was flawed by the near impossibility of taking off and landing any aircraft in a vertical attitude from a small platform on the rolling deck of a ship at sea. The Lockheed design was never flown that way, even on land. Although the Convair design actually was taken off and landed vertically, it was only done from land, and then only by an extremely experienced test-pilot. The chances that a regular military pilot could have managed to fly either aircraft successfully from the heaving deck of a ship at sea were extremely slim. In any case, both aircraft were so top-heavy when standing on their tails that, if they ever were placed on the deck of a ship at sea, they stood an excellent chance of toppling over of their own accord.

Paul E. Nichols, penbarb2=yahoo.com, 17.01.2011

Aircraft number 657,the flight test aircraft was moved to North base,Edwards,after completion of flight tests. It was then moved to Hiller Aircraft at Palo Alto, California, (Hiller Helicopters)in September 1856. It had the engine removed for use in the Hiller X-18 twin engine tilt wing transport. (The other engine came from the Convair XFY-1 Pogo.)
I was an engineer working on the X-18. I was asked on October 1,1956 to takea a look at the XFV-1 as it sat in the back 40 of the Hiller plant and see if the ejection seat could possibly be removed and applied to the X-18. The airplane was sitting in the horizontal position as you see it in the picture. I climbed up the scafold steps and entered the cockpit in a kneeling postion,looking aft,in order to look at the rail mounting of the seat. This was a modified seat that still used cables to pull the safety pin and to pull a cam with a pin that fired a 75mm charge. The cables were disconnected, but as I moved them aside to see better, the charge fired off and then shot me about 30 feet into the air. I landed on the aft end of the wing in a sitting postion and then bounced off the side of the fuselage and then off the X tail and tehn onto the ground. Because the canopy was not completely open the leading edge of the canopy and the seat nearly sheared off my right wrist. I received a broken knee and back and many lacerations. Thanks to nearby workers that came to my rescue I did not bleed to death. I spent three weeks in the Palo Alto Hospital and several more months recouperating at home. Upon investigation it turns out the Navy civil employees did not drain the fuel,or depressureize the Hydraulics, and of course, did not disarm the ejection seat. All are requred by law before transporting the aircraft. Strangely, (umm, maybe not strange.) the records were lost.
The aircraft was eventualy cut-up and scrapped out after Hiller used the componets needed for the X-18. The only thing left today is the ejection seat firing mechanism,which sits on top of my nearby bookcase. The engine or engines are located at the Hiller museum In San Carlos California.
One other note: I have no idea where the name Salmon came from for the name of the aircraft. "Fish" Salmon was the test pilot on this aircraft, but I have never known his name connected to the name of the aircraft, otherwise.

Tom O'Brien, 23.03.2010

you may want to contact the current owners at Sun N Fun,
They would be able to give you the complete history of Aircraft 658.
This instalation performed the restoration of the XFV in question, there for they could tell you where they had acquired the aircraft

andy durtnall, alinc=telusplanet.net, 15.02.2009

Dear sir, I have the same question that Mark has about the history of the XFV-1 at the museum at Lakehead Florida also. To my knowledge, there were only 2 prototypes built. One flew about 32 times and had a fusalage number 657. The other, which didn't fly, was incompleted at the time the project was cancelled but apparently is the gate guardian at NAS Los Alamitos CA. My question is: is the airframe at the Lakehead museum actually fusalage number 657 (renumbered to 658) or is it the second prototype that never flew? If it is the one that flew, why was the fusalage number changed to 658? I'm currently building a scale model of the Lakehead XFV-1 and would really like to know it's history. Thanks, Andy.

mark meehan, mjm313_99=yahoo.com, 02.10.2008

This aircraft is located at Lakeland FL where the EAA chapter has its facilities. However, it is painted with the number 658 on its fuselage. Could this be the 2nd prototype which was abandoned?

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