Northrop 3A


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Northrop 3A

Based on the design of the XFT, the Model 3A was developed as a contender in the US Army's Materiel Division competition for a successor to the P-26 in service with the USAAC. A low-wing all-metal semi-monocoque monoplane with fully-retractable main undercarriage members and an enclosed cockpit, the Model 3A was powered by a Pratt & Whitney SR-1535-6 Twin Wasp Junior 14-cylinder radial engine rated at 700hp for take-off. It had provision for one 7.62mm and one 12.7mm gun in the fuselage. Completed in July 1935, it was briefly tested at Wright Field where it was found to be somewhat unstable and prone to spinning. Returned to the manufacturer for modification, the Model 3A was under test over the Pacific on 30 July, but failed to return, no trace of the aircraft nor its pilot ever being found. The design of the Model 3A was subsequently sold to Chance Vought Aircraft which further developed it as the V-141.

Northrop 3AA three-view drawing (1276 x 816)

 MODEL3A (estimated data)
  Take-off weight1769 kg3900 lb
  Wingspan10.21 m34 ft 6 in
  Length6.78 m22 ft 3 in
  Height2.77 m9 ft 1 in
  Wing area17.37 m2186.97 sq ft
  Max. speed434 km/h270 mph

Graham Clayton, e-mail, 13.02.2021 01:03

1st Lieutenant Arthur Henry Skaer, Jr., Air Corps Reserve, who was employed by Northrop as a test pilot, took off from Mines Field to conduct spin tests.

Skaer never returned. An extensive search was conducted of the nearby Palos Verdes Peninsula and the southern California coastal waters. An Air Corps search plane spotted what appeared to be fresh oil on the surface, but no other sign of Lieutenant Skaer or the Northrop 3A were ever found.


Steve B., e-mail, 19.08.2016 05:50

I've researched this a /c for years, never any mention of spin being involved. N3A was lost at sea drink flight test of max. Speed.


BHH, 19.10.2015 08:53

The same fate that happened to JFK jr. happened to the N3A that day over the pacific. The only thing is the N3A was never found, that's all. In this case, a spin the pilot just couldn't get out of. :(


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