Northrop XFT


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Northrop XFT

Despite some scepticism concerning the practicability of the monoplane configuration for the shipboard fighter, the US Navy's BuAer issued a second requirement for such a warplane on 24 January 1933, the first having been issued seven weeks earlier and for which the Boeing Model 273 was designed and built (as the XF7B-1). To meet the later but essentially similar requirement, a contract was let to Northrop for a prototype assigned the designation XFT-1. A single-seat all-metal cantilever monoplane with split flaps, spatted main undercarriage members and an enclosed cockpit, the XFT-1 was designed by a team led by Ed Heinemann. Powered by a Wright R-1510-26 14-cylinder radial rated at 600hp at sea level and 625hp at 1830m, and carrying two 7.62mm cowl guns, the XFT-1 first flew on 16 January 1934. The US Navy was critical of its manoeuvrability, its tendency to spin out of certain manoeuvres, its low speed characteristics and its landing speed. During the course of initial tests, an XR-1510-8 engine affording 650hp at 2590m was substituted for the -26, and, in April 1936, the XFT-1 was returned to the manufacturer for more extensive modification. A Pratt & Whitney R-1535-72 Twin Wasp Jnr 14-cylinder radial rated at 700hp for take-off and 650hp at 2285m was installed, this having a long-chord cowling; the vertical tail surfaces were enlarged, and the mainwheel spats were revised. Redesignated XFT-2, the fighter was now 118kg heavier in empty condition, speed and climb performance were marginally improved, but manoeuvrability and low speed characteristics were worse. It was pronounced unairworthy by the US Navy and crashed on 21 July 1936 while being returned to its manufacturer.

Northrop XFTA three-view drawing (1280 x 816)

  Take-off weight1704 kg3757 lb
  Empty weight1120 kg2469 lb
  Wingspan9.75 m32 ft 0 in
  Length6.43 m21 ft 1 in
  Height2.87 m9 ft 5 in
  Wing area16.44 m2176.96 sq ft
  Max. speed378 km/h235 mph
  Range1570 km976 miles

Northrop XFT

Thomas Everhart, e-mail, 04.06.2016 18:15

What do want for your Wind Tunnel Model? Where is it located? Tom Everhart


Xavier Canale, e-mail, 21.06.2012 00:30

Hello all, I have the original wind tunnel model for the XFT-1.
It's about 6 ft long by 7 wide.
I am interest in selling it. Thank you


ED, e-mail, 13.12.2010 03:32

Data is close. The prototype was tested and refused. The engine /spats /rudder were redesigned. It remained the XFT-1 and returned to NAS Anacostia for Navy flight test. The Navy informed Northrop the plane had such poor spin recovery that they felt the plane should be taken back to Calif. on a train flat car. The Northrop pilot felt he could fly it back and over the Appalachian mountains in a storm the pilot was forced to jump and the plane crashed. Northrop had the XFT-2 which was the same design as the modified XFT-1 and was lost over the pacific ocean during a test flight. My dad (E.R. Moore) took 4 pics of the modified XFT-1 when it landed at Biggs Field (El Paso) on it's return trip to NAS Anacostia. I have the negs to a couple of them and when I found Northrop didn't have any pics of the modified XFT-1 I sent them some. ....emo


AWESOME!, e-mail, 01.03.2008 15:24

Do you thinki could write a five-page report on this aircraft?


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