Republic XP-72

1944

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Republic XP-72

The Republic XP-72 was based upon the P-47 airframe and was designed by Alexander Kartveli's fighter team as a 'Super Thunderbolt' around the 2237kW Pratt & Whitney R-4360-13 Wasp Major radial engine. The powerplant was, simply, the most powerful piston engine to reach production in any country during World War II. Intended primarily to be faster than the Thunderbolt, the XP-72 was viewed in part as a remedy for the Third Reich's high-speed V-l buzz bomb. The USAAF planned to use the fighter to intercept buzz bombs, taking advantage of its ability to reach 6000m in just under five minutes. An armament of six 12.7mm guns would have been carried.

The first of two examples flew at Farmingdale on 2 February 1944 using a large four-bladed propeller. The second XP-72 flew in July 1944 with the intended Aeroproducts six-bladed contra-rotating propeller. The second aircraft, however, was lost on an early flight.

With priority shifted to long-range escort fighters, this promising interceptor was not needed. The other XP-72 airframe is thought to have been scrapped at Wright Field around VJ-Day.

Republic XP-72

Specification 
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight6690 kg14749 lb
  Empty weight4973 kg10964 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan12.49 m41 ft 0 in
  Length11.17 m37 ft 8 in
  Height4.42 m15 ft 6 in
  Wing area27.87 m2299.99 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed788 km/h490 mph
  Ceiling12800 m42000 ft
  Range1930 km1199 miles
 ARMAMENT6 x 12.7mm machine-guns, 2 x 450kg boms

3-View 
Republic XP-72A three-view drawing (1656 x 1215)

Comments
Charles Reidelbach, e-mail, 26.06.2016 21:50

I am not a professional, but I have looked at the P-47, since I was a teenager. I was impressed with it's ability both to engage and survive in the European theater. I built a model of the P-47 D, and made some modifications that I thought would improve it's performance. It turns out that some of my ideas had already been thought of long before I was even born. My first thought of this particular model, the XP-72, is that if it had been hurried into service, it would have been devastating for the Germans and the war would have ended much quicker.

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Klaatu83, e-mail, 28.02.2016 01:06

Putting the monster P&W R-4360 "Wasp Major", the largest and most powerful radial piston engine ever to go into production, into a P-47 was the obvious next logical step in the development of the Thunderbolt. However, it appeared too late. The "Wasp Major" was also installed in the Vought F4U Corsair, but only 10 were built by Goodyear, as the F2G "Super-Corsair", before the project was cancelled due to the end of the war. They were also installed in the Superfortress, which was then re-designated "B-50", but those did not enter service until after WW-II was over. The engine was also used in a number of other post-war production aircraft.

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JP, e-mail, 03.01.2016 05:23

In response to Guy Stoye: I have read of one occurrence of this happening. Marine Lt. Bob Klingman of VMF-312 ripped into the tail of a Nick on May 10, 1945. There is a picture of him with his Corsair's damaged propeller on page 67 of Clear the Deck! I do suppose this could have happened more than once so he may truly have earned that nick name.

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Doug G, e-mail, 19.05.2013 08:54

Jack Bade info. this crazy damn thing won't let me put in the website. I used yahoo search and found his info on together we serve. don't go to that website directly since mostly a search for old buddies, but do a search and look for major jack bade with that website underneath. will give all the info. interesting!!

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noah, 23.08.2011 21:45

you know I really find the xp-72 intresting not that it look anything like the p-47 but the fact that it runs on a r-4360 motor, and im a huge fan of the r-4360.

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prss, 20.06.2011 07:04

flew in July 1944 with the intended Aeroproducts six-bladed contra-rotating propeller. The second aircraft, however, was lost on an early flight.

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Guy Stoye, e-mail, 31.03.2011 20:10

When I was a carpenter on Fire Island, circa 1963, we were building a house for Jack Bade, test pilot for Grumman aviation as I was told. I never saw him but one day as we were working on the roof of his house, he roared low overhead, "having a look at progress".
I have since heard that he was killed but the story I got was that he was shot down by his own heat seeking missile. Probably inaccurate data.
I was also told that he was known as "Buzz-saw Bade", based on an account of his action in WW2, tearing the wing off of a Japanese plane with his propeller after running out of ammo.
Would love to know if there's any truth to that story

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Dave Reina, e-mail, 05.12.2010 07:53

Hi Pete,
I read your note about Carl Bellinger on the internet and wondered if you would be able to tell me a little more about him and when he passed away. He was my neighbor in Lloyd Harbor, NY in the 60's when I was a young teenager. I would visit him and get a tour of his small machine shop in the den of the house and get a ride on the steam train which he built along with a miniature track which circled his house. I also remember his maroon Jaguar coupe and how well he took care of the car. As a boy I had no idea he was a well regarded test pilot.
Regards,
David Reina
Brooklyn, NY

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Steve Muth, e-mail, 18.11.2010 21:37

Anyone have any cockpit photos of the P-72 or can you confirm it was the same as the P-47D?

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lon, e-mail, 05.07.2010 03:12

Really cool looking plane.

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Roy Douglas, e-mail, 18.04.2009 03:48

As president of the LI-Republic Airport Historical Society, I find the above comments very interesting. Our website is lirepublicairporths.googlepages.com / We would love from anyone who worked for Republic Aviation

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Dave Seaver, e-mail, 04.03.2009 05:43

My father was Don Seaver, who was killed along with Jack Bade in May 1963 in a mid-air collision of 2 F-105s. I have a very poor copy of the accident report and would like to track down another copy. Any help appreciated. Poss jake Bades wife, children might have a copy or any old Republic employees. Thanks Dave Seaver 816-590-5960.

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Stanley Pasternack, e-mail, 29.06.2008 07:35

I worked for Republic Aviation Company for 45 years and was in the ground crew of the XP-91 at Muroc Air Force Base for a 9 month stint while Carl Bellinger was the test pilot. I was saddened to hear about his death in an automobile accident as mentioned by Pete Mesmer. He really was a great pilot and a great man. I am now 86 and if my memory serves me, this plane was the first military plane to break the sound barrier, with a military load, on the deck, in 1949.

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Pete Mesmer, e-mail, 07.06.2008 04:05

I have a correction for my previous comments. It's been many years since I worked the tower at Republic and my memory is fading. Carl Bellinger was the executive in charge of Flight Operations. Jack Bade was the Test Site Manager and also an executive. Jack was a company test pilot and regretably, was killed in a mid air collision with another F105 on a routine test flight. I witnessed several regretable accidents while working in the tower, some of them fatal. Sadly___ I believe all of them could have been prevented.

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Pete Mesmer, e-mail, 07.06.2008 03:27

I worked as a control tower operator at Republic Aviation during the flight test program of the F-105.(late 50's to mid 60's). Carl Bellinger was the Test Site Manager. Just before Republic closed down, Carl brought to me in the tower a ton of old photos from the photo lab. They were going to throw them all away and Carl thought I would like to have them. Among the photos were picx of the XP-72. He was kind enough to sign the photos for me and told me the story behind the first few flights. He was the test pilot. On the first flight,the a /c had two contra rotating props. They were afraid the airplane would do a torque roll on take-off because of the 4360 hanging up front. Carl put the airplane thru its paces and his first comment upon landing was "GET RID OF THAT @#*#@@*# MANAGERIE THAT'S HANGING ON THE FRONT OF THIS THING AND PUT A REAL PROP ON IT" The contra-rotating props were not needed. They hung a Curtis Electric prop on it and it performed just fine. Carl said it was one of the finest airplanes he ever had the privledge of flying. His career as a test pilot with Republic began with the P47 program and continued up thru the F84. When the F105 came on the scene, he became the Test Site Manager. As a pilot, he had extraordinay skill. He was a giant in the industry, a real gentleman amd a good friend. After Republic closed, Carl retired and was later killed in an automobile accident. I miss him dearly.

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Lek, e-mail, 02.09.2007 00:08

Too bad a few didn't survive to race today at air races.

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