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Curtiss XP-55 Ascender
On loan from the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Did You Know?
- The XP-55 Ascender was a prototype fighter aircraft.
- In 1942, the U.S. Army Air Forces issued a contract for the XP-55 Ascender.
- The first one was completed in 1943.
- Only three Ascenders were ever built. This is the sole survivor, as the other two were destroyed in crashes.
- Curtiss-Wright designers stuck the main wing behind the engine and the pilot, at the tail end of the fuselage, and they mounted a short wing near the nose.
- Pusher power plants propelled these flying experiments, but after considerable testing, the U.S. Army Air Corps deemed the Ascender's handling too poor for an effective combat fighter.
|Wingspan||44 ft. 6 in.|
|Length||27 ft. 7 in.|
|Weight||6,354 lbs. (empty); 7,710 lbs. (loaded)|
|Armament||Four .50-cal. machine guns|
|Engine||Allison V-1710-95, producing 1,275 hp|
|Performance||390 mph at 19,300 ft.|