No. 5435. Vought V-366 XF7U-1 Cutlass US Navy
Photograph courtesy Larry Sizer

Vought V-366 XF7U-1 Cutlass

01/31/2017. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Winning submission in a USN competition launched on June 1, 1945 for a single-seat shipboard fighter capable of achieving 600 mph (966 kmh) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m), the Vought V-346 was highly unconventional.

Subject of an order for three prototypes on June 25, 1946 as XF7U-1s, it dispensed with orthodox horizontal tail surfaces and featured a very low aspect ratio wing sweptback 38 deg on the leading edge. The entire wing leading edge was occupied by slats, elevons performed the functions of both ailerons and elevators, and the vertical tail surfaces were mounted at the extremities of the wing centre section. The cockpit was pressurized and all controls were hydraulically operated.

Powered by two Westinghouse J34-WE-22 engines each rated at 3,000 lb st (1,361 kgp) and 4,250 lb st (1,928 kgp) with afterburning, the first XF7U-1 flew on September 29, 1948. In December 1948 the aircraft was assigned to NACA Langley Research Center, Langley Field, Virginia, 122472 was lost on September 28, 1949 after all control was lost during takeoff at Vought's temporary flight test facility at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma. Vought test pilot Paul Thayer escaped serious injuries.

The second XF7U-1 (BuNo. 122473) flew only a few months later, during a test flight it crashed into Chesapeake Bay, Maryland on March 15, 1949, the pilot, William Millar was killed. Flown by Paul Thayer the third XF7U-1 (BuNo. 122474) suffered an engine explosion an air display at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, on July 7, 1950. Thayer ejected safely but sustained a spinal injury, the aircraft impacted on an island in the Patuxent River."

Created June 30, 2006