JOHAN VISSCHEDIJK COLLECTION
No. 10693. Consolidated 18 XBY-1 (A-8921) US Navy
Photograph from Convair

Consolidated 18 XBY-1

06/30/2011. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "In the early 1930s the USN had to decide on the main options for air strikes on maritime targets level, dive or torpedo bombing. To address this issue, the USN approached several developers proposing to build a carrier-borne high-speed bomber capable of level bombing. One such company was Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. The company project team based the design on the Model 17 Fleetster. Ordered in April 1931 as the XBY-1, the prototype was delivered for testing to the USN in September 1932.

The two-seat bomber was of all-metal construction with fabric covered control surfaces, and was powered by a 600 hp R-1820-78 Cyclone nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. It had an internal bomb bay capable of carrying a 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb, for defense purposes it had a flexible mounted 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machinegun in a dorsal hatch, just behind the wings. As a safety device, an inflatable flotation bag was installed under each wing (the striped device seen under the wing at ca. 30% span).

After the trials the level bombing tactic was abandoned and the type was not ordered, however, it became the first stressed-skin aircraft, and the first aircraft with integral fuel tanks in the wings, operated by the USN.

Trivia: The XBY-1 static test fuselage was purchased by a Consolidated employee, converted into a trailer and used to haul his belongings to San Diego when the company moved west in 1935. The trailer was subsequently equipped with a sound system as an announcement vehicle and in 1969, was sold to a Laguna Niguel, California, resident who re-modelled it into a twelve-bed camper!"

Created June 30, 2011