×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Global Military Ranks
HOME
AVIATION / AEROSPACE
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
GOLDEN AGE
X-PLANE

General Aviation XFA


Parasite Fighter Prototype


Aviation / Aerospace

1 / 1
Image from the Public Domain.

The General Aviation XFA was used in competition against a Curtiss and Berliner-Joyce design to satisfy a secretive USN parasite fighter requirement - it failed to impress.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/8/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
During the early 1930s, the United States Navy (USN) held an eye towards modernization amidst a backdrop of emerging threats. This resulting in Specification No.96 being drawn up calling for a new, all-modern shipborne fighter capable of performance on par with contemporaries - though the secret lay in a USN ambition to develop a lightweight "parasite" fighter for its airship fleet. The General Aviation Corporation (GAC) was one of the entrants into a competition which also went on to include the Berliner-Joyce "XFJ-1" and the Curtiss "XF9C-1". The company had origins in 1924, founded by Anthony Fokker himself, and ended as the predecessor to North American Aviation (makers of the World War 2-era P-51 "Mustang" and B-25 "Mitchell" classic aircraft.

The General Aviation brand label, itself, followed the U.S Fokker Aircraft Corporation (Atlantic Aircraft / Atlantic-Fokker).

The 1930s presented aeronautics students with a chance to evolve old-school design. While biplanes, fixed undercarriages, and open-air cockpits remained en vogue, development now allowed for metal internal structures and all-metal skinning on surfaces - enhancing tolerances and promoting greater speeds/performance.

The XFA-1, as presented to USN authorities, was largely conventional in its design arrangement: the engine was seated at the nose, the pilot positioned over midships, and the relying on a single vertical plane with low-set horizontal planes. A biplane wing arrangement was in play in which the upper member was of wider span than the lower and both joined by N-type struts creating a single-bay, unequal-span appearance. The upper wing was also joined into the upper line of the fuselage and not made of a single structure as was typical. Again the pilot sat in an open-air cockpit which offered view out over the upper wing member - but vision out-of-the-cockpit was still restricted by the biplane wings. The fixed undercarriage had a pair of wheeled main legs under the forward mass of the aircraft with a tailwheel positioned under the rear.

The fighter was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-C "Wasp" series air-cooled radial piston engine developing an impressive 450 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose. This same powerplant went on to be used in the Boeing P-26 "Peashooter" USAAC fighter of 1932, the soon-to-come North American T-6 "Texan" military trainer, and the future Sikorsky H-19 "Chickasaw" utility helicopter. With nearly 35,000 units eventually built, the Wasp engine series stood as the predecessor to the famous R-985 "Wasp Junior".

All-metal construction was used where possible though wing and tail surfaces remained skinned in fabric.

Armament centered on 2 x 0.30 caliber medium machine guns fitted over the nose, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades - enough offensive firepower to contend with any threat of the day.

Dimensions included a running length of 22.1 feet, a wingspan of 25.5 feet, and a height of 9.2 feet. Empty weight was 1,835lb with a gross rating of 2,510lb.

The USN tested the XFA-1 during March of 1932 and subsequent trials showed the type lacking in key areas when compared to its rivals. Controlling was deemed poor for a fighter which necessitated structure changes by General Aviation. The modifications did not help and throttle/nose up issues were consistent - resulting in an aircraft that was more dangerous to its pilot than to any enemy of the day.

As such, the design was ultimately rejected by the USN and General Aviation discontinued work on the type thereafter. The challengers of the standing USN requirement all saw rather limited success - a single XFA-1 was completed and flown while the Curtiss XF9C-1 won out and was evolved to become just seven operational examples of the F9C "Sparrowhawk" parasite fighter for the USN - these given up as soon as 1937 - and a single prototype of the Berliner-Joyce XFJ was tested/flown.

The XFA-1, as tested, managed a maximum speed of 170 miles-per-hour, a range out to 520 miles, and a service ceiling up to 20,200 feet. Rate-of-climb was 1,470 feet-per-minute.


Specifications



Year:
1932
Status
Cancelled
Crew
1
[ 1 Units ] :
General Aviation Corporation (Fokker) - USA
National flag of United States United States (canceled)
- Fighter
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- X-Plane / Developmental
Length:
22.15 ft (6.75 m)
Width:
25.49 ft (7.77 m)
Height:
9.19 ft (2.8 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the General Aviation XFA-1 production model)
Empty Weight:
1,841 lb (835 kg)
MTOW:
2,513 lb (1,140 kg)
(Diff: +672lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the General Aviation XFA-1 production model)
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-1340-C "Wasp" air-cooled radial piston engine developing 450 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the General Aviation XFA-1 production model)
Max Speed:
171 mph (275 kph; 148 kts)
Service Ceiling:
20,210 feet (6,160 m; 3.83 miles)
Max Range:
519 miles (835 km; 451 nm)
Rate-of-Climb:
1,470 ft/min (448 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the General Aviation XFA-1 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
PROPOSED:
2 x 0.30 caliber (7.62mm) machine guns in the upper cowling synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the General Aviation XFA-1 production model)
XFA - Base Project Designation.
XFA-1 - Single, flyable prototype example.
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

Similar Aircraft



Aviation developments similar or related to the General Aviation XFA...


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-