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Hughes XR-11 / XF-11

Long-Range Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft Prototype

Hughes XR-11 / XF-11

Long-Range Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft Prototype

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The Hughes XF-11 reconnaissance-minded platform only saw two prototypes completed - the first crashing into the suburb of Beverly Hills with Howard Hughes at the controls.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1946
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Hughes Aircraft - USA
PRODUCTION: 2
OPERATORS: United States (cancelled)
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Hughes XR-11 / XF-11 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 2
LENGTH: 65.42 feet (19.94 meters)
WIDTH: 101.35 feet (30.89 meters)
HEIGHT: 23.16 feet (7.06 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 37,038 pounds (16,800 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 58,202 pounds (26,400 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360-31 radial piston engines developing 3,000 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 447 miles-per-hour (720 kilometers-per-hour; 389 knots)
RANGE: 4,971 miles (8,000 kilometers; 4,320 nautical miles)
CEILING: 44,012 feet (13,415 meters; 8.34 miles)




ARMAMENT



None.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• XF-11 - Original Series Designation; 2 examples produced with the first offering featuring contra-rotating blades and the second with traditional propeller blade assemblies.
• XR-11 - Later Designation


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Hughes XR-11 / XF-11 Long-Range Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft Prototype.  Entry last updated on 6/28/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Though only achieving prototype form, the XF-11 was one of the darling designs of famed American aviator Howard Hughes. Looking very much like an oversized Lockheed P-38, the twin-boom XF-11 was designed to fulfill a United States military requirement for a long-range photographic reconnaissance fighter. The project progressed with great potential until a disastrous crash of Prototype 1 in the suburbs of Beverly Hills (nearly taking the life of Hughes himself) effectively caused the cancellation of the entire project. The XF-11 would face off with Republic's offering of the XF-12 "Rainbow" only to see neither design chosen at project's end.

The XF-11 was of a traditional twin-boom design, popularized in other forms such as the Northrop P-61 Black Widow and the aforementioned Lockheed P-38 Lightning. The first of two prototypes featured contra-rotating propeller systems on each engine, offering up a great deal of power and performance potential at the cost of increased maintenance and production times. The X-11 featured a powered tricycle landing gear system which proved successful in other designs during the Second world War. The fuselage was constructed of all metal with a two-man crew - the pilot and a radio operator - in a center-fuselage nacelle with complete cabin pressurization for high-altitude capability. Pratt & Whitney brand engines were selected to power the design and these powerplants would turn two four-bladed propeller systems with variable pitch settings. With the Beverly Hills crash blamed on engine failure, the second XF-11 prototype was engineered with traditional non-contra-rotating propeller blade systems.

By all respects, the XF-11 performed admirably well considering the dramatic series of setbacks to the project. Stability and control at high speeds was especially noteworthy though exception was made to the low-altitude stability and performance the system encouraged. A complicated aircraft to fly when compared to others of this type, the XF-11 was nonetheless a capable design in most respects.

Pitted against the Republic XF-12, the XF-11 was deemed as too costly to maintain and produce along with the complications inherent in the system's design. Even with the XF-12 having an edge, the United States Air Force ultimately went with the Boeing produced RB-50 reconnaissance aircraft, citing its respectable range and reconnaissance capabilities equal to that of either XF offering with a lesser price tag.




MEDIA







General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Rating: 22 (of 100)
The rating is an internal assessment derived from 60 total factors pertaining to this aircraft.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (447mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Hughes XR-11 / XF-11's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
2
2

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue