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Experimental Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Fighter Prototype

United States | 1954

"The CONVAIR XFY Pogo was a study in the viability of a VTOL fighter aircraft - only three were built and only one ever flown."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the CONVAIR XFY-1 Experimental Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Fighter Prototype.
1 x Allison YT40-A-14 turboprop engine developing 5,100 horsepower while driving 2 x Three-bladed contra-rotating propellers.
475 mph
765 kph | 413 kts
Max Speed
37,533 ft
11,440 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
500 miles
805 km | 435 nm
Operational Range
9,985 ft/min
3,043 m/min
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the CONVAIR XFY-1 Experimental Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Fighter Prototype.
32.2 ft
9.80 m
O/A Length
27.6 ft
(8.40 m)
O/A Width
22.9 ft
(6.98 m)
O/A Height
11,155 lb
(5,060 kg)
Empty Weight
16,248 lb
(7,370 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the CONVAIR XFY Pogo Experimental Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Fighter Prototype .
4 x 20mm cannons

48 x 70mm Mk 4 FFARs (Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets)
Notable series variants as part of the CONVAIR XFY Pogo family line.
XFY - Base Product Designation
XFY-1 - Prototype Designation
"Pogo" - Product Name
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/02/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Both the CONVAIR XFY "Pogo" and Lockheed XFV were developed to a 1950 United States Navy (USN) requirement intended to test the viability of a "tail-sitting" shipborne fighter for arming and protecting convoys and for providing a quick-reaction point defense capability to warships in general. The aircraft were described as tail-sitters due to their vertical stance when at rest, taking-off or landing. In this fashion, the aircraft held a small, compact footprint on the space-strapped decks of USN ships then in service and could be called into action in short order. Several programs attempted the same end-goal during this post-World War 2 period and included the French-originated SNECMA "Coleopter". In the end, the CONVAIR work netted three aircraft with only one flyable example. Similarly, the Lockheed submission could claim just one flyable example between its two prototypes completed.

The CONVAIR submission was designated "XFY-1" and was also known as the "Model 5". As in the Lockheed entry, the CONVAIR aircraft utilized a conventional propulsion package, held equal-span tailfins (both ventrally and dorsally with all four wing tips capped by small castor wheels), and seated a sole pilot over the nose. As designed, the XFY featured a unique pivoting system for the pilot's ejection seat allowing the whole unit to tilt 45-degrees when the aircraft sat in the vertical position and level out when the aircraft switched to horizontal flight. The ventral tailfin was also made jettisonable in the event an emergency landing was required of the aircraft. Unlike the XFV, the XFY was given a modified delta-planform for its wing mainplanes.

The USN ordered three prototypes from CONVAIR in March of 1951.

Power to the design would initially come from an Allison YT-40-A engine of 5,850 horsepower and a ch a later switch would be made to the still-in-development XT40-A-16 of 6,966 horsepower output. This was the same plan for the competing Lockheed XFV. The XFY's engine fit would be used to drive 2 x three-bladed propeller units in contra-rotating fashion at the nose.

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The XFY was also slated to carry a similar armament load to its rival - 4 x 20mm cannons fitted to two wingtip pods or 48 x 2.75" aerial rockets in their place. The wingtip pods allowed for the weapon's firing clearance of the large, broad spinning propeller blades.

A prototype example completed its first tethered flight on April 19th, 1954 and managed a first flight (a vertical take-off and landing action) on August 1st, 1954 (the Lockheed submission was "first-to-fly" on June 16th of that year). On November 2nd, 1954, the aircraft completed its first vertical take-off to horizontal flight transition - something not accomplished by the Lockheed entry.

The sole flyable XFY example managed 60 hours in the air before the VTOL program was cancelled by the USN. The major deficiencies in the CONVAIR design were a lack of an effective air braking measure when attempting to transition to vertical landing and the inherently difficult -and dangerous - landing action altogether which itself required a steady and experienced hand "at the stick". Beyond these factors, the aircraft's estimated performance would never match that of the newest enemy fighter jets coming online. As such the final flight of the XFY occurred during November of 1956 ending several years of useful testing.

Like the Lockheed XFV, the CONVAIR XFY was saved from the scrap heap and currently (2016) resides in storage at the National Air and Space Museum in Maryland. Reported performance specifications included a maximum speed of 475 miles per hour, a range out to 500 miles, a service ceiling of 37,500 feet, and a rate-of-climb of 9,980 feet-per-minute.

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Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the CONVAIR XFY Pogo. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 3 Units

Contractor(s): CONVAIR - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (cancelled) ]
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Image of the CONVAIR XFY Pogo
Image from the Public Domain.
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Image of the CONVAIR XFY Pogo
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The CONVAIR XFY Pogo Experimental Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Fighter Prototype appears in the following collections:
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