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Koolhoven F.K.55


Single-Seat, Single-Engine Prototype Fighter Aircraft


Netherlands | 1938



"Only one example of the Dutch Koolhoven F.K.55 fighter was ever completed before the program was cancelled in full prior to World War 2."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/10/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Prior to World War 2 (1939-1945) the Dutch held a respectable aero industry that produced a few notable types of local design. The Koolhoven F.K.55 was a prototype developed along the lines of a high-speed fighter and appeared during the latter half of the 1930s. The line ended with a sole example being built, its first flight held on June 30th, 1938, and the program terminated before the end of the year.

Its design, begun in 1937, was one of a sleek all-modern fighter with the cockpit set forward of the wing mainplanes and the mainplanes shifted just ahead of midships (and shoulder-mounted). Wingtips were rounded and the appendages straight in appearance. The tail unit was conventional with a single fin and a pair of horizontal planes. Construction was mixed, composed of metal and wood. A "tail dragger" undercarriage was featured. The engine of choice became a Lorraine 12Hrs "Petrel" V-12 of 860 horsepower driving a pair of two-bladed propeller assemblies at the nose in contra-rotating fashion. Due to the placement of the cockpit, well forward in the fuselage, the engine was installed aft of the pilot (as in the famous Bell P-39 "AiraCobra" fighter detailed elsewhere on this site).

The completed aircraft was made ready for its first flight in the early part of 1938 and has all of the appearance required of a high-performance aircraft. A fixed undercarriage greeted this monumental moment for the design with the intention that a retractable system be instituted later in development. However, in practice, the design proved lacking in the power necessary for the role - the 860 horsepower produced for the engine was just take-off power. Underpowered and costly to revise, this aircraft endeavor was eventually abandoned by Koolhoven and fell to the pages of military aviation history. Engineers pushed for the installation of a Lorraine "Sterna" supercharged engine of 1,200 horsepower to no avail.

As designed, the F.K.55 sported an maximum speed of 317 miles per hour, a cruising speed nearing 280 miles per hour, a range out to 530 miles and a rate-of-climb of 2,580 feet-per-minute (all figures estimated by Koolhoven). Its proposed armament scheme was to fit a 20mm cannon firing through the propeller hub and 4 x .303 machines guns, two installed in each wing. The P-39 fielded similar armament though a more potent 37mm autocannon in the nose. Its performance was much better as well: a maximum speed of 375 mph was seen in the Q-models. Like the F.K.55, it first flew in 1938 and went on to have a strong war record in the subsequent global conflict.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Koolhoven F.K.55 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Prototype Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Lorraine Petrel 12Hrs 12-cylinder Vee engine developing 860 horsepower.
Propulsion
317 mph
510 kph | 275 kts
Max Speed
528 miles
850 km | 459 nm
Operational Range
2,580 ft/min
786 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Koolhoven F.K.55 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Prototype Fighter Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
30.3 ft
9.25 m
O/A Length
31.5 ft
(9.60 m)
O/A Width
8.5 ft
(2.60 m)
O/A Height
3,527 lb
(1,600 kg)
Empty Weight
4,850 lb
(2,200 kg)
MTOW
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Koolhoven F.K.55 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Prototype Fighter Aircraft .
PROPOSED:
1 x 20mm cannon firing through propeller hub
4 x 7.7mm (0.303) machine guns in wings
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Koolhoven F.K.55 family line.
F.K.55 - Base Series Designation; single prototype completed in 1938.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Koolhoven F.K.55. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1 Units

Contractor(s): Koolhoven - Netherlands
National flag of the Netherlands

[ Netherlands (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (317mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Production Comparison
1
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the Koolhoven F.K.55
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Koolhoven F.K.55 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Prototype Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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