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Vought XF5U

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P&W R-2000
2 x 1,350 hp ea.
28 ft. 7 in.
32 ft. 6 in.
13,107 lbs.
18,770 lbs.
6- .50 cal.
2,000 lbs.
175 mph
425 mph
1,720 fpm
34,500 feet
1,050 miles

Vought  XF5U
Vought XF-5U

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The Vought XF5U is among the most unusual looking aircraft ever to fly.

Development of the carrier based fighter began just before the start of the second World War.

The idea behind the Vought XF5U "flying pancake" shaped aircraft was to generate maximum lift for easily controlled aircraft carrier landings, yet be streamlined enough to allow for fast maximum speeds.

Test flights of the smaller pre production V-173  aircraft during World War II uncovered minor problems which probably would have been overcome with time.

However, after the war and with the advent of the "jet age", the Navy saw the future as aircraft without propellers. Therefore work on the Vought XF5U was discontinued in early 1947.

Vought  XF5U
Vought XF5U built by Kevin Marsh.

We received the following from Kevin Marsh: "My Vought XF5U 'Flapjack' weighs a shade over one and three quarter kilo's. She's powered by a single 2200 3S lipo feeding two 2217 860Kv brushless outrunner motors. These currently turn twin two blade, counter rotating (essential on an XF5U of course!) 10x6 inch props but together they are only drawing a peak of 23Amps static so I could, and may, still up-prop further. She flew quite nicely with even smaller motors turning 8x4 inch three blade props but feels much more assertive in the air now. She hasn't quite got a one to one power to weight ratio but can perform steep and slow climb outs well. Construction is mostly 'pink' insulation board polystyrene foam covered in light weight glass cloth and polyurethane varnish. The tailerons are all moving and of Epp foam and the forward sections of the motor booms ended up being replaced with sections of PVC pipe! Which just happened to be the perfect diameter! I agonised somewhat over installing retracts and for the moment I'm glad I went with a fixed undercarriage. The taileron's have one servo each and the twin rudders and tailwheel share one more. These are all run through a KK clone quadcopter board running openaero stabilisation software. I've been reducing the gains on this gradually to increase the XF5U's agility which has improved but the trimmed up angle needed on the tailerons for level flight mean it's not a plane I'm happy to roll much less fly inverted, which is a shame as it has a fully symmetrical airfoil. The fins were originally canted toe out as per the original but I have altered them toe in slightly after the maiden to improve stability. However even having done this and shifting the centre of gravity a few millimetres further forward my Flapjack develops a strong and rapid roll oscillation as soon as the stabilisation electronics are switched off. I am intending to research and rectify this eventually but with the plane flying so nicely as it is, it's hardly a priority. Painting Bugs bunny on the nose though,... With the current props it isn't particularly fast but that was never a primary goal. The ability to fly in less than ideal weather was though and though I certainly haven't tried anything extreme the combination of planform and artificial stabilisation seem to handle wind very well. She's 86cm span, across the tailerons and 72cm long from nose to 'tail'."

We want to thank Kevin for telling us all about his XF5U build.

Vought  XF5U
Vought XF5U built by Bill Wargo.

Pictured above is the nice looking Vought XF5U radio control airplane built by Bill Wargo. Unfortunately we do not have any details about it.

The first picture below is of the Vought XF5U  built by Frank Burke. Construction material is of Depron foam. Tailerons span 37". It has a wing span of 33". Power comes from two 2208-17 outrunner brushless motors turning 8 x 3.8 propellers.

The next two pictures below are of the Vought XF5U built by Giuseppe Ghisleri. It is built from Depron and blue foam and has a wing span of 42". Two speed 400 motors geared 2:1 power it. Giuseppe uses a catapult to launch it.  All up weight is 38 oz.

The last picture on this page is of the Vought XF5U scratch built by Larry Botsford. It is 1/6 scale and powered by AXI 4120/18 motors. All up weight is exactly 15 lbs. Larry reports that his RC Airplane is easy to fly, but landings take some extra attention.

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Vought  XF5U
Vought XF5U built Frank Burke.

Vought  XF5U
Vought XF5U built by Giuseppe Ghisleri.

Vought  XF5U
Giuseppe Ghisleri launching his Vought XF5U.

Vought  XF5U
Vought XF5U built by Larry Botsford.