Consolidated Vultee XP-81

Consolidated Vultee XP-81

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Consolidated Vultee XP-81

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The Consolidated Vultee XP-81 was a development of the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation to build a single seat, long range escort fighter that combined use of both a turbojet and a turboprop engines. Although promising, the lack of a suitable engine combined with the end of World War II doomed the project.

Design and development

Two prototype aircraft were ordered on 11 February 1944 that were designated XP-81. The engine selection was an attempt to couple the high-speed capability of the jet engine with the endurance offered by the propeller engine. The XP-81 was designed to use the General Electric TG-100 turboprop engine (later designated XT31 by the US military) in the nose driving a four-bladed propeller and an GE J33 turbojet in the rear fuselage. The turboprop would be used for normal flight and cruising and the turbojet added for high-speed flight.

Operational history

The first XP-81 (serial 44-91000) was completed in January 1945 but because of developmental problems the turboprop engine was not ready for installation. A decision was then made to mount a complete V-1650-7 Merlin engine package from a P-51D aircraft in place of the turboprop for initial flight tests. This was done in a week and the Merlin-powered XP-81 was sent to the Muroc airbase where it flew for the first time on 11 February 1945. During 10 flight test...
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