Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Fail : P-75A Eagle

Two things can screw up a project: bad timing and changing requirements. Unfortunately for the rather interesting P-75 it suffered from both.

Conceived early in America's fight in the Second World War the Fisher P-75A Eagle was an innovative attempt to build a high performance fighter. Unfortunately by the time it was ready to begin flight tests the war was almost over and the USAAF no longer needed the type.

In 1942 the USAAF was desperately in need of a high performance interceptor with a high rate of climb, the Fisher Bodies division of General Electric came up with the interesting idea of combining aircraft parts already in production with a powerful engine to come up with a solution to the air force's problems quickly.

The P-75 thus took wings from a P-40 (originally they were to have come from a P-51), the tail from an A-24 and the tail wheel unit from an F4U and combined them in a new fuselage and they fitted a 2885hp Allison V-3420 engine in it. The P-75 had quite an advanced design with twin contra rotating propellers and the engine behind the cockpit.

By the time of the P-75's first flight in late 1943 however the USAAF needed a long-ranged escort fighter not an interceptor and the performance was rather disappointing anyway. The design was modified into the P-75A which was ready for testing by late 1944. Unfortunately for the P-75A by then the end of the war was in sight and the USAAF no longer wanted new fighters of this type, especially a brand new aircraft. Just 5 P-75As were built in the end, the conditional 2,500 production order was canceled.

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