flying pancake?

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the lancaster kicks ass

Major General
Dec 20, 2003
i've recently read a small article about a experimental WW2american aircraft nicnamed "the flying pancake", i was wondering if anybody had anyinformation or knows about this plane?


"Vought XF5U "Flying Pancake"

The brainchild of Charles H. Zimmerman, the F5U was intended to perform well as a fighter plane while being able to remain in flight at extremely low airspeed, making it easier to operate from carriers. The F5U's unusual appearance owed to a very low aspect ratio wing without a fuselage, which resulted in something looking like a flying saucer. This shape, combined with powerful engines driving large propellers, could plow through the air at low speed (40 mph!), since the whole airframe is immersed in the prop wash. As a result, short takeoff and landing (STOL) performance was possible. At the other end of the performance envelope, the low aspect ratio and lack of fuselage would decrease drag, maintaining a high maximum speed. Maneuverability at all speeds would be improved by a small reduction in wing loading compared to conventional fighters, combined with a more compact shape and prop wash going over all control surfaces.
In 1941, Vought began building a low-power, full-scale demonstrator of wood and fabric construction, the V-173 (Bu. No. 02987), first flown on November 23, 1942, by Vought test pilot Boone T. Guyton. Other than test pilots Guyton and Richard Burroughs, the V-173 was also flown by Charles Lindbergh. In some 200 test flights, the V-173 proved Zimmerman right, having a low stall speed, relatively high maximum speed considering the powerplants, and being impossible to stall or put into a spin.

Based on the success of the V-173, the Navy ordered two XF5U-1 prototypes (Bu. Nos. 33958/33959) in 1944. The airframes were completed in August, 1945. An interesting innovation as the use of "metalite" for the skin, a sandwich of balsa between two layers of aluminum. Unfortunately, it wasn't until 1947 that the special articulated propellers were delivered. Tethered tests were performed in Connecticut, but plans to flight test the F5U's at Edwards AFB (delivering them via the Panama Canal) were canceled in 1948, the Navy having lost interest in propeller-driven fighters."


Found an interesting bit of info today... the flying pancake is one of the planes in the new flight sim 'Secret Weapons over Normandy'.

I might have to look into this... :study:
ohhhhhhhhh, interesting thanks, i read that they're restoring the last known example in America somewhere 0X
Really? I have CFS2, haven't played it in forever and ten days. IL-2: Forgotten Battles is so much better. If you were to put CFS2 on 'roids, IL-2 is CFS2 on 'roids, on 'roids! ;) 8)
FB has great graphics, effects, etc, but it doesn't have carriers, Corsairs, SBDs, TBMs, Vals, Kates, or accurate Pacific scenery - which is what I enjoy the most in sims (well, CFS2). Graphics have to be acceptable, but no matter how good they are, not having the above items marks the sim as second-rate IMO :lol:
FB is an Eastern-front based sim. You didn't see carriers steaming up the Volga in real life, so you don't in FB.

It is expanding it's horizons and has added new scenery and a few Jap planes. But you want my opinion, that's so that it will sell better in Japan :confused:

Hey hey!!! There's a new one coming out, based on the IL-2 graphics engine that's based in the Pacific! Pacific Fighters, I believe it'll be called :D Rafe and Archer will be pleased, no doubt 8)
Other than not even having all of New Guinea available....and probably not all of the Solomons, ya, it looks good. I'll get it cuz the F4U-1A SnowPipe is making (WIP shots at looks amazing :p But from what Luthier said it sounds like its going to have too many shortcomings for my likings :p

The Russians can never win :lol:

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