XP-40Q: what was it able to do when?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #1 tomo pauk, Feb 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2013
    In order the discussion about the XP-40Q does not clog the thread about the P-39, Ive started this thread.
    Sometimes in the forum, and on another places, it is stated that it was pity that XP-40Q was not produced used in ww2, beacause of it's great combat capabilities. I disagree with that, my argument being the plane needed too much of engine power to really perform as good as it's contemporaries, while not offering any combat range and punch wanted by it's most likely costumer (USAF).

    By GregP:
    Maybe NAA was a competent company?

    It would be much easier to discuss the technicalities without the red line of 'USAAC owned this or that' or 'we run Allisons just fine'.
    So the General demonstrated the P-40s to Chenault, and that makes him a procurement specialist that knows XP-40Q plans were shipped to NAA? That's as believable as the talk the British fuel was the culprit for P-38 troubles.
    The XP-40Q featured bubble canopy, the NAA-73 did not. The 2-stage engine was in Q (thinkered about in 1940???), single stage in NAA-73. The Q have had the P-36/-40 legacy, 5 spar wing, the U/C retracting ackward, unlike the NAA-73. The cooling systems were way too different. Fuselage was also a carry on from P-36/-40.

    Why should we believe that current US procurement is other than a pale shade of ww2 procurement? Let alone that it has to do anything with ww2.

    Don't think the Bell or Curtiss can hope to match with NAA. The P-47 and P-61 were far more complicated things to pull out than a simple single engined fighter.

    Opinions are one thing. Another thing are facts. So how really good was the Q; when it was bee able to do what is advertised; how much of improvement it was vs. contemporaries; why would the perceived customer buy it?
     
  2. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    #2 Aozora, Feb 8, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
    Two things:
    1) Is there any reason to believe that the P-51 was designed entirely from scratch from the time the design was first mooted to the British? It is entirely possible that Edgar Schmued and co already had some preliminary concepts taking shape well before the Brits came along and asked NAA to build P-40s, which is why they were able to propose a new design. Has anyone got this book (Mustang Designer) which might help?

    2) Is there any more concrete evidence, and, with respect to GregP what he says is still hearsay, that the XP-40Q was the inspiration for the P-51, rather than the XP-46? The timelines are very strange, because the XP-46 first flew four months after the NA-73X

    (This from Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947, Peter M Bowers)
    The basic design and disposition of the armament of the XP-46 were a lot more similar to the NA-73X than the armament and layout of the XP-40Qs, plus, AFAIK the original XP-40Qs were derived from P-40Ks and a P-40N, and first flew in 1943(?):

    What is really interesting is that Curtiss tested an XP-60 with Merlin engine and laminar flow wings in 1941 - was this the aircraft Gen Davy Allison was describing?

     
  3. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Thanks for the feedback, Aozora. I could not agree more about the likely existence of a concept in NAA egineering staff prior the British approached them.

    There was one thing NAA got from Curtiss, for 56,000 $: the data about the XP-46 (mentioned at book Vee's for victory, attributed to Kelsey). Now before people start claiming that Curtiss actually designed future P-51, we can take a look at what XP-46 was able to do. That would be 355 mph (unarmed, almost unpainted), way under what (X)P-51 was capable for, despite it's bigger wing weight. NAA installed a much more refined belly radiator, laminar-flow wing, wheel well covers, along with other, less visible things, making their product excellent.

    Some things are omitted in the excerpt.
    There were three subtypes of the Q line:
    -latest (Q-3), converted from P-40N AC43-254571, clipped wings, the one capable for 422 mph, using the F-28R engine (1700 HP @ 3200 rpm @ 26000 ft, WER 'wet'; military rating: 1100 HP @ 3200 rpm @ 28000 ft), shipped to USAF for testing in 'early 1945'
    -Q-2, converted from P-40K AC42-45722, featuring the F-27 engine ( 1500 HP @ 3200 rpm @ 6000 ft, yes, 6000 ft, WER 'dry'; military rating 1150 HP @ 3000 rpm @ 22400 ft), clipped wings, bubble canopy, revised cooling system (the Q-3 also featured these 3 modifications). No firm date of delivery or/and tests, no known performance either.
    -Q-1, conversion of P-40K AC 42-9987, the F-20R engine (single stage) initially, later the F-27R, without modifications of the wing, canopy cooling system layout. Also no know firm date of delivery testing.

    data from 'Vee's for victory'

    During January of 1944, 'one of the XP-40Q was flow to Eglin Field' (ie. test facility), the aux supercharger ratio of the F-27R engine changed from to 7,23:1, ie same as F-28R. Without ADI, it still cannot beat a fully fledged F-28R.
    Unfortunately, despite stating the legacy P-40 airframes the Qs inherited, Vee's claim (non-referenced) that the laminar flow wing was installed. A quick look at speed vs. HP needed for the speed quickly disproves that claim - both P-51 and P-63 needed far less power to achieve better speeds, despite having larger wings.
     
  4. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The XP-46 was ordered in 1939.

    The P-40 model in production at the time of the British Purchasing Committee signing with NAA was the P-40C, maybe even B.
    The one on the drawing board of Curtiss would have been the P-40D, whose improved performance was the reason that the XP-46 progressed no further.

    The order for the XP-53 prototypes was signed on 1 October 1940, less than a month before the NA-73 flew. The XP-53 was the first of the Curtiss fighters to have a laminar flow wing. This was to be powered by the Continental IV-1430. Since that engine program was lagging behind, the XP-53 was dropped, and the XP-60 with Merlin 28 (in lieu of V-1650-1) was given the go-ahead.

    From Joe Baugher:
    North American NA-73

    There seems little doubt that NAA had dabbled in the design of a fighter before the NA-73 order. So it would seem they at leas had a head start.

    Regarding the XP-60:
    Curtiss P-60

    I thik it was mentioned in Vees for Victory that Curtiss had quality control issues when they were building P-47s later in teh war. Perhaps the wing smoothess issue was an early sign of their quality problem?
     
  5. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The Xp-53/XP-60 looked quite good in its Merlin form

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...ht_(from_XP-53_design)_061024-F-1234P-013.jpg
    http://www.aer.ita.br/~bmattos/mundo/images_jul06/curtiss_p60-3.jpg

    The XP-60A with V-1710 and GE B-series turbo not so much.
    http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/web/061024-F-1234P-016.jpg

    Though it did perform well, its orders were cancelled after Pearl Harbour to concentrate on production of existing types.

    Here's the XP-46
    http://i987.photobucket.com/albums/ae351/markdd/XP-46-_zps3207e1c4.jpg
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Picture of FIRST P-40Q.

    Please notice the startling resemblance to the P-51............:)

    img044fz.jpg

    An Earlier P-40 with "wing" radiators.

    i354538_joeXP40f1.jpg


    Original P-40 Prototype, Plane was faster with Chin Radiator;

    180998d1319181105t-bf-109-vs-p-40-xp-40.jpg

    Also a P-40F with modified radiator.

    curt-yp40f.jpg

    Curtiss seems to have had quite a bit trouble figuring out where they were hiding the plans for the P-40Q.
     
  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #8 tomo pauk, Feb 8, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
    The leading edge radiators were just the oil coolers, Prestone cooler was under the chin. Tempest I have had both oil Prestone radiators at the leading edge, so was the intercooler of Firefly.
    The engine performance was exceptional, if we talk about F-28R, but the engine was too late to matter for ww2.

    Simply got to say this: Tempest I, what a looker.
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #9 drgondog, Feb 9, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
    The Brit Procurement team signed the agreement for the preliminary design of NA-73X, Lee Atwwod's team completed the 3D Pre Design with weights and lines prior to the contract to proceed on May 4. The Brits insisted on a parallel effort to engage Curtis for the P-40 production. Curtiss was contacted on May 4th and the discussions concluded with an agreement between the NAA and Curtis for P-40 data data on wind tunnel data including cooling and drag results of the XP-40.

    Note: the XP-46 was entering mock up stage and had no test data whatsoever at the time NAA took delivery of the XP-40 data. The USAAF ordered two XP-46 prototypes in December 1939, and the first Army inspection of the XP-46 occurred on March 4, 1940.

    Dutch Kindleberger ordered Schmued in very late March to prepare 3 View side elevations with weights and balances, specs, performance estimates around an In-line engine with 4x20mm plus some detail about the armament inst'l. These few drawings were in Kindleberger's hands when he went to UK to negotiate with Sir Henry Self. Self signed the PO for 400 NA-50B to NAA Spec 1592 on April 11. Schmeud started on a mock up just prior to the April 11 contract award and completed it in 3 days using plaster of paris, paper mache and plywood. (pages 51-54 Mustang Designer). The NA-50B became the NAA 73 on April 24 for the construction of one "Allison engined pursuit".

    The entire Curtiss connection was at the direction of Kindleberger so that he could tell the Brits that NAA was utilizing P-40 experience in the development.

    Schmued corrected Lee Atwood's recollection that the radiator design was spawned by Curtiss, noting that Raymond Rice (Chief NAA Engineer and recipient of the box of Curtiss data) was completely dis-connected from the P-51 project led by Schmeud and that the Curtiss data was Not used in the design of the P-51.

    It's pretty simple really. One Curtiss had no idea how the design progressed, or how the data was used. Two, Both Ed Horkey (aero) and Schmeud (structures and P-51 Program manager) state unequivocally that nothing from the XP-46 was used, Horkey stating that the Xp-46 data was rehashed P-40, and that the 3 view drawings and mock up were complete before Atwood went to Curtiss two weeks later. Three, neither were sure that any data related to the XP-46 was ever examined at NAA. Four - all the sketches and 3 View and Mock Up were complete weeks before Atwood went to Buffalo to arrange the purchase of the data.

    Conclusion - The NA-73 was not not connected to the XP-46 in any way.

    Last. The NA 73 first flew on October 26 but the airframe was 100% complete on September 9, 1940. Greg may be under an impression that it was 'two years' or even 'one year' but the actual date from the April 24 Contract, which is earliest time that a full team could be named for the detail design, to October 26 is six months to first flight and four months to completion of the XP-51 airframe. If you measure from the time a paper napkin sketch flowed into the start of a serious three view drawing Kindleberger could show Sir Henry Self - then you have seven months.

    Most folks would think that is pretty good even if '100' days is off.
     
  10. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    I don't have all the records to look back on. But If you look at the T6 Texan / Harvard, I think its obvious that it is "related" to the Mustang. Particularly in the wing. Much like you can see the design genesis in the P-35 / P-43 from Seversky to the P-47 Thunderbolt.

    So is it you can see Curtiss when you look at any of the P-40 series including the X-planes. I think it even extends to the Helldiver and the C-46.
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #11 GregP, Feb 10, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
    Let's say Drgondog and I have heard different stories from people invlolved ... unless he is using reference material and not direct communication to make his post. I don't know and decline to ask. Either one of us or neither could be correct, it depends on who you speak with and what their recollections are ... and the real facts .. which are probably lost to time or are hideen away in files buried somewhere that are unavialble to the causal information searcher.

    I KNOW what history records (no evidence of collusion with the XP-40Q plans), but that doesn't make it either true or false, just what has been accepted. The world was also accepted as flat right up until it wasn't. Most criminals deny they did the crime right up until and sometimes even after they are convicted. NAA would never admit if they DID use the Curtiss Data including the XP-40Q initial plans, and Curtiss hasn't "sued" over it, but that doesn't weigh in with me at all either way.

    Personally I don't care, but I do WONDER after hearing what we heard. I'll not get in line and accept the word of a rival that he didn't use preliminary design data from a competitor. I bet that never happend in automotive Formula 1, either, huh? Especially ot a "front runner' like McClaren? Oh wait ... it DID about 3 years ago and they are still under suspension ... maybe they are back this coming year ...

    Back in 1940, the ability to feret out the truth may well have been much harder than it is today, given the lack of a world wide web that can record everything and electronic copies of communications, etc. ... maybe not. Either way, I still wonder and have simply stated that plus what was said in paraphrase. Nodoby else need consider it, believe it, or think it has merit. It wasn't my own concoction to start with and I probably should not have even mentioned what was said. Certainly, if the proof is there and still exists, somebody would have to believe it, and then take the trouble to dig it up and publish it.

    With the posts above, even fans of the time are not inclined to pursue it, much less someone who is NOT a fan. Neither am I at this time.

    Doubting posts are not an opinion changer and people who don't consider alernatives are usually "mind made up" and cannot be swayed either way, even in the face of facts, which I don't pretend to have established ... I just passed on what I heard.

    Neither am I a follower who blindly accepts the published version of "facts." Indistrial intrigue in the face of huge wartime profits was a fact, not heresay. Whether or not this subject was a part of that is in some doubt ... by me at least. No conviction is likey at this extended time past the deeds or lack thereof.

    So, let's get back to the XP40Q (thread subject) and let this one drop. Argument about it is fraught with peorsonal opinion.

    From what I have read, the XP-40Q seems to have been a good fighter with characteristics that made it good ... but it fell slightly short in top speed to the P-51 (422 vs. 437 mph). Why that small difference would be important is beyond me since neither was likely to attain max speed except in a slight dive anyway.

    So I ask myself if the XP-40Q, in 1943, would be an asset at the time it was developed..

    The answer is yes, if the logistics chain could be justified. Since we were able to produce enough P-51's to meet war needs in the actual event, the obvious answer is that another long, complicated logistics chain with mechanics, spare parts, etc. was probably not justified once the P-51 logistics chain was in operation. It would have been cheaper and more efficient to expand the P-51 chain than to establish a new one to support planes that could be supported by the P-51 production line instead.

    Logically then, what happened was probably the better choice, even if the XP-40Q could have been a good addition, which I believe it could have been in other circumstances. Since I am a fan of obscure types, the XP-40Q simply falls in there with other potentially good or great planes that came at just the wrong time or just at the time when circumstances dictated another choice, through no fault of the particular prototype under consideration.

    So, though I lament the choice to not build the P-40Q, it was probably the right choice at the time. Curtiss did not long survive in the airframe game after the P-40 anyway, and the P-40Q might simply have prolonged the agony a bit longer.

    Long live the P-51 and I wish an XP-40Q survived for at least museum flights.
     
  12. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    It was 2007. McLaren weren't suspended, but were fined $100m and excluded from the constructor's championship, but not the driver's championship, their drivers finishing equal second by one point. They won the driver's championship (Hamilton) literally at the last corner of the last lap of the last race, and finished second to Ferrari in the constructor's champiosnhip.
     
  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Sorry, Gerg, but it seems to me that you're comparing an early 1945 plane (XP-40Q-3) with mid 1943 plane (Merlin Mustang). That is what makes the whole difference, not 15 mph. Let alone the far better combat range, plus, by mid 1944, 50% more firepower, and no problems when in high speed dive.
    Neither the XP-40Q-1, nor XP-40Q-2, and those are still later designs than P-51B, did not have the horse power to attain the much advertised 422 mph, not until they receive the F-28R engine. A plane that can do 422 mph, with short range, in 1945, was NOT like something the AAF was after.
    If AAF was really into a 420 mph, short range airplanes, they could have had the P-63A in service in early 1944 (more than a year before the serial produced P-40Q), looks to me that was not the case.

    If we really want an over-performer, produced by Curtiss, they can start to produce the P-47G (but in a proper way, not lame as they did historically), for which they have had the contract signed in June 1942. The logistic chain was there, in all war theaters USAF was fighting. The P-47 did have better range, twice the firepower, and, by 1945, it was circa 50 miles faster - in service vs. a prototype to boot.

    Wrong time, indeed. Too late.

    Right choice, indeed. Curtiss-Wright also dissapeared as an engine maker.

    Agreed.
     
  14. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #14 drgondog, Feb 10, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
    I wish a lot of the X frames were still around.
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Drgondog,

    I know the history of the XP-4Q airframes. What I'm talking about is the idea for the design that was originally put on paper. I have heard the design was drawn up in early 1940, but there were other priorities at the time for Curtiss. Since I wasn't around, I cannot either confirm or deny this and I suspect that none of us in here can. Naturally, the USAAC felt they owned the designs since they were the customer for the P-40.

    While the design may or may not have been the government's to show to a competitor, Curtiss may have had little practical shoice since teyw ere dependent upon the government for survival.

    I posted what I heard. I do not claim that it was absolutely so, I passed on what I heard. If you had been there, you'd have heard it, too and would be free to make your own arguments or conclusions after the fact.

    I get probing questions in here when I pass on things we hear at museum talks and people start needling. If you did thath in the presentation, you'd be asked to leave. The public is there to hear the pilot / famous peron talk ... not to hear a member of the audience argue with the guest.

    So I do NOT say the real aircraft was available in 1940 and never have. I said the plans may have been compromised, and they well may have ... or not. It is something to consider, not to state as an absolute.
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #16 drgondog, Feb 10, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
    Greg - posing the question 'did NAA base their Mustang design on the XP-40Q ?' and then continuing to support your statement when others present multiple and credible facts and information to contradict your 'speculation', while you fail to deliver a shred of evidence to support your speculation, reduces your credibility rapidly.

    It's not just defense of the author of the comment, but your own lack of due diligence in making any assertion that you haven't verified - I've experienced that moment of 'oops' but I don't feel picked on when I get clobbered for opening mouth and inserting foot. Nor do most of the posters that are still on the forum after some of the raging debates over stuff that have LOTS of facts to work with.

    One of the reasons I spent a LOT of time cross referencing statements made by 355th vets when I was researching the history is that a Lot of recollections about 1943 when solicited in 1980 made it clear that fact verification needed to be the rule of the day. I can recollect a specific argument (disagreement) I had with Yeager that visibly irritated him regarding whether the Square D 100th was 3rd Division when he commented that it was 1st. His specific comment was "G-- D--n It! I was There!!" Had John Sublett (another 357 ace) not 'corrected' Yeager in the conversation it would have been simply stupid to pursue even though I KNEW he was wrong. Yeager was irritated at Sublett, then

    Conclusion drawn.. being there was not always a guarantee of accurately reciting facts..
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, there were a whole bunch of other priorities at the time for Curtiss.

    The P-46, the P-53 (which did use some P-40 parts and a laminar flow wing, a possible source of confusion?), The P-55, The P-60 ( including a few pieces of the P-53 and by extension a few P-40 pieces) and a few more fighter designs.

    Strange that with "plans" for the P-40Q apparently sitting a drawer somewhere they spent so much time, money and effort on all these other programs.

    What is really strange is that everybody admits/agrees that NA got to look at the data/plans of the P-40 and P-46. The dispute seems to be what use NA made of this information, if any. What is even stranger is that IF NA used any of this data it was the Aviation deal of the century because for $46,000 they apparently got exclusive use of the information rather than just a look at the information. NO Curtiss aircraft used a radiator set up like the P-51 and NO Curtiss aircraft used a wing quite like the P-51s wing.
     
  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Dead on, Shortround. In addition there is no data or presented facts even hinting that the data purchased from Curtiss was a.) interesting, or b.) used, or c.) used by Curtiss in subsequent designs including the P-46 which was far from wind tunnel stage, or subsequent Curtiss designs.

    The most wide spread version of the Purpose of purchasing the data was so that Kindleberger could state that NAA was prepared to build P-40s for the RAF if the NA-73 was a failure.

    I have researched this across both the History of Curtiss and all the mainstream Mustang histories and have yet to find a definitive statement that NAA even opened the container of Curtiss supplied data, or when the data was actually delivered - much less an inventory of the data or a suggestion of any XP-46 aero data or any theoretical derivative of the P-40 family used in any way toward the Mustang design.

    Yet the 'stories' and claims all seem to come from folks that a.) had nothing to do with the Mustang design, or b.) had nothing to do with P-40/53/55/60/40Q designs.
     
  19. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Did the P-40 design go as far as it could go? Or was there any meat left for it go into production 1945?
     
  20. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    What did the P-40 have to offer when there were more P-51s and P-47s than could be deployed coming off the production lines.
     
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