USA: Experimental Aircraft: McDonnell XP-67 Moonbat

McDonnell XP-67 Moonbat

(NMUSAF Photo)

U.S. Army Air Forces McDonnell XP-67 Bat (Serial No. 42-11677).

The McDonnell XP-67 "Bat" or "Moonbat" was a prototype for a twin-engine, long-range, single-seat interceptor aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces. Although the design was conceptually advanced, it was beset by numerous problems and never approached its anticipated level of performance. The project was cancelled after the sole completed prototype was destroyed by a midair fire in September 1944. (Wikipedia)

(NMUSAF Photo)

The McDonnell XP-67 nearly complete in mid-November 1943. Even though the nacelle’s duct design was found to be insufficient in the wind tunnel tests, the aircraft was not modified with a new design until later. Note the covered ports for 37 mm cannons on each side of the cockpit and that the propellers do not have their cuffs installed.

(NMUSAF Photos)

U.S. Army Air Forces McDonnell XP-67 Bat (Serial No. 42-11677).

On 6 September 1944, the starboard engine of the XP-67 caught fire during a test flight, and test pilot E.E. Elliot executed an emergency landing at Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri. He attempted to park the craft pointing into the wind to blow the flames away from the airframe, but the starboard main landing gear brakes failed, pivoting the XP-67 so the flames blew directly towards the aft fuselage. Elliot escaped safely, but the blaze gutted the fuselage, engine, nacelle, and starboard wing; the aircraft was a total loss.The destruction of the lone flying prototype dealt a serious blow to the entire program because the second prototype was only 15% complete at the time. Army leaders decided to reevaluate the XP-67, ultimately deciding on 13 September that it offered no significant advantages over existing fighters already in service. The project was canceled, the remains of the first prototype scrapped, and work halted on the second prototype. (Wikipedia)

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