Tuesday, October 04, 2022

The Air Zoo - Rare Bird

There's a very rare bird at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.

Looking like something out of Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, this futuristic-looking aircraft was a flying flop.

It was quite simply more a danger to its pilots than the enemy, having really vicious stall characteristics.  Then the coming of the jet age ended the development of this pusher-prop design.

It is the Curtis-Wright XP-55 Ascender.

Of the three prototypes, two aircraft crashed with both aircraft being completely totaled, with one of the two crashes killing the pilot flying it.

This Curtis-Wright XP-55 Ascender, is the only one left in existence, and happens to be prototype number two, as prototypes one and three were both destroyed in crashes.

Currently on long-term loan from the National Air and Space Museum, you can find it now on display in Kalamazoo where it was sent to be restored, and very nicely restored it was.

The Kalamazoo Air Zoo has a very well-deserved reputation for aircraft restoration work.


pigpen51 said...

My wife and I have taken my younger kids there. It is really an interesting place, even for kids who are not airplane geeks. And the ingenuity of engineers over time is shown, and impressive to adult

Old NFO said...

Just looking at that thing gives me the chills... CG had to have been a HUGE issue!

Aaron said...

pigpen51: It is a neat place to go and well worth visiting.

Old NFO: Yep, it just looks like the textbook definition of instability.