Weird Planes: Cancelled ‘Convair XF-92’ (10 Pics)


Convair-XF-92-2 (All images by NASA and US Air Force, public domain)

The Convair XF-92, certainly a weird aircraft to look at, was originally conceived as a point-defense interceptor but was ultimately used for experimental purposes. Renamed the XF-92A, the jet was used to test the delta-wing configuration later used on various Convair designs including F-102 Delta Dagger, F-106 Delta Dart, B-58 Hustler, the US Navy’s F2Y Sea Dart as well as the VTOL FY Pogo.

Taking to the air for the first time on June 9, 1948, the XF-92A was flown by such aviation legends as Chuck Yeager and Frank Everest. Hollywood later came calling, using the aircraft an a Russian MiG in the 1957 Howard Hughes film Jet Pilot, starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh. It had also been used – in the more believable guise of an F-102 Delta Dagger – in Toward the Unknown (1956) starring William Holden.

One XF-92A was built at a cost of $4.3 million. It can now been seen on display in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. In this article we take a look at 10 historical photographs of the jet that failed to garner much love and respect from those that flew it.



Before construction of the flying airframe commenced, Convair manufactured a full scale mock-up, seen above circa 1947. During the Cold War-era it was common for companies to construct full size replica aircraft, often made of wood, to test assembly and sub-system integration. Such tasks and now done on computers.





Seen above on the ramp at Edwards AFB in California and in flight, the aircraft suffered a landing accident on October 14, 1953. When the landing gear collapsed during a NACA test flight, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics terminated its use of the experimental jet.

Few pilots, if any, had anything good to say about the XF-92A. Yeager remarked that “it was a tricky plane to fly”, while NACA test pilot Scott Crossfield said: “Nobody wanted to fly the XF-92. There was no lineup of pilots for that airplane”.

The XF-92 in Popular Culture



But the XF-92A did ultimately get its 15 minutes of fame. Well, almost, since its role in the guise of a MiG-23 in Howard Hughes’ film Jet Pilot ended up on the cutting room floor. Meanwhile, the jet it represented in Toward the Unknown – the F-102 Delta Dagger – became a production interceptor with the US Air Force, designed by Convair.

(Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

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