Curtiss XP-55 'Ascender'


  Base model:P-55
  Designation System:U.S. Air Force
  Designation Period:1925-1947
  Basic role:Pursuit

Not Yet Available

Known serial numbers
42-78845 / 42-78847


Recent comments by our visitors
 Jim McAllister
 , NY
Just wondering why fitting a jet engine into the P-55 was never given serious consideration. A similar Swedish pusher design successfully converted to jet power. Any thoughts?
09/29/2011 @ 19:14 [ref: 49329]
 Robert Wiele
 , MO
I also have an old photo identical to the group picture in front of the Acsender. My father, Ken Wiele, was a mechanic at Curtis Wright during the war. He worked on the Acsender project and is in that photo. He is second to the right of Mr.Schults. Dad passed away in 1977 but he would be happy to know the last XP55 is being restored.
02/16/2011 @ 19:53 [ref: 36060]
 Mike Schultz
 , MO
The man standing under the star in white coveralls is my father, his name Calvin Schultz, the man standing on his right side is George Sayers a life time friend of dads he flew a DC3 for the St Louis Post Dispatch after he left Curtiss.
10/14/2010 @ 20:18 [ref: 31493]
 Jerome Hausfeld
 Beavercreek, OH
In the late Fourties I attened an Air show at Wright field, Dayton Ohio. Where I witnessed an Ascender crash doing its maneuvers. It flew parella to the north south runway going south, at the end of the runway it went straight up, flipped over straight down and pinned a car on airway road. Very impressive to 10 year old.
09/08/2010 @ 18:56 [ref: 29788]
 Aaron F. Robinson
 Wilmington, NC
If the Ascender had entered production, all or most of its faults would have been eliminated.
01/02/2009 @ 17:21 [ref: 23407]
 , WA
I am reading the excellent book "American Secret Pusher Fighters of WWII" that I just got for Christmas! It covers the XP-55, plus the Vultee XP-54 and Northrop XP-56.

I read therein that the XP-55 was NOT a true canard (by the author's definition anyway) because the forward planes were ONLY elevators, and not actual lifting surfaces, as they are on the Beech Starship mentioned in another message, or the popular Rutan Vari-EZE. In other words, the aircraft was stable without the forward planes, but would have lacked pitch control.

Thus the Curtiss-Wright design harkened back to the earliest Wright and Curtiss biplanes in having a forward elevator for pitch control alone. The idea doesn't seem to have worked very well the second time either.
12/26/2008 @ 16:13 [ref: 23349]
 Joe H. Sowders
 O\'Fallon, MO
At an age of 12, I lived only two miles from the Curtis Wright Plant in St. Louis, MO. I was able to see the XP-55 fly around our area many times. My 6th Grade Teacher's husband (MR. PENHALE) was one of he engineers who worked on the XP-55 project. My cousin and I built a flying model of the XP-55 based upon what we had seen flying overhead many times. We powered it with a gas engine but it cracked up rather quickly as it was very erratic in the air. I guess we didn't get something right as we built it from what we saw flying overhead. I am now 76 years old and for some reason tonight, out of the blue, the XP-55 popped into my mind. I quickly booted my Apple Macbook and ran a search for "XP-55 Aircraft". Lo and Behold.....up popped te whole story of a boyhood experience that had stuck with me all these many years.

Joe H. Sowders
05/04/2008 @ 19:54 [ref: 20800]
 , FL
In response to Tim's post:

You probably saw a Beechcraft Starship. It's a corporate plane with canard foreplanes and twin pusher engines.
06/02/2006 @ 13:06 [ref: 13436]
 , WA
Span: 40 ft. 7 in. (later 44 ft. 6 ft.)
Length: 29 ft. 7 in.
Height: 10 ft. 0 in.
Weight: 6,354 lbs. empty/7,710 lbs. gross
Armament: Four .50-cal. machine guns
Engine: Allison V-1710-95 of 1,275 hp.
Maximum speed: 390 mph. at 19,300 ft.
Service ceiling: 34,600 ft.

01/21/2006 @ 01:59 [ref: 12220]
 lille, CA
je veut le construie en avion rc
09/28/2005 @ 16:45 [ref: 11356]


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