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Convair Class VF Convoy Fighter

Convair Class VF Convoy Fighter Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2017 Title Convair Class VF Convoy Fighter
Editor Jared Zichek Publisher Retro Mechanix
Published 2017 ISBN 978-0-9968754-3-1
Format 38 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $14.95


You might remember author Jared Zichek from some of his previous titles under the bannder of American Aerospace Archives. He's moved over to a new publishing banner but his work remains the same - digging through the archives and showing us some of the unique aircraft designs that might have been.

You might also remember the distinctive VTOL fighter prototypes developed in the early 1950s? You'd know them as the Convair XFY-1 and the Lockheed XFV-1, both of which took off and landed on their tails. The intent was to develop a fighter aircraft that could defend naval convoys without the need of an aircraft carrier. Convair and Lockheed both won contracts to build and demonstrate their concepts. The author had previously released titles looking at the concepts developed by other manufacturers that were not accepted into flight testing, but here is the first title that looks at the Convair proposal and how the design evolved from initial concept to the flight test article.

The XFY-1 Pogo is the only aircraft in that compeitition to successfully transition from vertical (hover) flight to forward flight and back again. Lockheed's prototype did fly in hover and in forward flight, but never on the same flight. To make things more interesting, the XFY-1 did have an ejection seat but engineers didn't believe it would be effective and disarmed it. Instead, the pilot was expected to bail out the old-fashioned way which is why his flights were all with the canopy open. While the aircraft did perform well, it required significant flying skill and the Navy eventually lost interest as they focused on turbine-powered naval aviation. This title also looks at concepts proposed by Convair to the US Army. The author has put together the background, concepts, and even the engineering drawings of the Convair proposal which makes for some interesting reading to see what might have been.

If you're an aviation enthusiast or modeler that enjoys looking at the 'what-if' side of aviation, this monograph is worth adding to your library!

You can order this title here and the website also tells you about electronic versions available as well.

My sincere thanks to Retro Mechanix for this review sample!