American Secret Pusher Fighters of WWIIby Gerald H. Balzer
During the 1930s, American tactical aircraft ranged from small biplanes to all-metal monoplanes, but they lacked the range, performance, and firepower required to combat a new foe in the darkening skies over Europe. With their 300-mph top speeds, these airplanes represented the "step before the step" in achieving the higher performance of legendary fighters used in
During the 1930s, American tactical aircraft ranged from small biplanes to all-metal monoplanes, but they lacked the range, performance, and firepower required to combat a new foe in the darkening skies over Europe. With their 300-mph top speeds, these airplanes represented the "step before the step" in achieving the higher performance of legendary fighters used in World War II, but the secrets of what became America's first "next generation" fighters lay in the design, construction, and flight testing of radical new airplanes that broke the rules of aeronautical engineering and were intended to push performance envelopes to new limits. Although the Materiel Division of the Air Corps faced a daunting task, unique designs from Vultee, Curtiss-Wright, and Northrop ultimately emerged to win contracts for building experimental prototypes of airplanes with very different configurations. Powered by either inline or radial piston powerplants, these new designs looked more futuristic on paper than anything seen before, but the acid test was to see how they flew. Would they become record-breaking champions, or frustrating aeronautical "problem children" confounding their engineers, builders, and pilots? Noted author Gerald H. Balzer tells this story using original factory photos and comprehensive information that has never before been published. This fascinating tale of America's first Pusher Fighters highlights the trials and tribulations of innovative designers, dedicated builders, and courageous test pilots, each of whom contributed to bringing the Vultee XP-54 "Swoose Goose," Curtiss-Wright XP-55 "Ascender," and Northrop XP-56 "Black Bullet" into reality.
Another highly informative title that is packed to overflowing with the type of techincal photographs and diagrams that modelers love.
This title, like others from Specialty Press, is impressive and thorough with many never before published pictures of XP54, 55, and 56 designs. I found this an engrossing title and one I recommend for anyone with an interest in WWII aviation and aviation technology in general.
This is the definitive book about the three aircraft, written in a readable, agreeable style that demonstrates the author's mastery of the subject. Specialty Press has once again provided the public with a superb product that fills a void.
The book is very well written, and contains many interesting pictures and drawings that are presented for the first time. We enjoyed the book, and highly recommend it to our members.
AAHS Flightline Newsletter
- Specialty Press Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 10.30(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Meet the Author
Gerald "Gerry" Blazer is a retired aeronautical engineer. Born in Wisconsin, he sparked a life-long interest in old airplanes at age 10 by building a flying model of the Curtiss Robin. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 and later served in the Army Air Force Training Command at Williams Field, Arizona. Upon leaving the service in August 1946, he decided to pursue aeronautical engineering, later receiving a bachelor of science degree in that field from Northrop University. He went to work at Northrop in February 1950. Later he moved to McDonnell in St. Louis, where he worked on the F-4 and F-15 programs; he finished his career at TRW in Redondo Beach, California. During his career he had the good fortune of working on the F-89, "Snark" missile, T-38, F-5, F-4, F-15, and the DSP program at TRW.
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