Ryan VZ-11 / XV-5 Vertifan


Developed with possible Army operational applications in view, the Ryan VZ-11 uses a totally different concept to obtain VTOL performance. The outcome of several years' work on lift fans by General Electric Corporation, the VZ-11 derives its vertical lift from two ducted fans, one in each wing.

Unlike other ducted fans, above-the General Electric version is powered by the jet exhaust from a turbojet engine which is directed on to turbine blades at the tips of the fan blades.

The VZ-11 layout has two 2,658 lb.s.t. General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojets in the fuselage, fed by a dorsal intake over the two-seat cabin. For vertical operations, the fans are powered, together with a third fan in the nose which provides a small lift increment but is primarily for pitch control. For roll control, the thrust developed by the wing fans can be varied differentially by means of 'butterfly' doors over the inlets. Louvres under the outlets provide yaw control.

Once the VZ-11 is airborne, the louvres are moved to deflect the fan flow rearwards. This gives the aircraft a forward thrust component. As speed builds up the undercarriage is retracted. At about 120 knots, the wings provide sufficient lift to sustain flight and the exhaust flow from the two engines is then switched from the fans to direct propulsion nozzles. The butterfly doors and louvres close over the fan ducts and the aircraft continues as a conventional jet-propelled type.

Two prototypes of the VZ-11 were ordered from Ryan in November 1961 as part of a U.S. Army research contract to investigate lift fans which was placed with General Electric. The designation was changed to VZ-5A in July 1962 and flight trials began in 1963. The XV-5 first flew in May 1964.


Republic Aviation joined GE and Ryan in XV-5A development and was directing flight tests at Edwards AFB in 1964. Republic would share in building additional prototypes if the craft met Army and DoD expectations.

Engines: 2 x 1200kg General Electric J85-GE-5
Max take-off weight: 7690 kg / 16954 lb
Empty weight: 5450 kg / 12015 lb
Wingspan: 9.25 m / 30 ft 4 in
Length: 13.75 m / 45 ft 1 in
Height: 4.5 m / 15 ft 9 in
Max. speed: 880 km/h / 547 mph
Ceiling: 12200 m / 40050 ft
Range: 1600 km / 994 miles