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Wright F3W Apache / XF3W Apache
 
 Wright-F3W-01
 
After the U.S. Navy declared its preference for radial engines, Wright developed the P-1 Simoon. To demonstrate the engine, the F3W was designed to carry it. The new air-cooled, supercharged 1,176.036-cubic-inch-displacement (19.272 liters) Wright Aeronautical Division R-1200 Simoon 9-cylinder radial engine, was rated at 350 horsepower at 1,900 r.p.m. The R-1200 weighed 640 pounds (290 kilograms). The F3W was a single-seat biplane, with a steel tubing fuselage and wood wings, covered by fabric. Designed to be a carrier-based fighter and powered by the Simoon engine, its performance was poor. One was built, A7223, and tested XF3W-1. After the Navy took delivery of the aircraft, they installed a rival company's engine, the number two Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial Wasp A engine. The aircraft was redesignated XF3W, and flew with the new engine for the first time on 5 May 1926. The XF3W-1 was the first airplane to fly with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine.
The Navy used the XF3W as a test bed for the Pratt & Whitney engine until 1930, during which time the aircraft set a number of records.
 
On 6 September 1926, the XF3W set the world altitude record for seaplanes of 38,500 ft (11,700 m). On 8 May 1929: Lieutenant Apollo Soucek, United States Navy, set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Altitude when he flew the prototype Wright Aeronautical Division XF3W-1 Apache, Bu. No. A7223, to 11,930 meters (39,140 feet) over NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C. The record was certified by the National Aeronautic Association. Lieutenant Soucek was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this achievement.
 

Wright-F3W-02

 

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) used the XF3W-1 for engine and cowling tests at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (LMAL), Langley Field, Hampton, Virginia. Which engine was installed at the time of Lieutenant Soucek’s record flight is uncertain.
 
 Wright-F3W-03
Wright XF3W-1 Apache, Bu. No. A7223, at NACA Langley.
 
The XF3W-1’s engine was supercharged by a NACA Model 2E Roots-type supercharger, built by the Allison Engineering Company. This supercharger, serial number 1, is in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum.
 
Lieutenant Soucek set two other World Records with the XF3W-1 Apache. On 4 June 1929, with the Apache configured as a float plane, he flew it to an altitude of 11,753 meters (38,560 feet). The following year, 4 June 1930, he flew the Apache to 13,157 meters (43,166 feet). The XF3W was fitted with a single centreline float to evaluate the concept of basing floatplanes on battleships.
 
XF3W-1 with floats
Engine: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B, 450 hp (336 kW)
Wingspan: 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)
Wing area: 215 sq.ft (19.97 sq.m)
Length: 22 ft 1 in (6.73 m)
Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Empty weight: 1,414 lb (641 kg)
Gross weight: 2,128 lb (965 kg)
Maximum speed: 162 mph (261 km/h)
Service ceiling: 38,560 ft (11,753 m)
Crew: 1
 
 
 
 


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