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Vought V-173

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Navy chiefs ordered a full-size flying model to be built to evaluate the flying characteristics of the proposed fighter, and this aircraft, the Vought V 173 designed by Charles H Zimmerman, made its first flight on 23 November 1942 piloted by Boone T Guyton. The V 173 (unofficially dubbed Flying Pancake or Flying Flapjack) was constructed of wood with fabric covering, and had two wingtip-mounted 80 hp Continental engines driving a pair of 5.03 m (16 ft) three-blade, laminated-wood propellers. The leading edge was glazed to aid forward and downward vision. Zimmerman had US patent #2,431,293 of 18 November 1947.
 
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The engines of the V 173 were barely adequate, but the Flying Pancake took off in 15 m (50 ft), or much less with a steady wind, and could cruise at 222 kph (138 mph) despite its low power. Guyton and other pilots who flew the aircraft (including Charles Lindbergh) found it impossible to stall or spin, and full control could be maintained even at a 45 degree angle of attack.
 
The V-173 confirmed that the type offered viceless handling characteristics as well as an exceptional speed range between 20 mph (32 km/h) and 460 mph (740 km/h). The Vought XF5U was based on the V-173.

 

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The one V-173 built, 02978 in 1942, completed 171 flights for 131.8 hours flight time. By 2004 it was under restoration at the Vought Aircraft Heritage Museum.
 
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Vought V-173 in F5U colours
 
Engines: 2 x 80hp Continental
Wingspan: 23'1"
Length: 26'0"
Speed: 138 mph
TO distance: 200 ft
Landing distance: 50 ft

 

 

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