Bell XFL-1 Airabonita
In 1938 the US Navy became involved in three new fighter projects - the Grumman XF5F-1 and similar USAAF XP-50, the Bell XF1-1 and the Vought XF4U-1. The long term intention was to bolster the Navy's car-rier forces whose squadrons flew the Grumman F3F-2 biplane fighter of the mid-1930s.
The XFL-1 experimental shipboard fighter was developed in parallel with the XP-39 Airacobra, and was flown for the first time on 13 May 1940 with test pilot Brian Sparks at the controls. Powered by a 1150hp Allison XV-1710-6 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine, the XFL-1 had a tailwheel undercarriage and underwing radiators. The airframe was re-stressed for shipboard operation, and proposed armament comprised a single 12.7mm machine gun or a 37mm cannon firing through the propeller hub and a pair of fuselage-mounted 7.62mm guns, although, in the event, no armament was installed.
The use of the conventional undercarriage also worked against the XFL as problems began to develop during testing. As a result, the system had to be shipped back to Bell Aircraft for further revisions in late 1941. By this time, however, the United States Navy decided to pursue a different direction and cancelled development of the XFL in whole.
The XFL-1 failed its carrier qualification trials and further development was abandoned at the beginning of 1942. The single XFL-1 prototype cost US$125,000, and was then used in a series of armament tests until it was eventually scrapped.
Engine: 1150hp Allison XV-1710-6