Fishy: Salmon and Hammerheads


Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon

Death is a small price to pay for looking shit hot.

- Aviation Quotes

Tail-sitting fighter from the US Naval Aviation Museum

by Austin J Brown

The prospect of a vertical take-off fighter able to operate from a small platform instead of a huge carrier deck had appeal to the US Navy and in 1950 it held a design competition to encourage proposals resulting in Lockheed receiving a contract to build two prototypes of the XFV-1 Salmon (sometimes called Vertical Riser).

As with the Focke-Wulf design, this was a tail-sitter, using castor wheels on legs attached to the trailing-edge of the cruciform wings and/or tail fins as undercarriage units.  It was powered by a 5,850 equivalent shaft hp Allison YT40 turboprop engine driving Curtiss-Wright Turboelectric co-axial contra-rotating propellers; the turboprop was itself a very new form of engine still in its infancy.  Each pilot sat on a "gimbal" seat able to tilt according to the flight mode and gun or rocket armament was carried in wingtip pods.

Following a large number of tethered flights using a special test rig constructed in a naval airship hangar at Moffett Field, the flying commenced.  The Lockheed Salmon flew in March 1954 but was only ever flown horizontally using a special undercarriage rig and only one prototype was completed before the Navy terminated development.

Source: The World's Strangest Aircraft: A Collection of Weird and Wonderful Flying Machines by Michael Taylor

Just noticed your article about the XFV-1.  My son is the great grandson of the Lockheed test pilot who's name is on this plane, Herman "Fish" Salmon.

Feel free to use the photo if you would like.  It is a scan of an original Lockheed file photo.

Craig J Rogers
Atlasta.Net Managed Network Services


With gratitude.  He looks like Clark Gable...

Scaled Composites Predator 480

A free ride and free food are two of the three things no pilot ever turns down.

- attributed to Dick Rutan

I flew combat in Vietnam.  I got shot at, I shot back, I got shot down.
Compared to this flight, I felt a lot safer in combat.

- Dick Rutan, regarding engine failure over the Pacific
during his record round-the-world-flight, Newsweek 5 January 1997

Proof-of-concept agricultural aircraft

One of the world's most prolific and respected designers is Elbert "Burt" Rutan.  Among the ranks of enthusiast constructors who build their own aircraft for private use, Rutan's two-seat "homebuilts" are legend.  He also designed the Voyager trimaran monoplane in which his brother Richard and Jeana Yeager made history during 14-23 December 1986 by successfully completing the first-ever non-stop and unrefuelled aeroplane flight around the world, in so doing establishing an absolute distance record of 24,986.664 miles (40,212.139 km).

To a NASA requirement, Burt Rutan was responsible for designing the pivoting-wing AD-1 for oblique-wing research and, having set up Scaled Composites Incorporated, designed several very unusual aircraft with production possibilities.  These include the composites-constructed Rutan 151 ARES agile-response effective-support military aircraft with rear-mounted wings, swept-forward canards and a fuselage with an offset 2,950-pound (1,338-kg) thrust Pratt and Whitney JT15D-1 turbofan, intended as an inexpensive battlefield attack aircraft.  His Predator 480 was built as an agricultural aircraft and first flew in 1984.  Work at Scaled on unusual aircraft continues.

Source: The World's Strangest Aircraft: A Collection of Weird and Wonderful Flying Machines by Michael Taylor

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