Lockheed XF-90 Penetration Fighter 1949
February 28, 2014 in Aviation
The XF-90, a experimental aircraft, was an example of Kelly Johnson’s Skunk Works. Designed as a long range escort fighter that could accompany the B-36 intercontinental bomber, changing technology had the jet redesigned as an interceptor. Only two examples were built by 1951 and the Korean War had the Air Force devote much it’s budget to procuring/maintaining existing aircraft in general and the Sabre Jet in particular.
Historically, the XF-90 boasts several significant features: it was the first to employ an ejection seat; it had a fully adjustable tail, and was the first to use fowler flaps to improve air flow over the ailerons. It was also the first to use wing drop tanks on sweptback wings, and the first to employ an afterburner. It could achieve 660 mph but the Air Force felt it was too slow as an interceptor and thought it was underpowered like many jets of that era. Improvements in the already proven F-84 ended any furthur development of the XF-90.
One of the glue bombs I built as a kid, rediscovered in my folks attic, re-built by me six years ago. Offered by Aurora models in 1952, it had the usual detail of the early plastic planes: heavy gray plastic, raised rivets, national insignia outline, no landing gear or rockets. My 1:48 scale kit was the 1954 version, landing gear and rockets were included. I must have used an entire tube of Revell “S” glue, I had a tough time pulling it apart to re-assemble minus the gaps in the fuselage and crooked wings. It’s far from perfect, but looks good on a shelf and is an unusual model. A friend made the plexiglass display stand. If you recall the “Blackhawks” comic books of the 1950’s, the heroic freedom fighting Blackhawks flew the F-90.
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