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Curtiss XP-42 061019-F-1234P-033.jpg
Role Engine cooling research
National origin United States
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright
First flight March 1939
Number built 1
Developed from Curtiss P-36

The Curtiss XP-42 was an experimental fighter built by Curtiss Aircraft in the late 1930s to research engine cooling and improving the performance of the Curtiss P-36.

Design and development

The fourth production P-36 (serial 38-004) became a development platform for a direct successor, designated XP-42 by the USAAC. The XP-42 was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1830-31 engine fitted with a longer, streamlined cowling and a large propeller spinner. These features attempted to improve the aerodynamics of the air-cooled radial engine. Because of this feature, the XP-42 superficially resembled aircraft equipped with in-line liquid-cooled engines (such as the P-40, another development of the P-36).

When the XP-42 first flew in March 1939, it proved to be faster than the P-36. However, the P-40 was faster still and the new nose cowling caused engine cooling problems that proved to be unresolvable, despite at least 12 sets of modifications. The XP-42 project was canceled. However, the XP-42 prototype was retained as a test-bed and was later fitted with an all-moving tail (stabilator), for research purposes. This aircraft was scrapped on July 15, 1947.[1]

Specifications (XP-42)

Data from Curtiss aircraft, 1907-1947[2]

General characteristics



See also

Related development


  1. ^ "Forgotten Props - A Warbirds Resource Group Site". Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  2. ^ Bowers, Peter M. (1979). Curtiss aircraft, 1907-1947. London: Putnam. p. 365. ISBN 978-0370100296.
  3. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.