Curtiss XP-42


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

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)
  • Wingspan: 37 ft 3.5 in (11.367 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 1 in (3.38 m) top of propeller disc
  • Wing area: 235.9 sq ft (21.92 m2)
  • Airfoil: root: NACA 2215; tip: NACA 2209[3]
  • Empty weight: 4,818 lb (2,185 kg)
  • Gross weight: 5,650 lb (2,563 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 6,260 lb (2,839 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-31 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,050 hp (780 kW)
  • Propellers: 3-bladed constant-speed propeller


  • Maximum speed: 315 mph (507 km/h, 274 kn) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
  • Cruise speed: 270 mph (430 km/h, 230 kn)
  • Range: 730 mi (1,170 km, 630 nmi)


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.