Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

    9 of 12

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

    10 of 12

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

    11 of 12

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    Curtiss XP-55-CS Ascender

    Single-seat, experimental fighter; pusher engine, main wing near the tail and canard elevator surface at nose.

    12 of 12

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Not long before America declared war on the Japanese in 1941, the U. S. Army Air Corps sponsored three radical and unorthodox fighter aircraft designs. Pusher power plants propelled these three flying experiments but the similarities between the aircraft ended there. Vultee proposed a twin-boom pusher called the XP-54 and Northrop championed a bobbed-tail flying wing dubbed the XP-56 Black Bullet (see NASM collection). Curtiss-Wright designers stuck the main wing behind the engine and the pilot, at the tail end of the fuselage, and they mounted a short wing, or canard, near the nose. The Air Corps designated this entry the XP-55 Ascender. After considerable testing, Air Corps test pilots and engineers judged the Ascender's performance and handling too poor for an effective combat fighter but it did demonstrate exactly where future trends in fighter design should not go.