Chance Vought XF5U Skimmer (oz14122)


Chance Vought XF5U Skimmer (oz14122) by Frank Scott 1972 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Chance Vought XF5U Skimmer. Control line profile scale model.

Quote: "Chance Vought XF5U Skimmer, by Frank Scott.

Flying saucers were real! In the thirties an engineer named Charles Zimmerman formulated a theory concerning ultra-low aspect ratio wings that would have unusual high lift and low drag characteristics. His work seemed very promising and as a result Chance Vought; a company long known for remarkable aircraft, witness the Corsair, Cutlass, Crusader, etc, built a full-size man-carrying model to check out the feasibility of the radical design.

The resulting V.173 aircraft was fairly conventional in structure, even fabric-covered with fixed landing gear, but being most startling in appearance with long prop shafts for the twin propellers protruding from the tips of the lima-bean shaped wing. Towards the rear of the machine sprouted an unlikely looking pair of stabilizers and twin vertical fins. The success of this test airplane led to the construction of a fighter similar in appearance. It is this machine that we are concerned with.

The Chance Vought XF5U Skimmer (one of several unofficial names) was conceived as a shipboard fighter able to take off from small platforms on merchant vessels to defend convoys from attacking aircraft. It would be able to hover over its ship and land again on the platform, almost in the manner of a helicopter, yet capable of 388 miles per hour and having the convincing bite of 6 x .50 caliber machine guns.

The conclusion of World War II and the promise of jets brought an end to development and testing and the completed Skimmer was scrapped without ever having been flown. That was a pity of course, but the plane is nonetheless an intriguing subject for the modeler - unless you are the arch conservative type.

This distinctly odd configuration offers several points of interest to control-line modelers. It is definitely not a 'run of the mill' design - one does get a bit tired of Guardians. More important it possesses the good high and low speed characteristics necessary for a profile carrier model. The engine may be fitted snugly against the firewall to provide a measure of streamlining not ordinarily possible with an uncowled engine. Additionally, all equipment is easily fitted within the capacious structure, thus reducing drag.

In high-speed flight then, the machine is well streamlined. However, during low speed, a remarkable aerodynamic transformation takes place. It is characteristic of generally delta-shaped wings that as the angle of attack increases - as in slow flight - the drag produced rises dramatically. Such is the case in this model and a bonus is that the large radius leading edge keeps the air flowing smoothly all the while thus making for a very stable and docile model throughout all flying speeds.

The single non-scale centrally mounted engine was chosen in order to keep things light and simple. In flight it detracts little from the appearance of the model. The structure is strong, rigid and, if built without warps, will remain that way.

Construction: The construction sequence is perhaps as unusual as the model itself, but it is simple, quick and need hold no terror for a modeler ready to advance from the famous Ringmaster (oz3501) type of model.

Begin with the heavy central 'fuselage-rib.' Cut this to shape, add the hardwood engine bearers and all ply doublers - be sure to remember the small tail doublers. After the glue has dried on these, drill the necessary engine mounting bolt, tailwheel and tailhook holes and install blind mounting nuts for the engine. Make sure your engine fits the mounts, and install the fuel tank as you would on a profile model. Follow with the tail-wheel strut and tailhook. Take care that the tail-wheel will not be in the way of the freely swinging tailhook.

The main wing spar is the next item. After cutting out the spar from strong 1/8 sheet balsa, the plywood landing gear mounts and bellcrank mount are glued in place. When the glue has dried, the landing gear struts may be secured to their mounts and the bellcrank with cable leadouts mounted..."

Vought XF5U from American Aircraft Modeler, June 1972.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Supplementary file notes



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Chance Vought XF5U Skimmer (oz14122) by Frank Scott 1972 - model pic

  • (oz14122)
    Chance Vought XF5U Skimmer
    by Frank Scott
    from American Aircraft Modeler
    June 1972 
    28in span
    Scale IC C/L Military
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
    got article :)
  • Submitted: 27/09/2022
    Filesize: 358KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: Circlip, RFJ
    Downloads: 516

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