Another new category for the CoolPix feature here at AirPigz… this time it’s ’X Planes’, which is meant to reflect predominately any experimental or research aircraft sponsored by a government agency. That means that while it certainly includes the ‘official’ X-Planes that started with the X-1, it also includes many other ‘X’ designated aircraft, like the XFY-1 Pogo (video) as well as others like this sorta freakish looking Vertol VZ-2, which doesn't have an ‘X’ in the designation at all. I hope that all makes sense.
As with all the CoolPix, viewing the hi-res version is what it’s all about. This pic was taken in December 1960 and shows several of the rather bizarre features of the VZ-2. It was powered by a single turboshaft engine in the 700hp range that sits on top of the fuselage, right behind the tiltable wing. That engine drives to the prop/rotors (presumably via shafting) which allows the wing-mounted nacelles to be rather small. The engine also drives two small ducted fans at the rear, incorporated into the ‘T’ tail. One for added pitch control, and the other, seen in the pic at the end of the fuselage, for yaw control. It also has both a small nosewheel and tailwheel. This hi-res pic allows you the chance to see lots of interesting details of a very unusual flying machine!
The program ended in 1965 after the odd VTOL made about 450 flights, including 34 full transitions from vertical to forward flight. The aircraft is believed to be currently in storage at the National Air and Space Museum. The rare video below shows the VZ-2 in flight - cool stuff!