Is it a flying pancake, bug or just alien? The 1942 Vought V-173 all-wing testbed
I admit that my desire with the 'awesome or ugly' posts is mostly aimed at letting you know that I think the particular highly-unusual aircraft design is indeed awesome. But obviously there's no point or purpose to AirPigz without YOU, so that's why I put a poll with this so I can see if the majority of you think like I do. Interestingly, you've agreed with me (sometimes just barely, other times wildly) on every one so far except for the Shorts SC.1 VTOL testbed. I'd like to take a moment and let you know that I think this level agreeability speaks very highly of y'all... I'm impressed that you have such a fondness for unconventional thinking. Bravo!
It doesn't get much more unusual than the Vought V-173!
This time around the chosen aircraft is the Vought V-173 'Flying Pancake'. There was only one built, with the first flight taking place in 1942. With that high deck angle and those massive props, it's easy to think of this all-wing testbed as a bit of a beast, but the reality is that it weighs about the same as an older Cessna 172 (both the empty and gross weights) and it's only got a total of 160hp coming from two 80hp Continental engines. There was a dream of evolving the design into the Navy Vought XF5U Flapjack fighter which had dimensions similar to the V-173 but it was powered by two 1,350hp engines and had a gross weight over 16,000 pounds! Two XF5U's were built but with the war over and the transition to jet aircraft underway, the Flapjack program was cancelled with nothing more than just some fast-taxi hops being accomplished.
The one-and-only Vought V-173 was recently restored over an eight year period by retired employees of Vought. The airplane is owned by the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum but will be on loan for at least 10 years to the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas Texas. You can learn more in this post on the National Air & Space Museum blog.
I'll add that I am so mesmerized by the V-173 that if I had the resources I would absolutely consider building a flying replica of the aircraft. Can't you just see me arriving at Oshkosh 2017 in a beautiful replica Flying Pancake! This thing has 'me' written all over it : )
Vote now... do you think the Vought V-173 is awesome, ugly, or awesome AND ugly?