Vultee XP-54 'Swoose Goose' Photo Gallery
    The Vultee XP-54 'Swoose Goose' was a prototype fighter, built for the United States Army Air Forces in 1943. Radical in design, its performance was lackluster and well short of that promised to the Air Force. After a relatively short period of time of testing, the project was canceled. First flight 15 January 1943. Number built 2.

    The XP-54 was powered by the Lycoming XH-2470-1, which was basically two O-1230s connected to a common crankshaft in an "H" configuration. Lycoming had a terrible time trying to make the system work reliably, and by that time, (1944) , engines of equal or greater horsepower were already in production and Gas Turbines were close on the horizon.

    The Vultee XP-54 was the number one selection from over 100 proposals responding to Request for Data R-40C (1940), and one of only three designs that made it past the drawing board. (The other two being the Curtiss XP-55 and the Northrop XP-56), but by the time they were finished testing, other less radical aircraft with equal or superior performance were already in production and in service ( P-51D and P-47D). So, they weren't "failures " as such, just missed the window when they would have made a difference.

    Interestingly, while both examples of the XP-54 were scrapped, one example each of the XP-55 and XP-56 still exists. The XP-55 (restored) s/n 42-78847 is on display at the Kalamazoo Air Museum (the "Kzoo"), and the XP-56 s/n 42-38353 is back at the NASM in storage, after a failed attempt at restoration by a California Museum group.

Return To Gallery Index.

© The Aviation History On-Line Museum. All rights reserved.
Posted May 7, 2023.