Archive for the ‘AVIATION’ Category

The first stewardess uniforms were designed to be durable, practical, and inspire confidence in passengers. The first stewardesses for United Airlines wore green berets, green capes and nurse’s shoes. Other airlines, such as Eastern Air Lines, actually dressed stewardesses in nurses’ uniforms. Perhaps reflecting the military aviation background of many commercial aviation pioneers, many early uniforms had a strongly military appearance; hats, jackets, and skirts showed simple straight lines and military details like epaulettes and brass buttons. Many uniforms had a summer and winter version, differentiated by colours and fabrics appropriate to the season: navy blue for winter, for example, khaki for summer. But as the role of women in the air grew, and airline companies began to realise the publicity value of their stewardesses, more feminine lines and colours began to appear in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Some airlines began to commission designs from high-end department stores and still others called in noted designers or even milliners to create distinctive and attractive apparel.

The Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster was an experimental bomber aircraft, designed for a high top speed. The unconventional approach was to mount the two engines within the fuselage driving a pair of contra-rotating propellers mounted at the tail, leaving the wing and fuselage clean and free of drag-inducing protrusions.

Two prototype aircraft were built, but the end of World War II changed priorities and the advent of the jet engine gave an alternative way toward achieving high speed.

The XB-42 was developed initially as a private venture; an unsolicited proposal was presented to the United States Army Air Forces in May 1943. This resulted in an Air Force contract for two prototypes and one static test airframe, the USAAF seeing an intriguing possibility of finding a bomber capable of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress’ range without its size or cost.

The aircraft mounted a pair of Allison V-1710-125 liquid-cooled V-12 engines behind the crew’s cabin, each driving one of the twin propellers. Air intakes were in the wing leading edge. The undercarriage was tricycle and there was a long fin under the tail to prevent the propellers from striking the ground. The pilot and co-pilot sat under twin bubble canopies, and the bombardier sat in the extreme front behind a plexiglass nose.

Defensive armament was two 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns each side in the trailing edge of the wing, which retracted into the wing when not in use. These guns were aimed by the copilot through a sighting station at the rear of his cockpit. The guns had a limited field of fire and could only cover the rear, but with the aircraft’s high speed it was thought unlikely that intercepting fighters would be attacking from any other angle.

Two more guns were fitted to fire directly forward. Initially ordered as attack aircraft (XA-42) in the summer of 1943, this variant would have been armed with 16 machine guns or a 75 mm (2.95 in) cannon and two machine guns.

Operational history
The first XB-42 was delivered to the Army Air Force and flew at Palm Springs, California on 6 May 1944. Performance was excellent, being basically as described in the original proposal; as fast or faster than the de Havilland Mosquito but with defensive armament and twice the bombload. The twin bubble canopies proved a bad idea as communications were adversely affected and a single bubble canopy was substituted after the first flight.

Testing revealed the XB-42 suffered from some instability as excessive yaw was encountered, vibrations and poor engine cooling – all problems that could probably have been dealt with. Due to the vertical stabilizer and rudder located underneath the fuselage, careful handling during taxiing, takeoff and landing was required on account of the limited ground clearance.

The end of World War II, though, allowed the Air Force to consider possibilities in a little more leisure and it was decided to wait for the development of better jet bombers rather than continue with the B-42 program.

In December 1945, Captain Glen Edwards and Lt. Col. Henry E. Warden set a new transcontinental speed record when they flew the XB-42 from Long Beach, California to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington DC (c. 2,300 miles) and in just 5 hours, 17 minutes, the XB-42 set a speed record of 433.6 mph (697.8 km/h).

The record-breaking XB-42 prototype had been destroyed in a crash at Bolling Field attributed to a failure of the landing gear, but the other was used in flight test programs, including fulfilling a December 1943 proposal by Douglas to fit uprated engines and underwing Westinghouse 19XB-2A axial-flow turbojets of 1,600 lbf (7.1 kN) thrust each, making it the XB-42A.

In this configuration, it first flew at Muroc (now Edwards Air Force Base) on 27 May 1947. In testing, it reached 488 mph (785 km/h). After 22 flights, the lower vertical stabilizer and rudder were damaged in a hard landing in 1947. The XB-42A was repaired but never flew again, and was taken off the AAF inventory on 30 June 1949.

– XB-42A Mixmaster, s/n 43-50224, is in storage awaiting restoration in the Restoration Hanger at
the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The prototype was struck off
charge in 1949 and was given to the National Air and Space Museum, in whose care it remains
although it has never been placed on display. The wings were removed for transport but have since
been inadvertently lost. In late 2010 the fuselage was transferred, along with the Douglas XB-43
Jetmaster, to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio where they are
awaiting restoration in the Restoration Hangars. Once completed, they will be displayed in the
Museum’s Experimental Aircraft Hangar.

Specifications (XB-42)
Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920
General characteristics
Crew: Three (pilot, copilot/gunner and bombardier)
Length: 53 ft 8 in (16.36 m)
Wingspan: 70 ft 6 in (21.49 m)
Height: 18 ft 10 in (5.74 m)
Wing area: 555 ft² (51.6 m²)
Empty weight: 20,888 lb (9,475 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 35,702 lb (16,194 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Allison V-1710-125 V12 engines, 1,325 hp (988 kW each) each

Maximum speed: 410 mph (357 knots, 660 km/h) at 23,440 ft (7,145 m)
Cruise speed: 312 mph
Range: 1,800 mi (1,565 nmi, 2,895 km)
Ferry range: 5,400 mi (4,696 nmi (8,690 km))
Service ceiling: 29,400 ft (8,960 m)

Guns: 6 × .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns, two twin rear-firing turrets and two fixed forward-
Bombs: 8,000 lb (3,629 kg)

US Airways Flight 1549
was US Airways’ scheduled domestic commercial passenger flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina. On January 15, 2009, the aircraft flying this route, an Airbus A320-214, was successfully ditched in the Hudson River adjacent to midtown Manhattan six minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport after being disabled by striking a flock of Canada Geese during its initial climb out. The incident became known as the “Miracle On The Hudson”.

The bird strike, which occurred just northeast of the George Washington Bridge about three minutes into the flight, resulted in an immediate and complete loss of thrust from both engines. When the aircrew of the Airbus 320 determined that they would be unable to reliably reach any airfield, they turned southbound and glided over the Hudson, finally ditching the airliner near the USS Intrepid museum about three minutes after losing power. All 155 occupants safely evacuated the airliner, which was still virtually intact though partially submerged and slowly sinking, and were quickly rescued by nearby watercraft.

The entire crew of Flight 1549 was later awarded the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. The award citation read, “This emergency ditching and evacuation, with the loss of no lives, is a heroic and unique aviation achievement.” It has been described as “the most successful ditching in aviation history.”

Roger is a word used in one prominent radio alphabet to stand for the letter R. These alphabets use words to represent letters; such alphabets are known as “radio alphabets” or “phonetic alphabets,” among other names, and are used for many different languages. The alphabet in which Roger stands for R begins “Able Baker Charlie Dog…,” and was the official radio alphabet of the U.S. Navy before 1954. Another familiar alphabet, the NATO phonetic alphabet, which is used by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Federal Aviation Administration, begins “Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta”; this alphabet uses Romeo for R. There is a page devoted to these alphabets here.

The R that Roger is substituting for stands for received, indicating that a radio message has been received and understood. The use of radio-alphabet terms to stand for other words is common in the military; roger is a well-known example, and another example is Charlie referring to Viet Cong troops, which comes from Victor Charlie, a radio-alphabet spelling of VC for Viet Cong.

Wilco is not from a radio alphabet; it’s a military abbreviation for will comply, indicating that a message that has been received will be complied with. It’s necessary to acknowledge receipt of a message with Roger before indicating compliance with wilco, hence the frequent combination Roger, wilco.

Both Roger in this sense and wilco appear for the first time during World War II


Posted: July 31, 2011 in Aircraft, AVIATION, Science

Contrails (kɒntreɪlz/; short for “condensation trails”) or vapour trails are artificial clouds that are the visible trails of condensed water vapour made by the exhaust of aircraft engines. As the hot exhaust gases cool in the surrounding air they may precipitate a cloud of microscopic water droplets. If the air is cold enough, this trail will comprise tiny ice crystals.

The wingtip vortices which trail from the wingtips and wing flaps of aircraft are sometimes partly visible due to condensation in the cores of the vortices. Each vortex is a mass of spinning air and the air pressure at the centre of the vortex is very low. These wingtip vortices are not the same as contrails.

Depending on atmospheric conditions, contrails may be visible for only a few seconds or minutes, or may persist for many hours which may affect climate.

Condensation from engine exhaust
The main products of hydrocarbon fuel combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor. At high altitudes this water vapour emerges into a cold environment, and the local increase in water vapor can push the water content of the air past saturation point. The vapour then condenses into tiny water droplets and/or deposits into ice. These millions of tiny water droplets and/or ice crystals form the vapour trail or contrails. The vapor’s need to condense accounts for the contrail forming some way behind the aircraft’s engines. At high altitudes, supercooled water vapor requires a trigger to encourage deposition or condensation. The exhaust particles in the aircraft’s exhaust act as this trigger, causing the trapped vapor to rapidly turn to ice crystals. Exhaust vapour trails or contrails usually occur above 8000 metres (26,000 feet), and only if the temperature there is below −40 °C (−40 °F).

Condensation from decreases in pressure
As a wing generates lift, it causes a vortex to form at each wingtip, and sometimes also at the tip of each wing flap. These wingtip vortices persist in the atmosphere long after the aircraft has passed. The reduction in pressure and temperature across each vortex can cause water to condense and make the cores of the wingtip vortices visible. This effect is more common on humid days. Wingtip vortices can sometimes be seen behind the wing flaps of airliners during takeoff and landing, and during landing of the Space shuttle.

The visible cores of wingtip vortices contrast with the other major type of contrails which are caused by the combustion of fuel. Contrails produced from jet engine exhaust are seen at high altitude, directly behind each engine. By contrast, the visible cores of wingtip vortices are usually seen only at low altitude where the aircraft is travelling slowly after takeoff or before landing, and where the ambient humidity is higher. They trail behind the wingtips and wing flaps rather than behind the engines.

During high-thrust settings the fan blades at the intake of a turbo-fan engine reach transonic speeds, causing a sudden drop in air pressure. This creates the condensation fog (inside the intake) which is often observed by air travelers during takeoff. For more information see the Prandtl-Glauert singularity effect.

Vapour trails or contrails and climate
Vapour trails or contrails, by affecting the Earth’s radiation balance, act as a radiative forcing. Studies have found that vapour trails or contrails trap outgoing longwave radiation emitted by the Earth and atmosphere (positive radiative forcing) at a greater rate than they reflect incoming solar radiation (negative radiative forcing). Therefore, the overall net effect of contrails is positive, i.e. a warming. However, the effect varies daily and annually, and overall the magnitude of the forcing is not well known: globally (for 1992 air traffic conditions), values range from 3.5 mW/m2 to 17 mW/m2. Other studies have determined that night flights are mostly responsible for the warming effect: while accounting for only 25% of daily air traffic, they contribute 60 to 80% of contrail radiative forcing. Similarly, winter flights account for only 22% of annual air traffic, but contribute half of the annual mean radiative forcing.

September 11, 2001 climate impact study
The grounding of planes for three days in the United States after September 11, 2001 provided a rare opportunity for scientists to study the effects of contrails on climate forcing. Measurements showed that without contrails, the local diurnal temperature range (difference of day and night temperatures) was about 1 degree Celsius higher than immediately before; however, it has also been suggested that this was due to unusually clear weather during the period.

Condensation trails have been suspected of causing “regional-scale surface temperature” changes for some time. Researcher David J. Travis, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, has published and spoken on the measurable impacts of contrails on climate change in the science journal Nature and at the American Meteorological Society 10th Annual conference in Portland, Oregon. The effect of the change in aircraft contrail formation on the 3 days after the 11th was observed in surface temperature change, measured across over 4,000 reporting stations in the continental United States.[9] Travis’ research documented an “anomalous increase in the average diurnal temperature change”. The diurnal temperature range (DTR) is the difference in the day’s highs and lows at any weather reporting station. Travis observed a 1.8 degree Celsius departure from the two adjacent three-day periods to the 11th-14th. This increase was the largest recorded in 30 years, more than “2 standard deviations away from the mean DTR”.

Head-on contrails
A contrail from an aeroplane flying towards the observer can appear to be generated by an object moving vertically. On 8 November 2010 in California, U.S., a contrail of this type gained wide media attention as a “mystery missile” that could not be explained by US military and aviation authorities, and its explanation as a contrail took more than 24 hours to become accepted by US media and military institutions.

A ‘distrail’ is short for dissipation trail. Where an aircraft passes through a cloud, it can clear a path through it; this is known as a distrail. Because the plane’s contrail is not yet visible (contrails usually form above 26,000 feet, depending on the temperature and other factors) the distrail looks like a tunnel through the cloud if the cloud is very thin.

Distrails are created by the elevated temperature of the exhaust gases absorbing the moisture from the cloud. Clouds exist where the relative humidity is 100% but by increasing the temperature the air can hold more moisture and the relative humidity drops below 100%, even for the same absolute moisture density, causing the visible water droplets in the cloud to be converted back into water vapour.

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft which was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s. It was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft, and was the only British fighter in production throughout the war.

The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works (since 1928 a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong). Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death from cancer in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith became chief designer. The Spitfire’s elliptical wing had a thin cross-section, allowing a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane.[8] Speed was seen as essential to carry out the mission of home defence against enemy bombers.

During the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire was perceived by the public as the RAF fighter of the battle, whereas in fact, the more numerous Hurricane actually shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against the Luftwaffe. The Spitfire units did, however, have a lower attrition rate and a higher victory to loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes .

After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire became the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific and the South-East Asian theatres. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber, carrier-based fighter, and trainer. It was built in many different variants, using several wing configurations. Although the original airframe was designed to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine producing 1,030 hp (768 kW), it was adaptable enough to use increasingly more powerful Merlin and the later Rolls-Royce Griffon engines; the latter was eventually able to produce 2,035 hp (1,520 kW).

Crossing The Bridge

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Aircraft, AVIATION, Commercial

Boeing-377 “Stratocruiser” of the PanAmerican World Airways, 1952.

The first solo flight

Posted: July 27, 2011 in AVIATION

The first solo flight of a new pilot comprises that pilot completing a take off, and usually a short flight and safe landing, by him or herself. Flying such a flight is a milestone known as soloing.

Depending on the country, there may be a requirement for some minimum number of training hours to have been completed by the student pilot before he or she is allowed to solo. In most countries, it is assumed that such students will be familiar with (and may have to pass an examination on) the relevant Air Laws or Regulations, and will have completed exercises in handling aircraft in normal conditions, and also what to do in the case of engine failure on takeoff, in flight, and before landing.

In the USA, for most aircraft, there is no FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requirement for a minimum number of hours. Per FAR Part 61 SFAR 73 section 2,Robinson helicopters have a 20 hour requirement to solo. However the regulations do require that a student pilot show competency in several specific skills to include, for example, the ability to forward slip. In practice, competence is mostly a judgment call of the Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) responsible for the student. Typically, it takes from 10 to 30 hours of flight time before a pilot has the instinctive feel of an aircraft to be safe flying solo in other than perfect (no wind) weather.

n some cases, when the student is given permission to fly alone the instructor directs the student to fly three circuits of the traffic pattern each accompanied by a full stop landing. During the first circuit, the solo, the student’s Flight instructor may supervise the student’s performance from the ground, paying close attention to the approach and landing. Some instructors keep a radio handy, if there is one in the aircraft, in case the student pilot should need assistance or advice.

Several traditions have developed in the USA around “soloing”, including drenching the student with water and cutting off and permanently displaying the back of his or her shirt.

In American aviation lore, the traditional removal of a new pilot’s shirt tail is a sign of the instructor’s new confidence in his student after successful completion of the 1st solo flight. In the days of tandem trainers, the student sat in the front seat, with the instructor behind. As there were often no radios in these early days of aviation, the instructor would tug on the student pilot’s shirttail to get his attention, and then yell in his ear. A successful first solo flight is an indication that the student can fly without the instructor (“instructor-less” flight). Hence, there is no longer a need for the shirt tail, and it is cut off by the (often) proud instructor, and sometimes displayed as a trophy.

In Canada, the dumping of water is replaced with a bucket of snow. The dumping is usually intended as a surprise to the newly minted solo pilot.

SkyHook JHL-40

Posted: July 27, 2011 in Aircraft, Airship, AVIATION, Science

The SkyHook JHL-40 is a hybrid airship/helicopter currently in development. On July 9, 2008, Boeing announced that it had teamed up with SkyHook International, a Canadian company, to develop this aircraft.

According to company spokepeople, the aircraft will combine the best features of a blimp and a helicopter, and will be capable of carrying a 40 ton load up to 200 miles (320 km) without refueling. At 302 feet (92 m) long, it will classify as the largest helicopter in the world, and will be capable of flying up to 800 miles (1,300 km) without a load. The craft will use helium to provide enough lift to carry its own weight, and will use four helicopter rotors to lift the load and to propel the aircraft. By using both helium and helicopter rotors, the aircraft can avoid having to jettison helium after unloading.

In comparison, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter can carry a load the same distance, but can only lift a maximum of 10 tons.

SkyHook claims that the aircraft will provide environmental benefits over traditional methods of delivering heavy loads, as it will require less fuel than a helicopter and will not require building big roads for construction equipment.

The JHL-40, or Jess Heavy Lifter, is named after Pete Jess, the President and Chief operating officer of SkyHook International, the company that owns the patent for the aircraft.

The planned aircraft has yet to be certified by Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Currently the aircraft’s overall performance and layout have been established. The next major program milestone will be Detailed Design in 2011, which centers on the design, analysis and specification of all hardware, software and related aircraft and ground support systems interfaces. Boeing is designing and will fabricate a production SkyHook HLV prototype at its Rotorcraft Systems facility in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. The new aircraft will enter commercial service after it is certified by Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The first SkyHook HLV aircraft was scheduled to fly in 2014[5], on September 13, 2010 however, Financial Times Deutschland revealed that development was halted until an infusion of 100 million dollar in public funding would be available.

McDonnell XF-85 Goblin

Posted: July 27, 2011 in Aircraft, AVIATION, Figther, Weapon

The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin was an American prototype fighter aircraft conceived during World War II by McDonnell Aircraft. It was intended to be carried in the bomb bay of the giant Convair B-36 bomber as a defensive parasite fighter. During World War II, Luftwaffe fighters provided stiff opposition for Allied bombers. The XF-85 was a response to a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) requirement for a parasite fighter capable of being carried within the Northrop XB-35 and B-36, then under development. Two prototypes were built and underwent testing and evaluation in 1948. Flight tests showed promise in the design, although inherent design flaws associated with parasite fighters were never resolved. The XF-85 was swiftly canceled due to a number of factors, and the prototypes are now museum exhibits.

The U.S. Navy had been testing the viability of such aircraft in the 1930s, constructing the USS Akron and Mason for scouting, as well as launching the Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk. At the end of World War II, Luftwaffe fighter jets posed a danger to Allied bombers. This emphasized the importance of long-range escort fighters such as the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang. However, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) was developing bombers, namely the Northrop B-35 flying wing and Convair B-36, which had a much longer endurance than the B-17s, B-24s, and B-29s the fighter escorts were protecting at the time.

There were a number of options to protect the bombers. The first, developing longer-ranged fighters, was very expensive. A second option was the technically-risky aerial refueling. The last option was to develop a parasite or “internally stowed fighter”.[4] In late 1942, the USAAF sent out a Request for Proposals (RfP) based on a parasite concept, originally conceived as a diminutive piston-engined fighter. By January 1944, the Air Technical Service Command (ATSC) refined the RfP and in January 1945, the specifications were further revised to specify a jet-powered aircraft. Although a number of aerospace companies studied the feasibility of such aircraft; McDonnell was the only company to submit a proposal to the original 1942 request and later revised requirements. The company Model 27 proposal was completely reworked to meet the new specifications

The initial concept for the Model 27 was for the fighter to be carried half-exposed under the B-29, B-35, or B-36. The USAAF rejected this proposal, citing increased drag, and hence reduced range for the composite bomber-fighter configuration. On 19 March 1945, a revised proposal was submitted. The smaller aircraft had an egg-shaped fuselage, three fork-shaped vertical stabilizers, horizontal stabilizers with significant dihedral, and 37° swept-back wings. The miniature aircraft measured 14 ft 10 in (4.55 m) long; the folding wings spanned 21 ft (6.4 m). The aircraft had an empty weight just short of 4,000 pounds (1.8 t). To save weight, the parasite fighter had no landing gear. During the testing program, steel skids were installed under the fuselage in case of an emergency. Four .50-caliber machine guns made up the aircraft’s armament.

In service, the parasite fighter would be launched and retrieved by a trapeze system. The aircraft would approach the mother ship from underneath and link up with the trapeze using a retractable hook on top of the cockpit. There were plans that, from the 24th B-36 onward, provisions would be made to accommodate one XF-85, with a maximum of three per bomber envisioned.

On 9 October 1945, the USAAF signed a letter of intent covering the engineering development for two prototypes (US serial numbers 46-523/4), although the contract was not finalized until February 1947. The Model 27 was re-designated XP-85, but by June 1948, it was changed to XF-85 and given the name “Goblin”. There were plans to acquire 30 production P-85s, but the USAAF took the cautious approach – if test results from the two prototypes were positive, production orders for the Goblins would be finalized later. During wind tunnel testing at Moffett Field, California, the first prototype XF-85 was damaged when dropped from a height of 40 ft (12.19 m) and receiving substantial damage to the forward fuselage, air intake and undersurface. Consequently, the second prototype was substituted for not only the remainder of the wind tunnel tests but also for the initial flight tests.

As the B-36 was unavailable, all XF-85 flight tests were carried out using a converted EB-29 Superfortress parent ship. Since the B-29, named Monstro, was smaller than the B-36, the XF-85 would be flight-tested half-exposed. On 23 July 1948, the XF-85 flew the first of five captive flights, designed to test whether the EB-29 and its parasite fighter could fly “mated”.The XF-85 was variously carried in a stowed position, but was also extended into the airstream for the pilot to gain some feel for the aircraft in flight, although it still remained tethered.

McDonnell test pilot Edwin Schoch, who flew the only proving flights on the type, completed a series of dummy dockings with a Lockheed F-80 without problems, before attempting a “free” flight with the XF-85. On 23 August 1948, Schoch was released and after a 10-minute proving flight, testing controls and maneuverability, attempted a hook-up, but it became obvious that turbulence around the bomber created difficult control problems as the lighter Goblin proved to be more sensitive to turbulence than the F-80. In an aborted effort, Schoch struck the trapeze so violently that the canopy was smashed and ripped free and his helmet and mask were torn off. He saved the prototype by making a belly landing, landing on the reinforced skids.

After a series of modifications to improve handling and two further mated test flights, Schoch was able to make a successful release and hookup on 14 October 1948. During the fifth free flight on 22 October 1948, Schoch again found it difficult to hook the Goblin to the bomber’s trapeze, aborting four attempts before hitting the trapeze bar, breaking the hook on the XF-85’s nose. Again, a forced landing in the desert was successfully carried out.

With the first prototype’s repairs completed, it also joined the flight test program, completing captive flights. Schoch continued to have difficulty in hooking up, again damaging the trapeze on the 19 March 1948 test flight, that resulted in a further emergency belly landing. While in flight, the Goblin was stable, easy to fly, and recovered well from spins, although initial estimates of a 648 mph (1,043 km/h) top speed proved optimistic.

With repairs made to the mothership’s trapeze, Schoch flew the first prototype on 8 April 1949, but after three attempts, abandoned his efforts and resorted to another belly landing. To address some of the problems in connecting to the trapeze, although slight changes were made to aircraft’s hook apparatus, McDonnell considered adding a telescoping extension to the docking trapeze. Before further modifications could be carried out, the USAF canceled the XF-85 program on 24 October 1949.

The program was canceled not only because the XF-85’s performance proved inferior to contemporary foreign jet fighters, but, also as evidenced by the test program flights, the high pilot demands involved in the docking to a mothership and should the XF-85 fail to dock, the necessity to carry out a forced landing. The development of practical aerial refueling was also a factor. The two Goblins flew six times, with a total flight time of 2 hours and 19 minutes; Schoch was the only person who ever flew the aircraft.

Two XF-85 prototypes were built.

The first example, serial number 46-523, is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. The aircraft was transferred to the museum on 23 August 1950 following the cancellation of the program, and was one of the first experimental aircraft to be displayed at the new Air Force Museum. For several decades, the aircraft was displayed alongside the museum’s Convair B-36. In 2000 the aircraft was moved to the museum’s Experimental Aircraft Hangar. Museum staff and visitors objected to this, believing the aircraft should be displayed alongside the B-36 to properly represent its original design intentions.

The other example, serial number 46-524, is on display at the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.