The Vultee XP-54 was designed as a competitor for a 1939 USAAC specification for a single-seat interceptor fighter, competing against the Curtiss-Wright XP-55, and the Northrop XP-56. The engine was initially to have been the Pratt & Whitney X-1800, though this was later changed to the Lycoming XH-2470 24-cylinder engine, making it one of the only U.S. fighters to have been made with a 24 cylinder engine (see also the P-75 Eagle). Other novelties included a pressurized cockpit, and a pilot seat which functioned as an elevator. This seat could be electrically lowered to the ground for cockpit entry, or could be catapulted downward to clear the pilot of the propeller during an emergency. This made the XP-54 the first American fighter to be fitted with an ejector seat. Engine problems and other delays during the testing phase meant that only two XP-54s were made, and the prospect of quantity production was eventually abandoned. The name "Swoose Goose" was more of an unofficial name for this unique aircraft.
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(updated February 2009)
Type: single-seat fighter Crew: 1 Armament: two .50 cal machine guns in the nose two 37-mm T-12/T-13 cannon in the nose Specifications: Length: 54' 8.75" Height: 14' 6" Wingspan: 53' 10" Wing area: 455.5 sq. ft Empty Weight: 15,262 lb Max Weight: 19,337 lb max at takeoff Propulsion: No. of Engines: 1 Powerplant: Lycoming H-2470 (24 cylinder) Horsepower: 1850 hp Performance: Range: N/A Cruise Speed: N/A Max Speed: 381 mph at 28,500 ft Ceiling: 37,000 ft
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