Lockheed Model L-200 Convoy Fighter
Jared A. Zichek is a freelance writer and illustrator specializing in aviation and automotive history. He lives in La Jolla, California. You can find him at on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/retromechanix, and on Twitter @retromechanix. RetroMechanix.com is devoted to innovative and unusual flying machines from earlier decades, with special emphasis on U.S. prototype and project aircraft from the 1930’s through the 1950’s. Featuring hundreds of previously unpublished high resolution photographs, drawings and artist’s impressions, along with original primary documents scanned directly from the U.S. National Archives, RetroMechanix.com is the definitive resource for yesterday’s wings of tomorrow.
This book follows up on the first volume, a 76 page book that was released in June, 2017. This series is available in electronic format (for less money) and what I believe is a print on demand format from Amazon, similar to the Jack Herris series of Great War Aviation Centennial books. This format doesn’t provide for glossy pages, but it does permit a substantially lower price than would be available in a conventional printing process. The front cover features a colored illustration of a Lockheed promotional artwork of a trio of Lockheed L-200 Convoy Fighters taking off from a naval air station. The rear cover features Jared A. Zichek’s color profile illustrations of four additional proposals based on the Lockheed L-200 proposal. I counted 2 color photographs, 12 black and white pictures, and 9 black and white illustrations. Additionally, there are fifty technical drawings by Lockheed and the author. A video of the book’s contents is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZQugE0Crtk&feature=youtu.be.
Jared A. Zichek, in these two volumes, covers the Lockheed proposal to the 1948 US Navy proposal for a VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft to protect shipping convoys. This was based on the rough experiences that shipping faced in WWII. The thought was to have fighters capable of operating from an afterdeck platform on conventional ships. The Lockheed proposal led to a contract for two Lockheed XFV-1 prototypes nicknamed Salmon, after the Lockheed test pilot’s last name. The first prototype actually flew, but never completed any vertical take offs or landings. You can find this aircraft on outdoor display at the Sun ‘n Fun campus museum at the Lakeland, Florida airport. The second, unfinished, prototype is on display at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield in California.
This second volume includes rare photographs of the wind tunnel models that were built in 1/10th scale and 1/4th scale. You will also find original Lockheed blueprints, illustrations, tables, and additional drawings by Zichek of additional Lockheed proposals based on the L-200. This volume starts off with a discussion on how Lockheed was proposing to manage VTOL operations on the back of a ship at sea with all the additional vertical and horizontal motions taken into account. The next major topic provides a detailed perspective into the prototype proposal to the US Navy and follows with details on the test and evaluation of the ¼ scale flying model. The sections include:
- Author’s Notes
- Takeoff and Alighting Methods
- Description of Problems and Approach to Solution
- Final Proposed Landing Method
- Additional Methods of Landing and Take-Off
- Prototype Proposal
- External Arrangement
- Internal Arrangement
- Landing Provisions
- Power Plant Installation
- Control System
- Electronics Gear
- Basic Structure
- Weight Analysis
- Aerodynamic Analysis
- Summary of Suggested Research Program
- Major Comparison of T-40 and Mamba Time Schedule
- Cost Proposal
- Light Weight Design Policy
- Contract Award
- Early Years of the XFO-1 / XFV-1
- NACA Wind Tunnel Testing (1951)
- ¼ Scale Flying Model
- 1/10 Scale Wind Tunnel Model
- Mock-Up Conference
- Primary Flight Control System
- Power Plant
- Hydraulic System
- Fuel System
- Oil System
- Oxygen System
- Gun Pod
- Frangible Nose Rocket Pod
- Expendable Rocket Pod
- Description of “Normal” Landing Gear
- Ground Handling Gear
- Mock-Up Board Report
- NACA Flying Model Tests (1952)
- Yaw Translation
- Pitch Translation and Transition
- NACA Wind Tunnel Testing (1951)
- Subsequent History of the XFV-1
- Related Lockheed Studies
- L-203 Liaison and Transport Studies
- L-210 Ground Attack Aircraft Studies
I’m a huge fan of trying to understand how and why aviation designs evolved and this book covers a lot of that thought process. Although the text might be a bit detailed for some, Zichek has spared the reader much of the mundane technical details and focused on how the problems were solved. The accompanying technical drawings and illustrations make it easy to understand the underlying ideas that were being tried and tested.
Released kits of the Lockheed XFV-1 include the 1/48 Strombecker (C50-89) with a wood fuselage and injected wings of 1954. Aurora’s all plastic 1/48 kit (50-79, 80-59, VTO-59, 50-89)was released in its “Famous Fighters of All Nations” series in 1954 through 1957. Airmodel (AM-102) has released a vacuform 1/72 kit and Pegasus (3005) released a limited run kit in 1992. Valom (72007) released a limited run kit in 1/72 in 2005.
Jared A. Zichek provides a great follow-up to Volume One and when combined with Volume One, you have 148 pages of the proposal that led to the Lockheed XFV-1. If you own the 32-page Ginter Naval Fighters Volume 32 monograph on the Lockheed XFV-1 VTOL Fighter, Zichek’s two volumes on how we got there is essential. If you own one the previous releases in the Retro Mechanix series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.
My thanks to Retro Mechanix Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.