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Sunday, February 15, 2015

50th Anniversary of XC-142A First Conventional Flight and First Transitional Flight

     Born in a Joint Services requirement for a V/STOL transport. A winning bid was submitted by a combined  Vought-Hiller-Ryan team with Vought being the prime contractor. the VHR-447 design which became the XC-142A. The award was for five aircraft serial numbers 62-5921 to 62-5925.

Artists Concept of the Joint Services V/STOL Transport. Photo courtesy Vought Aircraft Heritage Foundation (VAHF).

Nice image of the XC-142A mockup with the landing gear retracted and the wing in conventional flight setting. Photo courtesy VAHF.

Another great image, this time the first XC-142 62-5921 on the engine test stand at the Grand Prairie Vought plant. Photo courtesy VAHF

The XC-142A first flew on Sept. 29, 1964. The flight was accomplished with conventional take-off and landing. On Jan. 11, 1965 the XC-142A completed its first transitional flight taking off vertically, transitioning to conventional flight and returning to land vertically. 

Here is an image of the survivng XC-142A 62-5924 during drop testing at NAPF El Centro California. Photo courtesy of  VAHF.

The XC-142A aircraft were extensively tested by the military services. At one time three of the five aircraft were participating in testing in California at the same time. There is a video link at the end of this post that leads to a digitized film of the XC-142 testing.

Painted up for it's 1967 visit to the Paris Air Show is 62-5924 on approach for a STOL landing. Photo courtesy of VAHF.

During it's time it was the largest and fastest V/STOL aircraft. Capable of a 400 mph forward speed and a reverse speed of 35 mph. Unfortunately technical problems, accidents and changing needs spelled the end of the program. Of the five XC-142As built, only one aircraft survives today. 62-5924 went on to serve with NASA as NASA 522 and is currently on display in the National Museum of the US Air Force.

Here are some links for additional information about the XC-142A.

Vought Aircraft Heritage XC-142 webpage

NMUSAF XC-142A Factsheet

My photos of NASA 522

Here are links to several videos of the XC-142A:

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