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Wright XF3W Apache
Role Racer
National origin United States
Manufacturer Wright Aeronautical
First flight 5 May 1926[1]
Number built 1

The Wright XF3W was an American racing aircraft built by Wright Aeronautical for the United States Navy.

Development and design[edit | edit source]

After the U.S. Navy declared its preference for radial engines, Wright developed the P-1 Simoon. To demonstrate the engine, the F3W was designed to carry it. The F3W was a single-seat biplane, with a steel tubing fuselage and wood wings, covered by fabric. Designed to be a carrier-based fighter and powered by the Simoon engine, its performance was poor. After the Navy took delivery of the aircraft, they installed a rival company's engine, the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial. The aircraft was redesignated XF3W, and flew with the new engine for the first time on 5 May 1926.[1]

Operational history[edit | edit source]

The Navy used the XF3W as a test bed for the Pratt & Whitney engine until 1930, during which time the aircraft set a number of records. On 6 September 1926, the XF3W set the world altitude record for seaplanes of 38,500 ft (11,700 m). On 6 April 1930, it set the landplane altitude record of 43,166 ft (13,157 m). The XF3W was also fitted with a single centreline float to evaluate the concept of basing floatplanes on battleships.[2]

Specifications[edit | edit source]

The XF3W-1 with floats.

Data from Angelucci, 1987. p. 462.[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 22 ft 1 in (6.73 m)
  • Wingspan: 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
  • Wing area: 215 ft2 (19.97 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,414 lb (641 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,128 lb (965 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B, 450 hp (336 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 162 mph (261 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 38,560 ft (11,753 m)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Angelucci, 1987. p. 462.
  2. Johnson, E.R (2011). United States Naval Aviation, 1919-1941: Aircraft, Airships and Ships Between the Wars. United States: McFarland Publishing. pp. 353. ISBN 9780786445509. 
  • Angelucci, Enzo (1987). The American Fighter from 1917 to the present. New York: Orion Books. ISBN 0-517-56588-9. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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