The Consolidated N2Y was a version of the Fleet tandem-two seat trainer that was used for familiarization training for skyhook pilots operating with the airships USS Akron and USS Macon.
The Fleet was developed as a scaled down version of the PT/NY series of military trainers, for sale in the civilian market. It had a welded steel tube structure with a fabric covering, and staggered biplane wings, with a level upper wing and slight dihedral on the lower wing. The prototype of the Consolidated Model 14 flew on 9 November 1928, but although it had the active support of Reuben Hollis Fleet, the founder of the company, he failed to win over his fellow directors. Fleet was convinced he was right and set up a new company, Fleet Aircraft, in February 1929, to produce the type. Six months later, after it was clear that the new aircraft (then named the Fleet Husky) was a commercial success, the new company was sold back to Consolidated.
In 1929 the US Navy tested a civilian Fleet 1 tandem two seat trainer, powered by a 110hp Warner Scarab seven cylinder radial engine, giving it the designation XN2Y. The tests were a success, and an order was placed for six more aircraft.
The production aircraft, designated as the N2Y-1, were based on the Fleet 2, which was the same as the Fleet 1 apart from the use of a Kinner K-5 five cylinder engine. The Navy aircraft used a 115hp version of the engine. The skyhook equipment increased the weight of the aircraft, and lowered its top speed by 5mph compared to the standard Fleet 2.
The N2Y-1 was used as familiarization trainers for skyhook pilots operating with the airships USS Akron and USS Macon. The idea was that small fighters could be carried below the airships, using hooks mounted on the upper wing to engage with equipment on the airship. In service the airships operated with the Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk, which made its maiden flight on 12 February 1931.
Three of the N2Y-1s remained in service until March 1934, when they were replaced by the Waco XJW-1, skyhook trainers based on the Waco F series biplane trainers. By this point the Akron had been lost, going down in a thunderstorm on 4 April 1933. The Macon was lost on 12 February 1935, so the Waco trainers weren't in use for terribly long either.
One of the six aircraft was converted into a seaplane, as the XN2Y-2. In 1934 it underwent a more dramatic conversion when its upper wing was replaced by a four-bladed autogiro rotor by the Pennsylvania Aircraft Company, becoming the XOZ-1.
Engine: Kinner K-5
Length: 21ft 5in
Gross Weight: 1,637lb
Maximum Speed: 108mph