Curtiss XF14C

The Curtiss XF14C was the last piston engine fighter to be designed by Curtiss, but by the time the prototype was completed it was no longer needed and didn't enter production.

The F14C was only Curtiss's last piston-engined fighter by a very narrow margin. The order for the F14C was placed on 30 June 1941, only three days after the Army had placed an order for the XP-62. The Army fighter made its maiden flight on 21 July 1943, the XF14C a few weeks later in September.

On 30 June 1941 the Navy placed an order for two prototypes of a new naval fighter. One was to be powered by the new Lycoming H-2470-4 engine (XF14C-1), the other by the reliable Wright XR-3350-16 (XF14C-2). Curtiss produced a fairly conventional looking fighter for the period, somewhere between the P-60 and P-62 in structure and size. The XF14C had folding wings, with a level central section and dihedral on the outer panels. The rear deck was cut down compared to that on the USAAC fighters, giving better rear visibility. It was armed with four 20mm cannon mounted just inside the wing fold, at the end of the level central section. The main undercarriage was also mounted at about the same point, giving a wide wheelbase well suited to carrier operations, with the wheels folding inwards.

The Lycoming engine didn't develop as hoped and the XF14C-1 was never completed. The XF14C-2, with its Wright two-row radial, was built. It used a six blade contra rotating propeller. The aircraft was completed in September 1943, but didn't go to the Navy until July 1944. By that point the Navy was already using the Grumman F6F and Vought F4U Corsair and didn't need another fighter, especially one with slightly disappointing performance. Work on the XF14C was thus cancelled. Curtiss would produce one more fighter for the US Navy - the XF15C-1 - but that would use a mix of jet and piston engines.

Engine: Wright R-3350 18-cylinder two-row radial engine
Power: 2,300hp
Crew: 1
Span: 46ft 0in
Length: 37ft 9in
Height: 17ft
Empty weight: 10,582lb
Normal loaded weight: 14,950lb
Max speed: 418mph at 32,000ft
Climb Rate: 7.9 mins to 20,000ft
Service ceiling: 39,800ft
Range: 1,355 miles at 162mph
Armament: Four 20mm cannon

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 February 2013), Curtiss XF14C , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_curtiss_XF14C.html

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