|RESEARCH AIRCRAFT||Virtual Aircraft Museum / USA / Convair|
The Convair XF-92A, which made its first flight on 8 June 1948, was not the aircraft originally assigned the F-92 designation but a hybrid, hastily-built machine designed solely to test the delta wing planform.
The US Air Force had obtained wartime German data on the delta wing from its leading proponent, Dr Alexander Lippisch. The XF-92 designation originally went to a Convair design with delta wing and V-shaped butterfly tail powered by no fewer than six 907kg thrust liquid-fuel rocket engines plus a 707kg thrust Westinghouse J30-WE-1 turbojet as backup. This would have been a very fast point-defence interceptor with exceedingly limited range and duration. To flight-test its wing planform, Convair built its model 7002, hastily assembled partly from components of other aircraft. This was a remarkably simple airplane with latticed canopy cover, nose air inlet, and through-flow arrangement for its 2358kg thrust Allison J33-A-23 turbojet. Its delta wing was swept 60 degrees. When the fully-fledged rocket-powered XF-92 design was cancelled because of its obviously limited military application, the model 7002 was redesignated XF-92A. Since it had been intended only as a flying mock-up for the cancelled machine, the XF-92A was never a candidate for a production order, though it performed valuable, if unintended, service as a testbed for the company's F-102 interceptor.
The XF-92A originally flew without afterburning. During continuing tests at Edwards AFB (as the Muroc Dry Lake base was renamed) it was re-engined and its fuselage lengthened to provide reheat for the new 3402kg afterburning thrust Allison J33-A-29. At the same time, the natural-metal XF-92A was painted gloss white.
Always a research aircraft rather than a fighter, the XF-92A was turned over to NACA for tests before its flight career ended in 1953. By that time, work was well advanced on the operational delta-wing craft to follow, the F-102.