Tempest Books' American Interceptor

Author/Artists: Jared Zichek


Tempest Books


$59.99 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 350 pages, hardbound, 11.7 x 8.25 inches
ISBN: 978-1-911658948


Shortly after WWII, in late 1950, the US Navy was looking for a way to protect convoys without requiring an expensive and valuable aircraft carrier, a ship that could be better used with other, more important missions. This brought forth the concept of the convoy fighter. These planes would be deployed on standard cargo ships or oilers, needing little more than a flight deck on the fantail and a crew to service the aircraft.

A competition was decided to be the best way to choose an aircraft. By design, they would be tailsitters and rely on the new turboprop engines for power. Proposals were submitted by Convair, Goodyear, Lockheed, Martin, and Northrop. Of the six, two were chosen to go into the prototype stage. These were the aircraft of Convair and Lockheed. Both produced flying prototypes, though only the Convair offering was able to take off and land vertically. The main drawback was the lack of a powerful enough turboprop. The Lockheed XFV-1 had a stalky landing gear that allowed the aircraft to take off and land normally so it was able to at least enter flight testing. The Convair XFY-1 was of such a design that adding standard landing gear was not possible so it got the latest and greatest in terms of engines so it could operate vertically. As often happens, the aircraft required the highest level of skill to land and like other vertical take off programs of the time, proved to be unworkable.

This book covers in great depth, all six programs, providing not only initial development of the aircraft, but also any changes made to the designs as time went on. The author has written self published books on all these aircraft and this book not only puts all of those under one cover, but expands on each type. It is full of original plans and drawings as well as photos of mockups and the two flying prototypes. A section covers related projects as the other services also looked into these types of aircraft.

In all, it is a fascinating look into the interesting aircraft developed during a time of innovation into the use of turbine engines. If you have the slightest interest in these aircraft or this program, this is the book you want as it is the best written on the subject.

January 2023

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