Lockheed XP-49: “Appearances are a glimpse of the unseen.”

With their brand new P-38 design showing its ample potential, the people of Lockheed didn’t feel the need to explore new venues when the USAAC Material Division demanded the development of a newer updated interceptor in the Spring of 1939. This proposal was basically an almost “2/3 P-38” airframe, pressurised and matted to two of the new “Hyper Engines”, the P & W X-1800s. Ordered into prototype stage, the XP-49 soon entered into problems with its intended engine choice; the barely less troublesome Continental XI-1430-1s was chosen as a substitutes.  First flown in late 1942, the unique XP-49 prototype didn’t impress with its performances specially compared to its forebear. That situation plus its questionable powerplant situation put an end to further development.

With those stupendously streamlined engine nacelles it sure looked like a total winner. This is the sad end of this deceitfully beauty: used in drop tests to investigate the result of hard landings at Wright Field.

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