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Air Force Oddities: The Parasitic XF-85 Goblin

Written by on Monday, May 28th, 2012

Bomber aircraft can change the tide of battle, but only if they’re able to reach their destination and unleash their payload. That one basic problem is the reason why escort fighters have been so important throughout the history of aerial warfare. Nowadays, long-range fighters can escort another aircraft for hundreds of miles, but that wasn’t always the case. Earlier fighter aircraft had a harder time enduring the long journey to a bombing destination.

To solve this problem, the Air Forces of the world toyed with the concept of parasite fighters. If you’ve never heard of parasite fighters it’s for a good reason: they only appeared for a very brief moment in history and then quickly became outdated. For that short period of time, though, parasite fighters served as detachable escort fighters for larger aircraft. Whenever a bomber or another large aircraft was in danger, it would simply launch a parasite fighter as a defensive measure.

McDonnell Aircraft began tinkering with parasite fighters when the USAF discovered that its newly created WWII B-35 and B-36 bombers could far outpace any contemporary fighter. The XF-85 Goblin was to be a detachable parasite fighter that could be launched and then cheap cialis ed reattached from a trapeze.

The old saying is that form follows function. The XF-85 had a rather odd function, so of course it had a rather odd form, too. Just by looking at it, aviation enthusiasts can tell that this is far from your standard fighter. Its short, fat fuselage allowed it to pack a lot of power into a very small area. Its short and sharply swept-back wings actually folded up along its side in order to make it more compact.

After a few test flights they had to make the design even weirder. Test pilots discovered that the Goblins suffered significant turbulence on the way back to docking with the mother ship. McDonnell added fork-shaped stabilizers on the back to give it a smoother flight.

Alas, the Goblin was not destined to last. Even as McDonnell was perfecting the Goblin, engineers were making significant advancements in aerial refueling technology and long range aircraft. On top of that, they determined that the Goblin would be far outclassed by any other modern fighters. The whole program was cancelled after seven flights and a total flight time of 2 hours and 19 minutes.


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