Douglas XFD

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Douglas XFD-1.jpg
Role Fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
First flight January 1933
Primary user United States Navy
Number built 1

The Douglas XFD was a carrier-based biplane fighter aircraft designed for the United States Navy, and the first fighter to be built by the Douglas Aircraft Company. A victim of changing requirements, no production was undertaken.

Design and development[edit]

The XFD was designed to the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) Specification No. 311, requesting a carrier-based two-seater biplane fighter.[1] On June 30, 1932, the Navy ordered the XFD, Vought XF3U, and Curtiss XF12C for testing.[2]

The first naval fighter designed by Douglas Aircraft,[3] the XFD was constructed of metal, with a fabric outer covering. The crew sat in tandem in a single bay, enclosed by a long canopy. It had fixed landing gear with a tailwheel. It was designed to be armed with two .30 in (7.6 mm) machine guns, one fixed in the cowling and the other on a flexible mount for the observer, and a 500-pound (230 kg) cound be carried.[4] Powered was supplied by a Pratt & Whitney R-1535 Twin Wasp Junior radial engine.[4]

Operational history[edit]

The XFD-1[N 1] prototype first flew in January 1933;[2] it was delivered to the U.S. Navy for trials at Naval Air Station Anacostia in June 1933, within four days of the delivery of the Vought XF3U-1;[4] evaluations of the types were undertaken between June 18, 1933 and August 14, 1934.[2] While the XFD-1's performance was considered to be acceptable, the U.S. Navy's operational requirements were already changing to see the two-seat fighter concept falling out of favor, the scout bomber being considered more useful for the Navy's needs, and accordingly after the end of the XFD-1's flight trials no further orders were placed for the type.[4]


The XFD-1 in June 1933

Data from Angelucci 1987[2], Johnson 2011[4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two (pilot and observer)
  • Length: 25 ft 4 in (7.72 m)
  • Wingspan: 31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)
  • Height: 25 ft 4 in (7.72 m)
  • Wing area: 295 sq ft (27.4 m2)
  • Empty weight: 3,227 lb (1,464 kg)
  • Gross weight: 5,000 lb (2,268 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1535-64 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 700 hp (520 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed Hamilton Standard


  • Maximum speed: 204 mph (328 km/h, 177 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 170 mph (270 km/h, 150 kn)
  • Combat range: 576 mi (927 km, 501 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 23,700 ft (7,200 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,670 ft/min (8.5 m/s)


  • Guns: 1 x .30-caliber machine gun, fixed forwards-firing cowl mounting
    1 x .30-caliber machine gun, flexible mounting in rear cockpit
  • Bombs: 500 pounds (230 kg) external

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists



  1. ^ The XFD-1 designation was later reused by the U.S. Navy for the prototype of the McDonnell FH Phantom jet fighter.


  1. ^ Yenne 1985, p. 64.
  2. ^ a b c d Angelucci, 1987. pp. 182-183.
  3. ^ Pattillo 2001, p. 111.
  4. ^ a b c d e Johnson 2011, p. 84.


  • Angelucci, Enzo (1987). The American Fighter from 1917 to the present. New York: Orion Books.
  • Johnson, E.R. (2011). United States Naval Aviation, 1919-1941. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-4550-9.
  • Pattillo, Donald (2001). Pushing the Envelope: The American Aircraft Industry. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-10869-7.
  • Yenne, Bill (1985). McDonnell Douglas: Tale of Two Giants. New York: Crescent Books. ISBN 978-0-5174-4287-6.