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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor—the plane that lost out to the B-29

8 May 2017

 

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor in flight—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor view of the hull—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor taking to the water—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor making way—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor in flight starboard profile—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor (note the Davis wing and twin tail design which were both later used on Consolidated’s Liberator aircraft)—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor (note the windows indicating two decks) in U.S. Navy livery and now armed with a nose and upper gun positions—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor overland—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor (note the upper turret and bulb at the nose for a gun position)—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor with the executive/staff transport interior layout (layouts for 58 passengers or 28 litter cases were also planned)—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor flying though not successful since its engine production was required for the B-29 Superfortress production line of aircraft—San Diego Air and Space Museum archive image

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 May 2017 01:58

    I am curious as to why they thought a twin engine aircraft might be superior to a four engine aircraft. Twin rudders always made sense to me, since that puts the rudders directly in the wake of the props, which should give the pilot more rudder authority.

    One of the more curious aspects of WW2 history is the fact the delivery system ended up costing more than the bomb. The cost of the B-29 program ended up being about $3 billion. Each B-29 off the assembly line at Boeing was $639,188 USD. In 2017 dollars that comes to about $49.4 billion for the program, and $10.4 million per airplane.

    They did have the unfortunate habit of catching on fire. Many were lost during training exercises as well as combat, because those Wright Cyclone R-3350 engines had a bad habit of catching on fire. The guy responsible for my first flying lesson earned his caterpillar pin because his B-29 caught on fire over Kansas on a training mission.

    The total cost to develop the Atomic bomb was about $2 billion. That would convert to $32 billion in 2017 dollars.

    However, the seaplane configuration makes sense if you look at the distance from Saipan and Tinian to the Japanese main islands. A lot of B-29s were lost when they had to ditch in the ocean.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      10 May 2017 06:20

      You raise an interesting point–why did Consolidated not have a four engined flying boat design? A related issue with the B-29 fire habit was the engine manufacturing taking place on the east coast with less skillful aerospace workers–a controversy at the time but the military dictated the plan.

      Flying boats reached their acme in utility in the PTO during WW II, I think.

      You’ve illustrated the fiscal costs of war, most of which leads to no further production so, economically, it is lost money. Your examples underscore FDR’s quote about the USA being the “arsenal of democracy” since no other country could have accomplished one of these items much less all of them simultaneously.

  2. 9 May 2017 04:55

    This was not ever a B29 equivalent – the clickbait title is misleading. It would never have flown bombing missions to Japan. It was a Patrol bomber to replace the Catalina. It just happened to use Wright Duplex Cyclones, which were needed for B29 Production, and since the Catalina was still largely satisfactory in its role, Production did not continue. A closer “equivalent to the B29 would be Consolidated’s B32 Dominator.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      9 May 2017 13:04

      The PBM Mariner performed more duty than the Catalina at that point in the war though that fact is not generally recognized. The XP4Y didn’t “just happen” (to use your term) to use the same engine as the B-29. It did use that engine–and that decision was purposeful and in the end the aircraft lost out due to that decision. Likely other reasons as well. Why you are comparing it to a heavy bomber I cannot explain. As I wrote–it lost out to the B-29 in a supply line issue and not on a one-on-one fly off. But thanks for the mention of the B-32 but I was not seeking a competitor for the B-29. The competition was for the engines. Getting back to your accusation–my title therefore is intriguing, not misleading, and is correct. Thanks for your opinion and I hope I’ve made my case acceptably.

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