Aircraft: World War II

Click to view all Aircraft: World War II articles starting with the most recent.

Arsenal VB 10-02 under construction Arsenal VB 10 Heavy Interceptor Fighter - Started before WWII, the development of the French Arsenal VB 10 was delayed throughout the war. Powered by tandem-engines, the aircraft flew after WWII, but it was outperformed by other aircraft, especially jets.
arsenal vg 33 rear Arsenal VG 30-Series (VG 33) Fighter Aircraft - Stemming from the VG 30 series of aircraft, the Arsenal VG 33 was perhaps France’s best fighter at the start of World War II. However, not enough of VG 33 aircraft existed to have any impact on the war.
Beech XA-38 Grizzly air 2 Beech Aircraft Company XA-38 Grizzly - The Beech XA-38 Grizzly was a fast and powerful ground attack aircraft. However, its R-3350 engines were needed for the B-29, and its roll was already being fulfilled by other aircraft.
Blackburn-B20-front-water Blackburn B-20 Experimental Flying Boat - The Blackburn B-20 was an experimental flying boat with a hull that extended for water operations. The prototype exhibited good performance but was lost on an early test flight due to aileron flutter.
Boeing-XF8B-BuNo-57984-in-flight Boeing XF8B Five-In-One Fighter - The Boeing XF8B was intended to be a fighter, interceptor, level bomber, dive bomber, and torpedo bomber. While impressive, the end result was that the aircraft did not excel at any of its roles.
Bolkhovitinov S-2M-103 Sparka - The Bolkhovitinov S-2M-103 Sparka was a unique fast-attack aircraft with tandem engines and contra-rotating propellers. The Soviet aircraft first flew in 1940, but technical difficulties and WWII led to its abandonment.
Bugatti 110P Racer top Bugatti Model 100P Racer - The Bugatti 100P was designed to set the 3 km absolute world speed record for landplanes and was arguably one of the most beautiful aircraft ever built. WWII prevented the aircraft from being finished.
CAC CA-14A front Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-14/A Fighter - The turbosupercharged Commonwealth CA-14 was Australia’s attempt to turn the outclassed Boomerang fighter into an aircraft that could meet the enemy on equal terms.
CAC CA-15 Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-15 ‘Kangaroo’ - During WWII, Australia worked to create an indigenous fighter aircraft to compete with the best from other nations. The Commonwealth CA-15 achieved this goal but was completed too late to serve a useful roll.
Curtiss-XF14C-2-front-left Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Based Fighter - The Curtiss XF14C was an experimental fighter originally planned with the Lycoming XH-2470 engine. A Wright R-3350 with contra-rotating propellers was substituted, but the aircraft did not meet expectations.
Curtiss XP-40Q-2A flight Curtiss XP-40Q Fighter - The XP-40Q was a final attempt by Curtiss to extend the life of its P-40 fighter design. While it was a good aircraft, the XP-40Q was on par or outclassed by other fighters already in production.
de Havilland DH91 Forbisher front De Havilland DH.91 Albatross Transport - The de Havilland DH.91 Albatross was an elegant, pre-WWII airliner and mailplane of wooden construction. After short careers, the mailplanes were pressed into service as transports during WWII.
Douglas XA-26D 41-39543 Douglas XA-26D and XA-26E Invaders - The Douglas XA-26D and E were improved versions of the Douglas A-26B and C, respectively. While the aircraft had a top speed of 403 mph (649 km/h), the end of WWII brought the program to a close.
Douglas XB-42 no1 in flight Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster Attack Bomber - The Douglas XB-42 was an innovative aircraft designed to maximize performance. Although impressive, its performance fell short of expectations. The end of WWII and new jet aircraft made the project obsolete.
fiat-cr42-db FIAT CR.42 DB Fighter - Powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 601 engine, the FIAT CR.42 DB was the fastest biplane ever built. However, the aircraft was outclassed by contemporary monoplane fighters.
Fisher P-75A top Fisher (General Motors) P-75 Eagle Fighter - The Fisher XP-75 was an ambitious attempt to create a world-class WWII fighter utilizing many existing components. In the end, it was a complex and expensive aircraft with mediocre performance.
Hawker Fury Sabre LA610 Hawker Fury I (Sabre-Powered) Fighter - At 483 mph (777 km/h), the Napier Sabre-powered Hawker Fury MK I was one of the fastest piston-powered aircraft ever built. First flown in 1946, the stunning Fury I never entered production.
Hawker-Tempest-I-front-side Hawker Tempest I Fighter - The Hawker Tempest I was a mid-World War II attempt to make a premier high-altitude fighter. Although the aircraft’s performance exceeded expectations, engine issues prevented its production.
Hawker-Tornado-P5224-front Hawker Tornado Fighter - The Hawker Tornado was powered by the Rolls-Royce Vulture X-24 engine and made its first flight in October 1939. Issues with developing and producing the engine led to the Tornado’s cancellation.
Heinkel He 119 V4 front Heinkel He 119 - The Heinkel 119 was designed by the Günter brothers and exemplified their belief in streamlining. Powered by a DB 606 engine, the pre-war aircraft did not find a niche in a reconnaissance or bomber roll.
Hughes D-2 construction a Hughes D-2 - Howard Hughes kept his D-2 aircraft hidden away. The aircraft’s roll changed several times and included fighter and attack. Control issues plagued the prototype, but a redesign led to the XF-11.
Hughes XF-11 no1 taxi Hughes XF-11 Photo-Reconnaissance Aircraft - The Hughes XF-11 was the last fixed-wing aircraft built by the Hughes Aircraft Company and the aircraft that nearly killed Howard Hughes. WWII was over by the time prototypes of the specialized aircraft flew.
kawasaki-ki-64-engine-run Kawasaki Ki-64 Experimental Fighter - The Kawasaki Ki-64 was an experimental fighter that employed tandem engines and evaporative cooling. More pressing priorities during WWII resulted in the aircraft not being repaired after it was damaged by a fire.
Kawasaki Ki-78 (KEN III) - The Kawasaki Ki-78 was a high-speed research aircraft and possible world speed record contender. First flown in 1942, the aircraft experienced numerous difficulties, and its performance did not live up to expectations.
Kyushu-J7W1-Shinden-left-rear Kyushu J7W1 Shinden Interceptor Fighter - The Kyushu J7W1 Shinden was an unconventional pusher fighter with a canard layout. The Japanese aircraft showed potential, but World War II war ended before the design was proven.
Latecoere 631-03 Latécoère 631 Flying Boat Airliner - Conceived during the golden age of flying boats and delayed by WWII, the French Latécoère 631 arrived in the middle of the propliner era. A series of fatal accidents led to its withdrawal from service.
Martin-Baker MB3 runup Martin-Baker MB3 Fighter - The Martin-Baker MB3 was truly a world-class fighter aircraft. Tragically, company co-founder Captain Valentine Baker died when the aircraft crashed.
Martin-Baker MB5 dH front Martin-Baker MB5 Fighter - The Martin-Baker MB5 was developed by a small British firm toward the end of WWII and was one of the finest piston-powered fighters ever built. Due to advancing jet technology, only a single prototype was completed.
McDonnell Aircraft Corporation Model 1 - The McDonnell Model 1 was an unorthodox high-performance fighter. The 1940 design proved too advanced and did not progress beyond the design phase. However, it did inspire the McDonnell XP-67.
McDonnell-XP-67-top McDonnell Aircraft Corporation XP-67 Fighter - As proposed, the McDonnell XP-67 was a high-performance, long-range fighter with unparalleled armament. Design changes and underperforming engines resulted in an aircraft inferior to those already in service.
Mitsubishi Ki-83 side Mitsubishi Ki-83 Heavy Fighter - The Mitsubishi Ki-83 was a high-performance heavy fighter. First flown in November 1944, the aircraft may have been the most advanced built by Japan, but it was too late for WWII.
NA-98X Front North American Aviation NA-98X Super Strafer - The North American NA-98X was an upgraded B-25 bomber designed to be a high-performance ground attack aircraft. Sadly, its pilot pushed the aircraft too far and paid the ultimate price.
Dreadnought at speed One Second on the Course with Dreadnought – by Tom Fey - Tom Fey breaks down the inner workings of the R-4360 engine installed in the Sanders Family’s air racer Dreadnought as it provides race-power on the course at the Reno Air Races.
Piaggio P119 engine Piaggio P.119 Experimental Fighter - The Piaggio P.119 was a World War II-era experimental fighter built in Italy. The aircraft had an unorthodox configuration with an air-cooled radial engine installed in the fuselage behind the cockpit.
Republic XP-47J front Republic XP-47J Superbolt Fighter - The Republic XP-47J was a high-performance fighter prototype based on the P-47 Thunderbolt. The aircraft recorded a top speed of 505 mph (813 km/h) in level flight.
Republic XP-69 side Republic XP-69 Fighter - Republic’s XP-69 fighter was one of the company’s few liquid-cooled engine aircraft designs. Trouble with the Wright R-2160 Tornado engine kept the XP-69 from being built.
Republic XP-72 No 2 front Republic XP-72 Super Thunderbolt / Ultrabolt Fighter - The Republic XP-72 could have been one of the greatest piston-engine fighters ever built. However, because of jet aircraft and the end of World War II, the P-72 never entered production.
Skoda-Kauba V4 Skoda-Kauba V4, SK 257, and V5 - The Skoda-Kauba V4 and SK 257 were a series of high-performance trainers built in Czechoslovakia during WWII. Inspired by V4 and SK 257, the V5 was a fighter design that was not built.
Sud-Est SE 580 cowling Sud-Est (SNCASE) SE 580 Fighter - Designed around a 24-cylinder engine, the French Sud-Est SE 580 fighter was one of the last piston engine fighters constructed; the jet age would leave the project unfinished.
Supermarine Spiteful RB518 Supermarine Spiteful and Seafang Fighters - The Supermarine Spiteful and Seafang were new fighters based on the Spitfire and designed with a laminar flow wing for greater speed. Only a small number were built, and they did not enter service.
VEF I-16 Front right VEF I-16 Light Fighter Aircraft - Designed by Kārlis Irbītis, the VEF I-16 was the only monoplane fighter designed and built in Latvia. The Soviet and German invasions of Latvia during WWII prevented the aircraft from being developed.
Vickers Type 432 in flight Vickers Type 432 High-Altitude Fighter - The Vickers Type 432 was a high-altitude fighter designed to intercept German bombers over Britain during WW II. However, the threat of widespread German high-altitude bombers never materialized.
vought-v-173-in-flight Vought V-173 Flying Pancake (Zimmer’s Skimmer) - Charles Zimmerman believed a low-aspect ratio, flying wing aircraft with a discoidal planform would offer many advantages, like very short takeoffs and landings. The Vought V-173 proved him right.
vought-xf5u-front Vought XF5U Flying Flapjack - Designed by Charles Zimmerman, the Vought XF5U-1 was a high-performance, low-aspect ratio, flying wing fighter. The aircraft required technology beyond what was available and never flew.
Yak-3 VK-108 front Yakovlev Yak-3 VK-108 Fighter - During WWII, an 1,850 hp (1,380 kW) VK-108 engine was installed in a Soviet Yak-3 fighter. The combination created a high-performance aircraft, but the engine proved to be very unreliable.
Yokosuka (Kugisho) R2Y1 Keiun - The Japanese R2Y1 Keiun was a high-speed reconnaissance aircraft that was partly inspired by the German He 119. The aircraft suffered an engine fire on its first and only flight.