1996-11-18

World's First VTOL Airplane Convair/Navy XFY-1 Pogo 962288

The Convair/Navy XFY-1 VTOL fighter was ahead of its time. In the early 1950s it became the first airplane to take off vertically, hover, transition to high speed level flight, transition back to hover, and land vertically. Pilot “Skeets” Coleman made a number of successful flights at Moffett Field South of San Francisco, at Brown Field near the California/Mexican border, and at San Diego's Lindbergh Field. This “first of a kind” aircraft soon adopted the name “POGO”.
The POGO with its stall proof delta wing had near perfect aerodynamic characteristics in hover, transition and level flight. There were no “black boxes” needed for stability augmentation. The POGO was one of the very first aircraft to use hydraulic power flight controls - a system used today on all modern fighter and transport aircraft.
To accommodate both vertical and horizontal flight, the pilot's seat rotated to align the pilot with his engine controls, his control stick and rudder pedals, and to provide the best possible pilot vision. As it turned out, the pilot's over the shoulder vision for judging altitude, sink rate and roll rate during hover descent to touchdown was not the best.

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