Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021
News Every Day |

The V-22 Osprey Wouldn’t Have Succeeded Without the XC-142A

Peter Suciu

Security, Americas

It is a revolutionary aircraft that is part helicopter and part airplane.

Here's What You Need to Remember: Much like the V-22, the XC-142 was both revolutionary but had a difficult time during testing. One prototype crashed, resulting in the death of the aircraft’s three crewmembers. It was also reported to have rather “hard landings” and possibly minor crashes.

Today, the United States military operates some 400 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, which are in use with the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, and the aircraft have been utilized in various Special Forces operations. It is a revolutionary aircraft that is part helicopter and part airplane, but it wasn’t the first to combine the functionality of a fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.

In 1951, a joint U.S. Air Force/U.S. Army initiative developed the Bell XV-3, which became the world’s first successful Vertical Short TakeOff and Landing (VSTOL) tilt-rotor aircraft. It combined the takeoff and hovering capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. However, it never went into production but it paved the way for the modern CV-22 Osprey.

However, there is another largely forgotten experimental craft that was designed to further investigate the operational stability of VSTOL transports. This was the XC-142, which was joint collaboration between Ling-Temco-Vought—a successor aircraft manufacturer of the company that made the F4U Corsair—and Ryan-Hiller. While it wasn’t a true tilt-rotor as the engines didn't tilt. Rather its entire wings titled, which allowed it to achieve vertical take-off and landings.

Transforming Aircraft

Five of the aircraft were produced, and the XC-142A first flew conventionally on September 29, 1964, while on Jan. 11, 1965, the prototype completed its first transitional flight by taking off vertically and tilting the wings for forward flight, followed by a vertical landing.

In subsequent tests the XC-142As were flown from airspeeds of 35 miles per hour backwards and 400 miles per hour forward – which demonstrated that the aircraft could have been a capable transport for troops and supplies under all-weather conditions. The aircraft could carry up to 41,500 pounds of cargo, which could have included up to twenty-four soldiers.

The XC-142As were powered by four General Electric T64 engines, which provided 3,080 horsepower each. It had a maximum speed of 400 miles per hour and a cruising speed of 235 miles per hour, a range of 820 miles and a service ceiling of 25,000 feet.

The five prototypes were flown in some 488 flights, during which time tests included carrier operations, simulated rescues, paratroop drops and low-level cargo extraction. It seemed to be the right aircraft for the job – yet it was far from perfect.

Much like the V-22, the XC-142 was both revolutionary but had a difficult time during testing. One prototype crashed, resulting in the death of the aircraft’s three crewmembers. It was also reported to have rather “hard landings” and possibly minor crashes. The biggest issue was that pilots had a hard time controlling the VSTOL plane, which was further complicated when it was carrying passengers or filled with cargo.

As it was a joint project of the United States Air Force and Navy, the fate of the XC-142A was sealed after the Navy pulled out of the program. While the Air Force reportedly made plans for a production version, the go-ahead from the Department of Defense (DoD) never came. However, much like the Bell XV-3, it foreshadowed future operational VSTOL transports like the V-22 Osprey.

Of the five prototypes built, the only remaining XC-142A was flown to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 1970, where it is currently on display.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on This article first appeared last year and is being republished due to reader interest.

Image: Wikipedia.

Read also

Former Austin City Council member's new job raises questions about group operating city-owned Hilton hotel

Peter Laviolette Doubles Down On Dumb Tom Wilson-Brandon Carlo Take

NYPD reports surge in home invasion robberies amid COVID-19

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here
News Every Day Will Take Part in the UGW 2021 Exhibition