The Ryan XV-5 Vertifan was a prototype aircraft developed
by the US Army as part of a project designed to find a
suitable battlefield surveillance aircraft.
General Electric provided the J85 turbojets for the aircraft.
It had two engines driving three fans which provided vertical
flight and hovering capabilities. Two fans were located
in the wings, and one was mounted in the nose.
The Ryan XV-5 Vertifan first flew in May of 1964, and
the first vertical flight was made in July of the same
year. Next year one of the XV-5 prototypes was destroyed
in a crash, killing Ryan test pilot Lou Everett.
In 1966 a second aircraft was involved in an accident
during a flight which was testing the XV-5 Vertifan's
ability to carry a sling load. The pilot, Bob Tittle,
ejected but was sadly killed. In a strange twist of fate,
when the unoccupied aircraft crash landed it was not that
badly damaged, and it was repaired for further testing.
In 1967 the Ryan XV-5 Vertifan project was handed over
to NASA and the Ames Flight Research Center. When it arrived,
it was upgraded and the undercarriage was moved outboard
of the wing fans. This had the effect of improving ground
stability and braking. The revised aircraft was called
the XV-5B, and it continued making test flights and contributing
to V/STOL research up until 1974.
The Ryan XV-5B Vertifan currently resides at the Army
Aviation Museum in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
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