The Cornelius XFG-1 was an unusual experimental glider designed
to fulfill an even more unusual role. The unpowered aircraft was designed
to be towed behind a larger aircraft, such as a B-29 bomber, and act
as an additional fuel supply to extend the range of the towing aircraft.
The idea was that once the towing aircraft had consumed the 677 gallons
(2,563 liters) of fuel within the Cornelius XFG-1's tanks, the glider
would disengage and the single pilot on board would glide it back
to a prearranged airstrip or suitable field. An unmanned single-use
version was also proposed which would simply be cut loose once emptied
and return uncontrolled to the ground.
The Cornelius XFG-1 featured forward-swept wings and no horizontal
stabilizer. Its designer, George Cornelius, had been experimenting
with unconventional aircraft since the 1920s, and the XFG-1 was based
loosely on the design of one of his previous creations, the Cornelius
The XFG-1 (FG stood for Fuel Glider) first flew towards the
end of the Second World War in 1944. Two prototypes were built, and
together they made 32 test flights. Sadly one of the prototypes was
lost, and its pilot killed, when it went into an unrecoverable spin
before impacting the ground.
The program was canceled in 1945 as the requirement for extra-long
range bombing missions was becoming less of an issue as the allies
captured more and more territory in the final months of the war.
In the end the entire concept of a towed refueling aircraft was dropped
as aircraft designers and engineers increasingly concentrated their
efforts on creating dedicated tanker aircraft for air-to-air refueling.