May Mystery Airplane Contest


Tom Lymburn

McDonnell FD-1/FH-1 Phantom

James S. McDonnell (1899-1980) qualified as an Army pilot at Brooks Field. With a master's degree from MIT, he worked for Ford, Martin, and Hamilton, before forming McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis on 6 July 1939. McDonnell manufactured the Fairchild AT-21 crew trainer under license, but also designed the XP-67 Moonbat fighter for the Army. The XP-67 was not a success, but on 7 January 1943, the Navy ordered the XFD-1 Phantom, which, as the FH-1, became the Navy's first pure jet to operate from a carrier.

Initially, the XFD-1 was to have been powered by six small turbojet engines...

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