Looking at some strange Russian and German vehicles had us thinking that we needed to highlight some good old American creative thinking and our thoughts rushed to a strange plane that never made it past the prototype stage. This is the F2Y Sea Dart, the first and only supersonic sea plane.
The impetus for designing this plane and experimenting with it came from a contest the US Navy put on in the late 1940s to encourage companies to develop a supersonic interceptor plane. Obviously, materials and power plants were not what they are today so planes were a lot heavier and had less gusto than modern examples. This meant that even fighter jets, especially the top performing examples needed long runways to get up speed and long runways to get hauled down to a stop. Neither of those things were conducive to launching or landing planes on an aircraft carrier.
The smart guys and girls at Convair decided to ditch the carrier all together and use the ocean as the plane’s take off and landing area, equipping this puppy with skis. The Navy liked the original proposal so much they ordered up a couple of prototypes in the early 1950s and set to testing the plane to see if it was usable.
The plane was designed to float with the wingtips touching the water, but when power was applied and it picked up speed, the skis would automatically deploy and aim the nose up. When the J34 engines were pushing it fast enough it would take flight and be on its way.
One awesomely nutty idea that was kicked around by the Navy was to build subs that would house three of the planes in pressurized compartments within the actual submarine. It would then surface and release the planes which could then take off and do their dirty work. It never got past the dreaming stage.
You’ll be shocked to hear that all of this neat thinking worked a lot better on paper than it did in the real world. The skis produced a lot of shuttering and shaking, even on the calmest of water and the original J34 engines did not make enough steam so in went a pair of man-sized J46 turbines. That was a bit took much steam as they worked to push the plane past Mach 1, but later the plane, under heavy acceleration disintegrated on a demonstration flight in front of the Navy brass and assembled press. The test pilot was killed, and basically, so was the project.
The prototypes that were built mark the entire production run of the plane. Four are known to exist today in various locations across the country. The plane had a top speed of 823mph, weighed in at 16,500 lbs and was 52 feet long from front to back.
We wonder if they cam equipped with an air sick or sea sick bag?