Experimental & Prototype U.s. Air Force Jet Fighters (specialty Press)

  • Manufacturer: Specialty Pr Pub & Wholesalers
The United States Air Force was late in developing a jet fighter, definitely behind Germany and the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, a small number of Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars did make it to the European and Mediterranean
theaters of operations before VE Day, although they did not see combat. After the war, the sheer size of the U.S. aviation industry guaranteed that American fighters would soon dominate the skies.
However, the state of the art was advancing so fast that many development efforts never resulted in production aircraft; concepts that had seemed reasonable, even ideal, at the time were quickly overcome by newer and better technology. In the United States alone, several dozen different fighter designs made it to the prototype stage during the 1950s and 1960s.
In this book, Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis look at the variety of different jet-fighter concepts developed by the U.S. Air Force after World War II. These pages cover all experimental and prototype jet fighters that made it to the hardware stage design studies and paper airplanes are not
discussed since other current books are dedicated to those subjects. The rationale for developing each aircraft is covered, along with a discussion of the technology needed to build it, its flight-test program, and the reasons it was cancelled or ordered into production. The text is derived mostly from official Air Force documents, and all of the aircraft are well covered photographically, usually with seldom-seen images showing
them as they appeared during their flight-test program.

Customer Reviews

One of the Best Aviation Books in Years, May 16, 2008
By Terry Sunday

No one presents aviation history better than the team of Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis. Few authors match the scope and breadth of their research, their painstaking accuracy and their meticulous attention to detail. Virtually none match their ability to unearth previously unpublished information on interesting aircraft. "Experimental & Prototype U.S. Air Force Jet Fighters" is an outstanding example of Jenkins and Landis at their best. Very much in the tradition of their earlier works "Valkyrie: North American's Mach 3 Superbomber" and "Hypersonic: The Story of the North American X-15," this latest book covers some of the most fascinating aircraft ever built. There are no "paper airplanes" here. All of them reached the hardware stage.

The decade just after the end of World War II saw a bumper crop of experimental and prototype aircraft, as the U.S. Air Force, faced with the nuclear challenge of the Soviet Union in the Cold War, tried to tame the relatively new jet engine technology for its fighters and bombers. This was the time when the famous "Century Series" fighters--the North American F-100, McDonnell F-101, Convair F-102, Lockheed F-104, Republic F-105 and Convair F-106--first flew, and when other even-more-advanced concepts, such as the Republic XF-103 and North American XF-108, were on the drawing boards.

The first eight chapters of "Experimental & Prototype U.S. Air Force Jet Fighters" (about 75 per cent of the book) cover this period, separated into logical, bite-sized chunks such as "The First Jets," "All-Weather Fighters," "Point-Defense Interceptors" and "Penetration Fighters." Chapters 9 through 12 look at later aircraft, such as the Lockheed YF-12, General Dynamics F-111 and F-16, Lockheed F-117 and the Boeing and Lockheed Martin prototypes that led to today's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Exquisitely printed on thick, glossy paper, "Experimental & Prototype U.S. Air Force Jet Fighters" is filled with crisp, sharp, well-captioned photographs and drawings (some of them in stunning full-color) that perfectly complement the authoritative, comprehensive, informative text. The balance of illustrations and text is perfect. Jenkins and Landis did a superb job of digging up rare photographs from government and private archives, and of unearthing hidden details about the aircraft of this period. Their efforts make this volume an exceptional addition to any aviation enthusiast's bookshelf. As an added bonus, you'll find an appendix with historical summaries of the companies that built these aircraft. Most of them eventually succumbed to the frenzy of takeovers and mergers that created the three mega-firms that today dominate America's aerospace industry (Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman). But true aviation "buffs" will never forget storied names, now vanished, such as Bell, Chance Vought, Seversky and Vultee. Here you'll find out what happened to them. Most highly recommended.

Another Winner from Specialty Press, May 16, 2008
By Fleener

This is another outstanding aviation book from Specialty Press and is a fitting companion to their U.S. NAVAL SUPERIORITY: DEVELOPMENT OF SHIPBORNE JET FIGHTERS - 1943-1962. The quality of the writing is excellent and authoritative, and the protographs are of high quality and illustrate the subject matter very well. More color would have been welcomed; however, the quality of the black and white photos in the book is probably far superior to most surviving color photos from the 1940s and early 1950s.

Coverage of the topic is comprehensive and begins with some of the last propeller-driven designs that were developed in an attempt to squeeze out the last bit of performance prior to the transition to jets. It finishes with the JSF prototypes, which brings the book right up to the present.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in military aircraft development.

5 Stars for Jenkins and Landis, May 13, 2008
By Michael L. Shakespeare

In 2001, Lockheed Martin struck the mother lode of aircraft design contracts -- the Joint Strike Fighter. The winning design team amalgamated the F-35 fighter in three high-grade versions that will please the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps for a long time to come.

Back in the cold war days, enterprising aircraft designers like Jack Northrup scrambled against other greats like Bud Flesh and Alexander Kartveli to develop a wide range of jet fighter types. The Air Force's shopping list included all-weather fighters, point-defense fighters, penetration fighters, interceptors and long-range interceptors -- lots of development work for all the manufacturers.

Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis, also authors of X-15 Photo Scrapbook, cover these gold rush days and have delivered just what Air Force junkies have always wanted: the bonanza of jet fighter development books.

They have done a superior job of explaining the ancestral charts of successful and dead-end jet fighters in great detail with a clear, concise, readable style.

"Experimental & Prototype U.S. Air Force Jet Fighters" is a high quality, glossy, format book with a "jackpot" of intriguing photographs (many in color), instructive drawings and illustrations in 12 chapters.

Many of the wonderful interior photographs, diagrams and engineering drawing were taken from U.S. Air Force documents. The graphics alone make this one of the finest aircraft books, I have ever seen.

Readers will enjoy the extensive coverage of the famous Century Series from the cold war days, as well as jet fighters participating in the Gulf Wars.

Of great interest, the authors have featured the development of the hot new stealth fighters such as the Lockheed Martin YF-22, and Lockheed X-35 as well as their rivals: Northrop YF-23 and Boeing X-32.

Surprisingly, the flashy Lockheed XF-90 penetration fighter from Kelly Johnson's famed Skunk works assayed out as only pyrite. Jenkins and Landis explain, "the airplane looked every inch the modern, high-performance fighter, but produced disappointing results." A thorough reorganization at Lockheed lead to a steady flow of high-grade designs to the present day.

During the cold war, fighter technology had not progressed enough to deliver a good all-purpose fighter. Using the 'shotgun' approach, manufacturers were simultaneously tasked with developing specific jets to fill the all-weather, point-defense, penetration fighter, and long-range interceptor missions.

Readers will rediscover fool's gold in the comprehensive chapters of long forgotten early jets like the Lockheed XP-80, Bell XP-83, Republic XP-84 Thunder series, and Curtis XP-87 Blackhawk -- complete with excellent photographs.

This book is a must buy for jet fighter fans. "Experimental & Prototype U.S. Air Force Jet Fighters" continues the publishing excellence of previous works from Specialty Press.

pure enjoyment, July 27, 2008
By David M. Peoples

I have always enjoyed reading and watching film and videos of the history of flight,especially the early days of supersonic flight. This book is a terrific historical tome on the evolution of the US AIR FORCE fighter force during the years since the days of the P-80 and the early supersonic testbeds that have lead to legends such as the F-86,F-100, F-4 Phantom and the other fine jet fighters of the second half of the 20th century.

I recommend this read to anyone who loves aviation and is interested in its history

Ditto, December 29, 2008
By L. Shuler

Well, I'll echo what the others have said. I've resigned myself to buy everything these guys have put out. I already had Magnesium Overcast: The Story of the Convair B-36(Specialty Press) that I bought from a vender at a local show. I got the cheaper book on the XB-70, but now I'm somewhat compelled to get this one: Valkyrie: North American's Mach 3 Superbomber (Specialty Press). I've waited for years and tried many other books, but these are the first comprehensive works I've seen that satisfy my curiosity. Keep it up, you two.

Outstanding!, July 13, 2010
By TheeeHC

Any aviation book produced by the Jenkins & Landis team is worthy of consideration, and their latest effort easily clears the high bar that they have set with their previous works. The depth of research is outstanding, the stories intriguing, and the photos marvelous in both number and quality. As an aviation artist, I find this book to be an invaluable mainstay of my research efforts. As an aviation buff, I find that this book is really fun to graze simply for fun. This is a truly remarkable work and an important addition to any aviation library.

This book pushers the outside of the envelope!, August 27, 2008
By G. Loseby

Any aviation enthusiast will enjoy this book as it documenters the early years of Edwards Air force base testing jet aircraft beyond mach one to the super fast X15 to the present day fly off of the joint strike fighter project.

Full of high quality photographs and brief history of each aircraft from prototype to production models and some that only made the mock-up stage.

Highly recommended.

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