The Wright XF3W was an American racing aircraft built by Wright Aeronautical for the United States Navy.

Development and design

After the U.S. Navy declared its preference for radial engines, Wright developed the P-1 Simoon. To demonstrate the engine, the F3W was designed to carry it. The F3W was a single-seat biplane, with a steel tubing fuselage and wood wings, covered by fabric. Designed to be a carrier-based fighter and powered by the Simoon engine, its performance was poor. After the Navy took delivery of the aircraft, they installed a rival company's engine, the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial. The aircraft was redesignated XF3W, and flew with the new engine for the first time on 5 May 1926.[1]

Operational history

The Navy used the XF3W as a test bed for the Pratt & Whitney engine until 1930, during which time the aircraft set a number of records. On 6 September 1926, the XF3W set the world altitude record for seaplanes of 38,500 ft (11,700 m). On 6 April 1930, it set the landplane altitude record of 43,166 ft (13,157 m). The XF3W was also fitted with a single centreline float to evaluate the concept of basing floatplanes on battleships.[2]


The XF3W-1 with floats.

Data from Angelucci, 1987. p. 462.[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 22 ft 1 in (6.73 m)
  • Wingspan: 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
  • Wing area: 215 ft2 (19.97 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,414 lb (641 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,128 lb (965 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B, 450 hp (336 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 162 mph (261 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 38,560 ft (11,753 m)


  1. ^ a b c Angelucci, 1987. p. 462.
  2. ^ Johnson, E.R (2011). United States Naval Aviation, 1919-1941: Aircraft, Airships and Ships Between the Wars. United States: McFarland Publishing. p. 353. ISBN 9780786445509. 
  • Angelucci, Enzo (1987). The American Fighter from 1917 to the present. New York: Orion Books. ISBN 0-517-56588-9. 

External links

Media related to Wright XF3W Apache at Wikimedia Commons