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.
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.
Data from Angelucci, 1987. p. 462.
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