Model: NA-131

Name: "Blue Charger" (unofficial)

Type: Jet fighter

Date: 1946

Status: Experimental

Country: United States of America

Service: U.S. Navy

Designation: XFJ-X


When North American Aviation won the competition for the first pure jet fighter to equip US Navy squadrons, they initially worked on a tail configuration for their NA-130 that applied directly the research done by NACA three years before. But since neither NAA nor the Navy were too sure about the results, the prototype was not properly designated until the final configuration was found.

So was born the North American "Blue Charger", which the Navy designated the XFJ-X, an aircraft that resembled the later FJ-1 version except for the rounded V-tail, a P-51 Mustang's cockpit and a primitive exhaust configuration.

Test flights began in September 1945 and ceased early in December. The tail configuration not only didn't provide sufficient advantage over a classic tail, it also caused the aircraft to spin dangerously, nearly killing one of the two test pilots on one occasion.

The XFJ-X was returned to North American, who reworked it, fitted a specially redesigned cockpit, straight tail, and thus was born the XFJ-1 Fury, ancestor of all Furies and Sabres to come. But none would have seen the light of day without that forgotten V-tailed curiosity, the Blue Charger...


The idea for the Blue Charger came from the photos of an unidentified V-tailed wind-tunnel model at NACA during the 1940s.

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My comments:

The non-standard designation may seem strange to most whiffers, but there was one similar example in the Piasecki XHRP-X, the prototype of the Rescuer ("Flying Banana") family, which was never designated otherwise. "Blue Charger" is an evocation of the Sabre prototype, which NAA called the "Silver Charger".