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McDonnell XF-85 Goblin

DAYTON, Ohio -- McDonnell XF-85 Goblin at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- McDonnell XF-85 Goblin at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Dayton, Ohio -- McDonnell XF-85 Goblin in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

Dayton, Ohio -- McDonnell XF-85 Goblin in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

McDonnell XF-85 Goblin in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

McDonnell XF-85 Goblin in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

To fit inside the parent aircraft’s bomb bay, the XF-85’s wings folded up. (U.S. Air Force photo)

To fit inside the parent aircraft’s bomb bay, the XF-85’s wings folded up. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Although the XF-85 handled well, the test pilots reported that the airflow around the parent aircraft made it difficult to attach the hook to the trapeze. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Although the XF-85 handled well, the test pilots reported that the airflow around the parent aircraft made it difficult to attach the hook to the trapeze. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The XF-85 Goblin on a test flight over Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards Air Force Base), Calif. On one test flight, the canopy shattered when it hit the trapeze, and the pilot made an emergency landing. On other flights, turbulence prevented the pilot from hooking up to the EB-29B, and he had to land on the lake bed. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The XF-85 Goblin on a test flight over Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards Air Force Base), Calif. On one test flight, the canopy shattered when it hit the trapeze, and the pilot made an emergency landing. On other flights, turbulence prevented the pilot from hooking up to the EB-29B, and he had to land on the lake bed. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The McDonnell Aircraft Corp. developed the XF-85 Goblin "parasite" fighter to protect B-36 bombers flying far beyond the range of conventional escort fighters. The "parent" B-36 would carry the XF-85 within a bomb bay -- if enemy fighters appeared, the Goblin would be lowered on a trapeze and released to combat the attackers. Once the enemy had been driven away, the Goblin would return to the B-36, reattach to the trapeze, and be lifted back into the bomb bay.

Two test aircraft were ordered in October 1945, and flight testing with a modified B-29 began in 1948. Test pilots could successfully launch the XF-85, but the turbulent air under the B-29 made recovery difficult and hazardous. About half of the Goblin flights ended with emergency ground landings after the test pilot could not hook up to the B-29.

No XF-85s were ever launched or carried by a B-36.  The program ended in late 1949 when aerial refueling of conventional fighter aircraft showed greater promise.  The XF-85 was transferred to the museum in 1950.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Crew:
One
Armament: Four .50-cal. machine guns
Engine: One Westinghouse XJ-34 turbojet of 3,000 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 650 mph
Weight: 4,550 lbs.
Maximum endurance: 1 hour, 20 minutes

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