Consolidated YA-11

Last revised July 3, 2000

When the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, went into receivership in 1931, it was unable to fulfill its contract to manufacture YP-24 fighters and Y1A-9 attack planes for the USAAC. In addition, Detroit Aircraft's chief engineer Robert J. Woods was now out of a job.

However, Woods was soon recruited by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York, and he continued to work on his YP-24 design after he went over to Consolidated. Despite the failure of the Detroit company, the USAAC was still interested in the YP-24 design. The Army ordered a single prototype of Wood's basic design from Consolidated under the designation Y1P-25. The serial number was 32-321.

At first glance, Consolidated's Y1P-25 looked much the same as did the Detroit YP-24. It was a two-seat, low wing monoplane with fully-retractable main landing gear. However, there were significant differences. The Y1P-25 had an all-metal wing in place of the wood-frame, plywood-covered wing of the YP-24. In addition, the tail of the Y1P-25 was larger, and metal was substituted for the fabric covering on the tail control surfaces. The engine was a 600 hp Curtiss V-1570-27 Conqueror, 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine with turbosupercharger mounted on the port side (the YP-24 had no supercharger). The armament was two fixed, forward-firing machine guns mounted in the upper fuselage, plus one flexible machine gun operated by the gunner in the rear cockpit.

A second prototype of the basic Consolidated design was ordered as a ground attack aircraft. Designated Y1A-11, the aircraft differed from the Y1P-25 primarily in having a Conqueror engine without a supercharger. In addition, the Y1A-11 had two more guns in the nose and racks for up to 400 pounds of bombs. The serial number of the Y1A-11 was 32-322.

The flight tests with the Y1P-25 and its Y1A-11 attack counterpart went quite well. However, the Y1P-25 crashed on January 13, 1933, and was so badly damaged that it was a writeoff. The Y1A-11 crashed a week later.

In spite of the two crashes, the USAAC did not feel that there was any intrinsic flaw in the basic design, and later that month a contract for four production examples of the pursuit version was issued under the designation P-30 (Ser Nos 33-204/207). The P-30 differed from the Y1P-25 by having a 675 hp Curtiss V-1570-57 with twin-blade constant-speed prop, simplified undercarriage, and revised cockpit canopy. Four similar A-11 (33-308/311) attack versions were also ordered with unsupercharged V-1570-59 engines.

The A-11 had a performance far in advance over its contemporaries when deliveries began in August of 1934. However, its liquid-cooled engine blocked its wider acceptance, since the Army preferred air-cooled radial engines for its attack planes because of their lower cost and reduced vulnerability to enemy fire. Its pursuit counterpart won larger acceptance, a order for 50 P-30As being placed on December 6, 1934.

An XA-11A engine test ship modified by Bell Aircraft in December of 1936 was the first plane to take the new 1000-hp Allison XV-1710-7 engine into the air.

Specification of Consolidated A-11:

Engine: One Curtiss V-1570-59 Conqueror liquid-cooled V-12 engine without supercharger. Performance: Maximum speed 228 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 193 mph. Landing speed 84 mph. Service Ceiling 23,300 feet. Absolute ceiling 24,900 feet. An altitude of 5000 feet could be attained in 3.4 minutes. Range was 470 miles with 327 pounds of bombs. Maximum range 950 miles. Weights: 3805 pounds empty, 5490 pounds gross. Dimensions: Wingspan 43 feet 11 inches, length 29 feet 3 inches, height 9 feet 10 inches, wing area 297 square feet. Armament: Four fixed, forward-firing 0.30-inch machine guns, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by the observer. Up to 400 pounds of bombs could be carried.


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  3. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.