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P41 Fighter – The Greatest Plane That Never Flew

11 October 2022   Monmouth Jet Center
P41 Fighter - The Greatest Plane That Never Flew

Have you ever heard of the P41 Fighter? Even if you’re an aviation enthusiast, a WWII Aircraft buff, or just a history lover, you may not have heard about this important piece of American history. That’s because it never really made it into production, but it was built and flown, and paved the way for other important aviation developments in WWII aircraft. In this article, our team delves into the history of the P41 Fighter including its importance in aviation history and aircraft engineering generally. 

Development History of the P41 Fighter 

The P41 Fighter was one of the last planes built by Seversky Aircraft in 1939 before their president and founder was ousted for mismanagement and the company became the Republic Aviation Corporation. The design of the P41 was more lethal and powerful than previous fighter aircraft used by the United States Air Force. Engineers added two extra feet onto its frame, which made it look sleeker and longer in contrast to its portly predecessors. In order to make it more streamlined, the exposed housing of the main landing gear legs were hidden, and the engine was replaced with a more powerful Pratt and Whitney engine model with a 2 speed supercharger that boasted a 1,200 horsepower output, enormous for its time.

In order to give the pilot better visibility, the P41 Fighter  used a new and streamlined greenhouse-style canopy, and a small tail wheel was attached to the underside of the aircraft for taxiing .Most notably, the P41 boasted top speeds of around 230mph, which was approximately 20mph faster than the fastest American fighter at the time, more on par with the faster and more agile aircraft from other countries. 

First Flight of the P41 Fighter 

The first and only prototype of the P41 was tested in March of 1939, just months before World War II officially began.  A maximum speed of 325 mph was reached in testing at altitudes of 15,000 feet. The plane had better taxiing handling though cockpit views were still somewhat obstructed, a common limitation of early monoplanes.

Impact of the P41

The P41 Fighter is still considered an important stepping stone in aviation history and design even though only one prototype ever flew. Despite the promising improvements, the Air Force preferred other more impressive designs. Still the XP-41 was built upon to produce the P-43, and ultimately the P-47, the fighter that really reached full production and helped the US to win the war.

While we can’t get you a ride on a P-41, charter services available through our airport can get you a ride most anywhere. For Information on aircraft charter services, please contact our team at Monmouth Jet Center today or visit our website at:

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