While Lockheed was developing the XFV-1 vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) fighter, Convair was working on a competitive design—the XFY-1, given the unofficial moniker “Pogo.”1 Both aircraft were “tail-sitters”—intended to operate in the defensive fighter role from small platforms on warships and possibly on merchant ships. They owed their origins to the German “thrust-wing fighter” design of World War II.
The Convair prototype had a modified delta-wing planform complemented by two large, vertical tail surfaces. The ventral tail could be jettisoned to permit a conventional emergency, wing-supported landing by the plane. For VTOL operations the aircraft—in tail-sitting vertical attitude—sat on castering wheels fitted to all four “wingtips.” The pilot’s seat was mounted on gimbals and could tilt 45 degrees when the fighter was vertical.