Designed by Charles.R."Jack" Irvine and Frank.W.Davis
of the newly merged Consolidated and Vultee aircraft companies, now known
as Convair, to a USAAF requirement for a mixed power escort fighter in
1943. Work began on the Model 102 on the 5/1/1944, with the USAAF ordering
two prototypes on the 11/2/1944 under the designation of XP-81, a little
later an order for 13 YP-81 pre-production aircraft was issued, requiring
some changes in the turboprop engine to the TG-110 and an increase in
the armament to 6x 20 mm cannons.
Due to problems with the General Electric TG-100, a Paccar"Merlin"V-1650
piston engine was fitted, with the radiator just below the propeller spinner,
for the first flight on the 11/2/1945 of the XP-81(44-91000) Some problems
were found with the stability, but this was cured with a 15'' tail fin
extension and a ventral fin.
A line drawing of the first
XP-81 with it's Merlin piston engine