16 October 2009

Noted aviation author Walter Boyne once recounted how the Curtis XP-55 Ascender got its name from a Curtiss employee naming contest. Curtiss had already had one such contest that resulted in the C-46 transport getting the name "Commando". Two of the lead engineers on the XP-55 project, George Page and Edward "Bud" Flesh (Flesh would go on and lead the team that designed the McDonnell XF-88 that became the F-101 Voodoo) were one day lamenting the numerous technical problems facing the project and Bud Flesh finally said out of frustration "George, I know one thing; if they ever have a contest for this bird, I'm going to call it 'Ascender'." Not realizing the double-entendre intended by the tail-first design, the XP-55 ended getting that very name suggested originally in jest.

American Secret Pusher Fighters of World War II: XP-54, XP-55, XP-56 by Gerald Balzer. Specialty Press, 2008, p103.

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