The XF8B-1 made its first flight on 28 November 1944 with Boeing test pilot Robert Lamson at the controls. The second prototype was ready for flight testing on 13 February 1945. However, during the initial trials it was nearly lost when the plane started to oscillate at the moment the both main wheels were retracted. Lamson had to make a landing with the wheels only partly retracted which resulted in some structural damage to the plane. The main reason of this incident was a fault in the wheel mechanism. After repairs of this second plane, all three machines were extensively tested; not only by the Naval air service, but also by the Marines and the Army Air Corps. In general, the big Boeing fighter showed to have excellent flight characteristics with a maximum speed that was higher than a P-51 Mustang fighter and the plane showed for its size a remarkable maneuverability. However, with the war ended, interest in the big Boeing fighter quickly disappeared. The test program was terminated in 1946 without any further orders being placed. With the Douglas Skyraider and its alternative the Martin Mauler already ordered, there was no need for a third type as an attack plane, in spite of the impressive performances the XF8B-1 had shown. If ordered, the type designation of F8B-1 for fighters would have been changed into the attack plane designation AB-1.

Boeing last fighter in flight- digital art

This illustration show XF8B-1 flying near Mount Rainier in Washington. Mount Rainier seems to be a favourite background for many official Boeing press-release photos so this art also capture this background.

Srecko Bradic