Between 1952 and 1957, five Sea Darts were built and tested, but only three ever actually got off the ground (or the water, in this case). Convair completed the last two planes but never installed the engines.

The first XF2Y-1 prototype was powered by twin after-burning Westinghouse J34-WE-32 engines (3,400 pounds of thrust). However, it was so underpowered that a change was made to the more powerful J46-WE-12B with 4,600 pounds of thrust. The engines were attached to the top of the plane to keep seawater away, but a freshwater injection system was still needed to remove deposits left by the salt water.

Some of the more unique features of the Sea Dart were things called the water rudder, forebody spray rail, breaker strip, and skeg. It used a set of dive brakes (aka water brakes) attached to the lower rear of the fuselage, and while taxiing around like a duck, used water rudders to maneuver. The bottom of the hull was constructed with several watertight compartments to keep it from sinking should it get punctured.

The aircraft could roll down a ramp into the water using small wheels on the rear of the skis with another located on the tail. Once in the water, the wheels on the skis turned 90 degrees and tapered back into an aerodynamic position wherein the plane could take off.

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