No single facility can more thoroughly trace the historical evolution of American naval aviation and the various, ever-advancing aircraft integrated into it than the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, located at the very marine Pensacola air station where it all began.
Naval Air Station Pensacola:
Because of its dual port advantages and abundant shipbuilding resources, President John Quincy Adams and Secretary of the Navy Samuel Southard chose to construct a naval yard on the southern tip of Escambia County in 1825 at a site in Pensacola Bay that, four years earlier became a naval squadron support site for operation in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
Construction, which began in 1826, soon demonstrated the value of the facility, whose wet basin, floating dry dock and building capability gave birth to the frigate, USS Pensacola, which itself was instrumental in two major civil war battles – that is, the Battle of Mobile Bay and the Battle at New Orleans.
However, the base’s strength was subsequently tested in 1862, when Confederate troops captured New Orleans and demolished it, and again in 1906, when a hurricane and tidal wave destroyed what had proved to be a valiant and resilient effort to rebuild. The farm itself was discontinued five years later.
Nonetheless, the Navy’s aviation arm was literally waiting to fly and became an integral part of its traditional watershed.
After the civilian pilot Eugene Ely landed on the makeshift wooden deck erected on the 1911 USS Pennsylvania cruiser moored in San Francisco Bay in his Curtiss Model D Pusher biplane, complete with arresting hooks, the science department was aware of the possibilities for this extension to ocean-plying ships and urged Congress to include a provision on aviation development.
To that end, Captain W. I. Chambers contracted for three new aircraft and pilots, including one from the Wright Brothers and two from Glenn H. Curtiss.
Aviation capabilities, through demonstration, became immediately visible: an aircraft was successfully catapulted in 1912, and its aviation scouting capabilities, apparently during experiments the following year, sealed its fate.
Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, a flight training station, the first of its kind in the United States, was set up in 1914 at the site of the abandoned naval yard in Pensacola. The original facility, manned by nine officers and 23 mechanics, included eight aircraft and ten beach-tented tents, each accessed to the water by a wooden ramp.
When the First World War battle finally lit, staff increased dramatically to 163 men and 38 naval aviators flying a 54-strong navy.
“Naval aviation has … been at the forefront of aviation expeditions, from the first successful crossing of the Atlantic by airplane, exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic, and voyages of discovery in outer space,” according to the National Naval Aviation Museum’s website. “The common denominator for those who took part in this exciting story was their training in a sleepy little southern city on the Gulf of Mexico – Pensacola, Florida, the site of the country’s first naval naval station. Since 1914, refugees tested their measurement against the demands of flying aircraft They learned the unique skills required to fly from ships at sea, finding distant targets and returning to their moving, rolling and pitching ‘airport’, often in bad weather and often at night. “
By the end of the war, the station had suffocated to include 438 officers and 5,538 enlisted men, and its size had increased exponentially. In fact, its wooden and steel hangars, homes at sea, airplanes and free kites stretched a solid mile along the beach.
Because of the cadet training program initiated in 1935, this expansion only continued. Saufley and Ellyson fields were added to the 1935 and 1941 watch trains, respectively.
Their needs were once again commanded by war – in this case, World War II – and when President Franklin D. Roosevelt prescribed 126,000 aircraft to fight in it, Naval Air Station Pensacola, bursting at the seams, trained 1,100 monthly cadets to fly them.
The dramatic growth from its invisible ten tents to America’s leading Naval Aviation Center was echoed by Senator Owen Brewster when I said, “The growth of naval aviation during World War II is one of the wonders of the modern world.”
At its highest point in 1944, the station trained 12,010 men, which total flew about two million hours, and U.S. naval superiority was reflected by conflict statistics: Navy aircraft fired 6,444 Japanese, as opposed to their own 450 casualties in a 14-to-1 relationship.
Parallel to technological advances, pure-jet types were integrated into the training plan in 1948, after the Naval Air Basic Training Command (NABTC) was moved headquarters from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Pensacola.
“NAS Pensacola today has countless activities, including the headquarters and staff of the Chief of Naval Education and Training,” according to the museum’s website; “Air Wing Training 6 and Subordinate Squadrons; Naval Aviation Schools Command; Center for Naval Technical Training; Center for Information Dominance; Marine Aviation Training Support Group; Naval Air Technical Training Center; Naval Operational Medicine Institute; Naval Recruiting Orientation Unit; and the world -known Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron. A continuing attraction to the southeast is the National Museum of Naval Aviation. “
National Naval Aviation Museum:
The seed of a museum devoted to naval flying was planted in 1955 when Magruder H. Tuttle, a Navy captain and chief of staff for the commander-in-chief first taken to the sky in Pensacola, identified a shortage of the training program — specifically, there was no information or course that traces the history of this segment of aviation.
Although both time and financial resources were too sparse for a bonafide study unit, the alternative to setting up a small museum was explored, allowing young flying people to get a sense of pride in the service’s past. Fundraising, in support of it, was conducted by active personnel in the Pensacola area, and on December 14, 1962, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Paul Fay announced the establishment of the planned facility that charged it with selection, collection, preservation, and display of appropriate memorabilia representing the development and legacy of shipping.
While the 8,500-square-foot refurbished wooden frame building constructed during World War II, which housed the original eight planes and opened six months later, on June 8, was modest by any standards, it served as the foundation for a growing collection and expanded facilities , which over the years never stopped developing.
With 37 acres of outdoor space and more than 350,000 square feet of internal exhibition space, the National Naval Aviation Museum, located at Naval Air Station Pensacola and access to the visitor gate, is the world’s largest sanctuary of this segment and one of Florida’s most visited attractions. It received the American Association of Museum Accreditation in 2002. Although most of the 700 aircraft are displayed in the 11 other official ship facilities across the country, the 150 pristine restored in the current aircraft are representatively significant.
“They are double-lanes from the Great War, record-setting, experimental platforms and survivors from epic air battles,” according to the museum. “In service, they blasted through Pacific swells, slammed down on airline pitching decks, flew through shotguns and blasted to the stars.”
“(The museum’s exhibitions) seek to capture the human element of the continuing history of the maritime air force. Each represents a chapter in the story’s stirring tales of struggle, scientific discovery, technological achievement, and triumphs of the human spirit.”
The importance of shipping is not to be underestimated.
“During the twentieth century … few military organizations played a more crucial role than naval aviation,” the museum’s website continues. “In a war at sea, where clipping of the battleship was the decisive weapon, airmen projected their powerful air wings over vast expanses of water and, surprisingly, struck the enemy fleets and land bases and then disappeared with equal speed. In peacetime and her battle group gave American political leaders a flexible, always ready and powerful way to respond to regional crises wherever and whenever US vital interests were threatened. “
Other exhibits include cockpit sections, simulators and the Emil Buehler Naval Aviation Library, a significant research-promoting archive of personal and official papers, squadron seats and some 350,000 photographic images.
For visitors, there are complementary guided tours; several films projected on the laser-fueled seven-story Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theater complete with candy and popcorn counter; two comprehensive Flight Deck Store gift shops; and the Cubi Bar Café, repeating the Cubi Point Officers’ Club in the Republic of the Philippines, which gave pleasure to the Navy and Marine Corps squadrons whose ships passed through the western Pacific. As it contains the extensive plaque collection that once adorned its Plaque Bar, it is both an exhibition and a restaurant.
The museum consists of its main building, which is divided into South Wing, West Wing and Mezzanine and Hangar Bay One.
Representing Navy Aviation’s beginning is the lobby-loft-hung A-1 Triad, which greets visitors as soon as they enter the museum. So designated because of the three environments in which it operated air (wings), land (wheels) and water (floats) – it was commissioned on May 8, 1911, just months after Eugene Ely successfully demonstrated the flexibility of (provisional) carrier-borne operations. Because it was built by Curtiss Airplane and Motor Company, it became the first in a series of early seaplane designs and facilitates training and experimentation, including the first catapult launch of a winged machine.
Powered by a single, 75 hp Curtiss V-8 engine and capable of accommodating both a pilot and a passenger, it had a total length of 28.7 feet and the wingspan of 37 feet. Its weights increased from its 925-pound inch to the 1,575-pound maximum and speed, even during its incubation time, was a respectable 60 mph.
It proved invaluable for early trials, including those involving the first night water landing, the wireless communication test and the completion of a 112-mile long-haul flight of 2.02 hours. Although several minor accidents never restricted its return to heaven, a larger one on October 6, 1912, took it for repair, but not before it had made 285 flights.
The museum’s example is one of two copies built by the Institute of Aerosciences in San Francisco in commemoration of the 1961 golden anniversary of U.S. Naval Aviation.
The first era represented in the museum’s South Wing is the First World War.
“The World War I exhibition depicts life as an aircraft during the Great War,” according to the National Naval Aviation Museum’s website. “The first Aeronautic Detachment, led by Lieutenant Kenneth Whiting, fleet No. 16, was the first U.S. combat unit to arrive in France after the United States entered the war. Training and service with foreign aircraft, U.S. Navy pilots, both enlisted and officers, went into battle in countless roles, but most importantly operated from naval stations established in the United Kingdom and the continent, where they attacked and damaged a dozen German U-boats and flew as part of the northern bomb squad. “
There are several significant aircraft appearing here.
The first of these is the Curtiss MF-Boat. After the A-1 triad demonstrated its capabilities for the Navy, Curtiss himself shifted his focus to the design of real flying boats, with the first, like the C Series, making significant naval aviation contributions.
AB-3 became the first U.S. military aircraft to fly a combat mission during the Vera Cruz uprising, and AB-2 was successfully catapulted the following year. Subsequent to this, the fleet bought F and MF boats, which accounted for 144 and 102 orders respectively.
The museum’s example of the later, constructed in the Naval Aircraft Factory at a cost of $ 5,821 in $ 1918, excl. The engine, introduced hull-sticking sponsors to make training easier. After its military service, which took place between 1918 and 1922, the aircraft, powered by a 100hp Curtiss OXX-3 engine and with a 49.9-foot wingspan and 2,488 pounds gross weight, served civilian, giving passengers air travel in the Atlantic City .
Another influential aircraft on display is the Hanriot HD-1. Because the British Royal Navy made great strides in serving aircraft from World War I ships, Navy officers realized that wheeled constructions offer greater speed and capacity, resulting in the acquisition of more foreign types to conduct experiments with them from shipbuilding decks. .
Of the 26 HD-2 aircraft obtained, 10 were converted to land plane configuration and designated HD-1s.
Another European design was Nieuport 28. Twelve acquired from the army were also subjected to transport-borne trials as they operated from tower-borne wooden platforms installed on battleships. Like other older throttle types, the speed was controlled by changing the number of engine cylinders fired using a blip switch.
From the 142 Fokker D.VIIs that the Army brought back to the United States as a result of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, a dozen of the Navy were acquired in May 1920 to make it easier to study and develop metal construction. An example is displayed at the museum.
Other honors include Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, Sopwith Camel, Curtiss F6C-1 “Hawk” and Vought VE-7.
Taking center stage and serving as the threshold for the Golden Age of Aviation is the mammoth Navy-Curtiss NC-4 Flying Boat, a biplane with astronomical proportions. Constructed of wood, fabric and metal and powered by four 400-hp Liberty 12 engines, three of which were in tractor configuration and the middle one was in pushing arrangement – the triple vertical tail design, considered “today’s most powerful aircraft,” sporting 68.3 foot length and a 126 foot wingspan. Operated by a commander, a pilot, a copilot, a radio operator, and two flight technicians, it had a speed of 85 mph, a service ceiling of 4,500 feet, and a range of 1,470 miles.
Although conceived as a long-range submarine warfare platform to patrol the European coast in search of German U-boats, it was delivered too late for World War I use. Nonetheless, Commander John H. Towers suggested it should be used to regain the U.S. aviation prestige by demonstrating its ability to cross the Atlantic, a challenge that the Navy Department ultimately embraced.
However, it was not alone. A triplet of aircraft, designated NC-1, NC-3 and NC-4, left Naval Air Station Rockaway on Long Island for the double-stop flight on May 8, 1919, though the third was forced to land due to engine problems while the other two completed the nine-hour sector to Halifax, Nova Scotia, without incident.
Eventually reunited in Trepassey, Newfoundland, all three set off on the evening of May 16 for the actual 1,200-mile-long oceanic traverse to the Azores. But cloud and rain shut down until NC-1 and NC-3 were choked from the sky and forced into the water. While the crew of the first was rescued by a Greek cargo ship, the NC-4 was the only one to reach its destination by plane the following day after a 16.49 hour flight. NC-2 also achieved this milestone, but “sailed” the remaining 205 miles to its destination.
Another Golden Age aircraft design shown, though coming from the following decade, is the Ford RR-5 Trimotor. Unlike the NC-4, it was an all-metal cantilever monoplane with high-wing configuration.
One of the few museum exhibitions that had more commercial use than military use with the operation of approx. 100 worldwide carriers, the aircraft that affectionately called “Tin Goose” because of its corrugated cardboard construction, trace its origins to the 3-AT designed by William B. Stout. When less than successful, it was reconfigured for its 4-AT iteration after Henry Ford bought the Stout Aircraft Company.
Powered by three wing and nose installed, 450 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-88 radial engines, the airplane, which first flew in June 1926, contained a 77.10 foot wingspan, an 835 square foot area, and a maximum weight of 13,499 pound. Piloted by a crew of two and accommodating up to 15 passengers, it had a speed of 122 mph, 505 mile range and 18,000 feet of service ceiling.
Designated XJR-1, the example commanded by the Navy, was operated between 1928 and 1930 as a passenger and freight carrier, and led to the nine Trimotors in five versions, both the Navy and the Marine Corps flew between 1927 and 1935.
The Ford Trimotor and Curtiss-Wright Condor, perhaps predecessors of the Boeing B-247 and Douglas DC-3, spurred significant passenger acceptance and US aviation growth in the 1920s.
The museum’s RR-5, powered by three 450-hp, nine-cylinder, air-cooled, supercharged R-985 radial engines, has nine passenger seats. Note the ceiling panel that covers cabin-crossing wingsparks.
Sharing space with these aircraft are several designs from the Cold War.
“On the ground floor of the South Wing is home to the museum’s First World War … and flight collections from two major eras of eras: the Golden Age of the 20s and 30s and the early Cold War of the 50s and early 60s , ”according to the museum’s website. “During the golden age that followed World War I and the record-breaking flight of NC-4, shipping became a formidable force … just in time for its ultimate World War II test. The Bureau of Aeronautics was formed in 1921, headed by Rear Admiral William Moffett, and under his leadership, the Navy’s early aircraft carrier was built, aircraft supply and aviation training expanded, and naval aviation successfully developed into a potent, naval-deployed war weapon. “
This did not necessarily happen in a seamless way, as the era was characterized by the technological dental problems of the transition from World War II piston-driven battles to the era’s rapid development of high-performance, swept wing, minimal airfoil area clean-jets.
One of these connections was the McDonnell F2H-4 Banshee, which was developed at the end of World War II and served as a step towards modern aviation-borne aviation. What it lacked in speed, 532 km / h, it distinguished itself in altitude, 44,800 feet.
The North American FJ-2 Fury, the swept, more streamlined successor to the original FJ-1 requested by the Navy in 1951 at the height of the Korean War, was almost 100 km / h faster than jet fighters otherwise flew under this one. conflict. Although it seemed too late for the actual fight, it became the first of a long line of Fury versions to serve frontline squadrons until 1962.
Era-representing Russian designs are shaped at the museum as MiG-15. Powered by a single 5,955-pound VK-1 centrifugal-flow turbocharged, fed with a nose-mounted air intake, the swept wing and – with the noted airfoil-mounted anhedral, it first flew on December 30, 1948. It had a speed of 641 mph and nearly 50,000 feet of service air. Nevertheless, most of the hardy Korean skies were shot down by Navy and Marine Corps pilots.
The cornerstone of the western wing is the USS Cabot (CVL-28) island, paired with a copy of its aircraft deck. One of nine light carriers engaged in World War II combat, it operated fighters and torpedo bombers along with the large-tire Essex-class airlines in the Pacific Theater.
Otherwise, the West Wing is almost exclusively devoted to World War II.
“Naval aviation and the nation’s biggest test came with the beginning of World War II,” according to the museum. “After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was thrown into the global conflict and the navy took the lead in the Pacific War. Naval flight was a key component of the victory, whether in the major carrier battles with the Imperial Japanese Navy, supporting the island hopping campaign or fighting U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. In 1945, shipowners made up over 430,000 men and women. The World War II Museum exhibits the role of the Chronicle’s aviation through screens mounted along the wall of the West Wing … “
More importantly, however, are the many planes.
The first of these is the carrier-based Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat. Designed to comply with the F3F-2, a biplane, it was also thought to have a dual-wing configuration, but this was rejected when the Navy ordered the Brewster F2A Buffalo instead, itself a monoplane.
Significantly re-sized and first flight in February 1939, it was powered in its F4F-3 tire by a single 1,200 hp, three-blade Pratt and Whitney R-1830-76 engine, as with its 38-foot, single-wing span , it gave a gross weight of 8152 pounds, a speed of 328 mph at 21,000 feet and 37,500 feet of service ceiling. The armament consisted of two 100-pound bombs and six, 50-inch machine guns.
This bumpy monoplan was quickly championed by Buffalo, which it replaced, and became the leading fighter for both the Navy and the Marine Corps until 1942, enabling them to achieve a nine-to-one kill ratio over the Japanese, despite rumors for the A6M Zero, it was fighting and by the end of the war, F4F-4 versions had devoured 1,006 enemy aircraft and produced 56 aces of the pilots who had flown them. It became the first in a series of successful Grumman “Cats”, including the F6F-3 and -6 Hellcat, F7F Tigercat and F8F Bearcat, all appearing.
Another significant World War II aircraft is the Vought-Sikorsky FG-1D Corsair. Packed in a “design solution” to accommodate Pratt and Whitney’s new R-2800 Double Wasp engine, yet providing enough ground clearance for its three-bladed, 13-foot diameter propeller, it featured a 33.8-foot overall length and 41 foot wing buckle, whose reverse gull configuration facilitated the use of a shorter undercarriage strut, yet provided the necessary space.
First flight on May 29, 1940 in the XF4U-1 prototype, it demonstrated at a speed of 404 km / h at the end of the year, which was faster than any other US fighter jet, triggering the Navy’s 584-strong order of type in June 1941.
At a gross weight of 14,670 pounds, it had a speed of 446 mph, 41,500 feet of elevation and 1,005 mile range. In fact, it was so much in demand that it was additionally produced by Goodyear Aircraft and Brewster, designated FG1 and F3A respectively.
After achieving an eleven-to-one kill ratio in World War II and acting as a fighter-bomber during the Korean conflict, it enjoyed a 12,521-unit production run in 18 different versions.
Another distinctive naval design from World War II was General Motors TBM Avenger. Although this heavy aircraft, powered by a 1,900 hp Wright R-2600-20 piston engine, which had a maximum take-off weight, just shy of 18,000 pounds, experienced an unhappy introduction to the Battle of Midway when five of the six Grumman The TBF-1 Avengers assigned to the Torpedo Squadron (VT) 8 were shot down and the sixth was subjected to significant damage, it would still become the Navy’s standard torpedo bombers throughout World War II and carry gliders in dense air support, reconnaissance and light transport missions.
Seemed like the XTBF-1 in 1940, after the Navy ordered an original 286 units and intended to replace the obsolete Douglas TBD Devastator, and it flew only on August 1 of the following year.
Because Grumman’s resources were used to design an F4F Wildcat replacement, much of its production was contracted to General Motors’ newly created Eastern Aircraft Division in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, resulting in a 2,290 aircraft run for Grumman’s built TBFs and a 9,836 for General Motors-built TBM-1s and -3s.
A large amphibious aircraft operated by the Navy and on the Consolidated PBY Catalina display. A design response to its October 1933 request for a patrol monoplane, it met the specifications of all-metal construction, an internally pared umbrella, high-mounted wing to eliminate the need for external, draft-setting struts and retractable stabilizing swimmers.
Designated XP3Y-1, it was powered by two 825 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1830-58 engines, had a 104-foot wingspan, was occupied by between seven and ten, had a 2,990-mile range, could operate at 18,000 -foot heights, were equipped with three 30-inch machine guns and could carry up to 2,000 pounds of bombs. Because of its capacity, it was redesigned a patrol bomber.
First flight on March 15, 1935, it exhibited its aerodynamically clean lines and proved to be far superior to any aircraft in its class. In the end, taking part in almost all major operations during the war and flying with the Air Force from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, New Zealand and Australia, it became instrumental in detecting Atlantic submarines.
The PBY-3 Catalina on display is the only clean seaplane version available.
World War II fighter aircraft take the form of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries A6M2 Zero and Messerschmitt Me-262 Schwalbe (Swallow).
Exceeding the Japanese imperial navy’s performance requirement, the former, which went into operation in July 1940, was incredibly maneuverable, had a climb of 2,600 fpm, could reach a speed of 331 mph and reach nearly 33,000 feet of altitude.
Achieving these speeds with the help of thin, weight-reducing hull and wing skin, a 950 hp Nakajima NKIC Sakae 14-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine and a three-bladed propeller, the carrier-borne fighter, equipped with foldable wing tips, was the Japanese navy’s primary weapon, produced for a amount of 10,400 aircraft.
In the latter case, the Me-262 was the world’s first operational jet fighter, powered by two Junkers Jumo 004 axial-flow turbojets that gave it an increase of 3,900 fpm, a speed of 559 km / h (which was about 100 km / h faster) than the P-51 Mustang) and a service ceiling of 37,565 feet.
Although it participated in the first air-to-air combat on July 26, 1944, and the type downgraded 19 Allied aircraft to the six losses it suffered, it was a long-standing development, including the replacement of the original, nose installed piston engine, the reconfiguration for a three-wheel bike assembly arrangement and delays in engine manufacturing, placed it in the sky too late to make any noticeable impact despite its clearly superior performance. Nonetheless, it managed to destroy 542 Allied aircraft compared to the 100 it maintained on its own.
The museum’s double seat Me-262 B-1a, the “White 35”, was captured in Schleswig, Germany, in 1945 and provided technological understanding incorporated into the pure jet fighter of the Cold War.
Hangar Bay One:
“The newest addition to the National Naval Aviation Museum, (the separate) Hangar Bay One, adds 55,000 square feet of exhibition space to a facility that is already one of the largest of its kind in the world,” according to its website. “(With) its facade, reminiscent of old hangars, the new structure primarily shows planes from the museum collection that flew in the period after World War II.”
The collection is diverse.
The Sikorsky VH-3 Sea King, for example, was modified to provide short distances, six-minute flights between the White House South Lawn and Andrews Air Force Base, among other missions. Powered by two 1,500-hp General Electric T58-GE-10 turbocharged engines with a 62-foot rotor diameter and capable of a maximum speed of 166 mph, served in the Executive Flight Detachment of Marine Helicopter Squadron (HMX) 1 and transported Presidents Nixon and Ford during the race. of the 1970s, with the “Marine One” nickname.
Luxuriously furnished with sofas, blankets, radio telephones, a wet bar and a toilet equipped with extensive sound insulation, armor, self-sealing fuel tanks and energy-absorbing chassis. After an 18-year period with Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 2 between 1975 and 2003, it was transferred to the museum.
Another Hangar Bay One aircraft is the Douglas R4D-5L Skytrain, which is called “Que Sera, Sera” after the once popular song. Based on the commercial DC-3, the ski-equipped example participated in Operation Deep Freeze, becoming the first to land on the Antarctic South Pole on October 31, 1956, enabling its seven crew members to become the first people to set foot it since Captain Robert F. Scott of the Royal Navy did so in 1912. However, due to its gross weight of 28,000 pounds, only a subsequent jet-assisted take-off (JATO) allowed it to triumph over the high altitude atmospheric conditions, minimizing the wing lift and oxygen-starved its two 1,200 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1830-92 engines.
The Mammoth Martin SP-5B Marlin, with a 110.7-foot length, 118.2 feet of wing span and two 3,450 hp R-3350-32WA engines, represents the last fleet of serviced aircraft.
Designed for anti-submarine patrol and surface cruising, it was one of 259 acquired as far back as 1962, and monitored the shipping traffic of waters off southern Vietnam using its bulky nose-housed APS 80-search radar. It also contained weapon bow in its long engine cells.
Because aerodromes had once been sparsely located and the aerodrome was not sufficient to connect them, flying boats were considered the only early solutions. However, as these conditions changed, their needs were avoided and the Navy therefore decided to withdraw them. The museum’s Marlin flew on Nov. 6, 1967, and splashed down on San Diego Bay after a final pass over Naval Air Station North Island.
The perhaps most widespread Navy fleet of Top Gun fame was the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, a carrier-based advanced interceptor and air superiority fighter.
The product of a Navy design competition to meet the need, which the F-111 did not succeed. Det blev drevet af to 27.800 trykpund General Electric F110-GE-400 efterbrændende turbofaner, indeholdt en vinge med variabel svejse, der automatisk skiftede fra 28 til 60 degrees for optimum performance at any speed, sported twin vertical tails, could track 24 hostile targets at 195-mile ranges, simultaneously attack six with its AIM-54 Phoenix missiles, could attain 1,544-mph supersonic speeds, and operated at altitudes as high as 55,000 feet.
The museum’s F-14D, Bureau Number 161159, was accepted in December of 1980 in its initial F-14A configuration, operating its first combat mission over Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and based on aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN-70). After flying 224 combat sorties over Iraq, it landed for the last time on the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on February 8, 2006, and was subsequently delivered to Naval Air Station Pensacola from Flight Squadron (VF) 213. It was the last F-14 of any version to log a combat mission.