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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

SB2U-1 VB-3 Inflight Images


In June 1938 the US Navy had a sequence of inflight images taken of VB-3s SB2U-1 Vindiators near Los Angeles, CA. I came across prints of these photos, some well known, others that have not been published as extensively, during a trip to the National Archives College Park, MD. These particular prints were part of the USN's 80-CF image collection.


These images were made when the squadron was about one year since being redesignated VB-3.


The VB-3 aircraft featured in the images are:

BuNo 0739  3-B-13
BuNo 0740  3-B-14
BuNo 0741  3-B-15


VB-3 is in the lineage for the current VFA-14 Tophatters. The Wiki on VFA-14 is here.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

XF4U-1 Inflight Photos

A few shots from a series of USN 80-G Series images of XF4U-1 1443 inflight on May 8, 1941.

77 years ago the Corsair was just earning it's wings on it's way to a long career with the US and French Navies. 






Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vought - Sikorsky VS-44A

VS 4432 Excalibur NX41880 Right Side Inflight 19420118

One of the aircraft on my "must see" list is at the New England Air Museum where the VS-44A Excambian lives!

VS 4430 Excalibur NX41880 Left Side On Water 19420118

The VS-44A/PBS-1 design has always interested me. A graceful looking four engined flying boat of which only a handful were built (1 XPBS-1 and 3 VS-44A). The XPBS-1 and the first VS-44A Excaliber, illustrated in this post, were both lost during 1942. 

VS 4429 Excalibur NX41880 Left Front On Water 19420118

Of the four aircraft built, Excambian has survived, been restored and is on display. 

VS 4433 Excalibur NX41880 Right Side Inflight 19420118

The photos in this post come from NARA II Record Group 80-CF and are of NX41880 Excaliber.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


Historic JRS-1 1063 has been reassembled and placed on display at the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum. Here are a few photos of 1063 taken in October:

For more information about 1063 and the rest of these rare graceful amphibians grab a copy of Steve Ginter's S-43/JRS-1 NF103

Sunday, September 24, 2017

V-507 The F-14 That Wasn't Part Three

     After the visitors had passed the various information panels the pathway eventually led to the main event, the full size mock up. The mock up was placed in an open, well lit area for viewing and showing off the designs features.

     With the V-507, space was given to show the wing sweep design for it's aerodynamic and ship board handling qualities. The mock up also allows a full size representation of height of the aircraft along with the presentation of where the major components are housed in the airframe. 

     With the AN/AWG-9 Phoenix weapons system being central to the future F-14, the V-507 mock up was able to show the antenna installation along with the ease of access to the avionics boxes used for the system.

All photos courtesy VAHF

Monday, September 4, 2017

V-507 The F-14 That Wasn't Part Two

The V-507 Mock Up is Born

As was common practice in the industry since the 1930's, an Operations Specification, Request for Proposal or other documents were submitted to industry and brochures, reports were generated on the company's proposal. The proposals were evaluated and the top one or top two were selected to go further into the development stage with more detailed engineering being accomplished and a mock up built.The V-507 is was selected to continue on to the mock up phase. 

The visitor to the V-507 mock up was treated to a series of informational panels along the way to the actual mock up. These panels helped to tell the story of the V-507 and why it was the right choice for the US Navy. Although incomplete, the photos do give signifigant insight into the development of the V-507.

A configuration display was presented with models showing the evolution from the F8U-3 to the V-484, V-505 and eventually the final V-507 configuration.

The threat that needed to be countered was illustrated. This showed that the engineering team understood the challenges facing the new design.

The technical alliance of Vought, Dassault, and Lockheed shown with the contributions of each highlighted.
  • Navy Fighter Design
  • Movable Wing Technology
  • Inlet Design
  • TF-30 Operational Experience (Mirage F2, Mirage G)
  • Swing Wing Experience
  • Air Force Fighter Design
  • Titanium Manufacturing Technology
To further illustrate the technical alliance a display of the inlet design was presented along with the metals used in the manufacture of the aircraft along with what components were using titanium.

Finally in the photos that were uncovered for this post are the spotting diagrams. As this was an aircraft for the US Navy the ability to move and store the design aboard ship is critical to the success.

The display shows different spotting arrangements and compares the V-507 to the F-4 that was the current shipboard fighter. It also shows the V-507 in the hangar with the various other types then on board ship.

That concludes this walk through of the V-507 information boards. As can bee seen in the photos there are other panels and places where the confidential information has been covered over. These were the only photos uncovered thus far of this display, which is amazing that they still exist!  

In the next installment of this series the mock up will be revealed.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

V-507 The F-14 That Wasn't

The V-507 was Vought's entry into the VFX competition to replace the unsuccessful F-111B aircraft. Unfortunately, the V-507 lost out to the Grumman 303 design that was designated F-14 Tomcat and went into US Navy and Iranian service.

The design featured swing wings, twin engines with a single vertical tail along with a tandem seating arrangement for the crew. Missile load for the V-507 included the AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-54 Phoenix and M61 cannon.

In addition to the AWG-9 fire control system the V-507 also had a provision for a retractable IRST/TV under the nose of the aircraft.

Unfortunately, there was not a fly off and nothing more than a mock up was ever built.

 Drawings from the VAHF Archives.