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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

XF8U-1 Crusader at 60 Part III

XF8U-1 138899 at Muroc after re-assembly is complete prior to the distinctive decorative markings being applied. VAHF Collection

     All the components of the XF8U-1 were delivered to Muroc by March 3, 1955. The aircraft was reassembled and tested in time to allow for a first taxi attempt on March 14th. The aircraft taxied down wind just fine, when an attempt was made to turn to the right into the relative wind were unsuccessful. Various combinations of throttle, rudder and brakes failed. The test was discontinued due to high wind and tire wear.

Engine and system testing preparation at Muroc prior to the first flight of the XF8U-1. VAHF collection

The need for nose wheel steering was identified in a Flight Test Deficiency Report on April 6, 1955 with the recommendation that it be Incorporated in all production aircraft and in the prototype prior to the Navy Phase I Evaluation scheduled to beginning the end of May 1955.

The next day, March 15, taxi tests were resumed with much better results. The aircraft was taxied at speeds up to 90 mph and ground handling was considered acceptable for the initial company test program.

The aircraft would not be taxied again until March 24th the day before the first flight. Once again the tests were successful and no further taxi test needed prior to the first flight.

Another shot of system testing outdoors at Muroc. VAHF collection

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