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Sunday, September 13, 2015

XF7U-1 122472 September 9, 1948

     Here are some images taken on a mostly cloudy day at the Chance Vought Hartford, CT facility on September 9, 1948, some 67 years ago. The subject is the first XF7U-1 prior to the start of taxi tests. 

     These views show the wings folded with the instrumentation booms that were removed after the first flights due to the vibration caused by them. The wing booms were replaced by a single nose mounted probe. The nose mounted cannons of the F7U-1 are easily visible. Without the full coat of Glossy Sea Blue (ANA 623) paint a number of panel and material details can be seen more clearly. 

CV-31467 XF7U-1 122472 Under tow 19480909 VAHF Collection

     The tall stance of the design is readily visible hand in hand with one of the criticisms that would influence the Crusader and Corsair II is the readily apparent need for stands to access the aircraft. The number, size and complexity of maintenance stands becomes a problem in the crowded spaces of an aircraft carrier.  

CV-31469 XF7U-1 122472 19480909 VAHF Collection
CV-31466 XF7U-1 122472 19480909 VAHF Collection

     While the Cutlass program was moving towards the first flight date it is important to remember that another significant event was taking place in the life of the Chance Vought Aircraft company. During WW II the Government had built a number of modern inland production facilities. Post war a number of these facilities sat idle. The Navy Bureau of Aeronautics approached Chance Vought Aircraft in the fall of 1946 to consider moving to an industrial reserve aircraft plant in Dallas, TX. 

Aerial photo of the former North American Aviation industrial reserve plant in Grand Prairie (Dallas), Texas 1948 VAHF Collection

     During the war North American Aviation had used the facility to build T-6, P-51 and B-24 aircraft. After reviewing the facility and other locations it was decided to ink an agreement with the Navy to move to the  Dallas facility. The announcement was made by the Navy on April 18, 1948 that Chance Vought was going to move to Dallas, Texas. In an internal update to the Dallas move two days prior to the Cutlass photos (in this post) being taken the company reported the following statistics on the move to date:

Total carloads (rail) shipped to Dallas: 164
Total weight of materials shipped: 7,271,972 pounds
Total shipments of household furnishings to Dallas: 132
Total Chance Vought people transferred to Dallas: 204
Total Texans hired: 595

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