Sunday, April 8, 2018


By coincidence, I received questions last month from two different modelers about this particular airplane that was a profile in Scale Aircraft Modeler Vol 7 No 5. It was also a subject on Blackbird Models decal sheet BMD 72013.

Unfortunately, some critical information was missing. This was a former F9F-2KD (no BuNo) that had been stricken (no national insignia) but instead of being scrapped, it was transferred to the Navy test facility for Ship Installations, e.g. development of aircraft carrier catapult and arresting systems. Here is a picture of it in a display of a barricade at an open house.
If you look closely at the nose landing gear, it clearly isn't stock. That's because it was used in the development and evaluation of the nose-tow launch system (see

Note that it didn't fly away after the catapult stroke since it was no longer airworthy.

Other configuration details: the tip tanks had been removed but they weren't replaced by the wing tip fairings; the fence outboard of the engine inlet is present; and the antenna fairing under the nose cone has either been added or the nose cone from another Panther/Cougar has been substituted.

Paul Bless reminded me that this particular F9F-2 (or a stablemate at NAEL or its nose gear) survived and may still be displayed in a bogus paint scheme at Aviation Heritage Park at NAS Oceana. See