Prior to 1950 Chance Vought had solidly established itself, along with Grumman, as one of the two leading suppliers of aircraft to the US Navy. Following WW II, however, the Texas-based company was less successful with its XF6U Pirate and later with its F7U Cutlass. In September of 1952 the Navy issued a requirement for its first supersonic, carrier-based, air superiority aircraft.
Russ Clark and the design team at Vought submitted a proposal utilizing some radical design concepts. Most unique was a high mounted wing which could move 7 degrees in incidence. To make the craft more pilot friendly during carrier landings droops were designed into the leading edges of the wings. The cockpit was also located as far forward as possible providing excellent visibility. A Pratt & Whitney J57 was the proposed power plant. The Navy selected the Vought proposal from the eight submitted.
In March of 1955 the first of the more than 1,200 Crusaders which would be built, made its inaugural flight, and went supersonic.
The Crusader, often called the Gunfighter, was an unqualified success. It restored some prestige to the Navy, which had been criticized by Air Force supporters for not having any aircraft capable of taking on Migs in Korea in aerial combat.
The F-8 set many speed records, including a cross country, carrier-to-carrier, trip in 3 hours and 28 minutes.
At the time of the Vietnam War, the F-8 was a proven aircraft. Despite being relegated to a secondary mig-killing role, the F-8s downed 19 Migs in Vietnam. Their victory ratio was 6-to-1, which was superior to any other aircraft. F-8 pilots were well trained in air combat maneuvering skills, whereas pilots on more modern aircraft had been taught to rely on long range air-to-air missiles. Recognizing this need the Navy began transferring F-8 instructors to its F-4 program as a way to teach F-4 pilots dog fighting skills. This was the beginnings of the Navys Top Gun School.
As depicted in Stan Stokes painting, a USMC F-8 piloted by Gen. Drax Williams chases a pair of Mig-21s during an A-6 escort mission during the Vietnam War.
Aircraft Type: F8 Crusader
Edition Size: 4750 Signed & Numbered
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DetailsCurrent Stock:Manufacturer Part Number SS-EarlyWidth: 16.00Height: 11.50