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F-11A / F11F Tiger

Initial deliveries of the Grumman Tiger F11F (F11A after 1962) were made to the Navy squadrons in March 1957, and soon afterwards, the Navy's Blue Angel aerobatic team was equipped with this latest of the Grumman "Cats." The Tiger was phased out as a front-line fleet fighter during 1959. Most carrier aircraft have folding wings, retracting either overhead or back alongside the body of the plane. Some even have had foldable parts of their tail assemblies, but the Tiger's wings folded downward. Just a few feet of the outer wing tips dropped down and were operated manually. Also another feature of the Tiger was that it could carry a few pounds of fuel in the vertical fin.

On 21 September 1956 an F11F-1 Tiger, piloted by Grumman test pilot Tom Attridge, shot itself down while conducting test firings off eastern Long Island by running into 20 mm projectiles it had fired only seconds before.

On 18 April 1958 Lieutenant Commander G. C. Watkins, piloting an F11F-1F Tiger at Edwards AFB, broke the world altitude record for the second time in 3 days, this time setting the mark at 76,939 feet.

On 30 July 1959 the Navy announced that Advanced Training Command units and Reserve squadrons would receive Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. The following week the program was implemented when the Advanced Training Unit 203, at NAAS Kingsville, began training operations carrying Sidewinders on their F11F jets.

In the middle of a Navy air show at Los Alamitos on Aug. 4, 1963, for example, a Blue Angels F11F Tiger experienced an in-flight control failure. The stricken jet and two teammates promptly abandoned their routine and flew directly to Edwards, to a safe landing on the clay.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:30:12 ZULU