National Museum of Naval Aviation — Part 3

Before we get started, a bit of information. I’ll be posting my own photos but — whenever possible — the text will include a link to the Museum’s own description for the plane in question. Also whenever possible, I’ll include an additional link (usually, from Wikipedia).

Yes, it’s just as expedient — if so inclined — going to the Museum’s own website and browsing their collection. This post is mostly for me since I went to the trouble of taking and processing the photos. 

For them not interested in reading, you can go directly to the SmugMug Gallery HERE. All the planes are identified and a link provided to the Museum’s listing. 

For a slideshow click HERE. When you click the link, it will open in a new window. There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the bottom-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds OR you can manually control the transition by clicking on the < and > symbols to the left or right of the photo. Note: hitting the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the  < and > keys to navigate the photos as this will pause the slideshow. Full screen gives you a better experience (in my opinion).

If you rather, you can continue from where we left off in Part 2 by scrolling through the rest of the post. For them interested, the link to Part 1.


That is a cutaway view of the PBY Catalina. From the Wikipedia Entry

“During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escort, search and rescue missions (especially air-sea rescue), and cargo transport. The PBY was the most numerous aircraft of its kind and the last active military PBYs were not retired from service until the 1980s. In 2014, nearly 80 years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as a waterbomber (or airtanker) in aerial firefighting operations all over the world.”

There are more photos of various Catalinas that will show up as I continue documenting my visit to the museum. 

Side Note: by coincidence, some of the planes mentioned in my posts about the National Naval Aviation Museum are mentioned on THIS site. Anyone interested in WW II weapons would do well reading and subscribing to the site. 

Meanwhile, I give you the F7U Cutlass . . . 

That’s actually a panorama composed of multiple shots because the back of the plane was too close to the wall behind it and my 17mmm lens wasn’t wide enough to capture it all. I did have a 10mm lens but that would have distorted the view quite a lot. 

The Vought F7U Cutlass was a semi-tailless design based on captured German plans (initially denied by the designers).  From the Wikipedia entry:

“Regarded as a radical departure from traditional aircraft design, the Cutlass suffered from numerous technical and handling problems throughout its short service career. The type was responsible for the deaths of four test pilots and 21 other U.S. Navy pilots. Over one-quarter of all Cutlasses built were destroyed in accidents.”

For some reason, I snapped a number of photos of this plane. Since I processed them, I’ll show them . . . 

Here’s the plaque for the plane . . . 

. . . and a final photo . . .

Here’s another plane mooning readers . . . the Douglas F4D Skyray.

This next photo is a tad deceptive because the folded wings of the Cutlass in the background blend in with the Skyray’s own. 

From the Wikipedia Entry:

“The Douglas F4D Skyray (later redesignated F-6 Skyray) was an American carrier-based fighter/interceptor built by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Although it was in service for a relatively short time and never entered combat, it was the first carrier-launched aircraft to hold the world’s absolute speed record, at 752.943 mph, and was the first United States Navy and United States Marine Corps fighter that could exceed Mach 1 in level flight. It was the last fighter produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company before it merged with McDonnell Aircraft and became McDonnell Douglas.”

It may not be evident from the photo but it was delta-wing design aircraft and hence what look like stubby folding wings.

By the way, in case anyone wants to hear music while reading this, here’s Two Steps From Hell’s Star Sky.

Next up, we have another Banshee . . . a later model than the propeller version from previous posts.

The McDonnell F2H-4 Banshee is another plane that moons readers. Here’s the plaque for the plane on display . . . 

The Wikipedia Entry states:

“The McDonnell F2H Banshee was a single-seat carrier-based jet fighter aircraft deployed by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps from 1948 to 1961. It was one of the primary American fighters used during the Korean War and was the only jet-powered fighter ever deployed by the Royal Canadian Navy, serving the RCN from 1955 until 1962.”

The next few planes are not well represented here but will make appearances in future posts. For instance, I’m not sure why I don’t have a side view of the McDonnell F3H-2M Demon.

From the Wikipedia Entry:

“The McDonnell F3H Demon was a subsonic swept-wing United States Navy carrier-based jet fighter aircraft. The successor to the F2H Banshee, the Demon was redesigned with the J71 engine after severe problems with the Westinghouse J40 engine that was part of the original design but ultimately abandoned. Though it lacked sufficient power for supersonic performance, it complemented daylight dogfighters such as the Vought F8U Crusader and Grumman F11F Tiger as an all-weather, missile-armed interceptor until 1964.

It was withdrawn before it could serve in Vietnam when both it and the Crusader were replaced on Forrestal-class and similar supercarriers by the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. McDonnell’s Phantom, which was equally capable against ground, fighter and bomber targets, bears a strong family resemblance, as it was conceived as an advanced development of the Demon.”

Again, I’m not sure why I didn’t snap a side view. I think I got confused while moving around the planes and probably thought I had already photographed it. 

In my defense, these planes were packed in there pretty good and there wasn’t always enough room to “step-back” and get an unobstructed view of the individual planes. 

Next up, the Grumman F11F Tiger . . . 

I thought this was an interesting bit from the Museum’s entry:

“. . . during a 1956 test flight, a Grumman pilot flying an F11F shot himself down by overtaking his bullets in a diving maneuver.”

It seems — at first glance — a fairly self-defeating performance ability. 

From the Wikipedia Entry:

“The F11F/F-11 was used by the Blue Angels flight team from 1957–1969. Grumman Aircraft Corporation made 200 Tigers, with the last aircraft being delivered to the U.S. Navy on 23 January 1959.”

Hey, how about another piece of music? You know, in case people actually read stuff and the other piece ended.

Obviously, you don’t have to play the music, so don’t complain if you don’t like it. Turn it off and play your own music. 

Next up, the North American FJ-4 Fury.

From the Wikipedia Entry:

“The North American FJ-4 Fury was a swept-wing carrier-capable fighter-bomber for the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

Of the original order for 221, the last 71 were modified in the FJ-4B fighter-bomber version. . . .  the most important characteristic of the FJ-4B was that it was capable of carrying a nuclear weapon on the inboard port station. It was equipped with the LABS or Low-Altitude Bombing System for the delivery of nuclear weapons.”

Everyone wants the ability to drop nuclear bombs . . . 

The Marine Fighter Squadron 232 flew the FJ-4B.

I’ll end the post with a number of photos — most are multi-shots panoramas — of the Curtiss NC-4.

Why panoramas? Because this is a big flying boat. It has a huge wingspan that is difficult to capture in one photo without stepping back too far to keep it visible (I’d be in another gallery).  

What might not be evident from that photo is that I painstakingly applied various distortion filters to remove most — but obviously not all — of the curvature introduced by joining photos taken from one vantage point and spanning from one end of the wings to the other.

Here’s one of the photos I joined . . . 

On this next photo — if you look carefully — you can see where made different adjustments on different portions of the wings to try and get them straight and parallel. 

The SmugMug gallery has duplicate versions of these shots because they are processed differently. Not to reduce geometric distortion but to remove some of the color cast.

Before I go on, from the Wikipedia Entry:

“The NC-4 was a Curtiss NC flying boat that was the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, albeit not non-stop.

The aircraft was designed by Glenn Curtiss and his team, and manufactured by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, with the hull built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Corporation in Bristol, Rhode Island.

In May 1919, a crew of United States Navy aviators flew the NC-4 from New York State to Lisbon, Portugal, over the course of 19 days. This included time for stops of numerous repairs and for crewmen’s rest, with stops along the way in Massachusetts, Nova Scotia (on the mainland), Newfoundland, and twice in the Azores Islands. Then its flight from the Azores to Lisbon completed the first transatlantic flight between North America and Europe, and two more flights from Lisbon to northwestern Spain to Plymouth, England, completed the first flight between North America and Great Britain. This accomplishment was somewhat eclipsed in the minds of the public by the first nonstop transatlantic flight, made by the Royal Air Force pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown two weeks later.”

From the Museum’s entry:

“Originally built as a long-range antisubmarine warfare platform, the NC flying boats were delivered too late for World War I combat and appeared to be aircraft without a mission. Yet, even before the guns fell silent on the Western Front, a bold proposal written by Commander John H. Towers caught the imagination of the Navy Department. When peace returned, it called for the U.S. Navy to regain American prestige in aviation by achieving a feat that all who flew aspired to; flying across the Atlantic.

The NC flying boats were designed as aircraft that could fly across the Atlantic to the coastlines of Europe and be ready to patrol for German U-boats upon arrival. Too late for World War I, the NCs still took up the challenge of traversing the Atlantic by air, and in May 1919, the NC-4 made the first successful transatlantic flight, a milestone in aviation history that brought great acclaim to Naval Aviation.”

Slightly different take and version of events but the aircraft is no less impressive. 

Let me share two more photos illustrating the difficulty faced when stitching panoramas from photos taken too close to the subject. 

This and other photos . . . 

. . . gets you this when stitched. In this case, the geometric distortion resulting from photos with differing perspectives being blended together was too great for me to “straighten out” without making a mess of things. 

I tried . . . believe me, I tried. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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