Model Airplane News
December, 1954

Model Airplane News Cover for December, 1954 by Jo Kotula Grumman F11F Tiger

Grumman F11F "Tiger"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for December, 1954
by Jo Kotula
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The Grumman F11F/F-11 Tiger was a single-seat carrier-based fighter aircraft during the 1950s and 1960s. The F11F/F-11 was used by the Blue Angels flight team from 1957 to 1969.

The Grumman F11F Tiger      The Grumman F11F Tiger

Grumman F11F "Tiger"
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The airplane was designed in 1953 for supersonic performance in a carrier-based airplane stirred interest in the Navy. The F-11 Tiger's wings manually folded downwards. The second prototype, equipped with an afterburner, became the second supersonic Navy airplane, first honor going to the Douglas F4D Skyray. In April 1955, the aircraft received the new designation F11F-1. Carrier trials started in spring of 1956 on the USS Forrestal.

The F-11 Tiger is noted for being the first jet aircraft to shoot itself down. During a test firing of its 20 mm cannons, the pilot fired two bursts mid-way through a shallow dive. As the velocity and trajectory of the cannon rounds decayed, they ultimately crossed paths with the Tiger as it continued its descent, disabling it and forcing a crash landing. The pilot survived.

Seven U.S. Navy squadrons flew the F11F-1t. In service, the Tiger operated from the carriers USS Ranger, Intrepid, Hancock, Bon Homme Richard, Forrestal, and Saratoga. The F11F's career only lasted four years because its performance was inferior to the Vought F-8 Crusader. Only 199 F11F-1 fighters were built. The aircraft was withdrawn from carrier service by 1961. However it was used in the training command until the late 1960s. Students performed advanced jet training in the F-9 Cougar, and upon completion were given a brief taste of supersonic capability in the F11F before transitioning to fleet fighters.

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