Hobby Master HA7203 US Navy Grumman F9F-2P Panther Fighter - ATU 206, NAS Pensacola, 1956 (1:48 Scale)
"Where do we get such men?"
- Rear Admiral George Tarrant, from the feature film "The Bridges at Toko-Ri"
The Grumman F9F Panther was the manufacturer's first jet fighter and the U.S. Navy's second. The Panther was the most widely used U.S. Navy jet fighter of the Korean War. It flew 78,000 sorties and was responsible for the first air kill by the US Navy in the war - the downing of a North Korean Yakovlev Yak-9 fighter. Total F9F production was 1,382, with several variants being shipped to Argentina for export.
Development studies at the Grumman company began near the end of the World War II as the first jet engines emerged. The prototype Panther, piloted by test pilot Corky Meyer, first flew on November 24th, 1947. Propulsion was a Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet built under license by Pratt & Whitney as the J42. Since there was insufficient space within the wings and fuselage for fuel for the thirsty jet, permanently-mounted wingtip fuel tanks were added which incidentally improved the fighter's rate of roll. It was cleared for flight from aircraft carriers in September 1949. During the development phase, Grumman decided to change the Panther's engine, selecting the Pratt & Whitney J48-P-2, a license built version of the Rolls-Royce Tay. The other engine that had been tested was the Allison J33-A-16, a development of the Rolls-Royce Derwent.
From 1946, a swept-wing version was considered and after concerns about the Panther's inferiority to its MiG opponents in Korea, a conversion of the Panther (Design 93) resulted in a swept-wing derivative of the Panther, the Grumman F9F Cougar, which retained the Panther's designation number.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a limited edition US Navy Grumman F9F-2P Panther fighter which was posted to ATU 206, NAS Pensacola, during 1956.
Release Date: September 2008
Historical Account: "The Cradle of Naval Aviation" - NAS Pensacola, known as the "Cradle of Naval Aviation," serves as the launching point for the flight training of every Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Officer (NFO), and Enlisted Aircrewman. In 1997, about 15,000 aviation personnel in aeronautical technical phases of naval operations were trained there. The traditional home of naval aviation and naval flight training, NAS Pensacola still plays a major role in that process. NAS Pensacola's primary flying organization, Training Wing Six (TRAWING 6) includes three jointly manned (Air Force and Navy personnel) US Navy training squadrons, VT-4, VT-10, and VT-86, with the mission of training USN and other services' Naval Flight Officers and Navigators. These units fly a variety of aircraft, including the T-34C, T-2C, T-1A, and T-39. NAS Pensacola also serves as the home station and primary practice site for the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
Pensacola is located in extreme Northwest Florida, 60 minutes east of Mobile, Al, 45 minutes west of Ft Walton Beach, Fl, and 500 miles from Orlando, FL.(home of Disney World). Altitude ranges from sea level to 120 feet above sea level. Escambia County is 661 square miles. Santa Rosa County 1,024 square miles and the City of Pensacola is 25.09 square miles.
In 1971 NAS was picked as the headquarters site for Chief of Naval Education and Training [CNET], a new command which combined direction and control of all Navy education and training. The Naval Air Basic Training Command was absorbed by the Naval Air Training Command, which moved to Corpus Christi. Today, the Pensacola Naval Complex in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties employs more than 9,600 military and 6,800 civilian personnel.
The training aircraft carrier USS LEXINGTON (AVT 16) operated out of Pensacola, providing deck-landing and takeoff experience for Naval aviation cadets for over 20 years prior to being decommissioned on 08 November 1991. As of 1989 Navy plans called for moving the operational carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) to Pensacola, but Kitty Hawk remained homeported in San Diego, California, and eventually departed in July 1998 for Yokosuka, Japan. In February 1992 the USS Forrestal [CV-59] changed her homeport from Mayport, FL, to Pensacola, to become the US Navy's training carrier for naval aviators and support personnel. However, prior to the actual move the overhaul was discontinued in March 1993 when the Forrestal was designated for decommissioning in response to the decision to accelerate the closure of the Pennsylvania Naval Shipyard. USS Forrestal was decommissioned on September 11th, 1993. (Courtesy: GlobalSecurity.org)