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Crusader pilots

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Crusader pilots

Old 13th Dec 2014, 21:38
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Forres
Age: 63
Posts: 158
Crusader pilots

Any old Crusader pilots out there who might have flown an exchange tour with the french Aeronavale, or trained them? I hope to have answers to the following questions:



The flying characteristics of the F-8.
Was it an easy aircraft to fly?
What were the dangers of flying the type - could you get into trouble easily on the edge of its flight envelope?
Was the cockpit ergonomically easy to work in or was it a bit like being a one-armed paper hanger?
What was its strongest virtue?
What was its greatest vice?

I would also appreciate stories of combat operations, exercises, close calls in training and/or poor weather. Also any photos, particularly air-to-air shots you may have. Tales of high pressure operations as well as anything liked or disliked about the F-8.

From ground crew I would like to know about the ease or difficulty of maintaining the aircraft. What was the worst job to complete? What became unserviceable most often keeping the aircraft on the ground? Tales of high pressure operations for the ground crew during various operations.

Any help with this would be much appreciated.
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Old 15th Dec 2014, 16:48
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Augusta, Georgia, USA (back from Germany again)
Posts: 147
From my dad and reading...

Tom

My dad was a US Navy fighter pilot for many years. He flew F8's in the early sixties before transitioning to the F4. It's safe to say he did not like the F8 very much.

The F8 was designed in an era when the plan was to launch hordes of fighters at the hordes of Russian/Soviet bombers, launch missiles (even it it was "the last of the gunfighters" at the time), and return. The F8 was very fast, but not very maneuverable. It's my understanding the F4 was slightly slower* and more maneuverable while the F14 again slightly slower than its predecessor but much, much more maneuverable.

My dad said the term "departed" was invented for the F8. You could be in straight/level flight and suddenly find yourself going backwards with combustion literally blown out.

No autopilot. Navigating required holding the stick with your knees to spread out a chart. The radio was located far enough aft that you had to count clicks to change frequency.

My recollection is reading that the Navy bought 1300 of them and only had 200 left at retirement.

My take? Strongest virtue: wicked fast. Biggest vice: wicked.

My dad never indicated that he missed flying the F8. Ever.

Terry

*In service, not talking about anything tweaked for records.

Last edited by LTCTerry; 15th Dec 2014 at 19:00. Reason: Missing phrase added.
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Old 15th Dec 2014, 20:08
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Posts: 158
F-8

Thanks LTC Terry, very interesting take on the Crusader, wish I had been able to talk to your father face to face.
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Old 15th Dec 2014, 20:31
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Shelton WA.
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Read all about it in Paul Gillcrist's great book "Crusader: The Last Gunfighter".
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Old 16th Dec 2014, 12:31
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F-8

Thanks GeminiTwin.
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Old 16th Dec 2014, 18:35
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 61
F-8

simple enough to understand. More than 1200 made and more than 900 crashed. Enough said
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Old 29th Dec 2014, 11:25
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French F-8 pilots and US instructors

No responses yet. Where have all of the Crusader pilots gone?
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Old 29th Dec 2014, 13:33
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Houston Texas
Posts: 9
F-8

I was fortunate enough to fly the F-8 Crusader with VMF-334 at MCAS El Toro in 1965-1966. I flew it again 1967-1968 with VMF-333 at MCAS Beaufort. The Crusader was magnificent to fly, highly maneuverable. I got my 1,000 MPH pin in the Crusader. She was my first single-seat afterburning fighter.
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Old 29th Dec 2014, 14:15
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Houston Texas
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Cool F-8

"When you're out of F-8's---You're out of Fighters"
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Old 30th Dec 2014, 13:31
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Forres
Age: 63
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F-8

Thanks Mach2Plus,

I am hoping to make contact with Crusader pilots who may have trained the french to fly the type. If you have any contacts in that area it would be much appreciated.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 04:20
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Houston Texas
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F-8

Sorry, Amigo--I can't help you there.
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Old 17th Jan 2015, 15:31
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 61
F-8

A former airline colleague flew the F-8 in the US Navy. He was one of the youngest to fly the Crusader in VF-211. Today he is 71. I would think most of the F-8 drivers have passed or reached an age where this website really doesn't matter much
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Old 20th Jan 2015, 17:00
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Houston Texas
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F-8

Hold up, there, BUF pilot--I am 72 and still flying! I started flying the F-8 at 22 yoa.
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