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 Review: Hobby Master HA7206 F9F-5 Panther VMF-311 "Ted Williams Korea

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Kyushu J7W


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Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : East Coast USA

PostSubject: Review: Hobby Master HA7206 F9F-5 Panther VMF-311 "Ted Williams Korea   Sat Feb 18 2017, 22:07

Hobby Master
Model Number HA7206
Scale 1/48
Grumman F9F-5 Panther
VMF-311 "Ted Williams" Korea 1953

Specifications (F9F-5):
Engine: One 6,250-pound thrust Pratt & Whitney J48-P-6A turbojet engine
Weight: Empty 10,147 lbs., Max Takeoff 18,721 lbs.
Wing Span: 38ft. 0in.
Length: 38ft. 10in.
Height: 12ft. 3in.

Maximum Speed: 579 mph
Cruising Speed: 481 mph
Ceiling: 42,800 ft.
Range: 1,300 miles

Four 20-mm cannon;
Under wing hard points for two 1,000-pound bombs or six 127-mm (5-inch) HVAR rockets.

Number Built: ~1382
F9F-5, was the most numerous model, of which 616 were built; and the F9F-5P, an unarmed photo-surveillance version. It would evolve into the swept-wing, the F9F-6 Cougar with higher speeds, would enter service in late 1951.

Number still airworthy: One

The Grumman F9F Panther was the manufacturer's first jet fighter and one of the United States Navy's first successful carrier-based jet fighters. The pilots appreciated the air conditioned cockpit, which was a welcome change from the humid environment of piston-powered aircraft. A single-engined, straight-winged day fighter, it was fitted with an armament of four 20 mm (0.79 in) cannons and could carry a wide assortment of air-to-ground munitions.

The prototype Panther, piloted by test pilot Corky Meyer, first flew on 21 November 1947. American engines available at the time included the Allison J33 and Westinghouse J34, but these were not considered sufficiently reliable,[3] so the Navy specified the imported Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet, which was also more powerful at 5,000 lb. of thrust. In a later interview with Air and Space he said it flew like a J3 Cub.

Production aircraft would have a Nene engine 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 RB.44 Tay. The other engine that had been tested was the Allison J33-A-16. The armament was a quartet of 20 mm guns, the Navy having already switched to this caliber (as opposed to the USAAF/USAF which continued to use 12.7 mm M2/M3 guns). As well, the Panther soon was armed with under wing air-to-ground rockets and up to 2,000 lb (910 kg) of bombs.

The Grumman Panther was the primary U.S. Navy and USMC jet fighter and ground-attack aircraft in the Korean War. The Panther was the most widely used U.S. Navy jet fighter of the Korean War, flying 78,000 sorties and scoring the first air-to-air kill by the U.S. Navy in the war, the downing of a North Korean Yakovlev Yak-9 fighter. F9F-2s, F9F-3s and F9F-5s, as rugged attack aircraft, were able to sustain operations, even in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire.

Despite their relative slow speed, Panthers also managed to shoot down two Yak-9s and seven Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15s for the loss of two F9Fs. On 3 July 1950, Lieutenant, junior grade Leonard H. Plog of U.S. Navy's VF-51 flying an F9F-3 scored the first U.S. Navy air victory of the war by shooting down a Yak-9. The first MiG-15 was downed on 9 November 1950 by Lieutenant Commander William (Bill) Amen of VF-111 "Sundowners" Squadron flying an F9F-2B.

Two more MiG-15s were downed on 18 November 1950. The final four MiG-15s were downed on 18 November 1952. Lt. Royce Williams of VF-781 got one, possible 2, , flying off the carrier Oriskany during a series of air strikes against the North Korean port of Hoeryong, right across the mouth of the Tumen River from the major Soviet base at Vladivostok. Williams' victories were notable because they were flown by Soviet Naval Aviation pilots. Royce was ordered to report to VADM Briscoe, COMNAVFORFAREAST, at Yokosuka, Japan. Briscoe cautioned Royce that a Top Secret agency called NSA was aboard a Navy cruiser off the coast near Vladivostok and monitored all Soviet communications. NSA warned the CTF of the Soviet MIGs taking off from Vladivostok and flying toward the CTF. NSA covered all the radio transmissions and followed the MIGs from departure through the entire confrontation and until return of the remnants of the MIG flight to Vladivostok. NSA told Admiral Briscoe to tell Lt Williams that he got at least 3 of the MIGs. Admiral Briscoe warned Royce to not tell anyone about what he had been told about the Soviet encounter. Williams would remain quiet about the event for 50 years while he flew with Air Force Korean aces at the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis, and commanded other Navy fighter squadrons through the Cold War and three carrier air groups in Vietnam. In 1992, following the end of the Cold War, the Russians revealed Williams had indeed gotten four: Captain Belyakov, Captain Vandalov, Lieutenant Pakhomkin and Lieutenant Tarshinov of the Red Navy Air Force. Vandalov, Pakhomkin and Tarshinov had all been directly shot down in the fight. Belyakov, the flight leader, had been badly shot up by Williams and crash-landed as soon as he was over Soviet territory, being killed in the crash. Royce Williams was the top-scoring carrier-based Naval Aviator of the “forgotten war” and the top-scoring Naval Aviator in a Navy jet (Guy Bordelon scored 5 in an F4U-5N Corsair and Marine Major John Bolt scored six flying an F-86 with the Air Force). His score of four MiGs in one fight is a performance unequaled since.

In 1992, Russian authorities admitted that Captains Belyakov and Vandalov, and Lieutenants Pakhomkin and Tarshinov were lost on 18 November 1952. Information regarding this fight had been suppressed by the U.S. Navy at the time because personnel of the then-new National Security Agency had been involved in the intercept, and U.S. authorities were concerned that the Soviets might learn of this if the affair was publicized. No other fighter pilot ever scored four MiG-15s in a single combat.

Ted Williams

At midnight, May 1, 1952, Ted Williams, slugger supreme, reported to Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, as Ted Williams, Marine captain. The baseball wars were over. Another was just beginning. In Willow Grove, Ted immediately began an eight-week refresher course in flying. By this time his old Navy SNV was practically antiquated. Jets, the F-9s, were the combat aircraft of choice. He wanted to fly jets and put his name on the list for consideration.

Shortly thereafter he had his chance. Once he got in one, he was impressed immediately with its performance. He described the F-9s as, “easy to fly, easier than props because they had no torque, less noise, tricycle landing gear. [The F-9s had] wonderful flight characteristics. Turn one over and it would just r-o-l-l, nothing to it.” Ted was rushed into ground school at Cherry Point, North Carolina, operational training at Roosevelt Roads and wrapped up cold weather training school in the Sierra Mountains. The Marines lived in near primitive conditions in the Sierra Mountains. Neither Ted nor any of his fellow pilots enjoyed the creature comforts. They were living on canned food rations, sleeping on spruce sprouts and using parachutes as tents.

On February 4, 1953, Ted Williams arrived in Korea as a member of the Third Marine Air Wing, 223rd Squadron. Ted got checked out on field procedure, landings, operating procedure and emergency procedure. With a few practice flights and bombing runs on an old bridge, he went into combat

After about eight to ten missions, Ted began to get very sick. The weather was cold, foggy and just plain miserable. His ears and nose were blocked and he was visiting the infirmary every other day. Never a fan of cold and damp weather, Ted hated Korea. No sooner would he shake a cold than he would come down with another. As lousy as Korea was, it wasn’t the weather that nearly killed him.

February 17, 1953 ~ only 13 days upon his arrival to Korea ~ Ted was one of 200 flyers in a huge air mission aimed at Kyomipo, North Korea. He was flying low over his target, a troop encampment, when Ted lost sight of the plane in front of him. He dropped down to regain visual contact, He dropped down to regain visual contact, but went too low. North Korean soldiers in the encampment blasted him with small arms fire. He completed his run over the target and tried to pull up. Every warning light in the cockpit was lit and the plane was vibrating. The stick started to shake and he knew he’d sprung a leak in the hydraulic system. . The landing gear came down and the plane was hard to control. Ted got the gear up and started climbing. He knew he was in trouble and got on the radio, but the radio went dead. Another pilot pulled close and tried to signal Ted to bail out, but he didn’t know his plane was on fire. He increased altitude and turned the jet toward the nearest American base. Nearly all his instruments were out. The airspeed indicator read zero. The wing flaps were frozen and Ted was unable to lower the landing gear. Every message given by the plane told him to eject. He continued to climb, still not knowing the plane was on fire, but took the precaution of climbing to higher elevation anyway. A companion aircraft, piloted by Lieutenant Larry Hawkins, led Ted back to the field and radioed ahead that he was in trouble. Ted again considered bailing out but resisted the idea. He was afraid if he ejected his kneecaps would crash against the cockpit.

I forgot to put the nose gear back on when I took the pic.

With the field in site, Ted turned to land when an explosion rocked the craft. A wheel door had blown off. Smoke was pouring from the brake ports. Down below, the residents of a small Korean village on the outskirts of the field scattered. His plane was a mass of fire and smoke. Unable to check his air speed and almost powerless to do anything about it, Ted approached the ground at 225 miles per hour, almost twice the recommended speed. He dropped the emergency wheel latch and only one wheel dropped into position. He hit the strip level, but with no way to slow the plane. Soon the plane settled on its belly, sparks, fire, and smoke trailing after it, as Ted held on, hoping it would stop. The F-9 screamed down the field out of control for more than a mile, shedding strips of metal and on the verge on exploding. Twice the plane nearly barreled into fire trucks waiting for the inevitable blowup. Finally, at the very edge of the field, the plane groaned to a stop.
Ted popped the canopy. With the exception of the cockpit, the entire plane was aflame. He dove headfirst to the tarmac, where he was grabbed by two Marine flight crewmen and hustled away. Angry, both at himself and the close call, Ted took off his helmet and threw it on the ground. When he returned to look at the plane, it was a blackened hulk, completely destroyed. He avoided death by the narrowest margin.

The next day Ted was back in the sky. Two months later, on April 28, 1953, he had another close call. He was on a Marine raid of Chinnampo on Korea’s west coast. Heavy winds forced the mission closer to the ground than usual and his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Fuel reserves in the wing did not ignite and Ted made it back safely. He considered himself lucky.

John Glen counting over 700 holes in his F9F

Williams' military career in Korea was beset with sickness. Often he would fly a few missions before getting sick and then spend several weeks on a hospital ship. He development pneumonia and military doctors discovered an inner ear problem that made it impossible for Ted to remain a pilot. Finally in June of 1953 the Marines decided that Ted Williams had enough. He was scheduled to be sent to Hawaii for treatment. Ted officially left the Marines in July 1953.

While in Korea, Williams flew 39 missions. He later downplayed his record, writing: “I was no hero. There were maybe seventy-five pilots in our two squadrons and 99 percent of them did a better job than I did.” His record is nothing to make light of. He served our country with distinction, when others might have resisted the call in the first place. Given his private feelings about the war, Ted’s record is all the more remarkable. He did his duty.

While flying the F9F in Korea the VMF-311 flew a record 2,300 missions.

Future astronaut Neil Armstrong flew the F9F extensively during the war, even ejecting from one of the aircraft when it was brought down by a wire strung across a valley. The F9F Panther remained the US Navy and Marine Corps' primary aircraft for the duration of the fighting in Korea.

Due to the MiG's superiority, the Panther was forced to hold the line for part of the fall until the USAF could rush three squadrons of the new F-86 Sabre to Korea. As the Sabre increasingly took over the air superiority role, the Panther began to see extensive use as a ground attack aircraft due to its versatility and hefty payload. Famous pilots of the aircraft included future astronaut John Glenn and Hall of Famer Ted Williams who flew as wing men in VMF-311. The F9F Panther remained the US Navy and Marine Corps' primary aircraft for the duration of the fighting in Korea.

Panthers were withdrawn from front-line service in 1956, but remained in training roles and with U.S. Naval Air Reserve and U.S. Marine Air Reserve units until 1958. Some Panthers continued to serve in small numbers into the 1960s

A U.S. Navy Grumman F9F-3 Panther (BuNo 122562) operated by the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Maryland (USA). This aircraft was fitted with an experimental electro-hydraulically driven Emerson Aero X17A roll-traverse turret housing four 12.7 mm machine guns, in 1950. The idea was that the aircraft could destroy enemy bombers while avoiding the fire of the tail gunner. The guns could be directed at any angle from directly forward to 20 degrees aft, and the gun mount could roll 360 degrees. The roll rate was 100 degrees per second, and the guns could be traversed at up to 200 degrees per second. Unfortunately, the volume required for the fire control system avionics, and the sheer weight of the turret, made it impractical for single-seat fighters and the program was cancelled in early 1954.

As the F9F swept wing Cougar came on the aircraft was exported to Argentina to be used by their naval forces . The first flight of an Argentine Panther was in December 1958, and the last aircraft was put in service in January 1961. The catapults on the then only Argentine carrier, ARA Independencia, were considered not powerful enough to launch the F9F, so the aircraft were land-based. However, in July 1963 a Panther (serial 0453/3-A-119) landed on the Independencia as part of trials; becoming the first jet to land on an Argentine aircraft carrier.

Argentine Navy F9F-2 Panthers saw combat in the 1963 Argentine Navy Revolt, bombing and strafing a column of the Army 8th Tank Regiment which was advancing on the rebelling Base Aeronaval Punta Indio (English: Punta Indio Naval Air Base). The attack destroyed several M4 Sherman tanks, at the cost of one F9F Panther shot down.
The Argentine Panthers were involved in the general mobilization during the 1965 border clash between Argentina and Chile but no combat occurred. They were taken out of service in 1969 due to the lack of spare parts and replaced with Douglas A-4Q Skyhawks.

Some were used as Grumman DF-9E Panther drones. NASA used it as a test bed and for research. The Blue Angles used it for their publicity shows from 1949 through to late 1954.

The Bridges at Toko-Ri is a 1954 American war film about the Korean War and stars William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March, Mickey Rooney, and Robert Strauss The screenplay is based on the novel The Bridges at Toko-Ri by Pulitzer Prize winner James Michener.

The story, which closely follows the novel, is about the U.S. Navy pilots assigned to bomb a group of heavily defended bridges in North Korea. It emphasizes the lives of the pilots and crew in the context of the Korean War; a conflict that seems remote to all except those who fight in Korea.

Michener based his novel on actual missions flown against the railroad bridges at Majon-ni and Samdong-ni, North Korea, during the winter of 1951–52The close cooperation of the U.S. Navy led to spectacular aerial scenes as well as carrier action.A raid sequence with large scale models intercut with combat footage was a particularly effective scene that was later recognized in the Academy Awards.

Exteriors were shot aboard the USS Oriskany (CV-34) and the USS Kearsarge (CV-33), 27,100-ton Essex-class aircraft carriers standing in for the USS Savo Island. The aircraft used in the film is the Grumman F9F-2 Panther, a Korean War workhorse still in service and equipping the air groups of both carriers, at the time the film was made

Link to the crash landing scene.

The F9F Panther remained the US Navy and Marine Corps' primary aircraft for the duration of the fighting in Korea. Thanks to the rapid turnover of aircraft in the 1950's we are stil left with quite a few in museums around the country.

John Glenn on the Mission board

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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