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Grumman F9F Panther (NAVY3F255) - Carrier qualifications aboard USS Intrepid February 1970 - Gulf of Mexico off Corpus Christi, Texas. Carrier quals are the last and hardest hurdle prior to winning Navy "Wings of Gold"
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Grumman F9F Panther (NAVY3F255)


Carrier qualifications aboard USS Intrepid February 1970 - Gulf of Mexico off Corpus Christi, Texas. Carrier quals are the last and hardest hurdle prior to winning Navy "Wings of Gold"


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James Wilson Jr
Sky-hawk TA 4-J ?
That tail is clearly a Grumman tail and not a Douglas, in this case it's a Grumman TAF-9J Cougar. VT-22 are the Golden Eagles.
serge LOTH
James !,it's a Gruman Cougar, issue from Panther in 1950. It has been used in Corea and Vietnam. Used on the F.Carrier Kennedy and Essex , retired in 1971,;It also even been used as drone!!.
The only Air Force who used it was Argentina.
Dale Kline
Used to watch these coming into Willow Grove Naval Air Station, PA when I was a kid in the late 50s. And the F4 Fury, P2Vs, C119, and many others. NAS 'willies grave' was instrumental in my choice of Naval Air right after High School.
Dale Kline
Anyone out there remember AEWBARRONPAC? First duty station after electronics training at NATTC Memphis. Wow, thats a long time ago!
Sandy Sandmire
F9F-8T, We had them at North Island NAS in the 1950's.
Murray Wynne
I hit the boat in an F-9 out of Beeville in 1972. Great airplane!
Bobby Allison
Grumman F9F-8T Cougar, later redesignated a TF-9J. GREAT STUFF!
Dale, I too went to NATTC Memphis for AME 'A' School. I recall that AEW group.
Buster Chappell
Definitely not a TA-4J. I actually thought initial formation flying was much more difficult than carrier qualifications. However, once you got the feel for relative motion then formation flying became quite natural! My carrier quals were on the T-2B/C (VT-4) in December 1970 and the TA-4J (VT-21) in June 1971. Both times on the Lexington!
Michael Stokes
"...[T]he last and hardest hurdle..." indeed. During a similar mission off Pensacola, FL a year later, a young qualifying pilot's trainer aircraft (like the one pictured) exploded in mid-air shortly after cat launch from the USS Intrepid (CVS-11). He ejected but could not avoid fatal injuries. That afternoon, grown men, seasoned Naval aviators among them, looked on in silence at his flight uniform and gear now spread out on the deck of the Ops Division office. (MS, ASW Intel Office, Ops Div., CVS-11, 1970-72.)
Jim Morris
This aircraft was out of Kingsville , Texas assigned to VT-22. It was powered by a J48 centrifugal flow engine. I went aboard the Shangri-la and Antietam when these planes flew aboard for carrier quals in the early 60's.
Ray ThomasPhoto Uploader
Although the title above says F9F Panther, the way the Flight Aware software works, you are constrained to ICAO aircraft designations. In the current ICAO listing the closest thing I could find was F9 which brings up nickname panther. In actuality, this is a shot of a TF-9J Cougar during carrier qualifications aboard USS Intrepid in February 1970. The TF-9J designation was applied to the existing designation of F9F-8T when the aricraft was selected to be the advanced jet trainer in the early sixties. As you may know, the original F9F was called the Panther and saw service in the Korean War. It had a straight wing and a different centrifugal flow turbojet. The first Cougars with the J48 engine were delivered starting in 1954. I took this picture from the Intrepid's island while waiting my turn to get my 2 T&G's and six traps to complete CQ in 1970.

There were six training squadrons flying the F-9 at the time: VT-21, VT-22 and VT-23 at NAS Kingsville, TX; and VT-24, VT-25 and VT-26 at NAS Beeville, TX. Interestingly, each squadron had both TF-9J two seat trainers and AF-9J single seat fighter/trainers. After completing the more basic parts of the syllabus (familiarization, instruments and formation), students were checked out in the AF-9J, and could fly either the TF-9J or the AF-9J depending on mission and luck of the draw, as they were randomly assigned. It was really a thrill to get to fly a single seater - even before we got our wings.

Starting in 1971 and at Kingsville, squadrons began transitioning to the TA-4J Skyhawk. I believe the process was completed in 1974 with transition of the last squadron at Beeville still flying the Cougar.
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