Aircraft of the Month: F-8 Crusader
Articles Blog

Aircraft of the Month: F-8 Crusader

November 7, 2019

– Hi, I’m Eric Boehm,
curator of aviation here at the Intrepid
Sea, Air & Space Museum, and today we’re going to look
at one of our more interesting airplanes in our collection, one with significant history
to the Intrepid, and that’s
the Vought F-8 Crusader. The Vought F-8 Crusader
was developed in the mid-1950s as a single-engine
air superiority fighter for carrier-based use
for the U.S. Navy and for the U.S. Marine Corps. At the same time,
the navy was looking at the F-4 Phantoms, and unlike the Phantom, the Crusader had internal guns. This issue was hotly debated
among designers and planners, but the pilots
that would fly the jet liked having
the option of guns. One of the most unique features
of the Crusader was its variable-incidence wings
as you can see here. Now, you can see that the wing
is actually popped up. That’s changing
the incidence of the wing, or the angle to the fuselage
of the airplane. Now, what this does,
when you want to fly slow, like on a carrier approach, you want to probably fly
at a higher angle of attack. The problem is
with the Crusader, at a higher angle of attack, the pilot really can’t see
over the nose. So by popping the wing, or changing
its angle of incidence, we get more lift, and the pilot
can control the landing. The Crusader
was capable of speeds up to 1,300 miles per hour and could carry four AIM-9
Sidewinder air-to-air missiles in addition to the four 20-millimeter cannons
in the nose. The last F-8
used in U.S. Navy service was an RF version and was retired in 1986, almost 30 years of service
for the type. For more
behind-the-scenes videos, visit

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