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Designed as a lightweight, air-superiority fighter, the F11F-1 “Tiger” was the last fighter produced by Grumman Aircraft Corporation until its introduction of the F-14 “Tomcat”. The “Tiger” was intended to be a simple, lightweight, air superiority, day interceptor to protect the fleet. Like the F8F “Bearcat”, it was the smallest airframe possible designed around a given engine. The aircraft was so small that only the tips of the wings folded and folding was accomplished manually.

Thin swept wings incorporating spoilers instead of ailerons coupled with an area-rule (coke-bottle fuselage) design enable the “Tiger” to achieve a top speed of over 900 mph and became the Navy’s first operational supersonic fighter. Two variants of the aircraft (F11F-1F) with a more powerful engine and a retractable refueling probe reached a speed of 1386.47 mph in level flight and achieved a world altitude record of 76,828 feet.

First flown in July 1954, the F11F-1’s subsequent test trials provided for one of the most bizarre flights when a Grumman pilot managed to “shoot himself down” with his own bullets. Firing the guns in a dive, the trajectory of the bullets allowed him to overtake them on his pullout causing aircraft damage, an engine flame-out and a crash landing.

Nearly 200 “Tigers” were produced with some going to the Blue Angel flight demonstration team who retained them for ten years. The balance were assigned to six day-fighter attack squadrons. Having been replaced by the F8U “Crusader”, the F11Fs saw only brief front-line service and were ultimately sent to Advanced Training Command and Reserve squadrons. The Museum’s F11F-1 was a former Blue Angel aircraft.

Span: 31′ 7″
Length: 46′ 11″
Height: 13 ft. 3 in.
Weight: 14,330 lb
Armament: 4× 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannon & 4 Hardpoints
Engines: One Wright J65-W-18 w/afterburner; thrust 10,500 lbs.
Crew: One (1)
Tail Number: 141790
Years in Service: 1956 – 1961 (Carrier), 1967 (Training), 1969 (Blue Angels)
Maximum Speed: 753 mph
Cruising Speed: 578 mph
Range: 1,275 miles
Service Ceiling: 41,900 feet