The prototype Crusader single-seat carrier-based fighter flew for the first time on 25 March 1955. The first production F-8A flew on 20 September of the same year and this version began reaching US Navy operational squadrons in March 1957. It was produced as a day fighter powered initially by a 7290kg Pratt & Whitney J57-P-12 turbojet and on later aircraft a 7370kg P-4A engine. A photo-reconnaissance version was also produced as the RF-8A.
Several other versions of the Crusader were produced. The F-8B had a J57-P-4A engine and improved radar; the F-8C a 7700kg J57-P-16 engine; the F-8D with limited all-weather capability and an 8190kg J57-P-20 engine; the F-8E with improved all-weather capability and an enlarged nose radome; the F-8E (FN) export version of the F-8E for the French Navy (provision for Matra R.530 missiles in addition to Sidewinders) with blown flaps; the RF-8G (modernised RF-8A with updated equipment); and the F-8H/J/K/L modernised versions of the F-8D/E/C/B respectively, with updated equipment and attack capability. The F-8H also served with the air force of the Philippines.
| ENGINE||1 x P+W J-57-P-4A(N), 71.2kN|
| Take-off weight||12500 kg||27558 lb|
| Wingspan||10.7 m||35 ft 1 in|
| Length||16.6 m||54 ft 6 in|
| Height||4.8 m||16 ft 9 in|
| Max. speed||M2|| M2 |
| Cruise speed||1165 km/h||724 mph|
| Range w/max.fuel||3900 km||2423 miles|
| ARMAMENT||4 x 20mm cannon, bombs, missiles|
|Bill Fahl, 12.02.2018|
A great read "Supersonic Fighter Pilots" by Ron Knott
Lots of stories from those who flew this aircraft.
|Eric Krask, 11.02.2018|
I had the priviledge to chase Col. Marion Carl on his F8U-1E FAM-1 flight in early 1959, Beaufort,SC. Google him. One hour of burner and max G's. Talk about a tiger by the tail. Where do we get such men?
|Martin Roberts, 30.11.2017|
Interesting to read about the Crusader after all this time. In 1958 I was stationed at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, with the Royal Air Force. An F8U made an emergency landing after a generator disintegrated in flight, punching holes in the intake and outer fuselage skins. In short-order two Douglas Skyraiders appeared from the USS Saratoga - part of the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. If I remember correctly they dropped power-tool kits (?) from beneath the wings and set about patching up the F8U parked in our 13 Sqn (Canberra PR7's) dispersal. One guy crawled down the intake with his "power tool" while the other worked from outside with similar modern aids. A day later the F8U was flown back to the mother ship. The whole thing was our first experience of what we came to know as "Yankee ingenuity" - very impressive. My wife and I moved from the U.K. to CA in the 1980's and now enjoy much to do with airplanes - flying with Golden State Flying Club out here in Santee where there is a Crusader on display at nearby Gillespie Field.
|Jim Sommers, 09.09.2017|
I was aboard the USS Hancock CVA-19 . I was a plane captain First out of VF-211, out of Miramar Calif. I later became a AQF-4 and maintained the radar, lead computing sight for the guns, and the infrared radar for the missiles. It was a time I will never forget.I remember Randy Omlie too.
|Jim Samartino, 22.07.2017|
I never flew the F8 Crusader I was only a plane captain and mechanic on it. Being only 18 years old and just out of high school, I felt lucky enough to be able to do that.Years later I earned my Private Pilots license and have flown all over the U.S. I would have loved to have flown that beautiful bird. The F8 Crusader!!!
|Cora Revak, 03.02.2017|
Sorry for taking so long to get back.hope the email works!
|JIM SAMARTINO, 05.03.2016|
Dear Miss Cora Revak I actually helped your grandfather LT.Revak repair his bicycle the day before this mishap if you give me your e-mail I'd be glad to talk further about this beleive it or not I still have a copy of the flight schedule for that day.
|Cora Revak, 05.03.2016|
Hi Jim Samartino, I was wondering if you were able to tell me if you remember my grandfather, Paul Arnold Revak. He was stationed with VU-10 in the same time you described, 1964-1965. I am trying to learn on behalf of my family what happened exactly to him. As you may know, his F-8 crashed on May 10,1965. He, along with his aircraft were never recovered. As I have come to learn, his particular variant, an F-8U2N, we're notoriously difficult to handle and frequently accident prone. If you can tell me anything that you might remember about him, his aircraft or this incident, it would be a great help to my family and me.
|JIM SAMARTINO, 12.07.2015|
This is no B.S. seastory but I've kept a picture of the F-8 I was plane captain on in VU-10 JH-3 BU#145544 GTMO CUBA 1964-65 all these years.Every now and then I'll get a wiff of Jet fuel from Philly airport right acrosss the delaware from me.WOW!!! takes me back to better times when we were both young and full of spunk.
|JIM SAMARTINO, 05.05.2015|
I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE F8 THE FIRST TIME I SAW ONE TAXI IN IN NATTC MEMPHIS.I WENT THRU THE F8 RAG IN CECIL FIELD AND THEN TO VU-10 LEEWARD POINT GTMO FOR 18 MONTHS.MY BIRD JH-3 145544 IS A CONSTANT REMINDER WITH PICTURES OF HER IN MY I LOVE ME ROOM.CALL ME A WEIRDO DOESN'T MATTER,I STILL LOVE THAT AIRPLANE. I WAS 18 THEN AND NOW I'M 70 BUT I'LL ALWAYS LOVE THAT AIRPLANE AND THAT TIME OF MY LIFE.
|JERRY ELLIOTT, 14.04.2015|
AS A YOUNG AIRMAN IN1963 AT NO. ISLAND, WATCHED THE F8s LEAVE NARF AND AT THE END OF THE RUNWAY, DO A 90 AND GO STREAGHT UP OUTOF SIGHT BEFORE HEADING TO NAS MIRAMAR. WHAT A SITE FOR ME SENCE THE ONLY AIRPLANES I JAD BEEN AROUND WAS B 36s AT CARSWELL.
|Dennis Panzer, 17.02.2015|
Loved it …..Flew it with VMF 334 and rotated overseas to WESTPAC with VMF(AW)-312. Sweet gun platform. Qualed on the Hancock and the Midway with it. We ended up our squadron time at Danang before disbanding.The most exciting time of my 75 years…...
|charlie dennis, 27.01.2015|
I remember, as a 19 year old in about 1959, attending an airshow at Hensley Naval Air Base near Dallas-Ft.Worth. After watching a few hours of the typical P-51 formations, aerobatic teams, and early jets, we heard what sounded like some really large jet engines howling in the distance. In afew minutes we saw in the distance two F8 Crusaders coming down the runway. When they reached the crowd they both lit their afterburners, rotated and went what seemed like true vertical. The noise was deafening and the smoke and flame did its work too. They disappeared in the clouds and were never seen again. After nearly sixty years, I don't think I've ever had a case of "goose bumps" quite like that experience. That F8 climb out is etched in my brain forever! My experimental light sport just doesn't seem the same anymore.
|Bill Mirams, 06.12.2014|
Flew the magnificent bird from 1958 - 1960 as a marine in VMF 334. In 1960 ejected at 400 feet due to hydraulic control malfunction. Even so, I still have the fondest of feelings for the Crusader, the last of the gunfighters.
|Paul Scott, 01.05.2014|
I heard the US pilots wanted this more than the Phantom - although the Phantom was better all-round, the Crusader notched a speed in tests admittedly with bigger than production engines, of nearly 1,600 mph!
|Art McMahon, 20.12.2013|
I saw my first Crusader at El Toro when I was a young Ordinanceman 6511, in May of 1958. That was also my first experiance with the Sidewinder--later used that Sept. in Formosa by the Chinese Nationalist Air Force.
|James 'butterbean' Carpenter, 09.09.2013|
I worked as an experimental machinist, while the F8U Crusader was being created, in Grand Prairie, TEXAS.. I thought it was a beautiful plane.. A friend also scattered one all over NE Texas, while doing test flights, when the wing 'opened-up' on a speed-run... I was also working at TEMCO Aircraft when the Regulas II was a 'secret' and almost scared a 'guard' out of his britches one night, as the missile was out on the flight-line, covered with a tarp, which blew off and the 'thing' was uncovered.. It was about 3am, I walked over to see it and the guard was sleeping.. I asked him 'what it was', he fell out of his chair, pulled his gun and ordered me into the hanger, where I was placed under 'arrest', until my foreman came looking for me and 'sprung' me.. They thought I was a spy or something.. I was working on a plane next to the missile..
|Randy Omlie, 14.02.2013|
I was a plane captain on F8 Bureau no. 150867 aboard U.S.S. Hancock, CVA19, 1964-66 with VF 211 which had eight confirmed MIG kills and some probables. This bird was the first crusader to shoot down a MIG (Cdr Marr), and a different one flown in VF 211 was the last to down a MIG with guns only (Lt. Chancey. The bird earned VF 211 two Navy Crosses, 6 Silver Stars, and more. I'd say successful!
|Ken Gearhart, 12.01.2013|
Served in VMF 251 as an Ordnanceman from 62 thru 66...a great A/C to work on and load. We had the F8B and had e xcellent availability and super pilots, especially our CO, Maj/LtCol Kenny Palmer. Had the highest morale in any squadron I served with. Go Thunderbolts!!
|Jim Samartino, 08.11.2012|
I was an F8 plane capt. in VU-10 GTMO 1964-65 my bird was BU.# 145544 it crashed in Japan in 1968 and is now on display in LEO's park olongapo phillipines. I miss that airplane and miss being 18 years old.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?