Grumman F9F Cougar
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Grumman F9F Cougar

The Cougar was a swept-wing development of the earlier G-79 Panther. The fuselage was similar but the wings and tailplane were swept at 35°. First flown in prototype form on 20 September 1951, the initial production version was the F9F-6 armed with four 20 mm cannon and powered by a 32.25kN Pratt & Whitney J48-P-8 turbojet engine. The F9F-6P was an unarmed photographic-reconnaissance version with a longer nose to accommodate K-17 and tri-metrogon cameras. Next came the F9F-7, similar to the previous version except that it was powered by a 28.25kN Allison J33-A-16A engine.

F9F-8 Cougar

The first production F9F-8 flew on 18 January 1954. Powered by J48-P-8 engine, it was a development of the F9F-6 with increased speed and range. Movable leading-edge slats were replaced by fixed cambered leading-edge extensions outboard of the wing fences. Total internal fuel capacity was increased by 530 litres. A photographic-reconnaissance version (the F9F-8P) flew for the first time on 21 August 1955 and had an extended nose for the cameras. The F9F-8 went out of production in 1957.

The final version of the Cougar was the F9F-8T two-seat fighter-trainer, first flown on 4 April 1956. Production of this version ended on the last day of 1959 after 399 had been built. Total production of the Cougar was 1,985 aircraft. Many F9F-8Ts were flown operationally in Vietnam.

F9F-8 CougarA three-view drawing of F9F-8 Cougar (1278 x 926)

 ENGINE1 x Pratt & Whitney J48-P-8A turbo-jet, 32.0kN
    Take-off weight9344 kg20600 lb
    Wingspan10.52 m35 ft 6 in
    Length13.54 m44 ft 5 in
    Height3.73 m12 ft 3 in
    Ceiling15240 m50000 ft
    Range966 km600 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 20mm cannon, 907kg of weapons on external hardpoints

Grumman F9F Cougar

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Gerald Sobel, 30.08.2016

I had a number of flights in this bird in the winter of 1969 out of Beeville. Lots of fun. Got to dogfight in it, and it made me want to barf. Also, got to do a loop and immelman which made me want to vomit. After first dog fight we were looking for another plane to dogfight but couldn't find him, and I was sorta relieved, heh heh. I was an RIO candidate for F4-Js, but sadly, I washed out on my 12 check when I went starboard instead of port on my last intercept. Phooey. No farm in Vietnam, and no stay at the Hanoi Hilton. Shucks!

Michael Hardy, 06.06.2016

Went to VT 22 in 69 from ADJ A school, work line and P/C until I made AD3 just as Zommie took over. Was qualified form low/high power. We transitioned to the TA4J and I became low /high power turn qualified, also worked P/P and phase shop. Left in July 71.

Bill Deskin, 28.01.2016

My first squadron out of school at NAS Memphis was VMT-2 at El Toro, I was a seat mech and cross trained as a rigger by the Master Gunny who was NCOIC of Seat Shop and Flight Equipment. We had too many folks so I volunteered to work on the flight line. Made Plane Captain and then was allowed on many occasions to fly back set on Seat hops to play target for the F4's working up training to go on West Pac to Nam'. Great officers and many VERY senior enlisted personnel. Great Squadron under Rex Deasy and Jimmie Green.

Glenn Schenenga, 09.01.2016

Flew the F-9 in advanced training in Beeville, VT25, early 1971. Great, rugged (under powered) airplane. Tough to bring aboard, but other then that the thing could out turn almost anything and was very stable. Fun to fly.

Bob Snyder, 23.03.2015

Was assigned to VT-26 from May 1970 - July 1972, AMH-3. Plane Captain on the TF-9J. The Cougar was so rugged that they took the wings off and used it for a tank.

Dean Woodman, 17.02.2015

I got my wings out of Navcad school in November 1982 and was assigned to VF191 (Commander Bob Elder) at Moffett, which was the second squadron on the west coast to receive the Cougar. Later, while CarQualing at Barber's Point on the way to Korea, I transferred to VF143 (Commander Paul Paul) at Miramar, which had lost several pilots to accidents and several consequent resignations by scared former prop reservists, who were never became comfortable in jets. VF143 toured on the Essex, and my most memorable moment occurred after an auto acceleration at 40k forced me to shut down the engine over the South China Sea 200 miles from the ship, on top of a high overcast. SOP for an air start was to fire one of three shotgun shells at joy on # 1. No luck on #2 at 15k either. Thank God I got a start on my final try at 10k, so I didn't have to eject and hope to survive in a poopy suit in frigid water in the middle of nowhere. Afraid to shift from the emergency manual throttle control back to auto, I realized that the manual control gave me extremely rough RPM control for the carrier approach, and I so informed the ship. But the ship neglected to tell the LSO, so he waved me off several times with some nasty comments about my unusually rough approaches (in a heavy sea). Finally I was so low on fuel I told him to bring me aboard no matter what, which he did.... I had to dive for the deck and caught a wire but crunched my left landing strut. When the authorities sorted out my predicament, I received zero pilot error and pats on the back from Cdr. Paul and the ship's captain. In VF143 I was proud to be the wingman of Lt. Valentine Schaeffer ("Prince Valient"), an admiral's son, Annapolis grad and a great pilot and friend for life. He hung in there with me all through my flameout adventure. I later instructed jet instrument flying in TV2's at FAWTUPAC at Moffett and then flew Reserve Cougars and Furys at Floyd Bennett through 1962. The FJ4 Fury (Air Force Sabre F86) was the Porsche of the skies in those of the finest fighters of all time.

B.J. O'Sullivan, 23.12.2014

Worked in the engine shop of Marine Training Squadron One ( VMT-1) from 1962-1965. The squadron trained pilots of reciprocals or helos on how to fly jets, and the Corps wasn't about to let them fly anything expensive, so hence the TF9J.They were very reliable, and we had very few problems with them. Stationed at Cherry Point N.C. the largest Marine Air Station.If any others on here are from that base, e-mail me.

David Fox, 26.09.2014

I have come across a picture of a Cougar hanging over the side of an Aircraft Carrier, being held only by the tail hook with both pilots in the cockpit with canopy open.
If interested, let me know how to attach the picture or visit Facebook, Terry McGinnis, Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club, posted 9-25-14

George Haloulakos, CFA, 28.06.2014

The F9 Cougar was an important asset in our arsenal of freedom throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The F9 Cougar was also an important part of TV science fiction during that same period. In a 1960 Twilight Zone episode titled "King Nine Will Not Return" an F9 Cougar jet is briefly seen flying overhead near the end of the episode. The storyline featured a WWII B25 pilot suffering survivor's guilt transported to the crash site in a North African desert where his bomber went down in 1943. The episode largely deals with his unsuccessful efforts in trying to locate his missing crew. Upon finding a grave for one of the missing crewmen, he sees an F9 Cougar flying overhead. The pilot realizes that this particular aircraft does not exist in WWII. Filled with anguish and regret that he was not able to have been with the ill-fated mission due to suffering from a fever, he collapses in the sand. When he awakens we learn that the pilot is now in a hospital bed 17 years after the crash. He apparently hallucinated his return to the crash site upon seeing a newspaper headline noting the discovery of the long lost B25. Reading the headline caused him to faint on the city street, when he was then taken to a nearby hospital. The pilot comes to terms with the reason for his not being part of the ill-fated mission but also notes that it felt as if he had actually been traversing about the North African desert. His doctors concur that it was all in his mind, but one mystery remains: how did the pilot's clothes and shoes get filled up with sand when all of this supposedly occurred on a city street in a great metropolitan area [nowhere near a desert or beach area]?

Believe it or not, when I learned that the jet aircraft seen flying at the end of that TZ episode was an F9 Cougar, it inspired me to learn more about it. At the Flying Leatherneck Aircraft Museum at MCAS Miramar [San Diego, CA] there is an F9 Cougar on static display. Ironically there is also a B25 [PBJ version] also there, but at the moment it is under refurbishment and will be returned to public display at a later time.

Identifying real aircraft featured in TV or motion picture fiction is part of my love for aviation. The love for aviation inspired me to write this book:

Aviation as a Teaching Tool for Finance,
Strategy and American Exceptionalism
By George A. Haloulakos, MBA, CFA
ISBN: 9780-1007-2738-0
Order your copy online at:
Or by phone: 858-534-4557
“Partial proceeds support aviation heritage”

Hansell Schaefer, 05.03.2014

I was in VU-4 NAAS Chincoteague VA 1957/59. We had F9F6s and well as several other types of aircraft. Worked in the engine shop and spent may hours in the intake preparing for tail removal and pump adjustment. I will never forget my first turn up. Didn't light off in time and had to shut down and mop all the fuel out of the tailpipe.

When it did light off I just barely escaped going over max tp temp.

DENNIS LIND, 03.03.2014

I was a rigger at Oceana VA in NAS Fleet All Weather Training from 1956 to 1958.Iwent for my OMYASS and flew about 9o hrs. in the back seat. It was one my best lifetime memories in the Navy along with my first jump.

John, 17.12.2013

I was with VF111 Sundowneres from 1955 thru to July 1957, We Transitioned from F9F/6 to F9F/8 Cougars about the time I arived in squadron. I was an AB/AN at first then skipper said I had to change to Aviation Metal smith, I also got involve with the Cougar fast as I got trained on my own in the NAMO trainer for Cougar Flight qualifications. I was recomened by skipper for Flight school after some education advances. We got one of the first Trainer Cogars early in 1957 and Lt Pete Petterson would pick me up at the barracks on Sundays and take me up for a spin,, I had completed Egr4ess, night vision and High Alt, Pressure chamber and was qualified. He would give me the stick and l;et me do several combat moves and stunts. I9t was a thrill as I may have beem the first or only Elisted to fly the T bird at that time. The Cougar is of course always my favorite Air craft as I served 30 years in the Navy and flew air crew and worked on many many aircraft. I didnt pass Physical so didnt make fighter pilot but did make air crew. My time in the Cougar and with the Sundowners has never left my memory and Is still my best years in The Navy. I was also a bad kid at that Time and even told the skipper CDR Medic that i should be thrown out of the Navy,, He chewd my butt and said if he ever saw a 30 year sailor I was it,, I didnt think he knew what he was talking about but guess what,,Ha,Ha,, He went on and made Admiral and I did my 30 years.

jim barnes, 28.11.2013

The only F9F-8 I ever flew was Zeke Cormiers #1 aircraft when I tried out for the Blues in 1956. It was the cadilac of any a/c I had flown. It would still look good at todays airshows.

cecil walker, 26.11.2013

pc on f9f8t mid 50s at miramar/ vf124. got some back seat time. erceived omass had nose gear problems/desinged fix and solved problem.great time of my life

Bill Dobra, 02.11.2013

I was at NAS Chase Aug.1970-Nov.1973 in VT-25.
Started in Line Div. as plane captain, went to fuel crew, then went to Power Plant Shop. Worked on TF-9J and TA-4J, and a few old Chevys. Made a couple of trips out to the Lex for 'quals'. Nearly got blown off the flight deck while greasing a tailhook when the JBD came up to soon!
Made lots of friends, still see a few from time to time, and it is still HOT-HUMID here in Beeville !!

Dennis Jennings, 26.08.2013

VT-23 Kingsville TX, I was a plane captain for the Cougar and was later transferred TID to AMD as a aviation structural mechanic. Got out in 72 as an E-5. I went to Corpus Christie and did my ejection seat check and Oxygen tank training. I think I logged about 30 hours back seat time. I really cherish those memories. I loved that old bird. I probably logged as many hours in the back seat of the A-4 Skyhawk. There's an old VT-23 Cougar sitting out in the desert at one of the aviation museums in Tucson AZ. If I could post pictures here I share them with you.

Glen Hutchinson, 21.01.2013

Gruaduated from jet engine school Feb. 1967 and by late August I was in Iwikuni Japan. We had two or three TF9J Cougars,I was plane captain on the flight line in MAG 15. I especially remember the pilots doing dual takeoffs, and having to start one for a pilot, because he keep missing the igniters while throttling up. Just found this web site, it brought back a lot of memories.

Bill Smith, 10.01.2013

I have many, many hours in this bird. Flew with it in VF-124 out of Moffet Field, circa 1958-1960. Had many great dog fights of Monterray Bay. During holiday vacations those who didn't take leave, mounted in their birds and met over 'Mig Alley/Monterray Bay' for dog fights. Would have 6-8 aircraft goint at it for about a thrilling 30 minutes. Had on F-8 crusader try to turn with me in this bird, his F-8 departed flight, he flipped end over end for about 10,000 feet and pulled out at about 500 ft. Thought we lost him for a few minutes there. I taught swept wing spin recovery in this aircraft. Climb to 20,000 ft, spin to 10,000 ft about 3 times. It would beat you to pieces, slamming your helmet against the cockpit canopy. You had a full days work after one of those. Made my first hydraulic catapult shot in this aircraft on the USS Antietam in the Gulf of Mexico. Had to take 3 shots... almost didnt' come back aboard after the 2nd shot.... That catapult shot hurt like h...!!!
Had an interesting landing at Miramar one night... strong cross winds at 40 kts. GCA had me crabbed 45 deg... after landing I would run to the left side of runway and the wind would blow me to the right... brakes were totally ineffective in all the water... after about 3 cycles trying to stop.... took the barricade.... wild ride, but the bird hele up nicely.

Larry Haatvedt, 19.10.2012

I flew the A and TF-9J at NAS Kingsville in 1965. Loved that old truck - solid as a tank and went supersonic from 40k to 20k for my first Mach ride. Then on to F-4Bs with VF-32. Great memories.

Thomas Jantz, 16.06.2012

Hello! I would like to tell everybody about my Navy combat experience in Vietnam while flying the Cougar. In Oct. of 1965 I was flying a FAC mission over northern S. Vietnam calling in air support for a platoon of US Marines about to be overrun by hundreds of North Vietnamese supported by several t-34 tanks. My copilot and I called in a couple dozen Navy, Air Force and Marine aircraft of various types. Our smoke/marking rockets were right on the mark according to after action reports and at least 300 enemy soldiers were confirmed dead, mostly from air to ground munitions. My co-pilot and I also participated in the attacks with our 20 mm cannons, knocking out one t-34 tank and disableing another. As we were about to head back to Da Nang air base I recieved a distress call asking any aircraft in the area for help. An F-1oo Super Sabre was down about 10 miles north of the DMZ in N. Vietnam. The pilot ejected and was OK but enemy troops were closing in fast. As I arrived on scene I saw at least 20 various American aircraft bombing and strafing the area. I saw the rescue Green giant helicopters coming in but they radiod in that they could not find the location of the pilot. I saw him crossing a small bridge and directed the choppers to him. Just then I my co pilot spotted about 2 dozen enemy troops on the other side of the bridge so I swooped down with my 20mm cannon blazing. The ones that were not killed ran like hell into the jungle. One of the helicopters then arrived and picked up the F-100 pilot followed by 3 or four other F-100s dropping bombs and then followed by 2 A-4 Skyhawks strafing the area. Just when I thought all was well and most of the American planes were gone I saw 2 Mig 17s heading straight at our planes heading south. I had to do something! I turned head-on at the Migs at about 1000 feet and blazed away with my 20mm hitting one and sending it down in flames, no ejection. The other one zoomed past me so I did a tight U turn and sprayed it with a short burst of 20mm, blowing its wing completely off and killing the pilot. Upon return to base My co-pilot and I were given a heroes welcome by hundreds of American servicemen. I later recieved the distinguished flying cross, air medal and recommended for the medal honor. Most of you reading this know that what I just wrote is a bunch of BS. I never left the USA, was in the Army and the war was mostly over. I wrote this to bring attention to the problem of fake Vietnam Veterans and how disgusting they are. I have cought several men lying to me over the last 30 years or so. Usually I press them for more details about their combat service and they drop the subject or "have to leave". I ask them what base they served on or ask questions about the plane, vehicle or weapon they were talking about. One guy told me he flew attack helicopters in Vietnam, Apaches! Another told me he flew F-101 voodoos in Vietnam as a back seater[ only one seat rf-101s were used in Vietnam]. Another told me he helped with the evacuation in 1975 from Sagon, as an American Army MP, he would have been about 15 years old. Another fraud said he served 2 tours in Vietnam as a US Navy Seal but forgot to do the math because it would have made him about 13 on his last tour. Still another chap in my Army National Guard unit said he lost his thumb at Khe San, in 1959. Another fraud said he just got out of the Navy and just got back from afghanistan. He was about 130 lbs overweight, a heavy smoker and living on welfare. I am sick and tired of frauds in this world, especially claiming to be combat veterans of Americas wars. Getting back to my days flying the Cougar. I forgot to mention that I also shot down a mig 21 while I was............... Tom in Michigan

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