Grumman F11F Tiger
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Grumman F11F Tiger

The Tiger single-seat fighter flew for the first time in prototype form on 30 July 1954 - less than 15 months after receipt of a letter of intent from the US Navy. The production version was the F11F-1. A small number of pre-production aircraft, each with a Wright J65-W-6 turbojet engine with afterburner, were followed by 39 production aircraft (ordered with J65-W-4 afterburning engines), two of which were modified to F11F-1F standard with 66.72kN General Electric J79-GE-7 afterburning engines. One of the F11F-1Fs attained a speed of 1,963km/h and set a short-lived height record on 18 April 1958 of 23,449m.

A further contract for J65-W-18-engined Tigers placed for the US Navy brought the total number of F11F-1s built to about 200, but these were gradually phased out of first-line service from 1959. Those which remained in second-line service when the tri-service designations became rationalised in 1962 were redesignated F-11A.

F11F-1 Tiger (1958)

 ENGINE1 x Wright J-65-W-6, 33.8kN
    Take-off weight6290-8380 kg13867 - 18475 lb
    Wingspan9.7 m32 ft 10 in
    Length12.5 m41 ft 0 in
    Height3.9 m13 ft 10 in
    Wing area23.2 m2249.72 sq ft
    Max. speed1430 km/h889 mph
    Ceiling16700 m54800 ft
    Range w/max.fuel1000 km621 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 20mm cannon, missiles

F11F-1 TigerA three-view drawing of F11F-1 Tiger (1280 x 960)

Comments1-20 21-40
H. A. Smith, 19.01.2018

Memory fails on the year, but we were at the end of a Med deployment in early 60s in VF-33. All F-11s were grounded due to suspected improper torqueing of a nut at the front of the engine. Only a couple of the spanner sockets to do the job existed and they were being passed around to squadrons with operational commitments. A command decision was made to have all aircraft flyable returning to CONUS. A tool was fabricated to match the existing design. The 4 hanger bays of the Intrepid were cleared for the Tigers side by side and all squadron personel were enlisted to help the mechs separate the fuselage to get at the nut. May have even had a couple of cooks involved in the job. It seems to me the required torque was around 400 ft lbs. The fabricated tool survived to the last plane and started failing. During the TRASLANT 12 aircraft were returned to an "UP status and were flown off the ship. Anyone who was in the squadron will remember that event of around the clock squadron spirit and cooperation.

Wayne Arny, 29.07.2015

Howard L. Nichol. Where are you now!? Wayne

Ralph K, 13.03.2014

Thank you Lyle W, in Colorado !!! He helped me with a beautiful old original VA-156 patch.

Also looking for VF-21, VF-121, and VF-191 old patches from these three different squadrons. If you do, I would be happy to send you a new book on the F11F-1 Tiger.

Thanks for your interest.
Please help !

oscar haynes akan, 07.11.2013

I was a store keeper for the Blue Angels from 1956 to 1958 and I was the one who ordered the F111 for the Squadron. Wonderful duty there in Pensacola,Fla.

Ralph K, 09.08.2013

Looking for an old original VA-156 IRON TIGERS patch. If you have only one patch I can also duplicate the patch - same EXACT size, design, and colors. An embroidery shop with a loom can spin an EXACT reproduction. I would also be happy to send a new book on the F11F-1 Tiger (up front), if you have the VA-156 IRON TIGERS patch. Please help !!!! Thanks Ralph -

Bill Abbott, 08.06.2013

Corky Meyer, one of Grumman's test pilots in the Tiger era, wrote a great book about them for Steve Ginter's Naval Fighters series. There are also brief squadron histories by Ginter, including VA-156 which became VF-111. The F11F (Originally F9F-8, then F9F-9, then it got its own number after the first 3 prototypes) was the first airplane to be designed from the start using Whitcomb's Area Rule. A planned investigation of the effectiveness of Area Rule, using the first F9F-9 to fly and an array of pressure measuring ports built into it, never occurred, because a problem developed on the first flight the Navy got to have, and the plane was written off after a dead stick landing in trees short of the runway. Meyer was flying chase and records that they all thought the Naval Aviator had been killed, and were properly astounded when he appeared with cuts and bruises, but nothing broken. Not for nothing the the Navy call Grumman "The Ironworks".
The famous cannon incident was straight-forward physics, and lucky for the pilot, the 20mm rounds he was firing were solid, not explosive-filled. The plane was diving at high speed and a shallow angle, downward, the cannon were fired, and then, after a moment, the pilot pulled up. By perfect coincidence, the plane pulled up into the path of the bullets when the bullets were in that same spot. The plane hit them from behind, since they'd slowed down, and it hadn't. Four rounds struck the front of the plane, one going into the engine and making a mess of the compressor blades, one hitting the armored windscreen flat, one leaving a dent in the nose and one other in that same area, ahead of the engine intakes. Along with the one in the engine, one of the two that hit metal remained with the plane and was recovered when it landed. There's a photo showing a cannon projectile laid on the crazed windscreen and its a perfect match. No doubt whatsoever about how it happened. It hadn't happened before because planes weren't fast enough to catch up with their own fire before.

Klaatu83, 28.08.2012

The F11F may not have had the longest career on the carriers, but it lasted a lot longer,. and became famous, as the mount of the Blue Angels, and no wonder. This had to be the best-looking fighter in the U.S. Navy's inventory during the 1950s. The F11F simply looked right, and especially so in that blue-and-gold livery.

Robin Hasting, 13.07.2012

My Dad was a Naval aviator for a span that ran from the '40's to the early '60's. He did not discuss it much, but I do remember (I think I got it right)the mention of a "Lee Luebke."

Sam Brown, 27.05.2012

I'm looking for information On the Blue Angel F-11A Tiger The tail #3 Bu.No. 141882 I would like some information and history of this plane. I'm tour guide at Warbird Air Museum Titusville Fl.I'm interested in this plane.we have it here

thank - you for your help Sam Brown

Howard L. Nichol, 27.08.2011

Flew the F11 Tiger at Beeville, TX--my last A/C flown in training. Formation, Air to Air gunnery and Air to Air combat tactics. What a beauty to fly, especially right after the TF 9 Cougar. I do understand why the Blue's flew it for so long as it was a great little sport's car. Short legs as fuel was in Donut cells surrounding the engine. I remember 60, maybe 70 gallons being in the vertical stabilizer. That was used up during taxi and the start of take off roll. One of the first--maybe the first--A/C designed using Area Rule.

Richard Wagner, 28.07.2011

I don't believe the shells 'tumbled'. IIRC the shells were fired at an upward angle and the plane then dived. The falling shells then hit the plane which had 'taken a shortcut'.

Mike Hall, 18.07.2011

I was lucky enough to fly the F-11 as a flight student just as it was leaving the training command in early '65. Apart from the F-8, this was the dream machine of us aspiring fighter jocks at that time.

Dave Matthews, 13.03.2011

As a kid, I loved Naval aviation as my pop served aboard cv32, having the F-9. Eventually the F-11 appeared and that became my favorite as we watched the Blues perform at NAS Willow Grove frequently. In those days it was nice to hear them occasionally break the sound barrier. What a beautiful aircraft, and what a thrill that was!

sam badiner, 01.03.2011

Great rudder a/c , clean , short legs , to bad they couldn't
get their hands on enough J-79 to out fit the fleet

Christen, 18.02.2011

The Yanks Air Museum in Chino, CA is currently restoring our F-11F Bu No 141735. It was with VF-21 NAS Oceana. Enjoyed reading all your comments very much.

Robert J. Paluck, 12.12.2010

I was an AD2 with VA-156 the first outfit that received the Tiger. We were at Moffit Field. First few aircraft were the short nose style but were fased out rather quickley. Took her on the Hancock for Quals. and then did a cruise to the Pacific in 1958.
I can never find anything about VA-156, but it was a good groupe. Fast bird but engine changes were a bear.

Tom Dorroh, 28.08.2010

When I came to VT-26 in Beeville in 1965 we had the
F-11's. A real neat plane. Did have some corrosion problems in the wing area. One lost it's wing and pilot punched out and was Ok. Think it was LT Hogan. All were grounded for inspection and the Blues came in and had theirs checked too. They took several of our planes.

Bill "Sonny" Caldwell, 26.03.2010

I had the good fortune to fly the F11F in the last stages of Advanced Flight School in Kingsville, TX in mid-1959. Was a thrill to fly an after-burner aircraft, and to practice air-to-air gunnery---just like shooting squirrels in the top of Hickory Nut trees back in North Carolina.

William G. Hoenig, 06.03.2010

I was employed at Grumman from May 1949 to June !970 and worked as a Avionics teck in Plants 4 and 7. This was the production flight test deptments. I worked on just about all of the F11Fs that was produced and was working the day that Test Pilot Tom Attridge shot himself down. There was many demostration flights of the F11F by Ralph Donnel for foreign countries Air Forces and any one who witnessed one of his flights could never forget them, he did the most amazing things with the F11F

Gary Holder, 16.01.2010

Pete's not quite right on the duration of the F11F with the Blue Angels. It was actually a long time, and the major way Tigers are remembered. At the time of its retirement from the Blues, it was the longest-running Blues airplane. I'm pretty sure that in the years since, only the F/A-18 has exceeded it in service length with the Blues. Here's a summary of all Grumman types the Blues used:

1-20 21-40

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