McDonnell F2H Banshee
1947
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McDonnell F2H Banshee

Following the success of the FH-1 Phantom in US Navy and US Marine service, McDonnell was requested to submit its design for a new and improved jet fighter to supersede the FH-1. The company's design submission led to the receipt of a contract in early 1945 for three McDonnell XF2D-1 prototypes, these later gaining the name Banshee. McDonnell's design covered an improved version of the Phantom of increased size, incorporating folding wings, and with a lengthened fuselage to house more fuel, and with similarly-mounted and more powerful Westinghouse turbojet engines. The first prototype was flown on 11 January 1947, by then redesig-nated XF2H-1, and successful testing and evaluation led to contracts that were to call eventually for a total of 892 production aircraft of which details are given under Variants. Initial deliveries of production F2H-1s, to US Navy Squadron VF-171, began in August 1948, and the type proved of great value as an escort fighter during the Korean War. By the end of that conflict the F2Hs had been superseded by more advanced fighters, but continued in use in a reconnaissance role for a number of years and, in service with US Navy Reserve units, were flown until the mid-1960s. In November 1955 a total of 39 ex-US Navy F2H-3s was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy, these being that service's first operational jet fighters; when the last were retired, in September 1962, they also proved to be the last carrier-based fighters in Canadian service.

F2H-3 Banshee


Specification 
 MODELF2H-3 "Banshee"
 CREW1
 ENGINE2 x Westinghouse J34-WE-34 turbo-jet, 14.4kN each
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight11437 kg25214 lb
    Empty weight5980 kg13184 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan12.73 m42 ft 9 in
    Length14.68 m48 ft 2 in
    Height4.42 m15 ft 6 in
    Wing area27.31 m2293.96 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Ceiling14205 m46600 ft
    Range1883 km1170 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 20mm cannon, 2 x 227kg bombs

3-View 
F2H-4 BansheeA three-view drawing of F2H-4 Banshee (1660 x 1130)

Comments1-20 21-40
Harvey Marshall, 28.09.2014

I was in VMF 214 in Hawaii in 1955 and 1957. worked on the radio and radar gear. Tubes galore! ARC 27 UHF radio weighed about 70 lbs. now a 3-5 lb. radio out performs them.

Hubert I. Flomenhoft, 24.09.2014

I worked at the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics from 1949 to 1954. In August 1952, I was aboard the USS FDR, CVB-42, to witness carrier qualification landings of the F2H. Eighteen landings. Met Jim McDonnell. Maybe it was the USS Midway. I still have a couple of pictures.

Lee Meyners, 29.03.2014

Flew the F2H-3, 1957-58 while attached to VF-152 based at Moffett Field Calif. Did two cruises during that time. One aboard the Hornet, CVA-12, and a second one, less than a month later due to a crisis on the USS Bennington, CVA-20. It was the last crises for both carriers as CVA's. Lost two pilots during the warm-up period. One just flew into the water during car-quals, unknown reason. The other lost at night during practice intercepts. This though to be an oxygen problem. It was a fairly stable platform to bring aboard the boat. Many of us in the squadron wished we had been able to fly the newer and faster fighters but I think we survived the two cruises because the Banshee was just a nice "Old Girl", tho a little bit slow, to bring aboard.

osemmes@bellsouth.net, 31.07.2013

Len Eisner is right. Big Banshee was good on one engine. On low level flivhts we "sinvled up", i.e. cut one engine and cruised at 290 kts. Closed duct doors...which were later removed...sometimes wld not open.

John Alexander, 01.07.2013

Worked on both F2H-2 and F2H3 aircraft. As an ADJ in VX3, in Atlantic City, N.J., we were the first to install air-to-air refueling system on the F2H-3. Later while serving in Air Group 17, attached to VF171 aboard the USS Wasp, we made a world cruise with F2H-3 aircraft. Our sister squadron, VF172, flew the F2H-2 Banshee. Both planes seemed to be good carrier aircraft. Leaving Jacksonville, Fl, we headed north going on to Operation Mariner, a NATO operation. However, weather prevented us to reach the Artic circle, so then on to the Med, then thru the Suez canal and on to the western Pacific. Arriving back to the U.S. in San Diego. We were air lifted back to Jacksonville, Florida, our home base. This was in the year 1954.

John Alexander, 01.07.2013

Worked on both F2H-2 and F2H3 aircraft. As an ADJ in VX3, in Atlantic City, N.J., we were the first to install air-to-air refueling system on the F2H-3. Later while serving in Air Group 17, attached to VF171 aboard the USS Wasp, we made a world cruise with F2H-3 aircraft. Our sister squadron, VF172, flew the F2H-2 Banshee. Both planes seemed to be good carrier aircraft. Leaving Jacksonville, Fl, we headed north going on to Operation Mariner, a NATO operation. However, weather prevented us to reach the Artic circle, so then on to the Med, then thru the Suez canal and on to the western Pacific. Arriving back to the U.S. in San Diego. We were air lifted back to Jacksonville, Florida, our home base. This was in the year 1954.

Jack Perkins, 26.05.2013

1951 Went from VR-3 R5Ds to Banshee 2s at NASWF on Kirtland AFB. That was a change. I'm 91 now. Anyone else left? Love a reply.

Jack Sullivan, 18.02.2013

As a recalled NYC Detective I led t he last CAP (carier air patrol) of the Korean warand made the last carrier landing My Squadron was VF62 (Gladiators)and My Carrier " Lake Champlain" The fighting was declared over during my flight and I was sent to Tokyo with the headline for newspapers " NYC Cop blows whistle on Korean police Action"The Banshee F2H2 could outclimb any of our jets, including the F86 and we always hoped we would tangle with a Mig. Hope the name Banshee is picked for a future fighter

Jim Osborne, 06.06.2012

I was a pilot in vf172 "52-54". My first look at New York city was from 52,000' on my way to Bangor, Maine. Had 99 landings on the FDR,Wasp, Bennington,Coral Sea and Midway. No one ever got used to the aircompressor kicking "on" at night.

Elson Gautreaux, 22.05.2012

I was in VF-194 fighter squadon with the F2H3's in 1956-57 I was a plane captain.Made two cruise's to the Far East,First was in 1956 on the USS Orisknay CVA 34 and next one was 1957 on the USS York Town CV-10.The Banshee was a great plane.Just with I could bring that time back.

Dick Renner, 19.05.2012

On two occasions One aboard ship I lost an engine on being catapulted secured the engine burned off thefuel to get lighter and made my landing safely,second time going thru night intercept at Boca ChicaNaval air station, lost engineon on take off. Intake door inadvertly closed( electric malfunction) again had to burn off fuel to land with the stick completely over to the side of neutral.

Jeff Joseph Sr, 28.03.2012

Too bad they didnt name the F-18 Banshee II

R Rodermund, 21.03.2012

I worked at McDonnell at Lamberts Field in St louis as a sheet metal worker and drill press operato before joining the Navy. I was disappointed when visiting the Pima Air Museum in Tuscon, that there were No Banshee"s on display. I recieved infor today that the museum in San Diego has one so I will be making the 6 hour trip from Phoenix to SanDiego soon. Thanks for all the above info

Matthew B.Peck, 13.09.2011

I was in VNCJ-1 at Ping Tung Korea in 1953.LtCol Marion Carl was the CO.We were moved to Japan in early 1954 and later that year were dployed down to Ping Tung,Formosa. Several classified missions were flown there.The long nosed F2H2-P was a great bird!

bombardier, 22.05.2011

Doug Mount the F2H was retired from service in September 1959 and the last aircraft were taken out of the reserves in 1961

Robert Quick, 07.05.2011

I notice there is no mention of the F2H2. It was a great aircraft. I was an Aircraft Mechanic in VF-11 in 1952 and 1953 aboard the USS Kearsarge CVG 33, Air Group 101 in Task Force 77. The Banshee was a great aircraft to work on and we had a full compliment in our squadron, all F2H2's. For such a great aircraft for that time period, I am dismayed that even MacDonalds does (or did not)display this model in their Museum in St. Louis when I visited it. They only had on display a F2H3 to represent the F2H2.

Bill Bevington, 20.04.2011

I was employed at McDonnell Aircraft Company in 1946-47. One day all the employees were summoned to asemble outside the plant (Lambert Field, St. Louis). They rolled a Banshee
out of the hanger in a "genuflect" position (nose down - tail up), changed to take off mode and took off with a roar.
It seemed to go straight up. We had not seen anything like before.

Jim Jarrett, 31.03.2011

I was on the Randolf (CVA15) in the Med from Nov. 1957 to April 1958 and I was a aviation electrician for fighter squadron VF22 and when we returned to JAX Naval Air stattion our squadron was decommissioned. One our planes ended up at the Kennedy Space Center for show.

Earl Steinbrink, 06.03.2011

I believe I made the last carrier landing the Banshee made. It was on the USS Randolf CVA15 with VF71 on March 13, 1959 on our way back to Norfolk on a Med cruise. VF 71 was decommissioned upon arrival in Oceana in March 1959.

Paul Harwood, 05.12.2010

1958 I did a Med cruise on the Essex in VF-11 The red Rippers. They flew the F2H-4. Ended up in the far east (Kemoy,Matsue). Went back to Mayport via Singapore, Ceylon, South Africa, Brazil... long boat ride.

1-20 21-40

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