All high-performance jets of the era—the North American FJ-1 Fury, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, the McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee—had their share of unique incidents and accidents, but the sheer number of high-profile Cutlass misfortunes was tough to beat. Like the time Vought test pilot Paul Thayer ejected from a flaming prototype in front of an airshow crowd on July 7, 1950. Or when Lieutenant Floyd Nugent ejected on July 26, 1954, only to watch the Cutlass, loaded with 2.75-inch rockets, fly serenely on, orbiting San Diego’s North Island and the Hotel Del Coronado for almost 30 minutes before ditching near the shore. When the left engine on Lieutenant Commander Paul Harwell’s Cutlass caught fire moments after takeoff on May 30, 1955, Harwell ejected and never set foot in the F7U again—giving him more time in a Cutlass parachute than in the actual aircraft. An electrical failure forced Tom Quillin to abort a training mission and declare an emergency. Quillin returned to base only to learn he was number three in the emergency landing pattern, behind two of the three other Cutlasses he took off with.


Pretty great read. I was lucky enough to have a teacher in HS that when through the USAF Academy, fly F-4's in the service, go back to teach in the Academy, and end up teaching aerospace at my HS.

Loved that class and learned a LOT about aerospace history and engineering.

Based on all of that, this looks like it was a sweet ride for what it was, but to have that much instability in air-frame and by design. . . I was boggled reading that they even thought of putting it on an aircraft carrier. Looked it up to believe it.

Then again, my only stories from aircraft landings come from those who had to land on a dime to make sure they hook that line on a carrier only to get the jerk of a life time from arresting gear.

posted by kleinbl00: 689 days ago