Model: XF8U-1 Crusader
Span: 10.8722m / 36ft
Length: 16.5354m / 54ft
Height: 4.8006m / 16ft
Wing Area: 34.8375m² / 375ft²
Short Title: Vought XF8U-1 Crusader
Empty Weight: 7036.7kg / 15,513lbs
Gross Weight: 12233.1kg / 26,969lbs
Maximum Speed: 1629.92km/h
Power Plant: Pratt and Whitney J57-P-11
On Loan From: The National Air and Space Museum
Vought (XF-8A) XF8U-1 Crusader
The Navy was pleased with the Pratt and Whitney J57-P-11-powered Crusader from the start. The Museum's Crusader is the prototype airplane, BuNo 138899. After being completed at the Vought factory near Dallas, it was trucked to Edwards Air Force Base where it made its first flight on March 25, 1955. Test pilot John Konrad took the airplane supersonic on this flight, the first time it had ever been done with any fighter on its maiden flight.
In the years following, the Crusader would win the Collier Trophy for the year's greatest achievement in aviation, become the first fighter to fly over 1,000 miles-per-hour (1,600 km/h), and set the cross-country speed record with young Marine aviator John Glenn Jr. as pilot.
Perhaps the Crusader's most-interesting feature was its high-mounted, variable-incidence wing. For takeoff and landing, the entire wing would elevate seven degrees at the leading edge, which prevented the aft fuselage from striking the deck by effectively rotating the entire fuselage downward at the nose.
'899' made 509 flights during five years of flight testing, after which it was donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1960. After being stored at the Silver Hill, Maryland restoration facility for a number of years, and a few other intermediate stops, the airplane was moved to the Museum of Flight's Restoration Center in Everett, Washington, where it is currently under restoration.
The Museum of Flight received the Crusader from the National Air and Space Museum.