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Blue Angels' "Cougar"
May 1956 Young Men • Hobbies • Aviation • Careers

May 1956 Young Men
• Hobbies • Aviation • Careers

May 1956 Young Men Cover - Airplanes and RocketsTable of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.


Blue Angels' 'Cougar'

Scale Views by Walter M. Jefferies, Jr.

The Navy's Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team has thrilled millions of spectators with its demonstrations of precise formation flying. The smoothness of the Angels' performances has earned the team an international reputation for skill and perfection.

Since their initial performance in F9F "Hellcats" in June of 1946, the Blue Angels have frequently replaced their aircraft with later, more modern equipment:

Keeping pace, as usual, with aviation progress, the team swapped its F9F-S "Panthers" in 1955 for swept-wing F9F-8 "Cougars." Powered with Pratt & Whitney J48-P-8 turbo-jet engine of 7200 pounds of thrust, the dash-eight brings near-sonic speeds into the Blue Angel's demonstrations. The new aircraft are standard Navy jet fighters with armament removed and ballast installed in the nose to retain proper c.g. limits. These craft can be returned quickly to combat status.

Contrary to standard color practice with naval aircraft, the Angels' "Cougars" are resplendent in a color scheme of their own. Planes are painted light blue with golden yellow wing tips and markings. Upper surface of center section as well as leading edge of wings and horizontal stabilizer are unpainted, retaining natural aluminum finish. On either side of the aft fuselage above the serial number the words GRUMMAN COUGAR appear instead of the designation F9F-8. Also contrary to standard practice, U.S. NAVY is painted on the lower surface of each wing and on both sides of the fuselage forward of the wing. Each side of the nose, section carries the brilliant blue and gold insignia of the Blue Angels.

Since the National Aircraft Show in Philadelphia last year, the team's craft have carried yet another emblem. The light blue "Cougars," under cover of darkness, it seems, "acquired" the insignia of the famous Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force counterpart to the Blue Angels. This "foreign" crest still graces the nose of each ship of the team - a sign of the respect and friendship that the members of both teams hold for each other.

The Blue Angels are not a "stunt" team. Their performance neither requires nor utilizes the element of luck. Long hours of concentrated practice and the acceptance of nothing less than perfection in precise close formation flying makes the group the outstanding unit that it is.

A tour of duty with the flight team has, since its organization in 1946, been considered a normal tour of shore duty. Consequently, personnel changes from time to time while the team as a unit continues to carry out its assigned duties.

Lt. Cmdr. 'Richard "Zeke" Cormier took over command of the team in February of 1954 and flies the number one ship. Lt. (j.g.) Bill Gureck in the right wing spot flies the number two "Cougar". Left wing position is filled by the number three plane with Lt. Nello Pierozzi at· the controls. Lt. (j.g.) Ken Wallace keeps the number four ship up tight in the difficult slot position. Lt. (j.g.) Ed McKellar pilots the number five dash-eight in the maximum performance solo routine between the team's passes during demonstrations. Capt. Ed Rutty of the U.S. Marines flies the number six plane as spare pilot. Lt. W. Bruce Bagwell runs the Lockheed TV-2 in executing his duties as Public Information Officer. Lt. Cmdr. Harry Sonner is responsible for keeping the team's "Cougars" in perfect operational condition.

As this June will mark 10 years since the Blue Angels' original organization, and the second season with their F9F-8s, the team continues to carry out its mission to demonstrate precision techniques of naval aviation to naval personnel and, if directed, to the public. The team believes that its new supersonic F9F-8s will enable it to better demonstrate the capabilities of naval aviation.

Lt. W. Bruce Bagwell, Blue Angels' PIO; Lt. Cmdr. Harry Sonner, Blue Angels' Engineering Officer; Lt. Robert C. Brown, Office of Information, Department of the Navy; and Fred Hawkins, Grumman Aircraft Public Relations, supplied the much appreciated material that made possible the drawings accompanying this article.

1. Sliding nose section. 2. Battery. 3. Armament control radar antenna. 4. Insignia - BLUE ANGELS. 5. Ballast (to equal weight of removed armament). 6. Radar scanner housing. 7. Ammunition box compartment. 8. Engine control quadrant. 9. Insignia - USAF THUNDERBIRDS (see text). 10. Engine air intake. 11. Approach light (wheels & hook, down & locked). 12. Wing fence. 13. Inner wing skin. 14. Wing fuel tank (two cells in each wing). 15. Wing position light. 16. Wing fuel tank dump valve assembly. 17. Wing fuel tank dump outlet. 18. Wing trimmer (left wing only), electrically controlled from stick. 19. Access panel for wing trimmer motor. 20. Outboard flap (300 travel). 21. Flaperette (aft half of Flaperon), emergency lateral control. 22. Flaperon (normal lateral control). 23. Engine tail pipe shroud. 24. Tail bumper. 25. Arrestor hook. 26. All-flying stabilizer, hydraulically powered. 27. Elevator - manually controlled. 28. Balance tab - operates in conjunction with flaps. 29. Rudder trim tab, electrically operated. 30. Tail position lights (upper yellow, lower white). 31. Rudder. 32. Plastic fin tip (antenna housing). 33. BLUE ANGELS team plane no. 34. Auxiliary air intake doors. 35. Pratt & Whitney J-48-P-8, 7,200 lbs. thrust. 36. Aft fuselage fuel tank. 37. Forward fuselage fuel tank. 38. Ejection seat. 39. Wing beam. 40. Nose section shell (slides forward). 41. 20-mm guns (4), type M-3. 42. Nose shell slide track. 43. 20-mm ammunition boxes. 44. Barricade deflector. 45. Radio compass loop antenna.

Nose Section with Armament and Electronic Gear




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Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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