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North American FJ-1 "Fury"

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Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

In late 1944 and early 1945, the US Navy ordered four carrier-based jet fighters, the Vought XF6U-1 Pirate, the McDonnell XFD-1 Phantom, the McDonnell XF2D-1 Banshee, and the North American XFJ-1 Fury. It was hoped that these four fighters would be available in time for Operation Olympic/Coronet, the invasion of Japan planned for May of 1946. The North American entry, known within the company as the NA-134, called for a fairly conventional low-mounted, straight-winged, thick-bodied monoplane. A GENERAL ELECTRIC J35 axial-flow turbojet fed by a nose intake and exhausted through a pipe in the tail powered the plane. A bubble canopy was fitted, and the wing utilized retractable, slatted air brakes in the upper and lower surfaces.

Collection Item Long Description:

In late 1944 and early 1945, the US Navy ordered four carrier-based jet fighters, the Vought XF6U-1 Pirate, the McDonnell XFD-1 Phantom, the McDonnell XF2D-1 Banshee, and the North American XFJ-1 Fury. It was hoped that these four fighters would be available in time for Operation Olympic/Coronet, the invasion of Japan planned for May of 1946. The North American entry, known within the company as the NA-134, called for a fairly conventional low-mounted, straight-winged, thick-bodied monoplane. A GENERAL ELECTRIC J35 axial-flow turbojet fed by a nose intake and exhausted through a pipe in the tail powered it. A bubble canopy was fitted, and the wing utilized retractable, slatted air brakes in the upper and lower surfaces.

The USAF ordered a land-based version of the Fury under the designation XP-86, but North American eventually produced a swept-wing configuration--the Sabre of Korean War fame. The Navy, however, being constrained by the need to retain good low-speed handling capabilities for landings aboard carriers, decided to stick with the straight-winged design and went ahead with three prototypes of the XFJ-1 Fury (Bu No 39053/39055).

In May of 1945, the Navy ordered 100 FJ-1s that was later cut to 30. The first XFJ-1 (Bu No 39053) flew its maiden flight on September 11, 1946. The thirty FJ-1s were delivered from October 1947 to April 1948. The slatted wing-mounted air brakes of the three prototypes were replaced by more conventional fuselage-mounted "barn door" air brakes. The Fury has a small wheel mounted on the nosewheel strut allowing the aircraft to "kneel" nose-down facilitating parking aboard carriers.

The first (and only) squadron to receive the FJ-1 Fury was VF-5A based at NAS North Island near San Diego, California. The first landing of a Fury on an aircraft carrier took place on March 16, 1948, when Commander Pete Aurand, CO of VF-5A, landed aboard the USS Boxer. He was immediately followed by his executive officer, Lt. Cdr. Robert Elder. Both officers then took off under their own power, landed again, then took off a second time with the aid of a catapult. Since early jets accelerated relatively slowly at low speeds, a longer carrier deck takeoff roll was necessary. Considering that, it was decided to adopt catapulting as the standard carrier jet launching procedure.

The pilots of VF-5A were happy with the performance of the FJ-1. They used their FJ-1s to win the 1948 Bendix Trophy. However, VF-5A pilots noted that the performance of the FJ-1 was poor when flying at its maximum gross weight. Additionally, the plane was physically uncomfortable to fly because of a lack of pressurization and temperature control. VF-5A was renamed VF-51 in August 1948. It operated the FJ-1 until 1949 when the squadron traded its Furies for Grumman F9F-2 Panthers. Those FJ-1s were transferred to the US Navy Reserve, where they served as transition trainers for pilots preparing to fly the McDonnell F2H Banshee or the Grumman F9F Panther.

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from the United States Navy.

Materials

All metal, cigar shaped fuselage, single-engine, single seat, jet attack aircraft.

Dimensions

Overall: 14ft 10 3/4in., 15600lb., 38ft 2 1/4in. x 34ft 5 1/4in. (454 x 7076.11 x 1163.96 x 1049.66cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America

Date

1946

Physical Description

Single-seat, single-engine (Allison J-35-A-2), low-mounted, straight-winged, thick-bodied monoplane carrier-based fighter. Bubble canopy, wing utilized retractable, slatted air brakes in the upper and lower surfaces.

Type

CRAFT-Aircraft

Inventory Number

A19731221000

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