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I have only been there once, but I cant wait to go back! The restoration area is just fantastic. One of the guys there said...

Ken Nelsen

Recently visited your museum with my wife (who had been married to an ex F-100 pilot) and my thirteen year old grandson. Your museum is...

Dr. Patrick Mullally

Cold War

Grumman G-79 Panther (F9F-8) (RF-9J)

The Cougar was a well liked aircraft, rugged and reliable, with excellent handling.

Aircraft design was moving rapidly in the 1950's and changes were prevalent. This carrier-based subsonic aircraft was considered an improved version of the F9F Panther, thus all versions F9F-6 forward are 35 degree swept-wing and tail "Cougar" variants.

A number of F9F-8s were modified as "F9F-8B" tactical nuclear bombers, fitted with a "Low Altitude Bombing System (LABS)".

Even the Blue Angels loved the Cougar, trading up from F9F-5 Panther (1949-54) for the new, improved F9F-8 Cougars from 1954-56.

In the Photo Cougar many changes were made to the fuselage structure and equipment, including the longer "duck's bill" camera nose added to accommodate the K-17 and trimetrogon cameras (three cameras shooting simultaneously for use in topographic mapping).  All the armament systems were removed, many were fitted with a nose refueling probe and the compressor ducting was re-routed to provide heat to defrost the camera windows.

Service History

  • Delivered - Jan 31, 1956
  • Feb 14, 1956 - VC-61 (later VFP-61) NAS Miramar, CA
  • Aug 21, 1958 - Litchfield Park, AZ
  • May 1960 - Stricken from inventory
MFG: Grumman

Built In: Bethpage, New York

First Produced: 1954

Powerplant: P&W J48-P-8A

Thrust: 7,250 lbs

Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft

Cruise: 508 mph

Top Speed: 714 mph

Range: 1,000 miles

Empty Weight: 11,866 lbs

Gross Weight: 20,089 lbs

Wing Span: 34’6”

Wing Area: 337 sq. ft

Length: 42’2”

Height: 12’3”
Armament: None

Number Built: 3,312 F-9s

110 RF-9Js