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Magnificent collection of Warbirds. Impressive restoration projects. Nice atmosphere. Came to see the PoF museum which is next door but never knew that the Yanks...

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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