By Tommy H. Thomason

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Air Superiority Errata

No matter how hard an author tries, errors sometimes go unnoticed. New information often becomes available after a book goes to press. Here are some corrections and additions to my book, U.S. Naval Air Superiority.

Front inside dust cover: First paragraph, last line, “fee” should be “feet”.

Page 57: The wingspan of the XF9F-1, 55' 6", is missing.

Page 64: VMF(N)-542 was not the only operational squadron with F3D-2Ms. VMF(N)-513. operating out of NAS Atsugi, Japan, was also equipped with a few Sparrow-armed F3D-2Ms in 1957.

Page 71: The first paragraph in the left-hand column has been misread to mean that an unswept inboard section was added. For clarity, the first two sentences should have been: The wings were P-63 outer-wing panels mounted to sweep aft from the P-63's existing inboard-wing section. Retaining this unswept section was an attempt to correctly position the swept-wing's center of lift with respect to the aircraft's center of gravity without making major changes to the structure.

Page 72: The caption for the lower left picture refers the reader to Chapter 11, page 80, for a picture of the crash. The page is actually 180.

Chapter 7: The end-note numbers in Chapter 7 became incorrect for some reason. There is no "7" in the text, so "8" in the text is "7" in the end notes. After that, you have to subtract 1 from each end-note number in the text to obtain the correct number for the end note itself.

Page 119: At the end of the second full paragraph in the right-hand column, the implication is that the landing weight was limited to 23,500 pounds for the rest of the F7U-3M's operational career. In his book, The Wrong Stuff: Flying on the Edge of Disaster, John Moore apparently misremembered the results of the F7U-3M carrier-qualification testing. According to the F7U-3M Service Acceptance Trials dated 30 November 1956, the gross weight limit for axial deck landings (flat approach) was 23,000 pounds but for mirror approaches (descending to an angled deck), the limit was raised to 25,300 pounds.

Page 147: The caption for the upper picture incorrectly states that the original F4D tail hook arrangement did not survive to the prototype. It was in fact present on at least one of the prototypes. However, the Skyray that was used for the initial carrier evaluation had an A-frame type tail hook.

Page 154: In the fifth line from the bottom in the right column, add "pilot" after F-86D.

Page 191: The text does not mention the development of deck and approach lighting to provide better lineup visualization of short final in low-visibility conditions and at night as these were introduced at the end of the period covered buy the book. For example, the drop line or drop lights were added to the fan tail, along with the first sequenced-strobe flashers, in 1964.

Page 211: Figure 13.1 should include the label "Design 98".

Page 218: the picture caption states that the initial FJ-4 carrier qualifications were accomplished aboard Randolph in March 1956. According to the carrier-suitability test report that I was subsequently provided, landings and two launches were accomplished aboard Intrepid in January 1956. A final series was accomplished aboard Saratoga in December 1956.

Page 231: The caption for the two-position Crusader wing actuator picture states that "the center of lift was behind the pivot point." This was not true for all speed and g conditions but when there was a tension load, it was relatively low and well within the actuator capability. There were inflight structural failures where the Crusader wing came off, but the first component to fail was never the actuator itself.

Page 237: D'Oh! Two different months are given for the McDonnell AH letter of intent in adjacent columns. For the record, it was dated 18 October 1956.

Page 238: Cdr Noel Gaynor should be CAPT Noel Gayler and he was representing DCNO (Air Warfare) not BuAer.

Page 248: Fifth line in the left column, delete the word "but" so the sentence reads, "Not only was it positioned high on the vertical fin, but when it was generally accepted that..."

Page 258: I failed to mention that the F8U-2NE, F-8H, and F-8J could be armed with the AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IC (AIM-9C) semi-active radar homing (SARH) variant developed to provide true all-weather capability for the Crusader. According to the January 1969 Ault report, however, it added "only marginal Fleet capability...because of performance limitations at altitudes below 10,000 feet, lack of user confidence and interest, and deteriorating logistic support." It was subsequently withdrawn.

Page 267: In the first sentence of the second complete paragraph, the Lockheed/Vega PV-1 was the Ventura, not the Hudson. The Navy did operate a few Hudsons but they were designated PBO-1, signifying that they were produced by Lockheed Burbank. (Thanks to Lee Griffin for identifying that error.)

Chapter 13: After Air Superiority's publication, thanks to Jared A. Zichek, I became aware of a day-fighter proposition from North American, a General Electric J79-powered "FJ-5" derived from the F-107, a bigger and J75-powered USAF fighter-bomber.
Here's how it tied into the Vought F8U, Grumman F11F, and North American FJ-4 programs:

The Super Tiger (the real F12F; see and the FJ-5 were attempts to compete with the F8U from a performance standpoint using the thrust-to-weight and SFC advances provided by the new J79 engine with variable inlet guide vanes. Once the F8U went supersonic on its first flight, neither proposition had any chance of being bought by the Navy. Grumman at least got to demonstrate what the F11F would do with the J79 because the Navy wanted some flight experience with the new engine before the F4H flew.

For a link to buy Jared's monograph on this airplane, click HERE.

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