The Panther being flown by LCDR John Magda at the time of his death was an F9F-2, an earlier version of the Panther on display at the park. The Panther on display was accepted by the Navy on April 25, 1952 and has flown a total of 2,343 hours. Active duty stations include North Carolina, Japan and California. It was last assigned to the Naval Reserve at NAS Minneapolis on February 28, 1958. The aircraft was on public display at Winona, MN for a number of years.
This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida who gave special permission to restore the aircraft in Blue Angels colors.
Length: 38 feet, 10 inches
Wingspan: 38 feet
Height: 12 feet, 3 inches
Powerplant: 1 Pratt & Whitney J48-P-6A
Weight: Empty – 10,147 lbs. Loaded – 17,766 lbs.
Max Speed: 579 mph, Cruise Speed: 481 mph
Climb rate: 5,900 ft/min
Service Ceiling: 42,800 ft.
Armament: Guns – 4 20mm cannon, Rockets 6×5-inch, Total bomb load 2,000 lbs.
Aircraft history card of BuNo 125992
The aircraft was accepted by the Navy on 25 April 1952 and stricken on 27 July 1959. It was flown a total of 2,343 hours. It was at the pool at Bethpage until May 1952 and then sent to O&R Norfolk from 20 to 30 June 1952. It was assigned to VMF-224 at Edenton (MCAS Cherry Point) from 8 August 1952 to May 1953 when it was transported on USS Corregidor to WestPac from 4-24 August 1953, still assigned to VMF-224. It was based at NAS Atsugi, Japan with VMF-224 until 3 June 1954, when it was transferred to NAF Advance base Oppama, Japan on 7 June 1954 to 24 August 1954. It was transferred back to O&R Alameda on 23 September 1954. On 17 December 1954 it was assigned to VMA-323 at El Toro, CA until 14 June 1956 when it was transferred to O&R Alameda on 9 August 1954 until 2 December 1957. The Panther was transferred to the Naval Reserve at NAS Minneapolis on 28 February 1958 and it remained there until it was transferred on 31 May 1959 and stricken 2 months later.
Special Thanks to Jack Morris of JDMC Aviation Graphics for our aircraft illustrations.
General Panther Information
The Grumman F9F Panther series saw extensive combat in the Korean War for the United States Navy, accounting for over 78,000 combat sorties. The system was primarily utilized as a close-support strike aircraft but could hold its own against the Soviet-built MiG jet fighters fielded by North Korea and China. In the end, the Panther would become the most widely used fighter for the USN and be credited with achieving the first combat kill for the branch at the outset of the war.
The F9F Panther was designed as early as the latter staged of World War Two. The Panther was initially equipped with an array of four turbojet engines mounted in the straight-wing assemblies – a testament to how poorly the early turbojets performed in terms of output. As engine designs caught up to available technologies, the Panther was redesigned to accept just two turbojet engines – complete with water-injection boosting capabilities – now mounted in the wing roots. The addition of wingtip fuel tanks was also tested to good effect and would go on to increase the range of the fighter.
The F9F Panther straight-wing design would go on to be further developed in the F9F Cougar, a similarly-designed swept-wing version of this jet fighter that retained only the cockpit fuselage portion of the Panther. The Panther would go on to see success in the Korean War against both land and air targets and stay in frontline service with the USN as late as 1958. In the mid-sixties, the system would be resurrected once more in a refurbishment program that saw the Panther sent to Argentine forces.