Tuna’s Trivia Tuesday. Hmm, I'm not sure you should get used to that title- for a few reasons. These posts may not always be ready each Tuesday, I may not have enough material to keep it going, and if I regularly posted these valuable bits of useless trivia vice more controversial subjects, I might have to give up my amateur status as a pithy politically charged part-time blogger. I’m just not sure I’m ready to turn pro- my co-workers are great, but the pay here ain't so hot.
For now though, I’ve got at least enough trivia (or should I say trivial?) material for this post. Today we’ll focus on some superlatives among other things- firsts and lasts, biggest and smallest, and so forth.
First off, who was the first person to launch an aircraft from a Navy ship?
- LT Theodore Ellyson
- Glenn Curtis
- Eugene Ely
- LCDR Hank Mustin
If you said LT Ellyson, you’d be wrong. On November 12th 1912, he made history with the Navy’s first successful catapult launch, but Eugene Ely beat him by two years- being the first person to launch from a Navy ship- the USS Birmingham, which had a wooden platform built on the bow. LT Ellyson actually launched from a stationary coal barge for his feat. Ely’s accomplishment was on Nov 14th, 1910, with a landing on the USS Pennsylvania two months later, for the first successful shipboard landing.
This issue can be tricky because it involves several different firsts and similar dates- the first Naval Aviator, the first actual launch, the first catapult launch, the first Naval ship, etc., and both were in November, but two years apart.
How about the first man to launch an aircraft from a ship while underway?
- CDR Hank Mustin
- LT Theodore Ellyson
- CDR Charles Samson
- LT Alfred Cunningham
It’s not CDR Mustin. He was the first US Naval Aviator to accomplish the feat, (5 November 1915), but CDR Samson did it for the Royal Navy from HMS Hibernia in May of 1912.
|HMS Hibernia- Wikipedia|
To continue on the theme of firsts and supposed firsts, when was the first carrier takeoff and landing of a jet? Again, the Royal Navy beat us to it. Lt Cdr Eric Brown landed a De Havilland Vampire on 3 Dec 1945.
|The first carrier landing and take-off of a jet aircraft, by a De Havilland Vampire in 1945. - Wikipedia|
However, the Brits only beat us as far as conducting jet launch and recovery ops. A month earlier (6 Nov, 1945), what aircraft made the first jet landing on a carrier?
a. McDonnell F-2H Banshee
b. McDonnell FH-1 Phantom
c. Ryan FR-1 Fireball
d. Curtis XF-15C-1
If you picked the FR-1 Fireball, you’d be correct. However, that landing wasn't supposed to happen. The FR-1 as you see above, was piston-driven, with jet propulsion as well. The engineers at Ryan developed the fireball to meet the Navy’s requirements for a fighter with the speed of a jet, but the acceleration of a propeller plane. In November of 1945, the Fireball was being operated by VF-41 as an experimental squadron, to CQ and test jet aircraft for shipboard ops.
However, Ens. Jake West had an in-flight emergency while in the landing pattern using the piston engine. Per the test, the aircraft launched with both engines, but the jet engine, due to the high burn rate, was shut down for low altitude flight. The reciprocating engine failed and without enough altitude to start the prop, he lit off the jet engine and jockeyed the power in order to manage his decent rate and safely land. Since it was an emergency, the barricade was rigged, but he had engaged the last wire and would have landed safely without it.
This jet/prop concept was a failure and was replaced by the McDonnell F2H Banshee which was the first full-production jet for the US Navy starting in August of ’48, after development of the McDonnell FH-1 Phantom.
So the FR-1 Fireball was the first jet fighter for the Navy, but what was the last biplane fighter?
That distinction is held by the Grumman F3F, which was also the first U.S. Navy fighter which deployed aboard aircraft carriers, in 1936.
Ok, enough of “ancient” Naval History. How about something from some decades we remember?
What was the fastest U.S. Navy jet ever deployed?
a. Boeing F/A-18E Hornet
b. McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom
c. Grumman F-14 Tomcat
d. General Dynamics F-111N Aardvark
If you haven’t guessed yet or want to check your answer, click here.
That last option is a complete distraction, as there was never a Navy variant of the Aardvark.
Slowest? That depends on what you mean, but any jet that can stay airborne at zero forward airspeed, I consider that pretty slow.
What was the smallest, lightest, U.S. Navy fighter jet produced?
a. Grumman: F-11 Tiger
b. McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
c. Douglas F4D Skyray
d. Douglas F3H Demon
If you picked "C", when in doubt, Charlie out, you would have been right on every question so far, but I had to mix it up. If you picked the Skyhawk, you would have been right if I asked for the lightest jet, but I asked for fighter jet. It depends on where you find the answer, and I'm not considering the deck multiple or footprint, but the A-4 had a gross weight of around 18.5K, almost 3K less than the next competitor, the F-3H Demon, with a weight of 21,133 lbs. The others are close with the Tiger at 21,280 lbs and the Skyray at 22,648 lbs. If you'd like the source for those numbers, feel free to stop by and take a look at my browsing history from last weekend.
What does the S-3 Viking share with the A-7 Corsair II and the F-8 Crusader?
|S-3 Facebook Page|
They don't share a mission, gun, or manufacturer, but they all have the same tricycle landing gear.
Do you know what were the last U.S. Navy jets armed with cannons as their primary weapons?
a. F-4 Phantom
b. A-7 Corsair II
c. F8U Crusader
d. F3H Demon
What U.S. Navy jets that scored the most victories over Vietnam? I'd be remiss if I didn't give you all a question on this blog that didn't have this aircraft as an answer.
For your final question, which aircraft were flown by both the Navy and Air Force?
This one is a given:
But what if I showed you this picture?
Yes, the Air Force flew the A-3D Skywarrior as well, although it was designated the B-66.
Here's a few more:
The A-1 Skyraider
The A-7 Corsair II
|USS Midway Museum|
How about the A-4 Skyhawk, P-3 Orion, the F-14, and the F-18?
I know there are some of you out there ready to comment that I have no idea what I'm writing here, but I'd remind you to do something a flight instructor once wrote on a test I failed- RTFQ.
Those would be pictures (all licensed for reuse) of an A-4 in the service of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, an Iranian Air Force F-14, and the Canadian Air Force (F-18 and CP-140 (P-3)).
Now don't you all feel smarter?
Well, that's all my trivia and trickery for today. I'll see what trivial stuff I can dig up for next time.