The Grumman F17 Tomcat is the United States military’s second swing-wing fighter. This twin-engine, twin-tail variable-sweep wing aircraft is 63 feet long and 16 feet high. It has a maximum wingspan of approximately 61 feet and a cruise speed of 610 miles per hour. Its full speed is 1,540 miles per hour, twice the speed of sound.
Here are the eight interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about the F-14 Tomcat:
1. The first F-14 crashed on its second flight
During it’s second test flight, its pilot noticed smoke coming from the back of the Tomcat. Upon closer inspection, it was caused by a hydraulic failure shortly after takeoff.
The crew ejected 100 feet above the ground before an emergency landing was possible. While both men survived the incident, the other pilot died in another F-14 crash more than a year later.
2. Several Tomcats were created with no intention of flying them
During the early stages of the testing phase, the aircraft’s prototypes were destroyed during destructive testing experiments.
3. A test pilot once-fired six missiles simultaneously
The Tomcat is the first fighter plane with a unique Phoenix missile system. Targets are set up to check how well the Tomcat and Pheonix combo can do.
The objective of the exercise is for the pilot to attack the six targets simultaneously. Within 33 seconds, six missiles were launched. Four of them hit a perfect bullseye.
4. Back in the early days, landing the Tomcat was a high-risk activity
During one incident, the front carriage collapsed when the Tomcat attempted a landing in a USS4 stall. These landings can cause devastating effects during combat missions since planes returning from a mission can be low on fuel, and aircraft removal is a priority.
During WWII, planes that experienced this problem had to be immediately pushed over the side.
5. It became one of the most recognized planes in history because of the Hollywood hit, Top Gun
Starring Tom Cruise, the movie was set in a US Navy Flying Academy. The best pilots were given extra training as their put their skills into test against other pilots in a simulated and very realistic dogfight.
6. It was deadly in a range of over 115 miles
The F-14 radar is used in conjunction with the AIM-54 Phoenix missile. It had a range of approximately 100 nautical miles or 115 regular miles.
7. F-14 Tomcat aviators chase down Soviet aircraft for sport
Usually, the Soviets will fly excessively close for a bearer’s solace, and the F14 Tomcat would descend up, welcoming it. Afterward, they’ll hover nearby as an escort while going through new weapons the Soviets may have had.
8. After it retired from the US Navy in 2006, almost all American F-14s had to be shredded
At some point, Iran had purchased these F-14s. However, when they became an enemy of the US and had been desperately trying to source spare parts in Arizona, the American F-14s had to be destroyed. The F/A-18 E/F Hornet replaced it.
So, there you have it. These are some interesting facts about Grumman’s incredible fighter. There’s no doubt that the F-14 Tomcat is such a badass plane.