The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Friday, November 19, 2010

XF5F: Blackhawks' Grumman Skyrocket

Andy my boy, you are a smart young whippersnapper. That funny looking plane is a Grumman Skyrocket as you said in your comment. Here's another pic from a blogger named Murdoc along with his comment about the aerial beast.

Murdoc's comment: "Nicknamed by some the “Skyrocket”, this experimental Cat never reached production. However, fans of the comic book series Blackhawk will be familiar with it, as the fictional squadron flew them for decades."

Looking at the plane, you might guess that it's unusual design caused flight problems; that was not the case. Here's a quotation from a pilot who tested the XF5F against the F2A, F4F, XF4U, XFL-1, P-39, P-40, and British Hurricane and Spitfire:

"I remember testing against XF4U in a climb to 10,000'... I pulled away from the Corsair so fast I thought he was having engine trouble. F5F was a carrier pilot's dream ... opposite- rotating props eliminated all torque, and you had no engine in front to look around to see the LSO (Landing Signal Officer). Analysis of all data favored F5F, and Spitfire came in a distant second."

However, the navy decided on the tough little F4F Wildcat and Grumman never produced the Skyrocket.

But in the fantasy land of late 1940's and 1950's comics these odd looking planes flew on for years as the main mode of transportation for the character Blackhawk's crew.

Oh boy, Blackhawk. What a comic. When I was ten, in 1950, I remember getting a couple of these in a trade with a boy named Frank who lived on Greenland Avenue. I think I gave him a couple of Iron Jaws in exchange. They were great comic books for a ten year old. If I had those comics (the Iron Jaw and the Blackhawks) now, I could probably add a room to my house.

1 comment:

  1. I missed yesterday's post... but I wouldn't have known the answer, anyhoo.

    I do know the Blackhawks; but they were flying jets by the time I began reading them in the '50s. So I'd have struck out there, too.