"MACH DESCENT" by Bill Northup
Capt. Bob Dose and LCdr Paul Miller, 6 June 1957
Read about this record-setting flight -- click here


"Where do we get such men?" - Frederick March, The Bridges At Toko-Ri

First A/C To Exceed Mach 1 On Maiden Flight - 25 March 1955; John Konrad

Level Flight Speed Record - 1015.428 mph; 21 August 1956; CDR. Duke Windsor (previous record 822, F-100)

First Carrier-to-Carrier Transcontinental Flight - 6 June 1957; Bonnie Dick in Pacific to Sara in Atlantic, 3 hrs. 28 min. Capt. Robert Dose & LCDR Paul Miller.

First Supersonic Transcontinental Flight - 16 July 1957; Los Alamitos, CA to Floyd Bennett Field, NY, 3 hrs. 22 min. 50.05 sec., avg. speed 723.517 mph. Maj. (Senator) John Glenn.

First Non-Stop TransLant to CV in Med - 17 May 1958 (4 F-8's, 4 F-3H's)

First Trap On First Nuke Carrier (CVAN-65) - 17 Jan 1962; CDR. George Talley

First ACLS (that's right, boys and girls, fully automatic carrier landings in an F-8) - 13 June 1963; LCDR. R. S. Chew.



First Combat Flights, Battle Damage, and Shootdown in SE Asia - The RF-8A made the first combat flights of the Air War in Southeast Asia.  LCdr Ben Cloud and I on 21 May 1964.  I was hit and badly damaged on that flight but got back to the ship. I later became the first shootdown on 6 June of 1964. Dubious honors I'll agree but they were firsts.
    -- Chuck Klusman

Closest CAS -  I read an account many years ago about Gy Howard and his Recon unit in Vietnam. Surrounded,pinned down and about to be overrun when Marine F-8s roared in to bomb,rocket and strafe the attacking enemy infantry. The CAS was so close,shrapnel from the 20 mm cannon rounds was said to bounce of the rocks around the Marines' position. Gy Howard won the Medal of Honor during that fight while he and his men lived to tell about it thanks no doubt to the superb CAS of the Marine F-8s.

I wish I could put my finger on that article which I believe was in the Marine Corps 'Gazette.'

Semper Fi, Tony Tang

First Jet To Take Off With Folded Wings [a Spad was apparently launched from a carrier at night during the Korean Conflict, recovered at a shorebase!] - 2 August 1960, Capodichino Airport, Naples, Italy. This has happened about 5 times; some landed with wings folded, some managed to extend them in flight - probably also a first. Check out this photo on the VMF(AW)-235 website: F-8 in flight, wings folded

"Safety" Record - a point of perverse pride. Overall accident rate of 46.70 per 100,000 hrs. (For comparison: A-4: 23.36; F-4: 20.17; F-14: 9.32). Many reasons probable, none of which include pilot inadequacy. The VIW wing (or something) made it a strange beast on final; 140 kts+/- approach speeds to a 27C; gremlins; "tiger" attitude, to close for the kill on anything, anyplace, any time, with any weapon available, apparently including the airplane.  In an article in the August 2000 issue of Flight Journal, Paul Gilcrist points out that "the 
accident statistics of the Crusader in the Fleet was atrocious . . . the Navy bought 1266 Crusaders during those years and at the same time, experienced 1106 major Crusader accidents. In other words, some intrepid aviator or 
other crashed virtually every Crusader ever built!"

Successful Seats Record - F8 Martin-Baker Ejections -- In VF-124, from about 1961 to 1967 (when I got out of USN) we had counted 52 successful ejections from WestConus/WestPac F8s.  All of us AMEs that worked in or were trained in the VF-124 Seat Shop had a high commitment to quality and wouldn't settle for anything less than PERFECT seat riggings.  Unfortunately, some of the ejections were fatals due to a/c attitude and other factors. -- Roger E. Wenschlag

Best [Worst] Ejection - On 18 June 1963 VMF(AW)-323 "Deathrattlers" began Operation Green Wave, transfer of 18 F-8E's from MCAS El Toro, CA. to NAS Atsugi, Japan. The first leg of the flight was to be from MCAS El Toro to MCAS Kaneohe, HI. with aerial refueling from Marine KC-130's. Two aborts resulted from the first six aircraft and one was lost from the next six. Maj. D.K.Tooker ejected when his Crusader caught fire after a fuel cell erupted from overfilling during tanking from a KC-130. Tooker ejected seconds before the F-8 exploded and was fortunate to be rescued by a destroyer-escort. 

The squadron's fortunes improved no more on Day Two. Like Tooker's aircraft, the plane of 1st Lt Judkins fell victim to failure of the tanker's automatic cutoff.  Filled beyond capacity, the F-8's main fuel cell burst, an identical failure to Tooker's. Fuel was observed by other pilots to be coming from several fuselage vents, the chin scoop and the tailpipe and the engine abruptly flamed out. Judkins quickly prepared for an air start. He brought the throttle to cut off, extended his RAT, hit the igniters at about 10 percent rpm, noted the Exhaust Temperature (EGT) gage climb and engine rpm increasing. At about 30 percent rpm his EGT needle passed the yellow band and went through the red line and pegged at 1000 degrees. Warnings came from his wingman saying "Jud, you're on fire. Get out of there". Judkins positioned himself and called "Mayday" and pulled the face curtain. 

He saw the fully extended yellow felt lining of the face curtain (no instructions) but nothing happened. He pulled the alternate firing handle between his knees; the canopy remained in place and the seat still refused to fire. Now in a 60 degree dive, he jettisoned the canopy and prepared for a manual bailout. He knew that noone had bailed out of a Crusader successfully but there was no alternative. He unstrapped the seat belt and shoulder harness and disconnected the g-suit; trimmed the flaming Crusader as well as possible at about 225 KIAS and stood on the seat with both arms guarding his face. He was sucked out, half expecting to hit the sharp leading edges of the tail. He missed the tail and was free falling. That was the good news.  The bad news came when Jud pulled the D-ring. He heard a loud pop but his fall remained unchecked. Glancing up, he saw the 24 ft canopy wrapped in its shroudlines. Desperately, Judkins shook the risers, trying to deploy the canopy but to no avail. He looked down, saw his F-8 impact point and realized there was nothing more to do. His next sensation was that of being cold. Judkins never remembered hitting the water but he surfaced, coughing and retching. His Mae West had inflated but he was tangled in his chute. Despite excruciating pain, he cut himself free. Most of his survival gear had been ripped away on impact but he settled down to wait for his rescue.  His wingman was the first to fly over. Later, a C-130 circled at low altitude and Jud was able to wave to the crew. After about an hour, a C-130 dropped a large life raft and some supplies, all of which were unreachable by the downed pilot. Another drop by a C-130 almost was a direct hit on Jud but he was unable to reach that raft also. After about one more hour, a Coast Guard HU-16 Albatross dropped another large life raft with a long yellow line attached. Jud was able to grab the yellow line and draw the raft to him but he was unable to get in the raft. Judkins knew that the sea was far too rough for the HU-16 to land. He lashed himself to the raft and settled down to wait for help. After about 2 1/2 hours, the minesweeper USS Embattle (AM-434) picked him out of the sea although he does not remember the actual rescue. He was transferred to the Los Angeles (CA-135) from which a helo took him to the hospital ship USS Haven which was permanently docked in Long Beach.  

Judkins injuries included multiple fractures of both ankles, a severed tendon, fractures of his pelvis and seventh vertebrae and partial collapse of one lung. In addition to numerous cuts and bruises, his intestines and kidneys had ceased functioning. His temperature was down to 94 degrees. The doctors agreed that Jud would have died had not his spleen been removed following a car wreck during flight training.

Judkins returned to flight status after six months in the hospital. He immediately returned to flying the F-8 and, on the first flight after his "bailout", made numerous plug-ins on a 90 minute refueling flight. Cliff Judkins is now retired from flying with Delta Airlines and resides in Marietta, GA.

Jud was a first rate pilot and Marine Officer. He is a member of the Crusader Association, Tailhook Assn and the Marine Corps Aviation Association.  

Semper Fi, Lynn Williams

First Non-Test Pilot to CarQual in an Operational Supersonic a/c - While a member of VF-32 , the Navy's first Crusader squadron, our entire squadron qualified on Forrestal in November 1957. From Nov 17 to Nov 19, I accumulated 12 arrested landings before returning to Cecil Field. I'm not sure who was first in my squadron to complete his quals , but I will lay claim to that honor until another squadron mate can successfully dispute my claim. 
    - Larry C Wiggins


"Where do we get such morons?" -- Crash Miottel

Highest Indicated Airspeed - While at Beaufort SC (post Viet Nam, single, bulletproof and invincible) I used to see how high I could zoom climb the bird - long run in burner at about 48-50,000 (forget just where) until it was not accelerating any more, then 2 g pull up to about 30 degrees nose up, watch for over temp and just let it go until it quit flying. Doing this one day, rolled off to nose pretty much pointed at the ground (water actually) with the burner still going. I.e., from 60+ grand straight down with burner going. Saw 840 KIAS in there - started a 6g pull up about 25 thou, had boards out - well out as far as they would go - and had it in level flight about 5,000.  I was surprised later on when I fammed the F4 that the IAS redline in F4 was 750 IAS. As I recall there was no IAS redline in the F8 - would have been superfluous any way.
        -- John Doherty

Most Firsts By a Non-Test Pilot - John Miottel claims:
First Pacific fleet pilot to carqual in a Crusader: 12 Dec. 1957 in F8U-1 BuNo 143694. 

b) First F-8 barricade: 5 Mar. 1958 in F8U-1 BuNo 143792 (strike)

c) First amphibious operation of an F8U-1 as a result of b) above.

D) First (& only?) with 2 barricades: 2nd on 20 Jun. 1958 in F8U-1 BuNo 143796 (a piece of cake).

E) First (& only?) to execute 4 point slow roll on take off & not get his wings jerked forthwith: 7 May 1958 in F8U-1 BuNo 143814. (Awarded poison oak leaf cluster for displaying extreme stupidity in the face of serious personal peril to wit, ignoring commonly know fact that maneuver would obviously be in full view of black shoe atsugi base skipper who, when he wasn't gleefully reaming perfectly innocent brown shoe folk, spent the balance of his time feet on desk sucking on pipe & staring out of office window - I thought he was asleep.)

Respectfully submitted, John "Crash " Miottel [And you wondered why we call him Crash???]

Most Unique Ground Attack - During the 64 cruise on ranger I was a unarmed photo type with VFP-63.  I was launched  about 2 am in the dark night with 4 A-4s and a tanker to do photo bomb damage on a truck farm in the middle of the jungle.

The A-4s spent an hour dropping flares looking for the truck farm- while me and the tanker orbited at 20m.. I kept topping off and when the A-4s gave up and left, I had a full load of fuel and 40 million & half candle power photo flash flares with 8 sec delay, that I could not bring back to the ship.

We were near route one on the west side of Nam and with a full moon the road stood out like the yellow brick road.. We knew there was a VC protected inter section just to the south. So I said goodbye to the tanker and let down to tree top level straight down the road doing about
mach 1.1... As I approached the inter section I salvoed the whole 40 flares and pulled straight up and got the hell out of there..

To this day I bet there are some VC who are still going around blinking their eyes. It was my only shot in anger !!!.        Chuck Anderson


Best Choreography on landing - A night op off Okinawa on USS Kitty Hawk 1961 first WESTPAC with Hap Chandler's F4's & Bob Moore's VF 111 Crusaders.  I was the F8 division leader w/ Chuck VanOrden, Phil Mickelson & Tony Longo.

Sea state about 5, Skank Remson broke a main mount on his F4 dark night arrest requiring Cherry Picker to clear to clear the deck. With signal bingo Kadina we F8 jocks contacted approach control to learn all runways closed with a B47 burning on runways hub. Next alternate was Marine Naha claiming 1/16thmile visability in driving rain with 35 kts wind gusting 90degrees off duty runway {cliff on left}. I was low state a/c & instructed flight to prepare for morest landing if so advised once I got aboard.

Records follow:Bob Jurgens, WX conditions about as predicted , after touch down on end of runway my F8 weather vaned 90 degree to runway heading just past morest & slid remainder 7,000 ft runway to a stop at end - square tire limp off followed with frantic UHF plea all F8's make an arrest landing.

Chuck Van Orden after touchdown did a 360 degree rollout turn to stop at end of runway with another frantic call for F8's to arrest.

Phil Mickelson [yes- lefty golfers Dad] next down hit the runway perimeter chainlink fence & carried over 100 yards of sea anchor links sparking down the runway to a successful stop mired in mud off runways end.

Tony was last down to a perfect morest landing.  

Foot note: My fitness report read "promote when due" which of course our Navy answered with an early promotion.    -- TRIGGER sends

World's Altitude Record for Launching A Paper Airplane -Test vehicle placed in speed brake well, s.b. pumped shut before start. Boards opened at 50,125 feet indicated; 11 August 1966, F-8D BuNo 147069, between Eglin AFB & Cecil.

Cleanest Bomb Attack On Soviet Vessel - Med, about May 1967. 13 rolls toilet paper (unused) loaded into speed brake well (I liked that speed brake). Hard right off cat, gear up, opened boards over trawler maneuvering to force carrier to turn. No medal, but no hack either.



Last  U.S. Fighter Flight  - I flew the last active duty fighter version of the F-8 from Miramar (where I was the squadron LSO) to the boneyard at D-M on my birthday (May 19) 1976.  I went on T-handle (emergency) trim right after I got the wing down, which made for a lot of fun in my 499 kt. break at DM.  Had to put the old girl down in style
            -- Chip Meyers

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