F6U Pirate

As successful as Vought was during the war years, thanks to the F4U, the company had far less luck in the immediate postwar era, although to be fair, the difficulty in producing a high performance jet fighter that could operate from carriers was one shared by other manufacturers.

The F6U was Vought’s first jet design, contracted for in September 1944. It would be October 1946 before the first Pirate flew, powered by a single anemic Westinghouse J34. The most radical innovation of the type was it’s construction method , with the fuselage being made of Metalite – a composite sandwich of aluminum and balsa, with a similar fiberglass/balsa combination being used in the tail. Performance with the Westinghouse engine was poor, and there were aerodynamic problems as well, but development continued for a time, with the third example becoming the first Navy aircraft to fly with an afterburner. Thirty production F6U-1s were built with ejection seats and added vertical surfaces on the ends of the tailplanes, but these proved unsuitable for service use, and the whole program was cancelled in the fall of 1950, with 35 additional aircraft being cancelled.

Frank Cuden “First Jet Fighter” Building the Academy 1/72 F6U kit Model Airplane International October 2012

Bill Norton U.S. Experimental & Prototype Aircraft Projects: Fighters 1939-1945 p.240: XF6U-1 3-view, and mockup photo

F8U Crusader