F3H Demon in Action (Aircraft 140)
By Jim Mesko, J. Sewell
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc. 1994 50 Pages
PDF 10 MB
During World War II aviation technology made tremendous advances, particularly in regard lo engine design. The development and employment of jet powered aircraft by Germany and Great Britain in the latter stages of the air war in Furope showed the superiority of these aircraft when compared to propeller driven aircraft. The United States was not far behind in its development, and had deployed a lew I oekheed P-80s to Italy for testing under combat conditions.
While the end of the war did lessen the need tor new combat aircraft, the advent of jet propulsion radically altered the thinking of the military leaders and aircraft designers. In particular the Navy began to take a very serious look into developing jet aircraft for duty aboard aircraft carriers. A host of companies were involved in this early work, including the St. Louis based McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. McDonnell had been approached by ihe Navy in mid 1943 to develop the first operational carrier based jet fighter, designalcd the XFD-I Phantom. This aircraft first flew in early March of 1945. and successfully met all the performance requirements as set down in the original Navy specification. Unfortunately, advances in engine technology doomed the Phantom to a relatively short operational career. Realizing the shortcomings of the XFD-1. the Navy placed an order with McDonnell for a new fighter, the XF2D-2 Banshee, a month after the initial flight of the Phantom.