Vought F-8A (F8U1) Crusader
The Crusader represents yet another Vought solution to the sort of problems that always turn up when designers reach into new areas of technology.
In this case the Navy required a jet powered interceptor plane capable of exceeding 1000 MPH in flight while still having capability of operating from an aircraft carrier. Such a plane, in order to land on a carrier, had to approach the ship in an excessively nose-high attitude, and this worked against the pilot's ability to see the deck as he approached.
Vought made it possible to keep the nose down by building a variable incidence wing whose leading edge could be raised hydraulically. The 7-degree increased wing angle thus lowered the nose of the plane, increasing the pilot's view.
Having first flown on March 25, 1955, the Crusader went on to fulfill its early promise. Thanks to its 1000 MPH-plus speed, it won the Thompson Trophy. It also won the Collier Trophy for design excellence.
Crusaders demonstrated their superiority in Vietnam, where their record included fourteen MIG 17 kills and four MIG 21 kills.
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