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The Vought F7U Cutlass would be host to the following first time
achievements for any naval aircraft: the first swept wing jet propelled fighter
to operate from a carrier deck; the first to use an all-hydraulic irreversible
flight control system; first tailless US Naval jet fighter; first to incorporate
a fully steerable nose wheel; first to use ailavators (elevons) as primary
control surfaces; first near sonic fighter. The Cutlass would eventually evolve
into the F7U-3,3M, and 3P. Touted as highly versatile in functionality for
tactical use, it would have certainly achieved “Super Star Status” if not for
the nefarious unreliability of its Westinghouse J34 and J46 turbojets. This
“Star Crossed” fighter didn’t deserve the unrelenting and damning criticism it
received throughout its career. The “Gutless Cutlass”, “Widow Maker” and “
Ensign Eliminator” as it was eventually known provided necessary contributions
in the evolutionary process responsible at least in part for the superb carrier
fighters in use today. Its complete story is presented here, including many
photographs and line schemes.
  • AUTHOR: Gardner, T
  • FORMAT: 256pp 250 col/Bw Hb
  • Code: 24609

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