A U.S. Navy Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldiver of Bombing Squadron VB-7 in flight over ships of Task Force 38 after completing an attack against Japanese shipping 40 km north of Qui Nhơn, French Indochina, in January 1945.
VB-7 operated from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CV-19) during the period from September 1944 to January 1945, and participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944.
Note the horseshoe symbol on the tail indicating aircraft’s assignment to the USS Hancock and the pillow on the rear cockpit gun in order to provide some level of comfort for the gunner on the long flight home. A Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat from Fighting Squadron VF-7 is visible in the background.
(Photo source - U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.253.229)
U.S. Navy Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighters of fighter squadron VF-5, Carrier Air Group Five (CVG-5), are readied for a strike against Marcus Island aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) on 31 August 1943. The “00” identifies this aircraft as the Hellcat of the Air Group Commander (CAG) of CVG-5, LtCdr. Jimmy Flatley. The F6F is painted in the new tricolor-scheme (certainly an “in the field” application). An Aviation Boatswain Mate stands ready to remove the chock from the wheels. A non-specular insignia white diagonal stripe on the tail and the green propeller hub identified CVG-5 aboard the Yorktown.
On August 16th 1956 the US Navy was conducting tests that were part of the development of the AIM 7 Sparrow guided missile. To test the missile, the Navy utilized a drone version of the Grumman F6F Hellcat, a remote controlled version of the famous World War II fighter plane. The plan was for the Hellcat to be downed by a guided missile over the Pacific Ocean. However, once above the ocean, the drone stopped obeying remote control commands and began flying out of control above Los Angeles.
The drone flew over LA, then began flying in a continuous tight circle over Santa Paula. To deal with the situation, the US Air Force scrambled two F-89D Scorpions of the 437th Squadron to shoot the drone down. Armed with unguided rockets, the fighters intercepted the drone but had little luck bringing it down. The two fighters fired a total of 208 rockets, none of which struck the drone. Eventually the drone ran out of fuel and plummeted to the ground, taking out a set of electric lines as it returned to earth.
As for the 208 rockets launched, as a safety precaution the rockets were outfitted with a system in which they would disarm if they missed their target. However, the system was faulty, and only 15 would be found on the ground un-detonated. The rest detonated in various areas in northeastern Los Angeles County. Fortunately the area was sparsely populated and no casualties resulted, but there was some property damage. One Edna Carlson reported that a piece of shrapnel burst through the front window of her home, ricocheted off the ceiling, went through a wall and came to rest in a kitchen cupboard. Another man reported that a rocket exploded directly in front of his car while driving west of State Route 138. Two men in Placerita Canyon had been eating in their utility truck; right after they left it to sit under the shade of a tree, a rocket struck it destroying it. The worst damage was caused by the brush fires started by the rockets, which over two days scorched over 1,000 acres.
“Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighters landing on USS Enterprise (CV-6) after strikes on the Japanese base at Truk, 17-18 February 1944. Flight deck crewmen are folding planes’ wings and guiding them forward to the parking area.”