F8U - A New Aircraft and a New Corporation

In May 1953 Chance Vought Division won the contract for a new carrier-based day fighter (the F8U Crusader) in competition with seven other aircraft companies. By November 1953 employment at Vought reached 13,800, exceeding the peak employment during World War II.  In 1954 the positions of Engineering Manager and Sales Manager were eliminated and H.B. Sallada was appointed as Executive Assistant to the General Manager On July 1, 1954 the Vought Division separated from United Aircraft and became Chance Vought Aircraft Incorporated with C.J. McCarthy as Chairman of the Board and Fred Detweiler as President. Other changes were:

  • Vice President, H.B. Sallada
  • Controller, N.V. Turney
  • Assistants to the President, G.K. Johnson & Keith Baker
  • Chief Engineer, Fred N. Dickerman
  • Factory Manager, C.E. Burt
  • Treasurer, B.W. Whitten
  • Secretary, J.J. Gaffney

The Crusader

The phase-out of the F4U and F7U programs did not reduce activity at Vought because the F8U Crusader aircraft and Regulus I missile programs kept the workforce busy and usually working overtime.  Employment increased to 17,000 in 1957.  Parking places at the plant became scarce and management encouraged employees to form car pools, even though the encouragement of car pools was not really necessary for a great many employees.  The 1950ís were before the age of the two-wage earner, multi-car family, and the wives needed the family car on some days for their activities. Some wives would drive their husbands to work and pick them up after work, although some had difficulty identifying their engineer spouses among the horde exiting the plant at quitting time, because they all seemed to wear a white shirt and tie and have a crew-style haircut.The maiden flight of the XF8U-1 was on March 25, 1955, twenty-two months after Vought won the contract.  Twelve-hundred-sixty-three F8Us were eventually built.  The aircraft set several speed records and won a number of awards for excellence. Later, in the 1960ís , several hundred were remanufactured to extend their service life, and reserve units used them until 1986.  A few were still being used by the French navy in 1998.

More F8U:

XF8U-1 Innovative Systems
XF8U-1 In the Cockpit
A New Aircraft and a New Corporation
F8U-1 and F8U-1E Production Aircraft Changes
Life Extension
Loss of XF8U-3 Contract and a New Challenge
Last Flight - December 1999