More Management Changes
In the 1955 to 1956 time period R.C. Blaylock was assigned as Chief Engineer (replacing Fred N. Dickerman) and W.P. Thayer was appointed Sales Manager. Some significant management changes took place in the 1956 to 1957 time frame, with the creation of several new vice president positions, including R. C. Blaylock, Vice President, Engineering, N.V. Turney, Vice President, Controller, C.E. Burt, Vice President, Production, and W.P. Thayer, Vice President, Sales & Service. B.W. Whitten was appointed Treasurer. During1958 to 1959 other changes included the promotion of W.P. Thayer to Vice President & General Manager of Vought Aeronautics Division and the appointment of F.E. Burnham as Vice President Finance
A Big Loss and a New Challenge
In 1955 Vought started design of the XF8U-3 Crusader III, a very high performance all-weather interceptor/fighter. Although it carried an F8 designation, it was an entirely new aircraft that was larger and had a more powerful engine than the previous F8s. First flight of the XF8U-3 was June 2, 1958.
On December 17, 1958 the Navy announced its decision to proceed with the two-engine, two-place McDonnell Phantom and cancelled the better-performing one-engine, single-place F8U-3. On December 18, 1958 the Navy announced its decision to devote its missile development funds to the submarine-launched Polaris ballistic missile and cancelled the Regulus II program. The loss of two major contracts was a very traumatic experience for the company and especially for the nearly four thousand people who lost their jobs. Some of those who remained were astonished to find themselves reassigned to studies and design of space vehicles. Their only previous exposure to spacecraft had been as children at the Saturday afternoon movies watching Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials. The 1960ís lay just ahead, and Vought was preparing to participate in the exploration of space.
XF8U-1 Innovative Systems