Slow That Fury Down

A U.S. Navy Douglas AD-6 Skyraider (BuNo 134538) from Attack Squadron VA-105 “Mad Dogs” refueling a North American FJ-3M Fury (BuNo 139232) of Fighter Squadron VF-62 “Boomerangs,” overwater, circa 1958.

U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.253.7228.002

Note the early AIM-9B Sidewinder missile on the Fury– essentially a navalized F-86 Sabre with folding wings, a J65 engine, and 20mm cannons– and the extended landing gear, to be able to fly as slow as the Spad. While capable of high subsonic level flight, the Fury/Sabre had a low stall speed for a jet, down to the 120-knot range, which was well inside the AD-6’s envelope. The propeller of the refueling pack is also clearly visible.

Both the Mad Dogs and the Boomerangs were assigned to the short-lived Air Task Group 201 (ATG-201) for a nine-month Med to West Pac deployment aboard the converted WWII flattop USS Essex (CVA-9) from 2 February to 17 November 1958. The cruise ran so long due to the Lebanon Crisis which saw 1,700 Marines supported by not only Essex but also her sistership USS Wasp (CVA-18) and the new Forrestal-class supercarrier USS Saratoga (CVA-60).

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