Aircraft & Exhibits Archive - Page 2 of 8 - NNAM

Best Aircraft & Exhibits

Sopwith Camel

One of the most famous fighters of World War I, the British-made Camel got its nickname from the hump that housed the machine guns located forward of the cockpit.  Nineteen-year-old Lieutenant (junior grade) David Ingalls became the Navy’s first fighter ace, a status achieved by shooting down five or more enemy aircraft, while flying a


Nicknamed “Fifi” (a play on its FF-1 designation), the airplane was produced by Grumman, the same company that eventually developed the F-14 Tomcat of TOPGUN fame.  Its metal fuselage, enclosed cockpit canopy and retractable landing gear were innovative for the early 1930s.  Discovered in a junkyard in Nicaragua, the museum’s airplane is an export version


The F3F-series was the last biplane fighter in front-line service in Naval Aviation.  A Navy salvage vessel recovered the museum’s airplane from the Pacific Ocean in 1990, 50 years after its pilot ditched while attempting to land on board the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV 3).  The pilot was Marine First Lieutenant Robert Galer, who

BFC-2 Goshawk

The BFC-2 was an early example of a divebomber, the pilot descending at high speed and a steep angle to drop ordnance on a target.  To prevent the bomb from hitting the propeller when dropped, a bomb sling or cradle swung it out away from the fuselage.  The markings on the museum’s airplane are those

RR-5 Tri-Motor

Built by Ford Motor Company, the Tri-Motor was one of the nation’s early airliners.  Its corrugated metal construction inspired a popular nickname for the airplane—the “Tin Goose.”  Built in 1928, the airplane on display was a corporate airplane for a Missouri power company, supported firefighting in Montana and flew in air shows around the country

SB2U-2 Vindicator

The SB2U represented one of the major developments in aircraft design before World War II—the shift from biplanes to monoplanes.  Despite this advancement, it was a transitional design, most of its surfaces covered in fabric.  The airplane on display is the only example of the Vindicator in existence and was recovered from Lake Michigan, where

F4F-3 Wildcat

The Navy’s front-line fighter for the first part of World War II, the Wildcat flew in the landmark battles at Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal, with eight F4F pilots receiving the Medal of Honor.  A unique design feature of the airplane was the fact that the pilot had to retract the landing gear himself by

Prowling the Burma Road: The Flying Tigers

Its centerpiece a P-40B Tomahawk fighter with the famous shark mouth on its cowling, this exhibit tells the story of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), its members recruited from the ranks of the U.S. military.  Called the Flying Tigers, they were contract pilots of a private company and paid by the Chinese government to fight

F7U-3M Cutlass

One of the unique airplanes in Naval Aviation history, the Cutlass featured a tailless design, the vertical stabilizers positioned on the wings.  One of the airplane’s major faults was that it was underpowered, prompting the nickname “Gutless Cutlass.”  The Blue Angels evaluated it as a possible air show aircraft, wisely turning it down.

F11F-1 Tiger

The fuselage of the F11F-1 was a so-called Coke bottle design, bending inward over the wings to improve airflow in high-speed flight.  A civilian test pilot once shot himself down during a flight in a Tiger, the jet intakes ingesting spent shell casings after he fired the guns, damaging the engines.  The Tiger on display