USS Yorktown is Only Carrier Museum to Display All 10 of the Most Significant Aircraft in U.S. Carrier Aviation History; Special Programming Offers Guests Unprecedented Access
The Winter 2011 issue of The Hook magazine – the official journal of The Tailhook Association – unveiled the top 10 most significant aircraft in U.S. carrier aviation history; and Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum scored a “perfect 10.”
A panel of judges, including writers, historians, photographers and aviators, was assembled by The Tailhook Association. The group was asked to rate 62 carrier aircraft with regard to four criteria: impact (aircraft’s impact on the aviation world and/or significant increase in capability it brought to the U.S. Navy), combat record (operations against the enemy), longevity (length of useful service, if significant), and image (an aircraft’s iconic image as a member of carrier aviation, recognizable to those in and out of the business.
Through their analysis, the judges identified the top ten most significant aircraft in U.S. carrier aviation history; and Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is the only carrier museum in the world to have every aircraft on the list. The top 10 most significant aircraft in U.S. carrier aviation history are as follows:
1. Douglas SBD Dauntless (WWII dive bomber that sank more enemy ships than any other.)
2. Grumman F6F Hellcat (Scored more air-to-air combat victories than any other US Navy aircraft.)
3. McDonnell F-4 Phantom II (Primary fighter-bomber aboard aircraft carriers during Vietnam.)
4. Douglas A-4 Skyhawk (Primary light attack jet aircraft during the Vietnam War. James B. Stockdale and John S. McCain III were shot down in Skyhawks and became POWs in North Vietnam.)
5. Grumman A-6 Intruder (All-weather bomber – in service from Vietnam through the first Gulf War.)
6. Vought F4U Corsair (Corsairs served during WWII and Korea.)
7. Douglas AD Skyraider (Attack aircraft of the Korean War, remained in service during the early stages of the Vietnam War.)
8. Vought F-8 Crusader (Last US Navy fighter designed with guns a primary weapon – known as the last gunfighter – in 1957.)
9. Grumman TBF/Eastern TBM Avenger (WWII torpedo bomber. Former President George H. W. Bush flew avengers from the SAN JACINTO CVL-30 during WWII.)
10. Grumman F-14 Tomcat (Variable sweep winged air superiority aircraft from the mid-1970s – 2006. Star of the movie “Top Gun.”)
“There are only a few places in the U.S. that you can make one stop and see all of these Naval aircraft that helped make our country great. We are thrilled that Patriots Point is the only aircraft carrier museum in the nation that has all ten of these historic aircraft,” said Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette. “Through special programming – such as our VIP Tours and Open Cockpit Sundays – Patriots Point is pleased to offer visitors unprecedented access to these magnificent aircraft.”
The VIP Tour, “Aircraft Inside and Out,” takes visitors on a guided tour of Patriots Point’s carrier-based combat aircraft. In addition to exploring valuable aircraft in the hangar bay and on the flight deck of the USS YORKTOWN, participants visit the pilot’s ready room for a short briefing and enjoy the opportunity to interact with Patriots Point staff and volunteers who have first-hand knowledge of the histories of these historic aircraft.
Open Cockpit Sundays are offered several times throughout the year and provide visitors with the chance to explore the cockpits of some of the museum’s most popular aircraft.