COUGARS

The second jet the Blue Angels transitioned to was the swept-wing F9F-6 Cougar and these arrived in August of 1953. Problems developed with the –6, however, and the Blues reverted back to the F9F–5 Panther until December 1954.

When they acquired the newer F9F-8 model. Specifically 1955 marked not only the first year the Blues Angels flew the newer Cougar, but the team’s home base moved from Corpus Christi, Texas to Pensacola, Florida where they have been ever since. The tenth anniversary of the Blue Angels was observed in 1956 in addition to performing two demonstrations at the Grumman Calverton facility. That year also marked the first foreign demonstration in Toronto, Canada on Sept. 5. The Blue Angels continued using the F9F-8 until 12 July 1957 when they flew their last demonstration in the F9F-8 Cougar.

Ironically, though not utilized while the Blue Angels were flying single-seat Cougars, the F9F-8T replaced the team’s Lockheed TO-2 during 1957 in the utility and demonstrator role to become the final Grumman aircraft assigned to the team in 1969 when the F11F Tigers were finally retired. The jet served several purposes including providing orientation rides for members of the media and dignitaries. This Cougar served with the Blues well after their transition to the F11F-1 Tiger series.