Paying Tribute to the People Who Took Aviation
from the Flight Deck of a Navy Carrier to Man's First Steps on the Moon
The fifth and final Grumman fighter utilized by the Blue Angels was the F11F-1 Tiger series. First introduced as a "short-nose" model, this variant included an in-flight refueling probe built into the point of the nose. The second, and final, variant of the Tiger was referred to as the "long-nose". On this version, the refueling probe was displaced by additional avionics installed in the nose. Relocated to the starboard side of the nose, the redesigned probe was retractable.
Transition to the Tiger began in mid 1957 with the "short nose" model. Differing from the earlier scheme the markings carried by the early Tigers in 1958 featured a light blue color and revised trim and lettering.
When the Blues acquired the "long-nose" version in 1959, however, the markings reverted back to the familiar paint scheme of "Blue Angel Blue and Yellow". Other modifications to this version included wing-root leading edge gloves and an upgraded engine.
The Tiger went on to serve the team for the next eleven years, longer than any other previous aircraft.
The Blue Angels flew their last performance in a Grumman fighter at NAS El Centro, California on November 17, 1968 thus ending their twenty-two year relationship with Grumman.
Many restored examples of the F11F-1 Tiger displayed in Blue Angels livery exist all over the country, but the finest example can be found in the soon to reopened "Cradle of Aviation Museum" in Garden City, New York. Faithfully restored in every detail, this aircraft represents BuNo. 141832, aircraft number 5, one of the solo performers. From 1966-67 it’s pilot was Lt. Norm Gandia, USN. Mr. Gandia later became Director of Public Relations for the Grumman Aerospace Corporation in the early 1970s.