US Naval Aviation Plans & Resources

Pre- World War II Aircraft

Grumman F3F fighter model
Grumman Biplane Fighters

Vought SBU-1

US Naval Aircraft & Aviation Ships of World War II

Book Review: "Carrier Air War in Original WWII Color" Robert Lawson & Barrett Tillman   Contrary to what some modern schoolchildren might think (if they think about it all, sad to say) World War II was not fought in black and white. Color photography in one form or another existed decades before the war, although it was not till the mid to late 1930s that Kodak's Kodachrome allowed more photographers to shoot in that format. Robert Lawson and Barrett Tillman have done a masterful job in assembling a wide variety of rare color photos depicting all facets of wartime US Naval Aviation, from flying boats to carrier action. The first chapter alone has such gems as an SBU-1 from USS Ranger, an F4F-3 of VMF-121, Curtiss O2C, Kingfishers in landplane configuration, R3D-2 (DC-5) transports, and a natural metal PBM Mariner. Basically, there is something for everyone here. There are also numerous shots of the carriers themselves, including Yorktown (CV-10) transiting the Panama Canal, an overhead shot of Wasp (CV-7), and Santee (ACV-29) showing her camouflage scheme very well.

N3N Yellow Peril

North American SNJ


F2A Buffalo


PB4Y-2 Privateer


F4F Wildcat

F6F Hellcat


Vought SB2U Vindicator model
SB2U Vindicator

Vought Kingfisher floatplane model picture
OS2U Kingfisher

F4U/FG Corsair

Douglas Devastator image
TBD Devastator

SBD Dauntless

Early Postwar vintage USN Aircraft

McDonnell FD/FH-1 Phantom I

Douglas F3D Skyknight model picture
Douglas F3D / F-10 Skyknight

Douglas F4D / F-6 Skyray

Douglas' first jet fighter design, the F4D was another result of US postwar acquisition of German aeronautical data, in this case Alexander Lippisch's work on delta wing aircraft. The XF4D-1 prototype flew in January 1951, powered by an Allison J35 as an interim measure. Westinghouse XJ40s were later fitted to the first two aircraft, and thus powered, the second Skyray acheived a world speed record of 752 mph in October 1953. Despite this, the J40 program would be a major failure, the engine proving unreliable and unable to acheive a thrust rating even close to requirements. Fortunately, the F4D airframe had not been closely tailored to the J40, and fitting Pratt & Whitney J57s to production F4D-1s was possible.

 "F4D Makes Carrier Evaluation Tests" NATC Skyray evaluations from USS Coral Sea.  Naval Aviation News  February 1954 p.11 *
"Skyray Meets the Marines" NAN January 1957  p.30   Three photos - covers the conversion of VMF-115 to F4Ds.   *
"VMF(AW)-115 and Skyray - Records Made at MCAAS Mojave"  NAN  March 1957  p.25   *
"VF-74 Qualifies in F4D's"  Naval Aviation News May 1957  p.30   *
F4D at Pensacola
VF-141 F4D model for FS2002
F4D preserved at the Flying Leathernecks Museum as a Marine aircraft of VMF(AW)-115

Martin AM-1 Mauler

North American FJ/FJ-2/FJ-3/FJ-4 Fury

Grumman Albatross

Vought Crusader photo
F8U/F-8 Crusader

Vietnam-Era Naval Aircraft

A-3 Skywarrior profile picture
A3D/A-3 Skywarrior

A4D/A-4 Skyhawk

A-5 Vigilante model photo
A-5 Vigilante

A-6 Intruder

Book Review: A-6 Intruder Walk-Around by Lou Drendel. For nearly thirty years, Grumman's A-6 was the "main battery" of the carrier air wings, with the ability to conduct strikes at long ranges and in all weather condition. This 80-page softcover provides all the in-depth photo detail needed to build an A-6E model, with dozens on close in shots of the airframe, avionics bays, tailhook, engines, and cockpit.

A-6E for Flight Simulator:  An interesting "virtual walk around" of the A-6E by Alphasim for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Build article on the Hasegawa A-6E

F4H / F-4 Phantom II

Modern USN Aircraft

Single-seat FA-18E Super Hornet of VFA-143 Pukin Dogs of the USS Eisenhower's air wing. (C. Reed)

F-14 Tomcat

F/A-18 Hornet & EA-18G Growler walk around

T-45 Goshawk


"Hawkeye scores double first"  Naval Aviation News May 1962 p.11 five pictures - testing at Pax River - first aircraft to use the nose tow arrangement, first turboprop to be catapulted.
Robert Wall  "Hawkeye 2000 set to expand Fleet's eyes" Aviation Week & Space Technology  October 7, 2002  p.60-63, plus cover photo of an E-2C showing the CEC antenna under the fuselage.

"Hawkeye - A New Dimension in Tactical Warfare"  Air International  January 1977  Includes a cutaway diagram.

Book Review: US Naval Airpower: Supercarrier in action  Photography by Neil Leifer, text by Bill Sweetman.  The late 1980s was the height of the "Top Gun" craze, and I recall there being a number of quickie type picture books on US naval aviation. I would classify this book as being a high-quality photo work that very well illustrates the carrier action of its day, as seen aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). Lots of large, dramatic shots of aircraft and flight deck crews in action. Predictably, there are a lot of Tomcat shots (nothing wrong with that!) but we also see E-2Cs, Prowlers, SLUFs, Intruders, Vikings, and even a CH-46 or two. Among the individual aircraft seen are E-2C BuNo 161344 of VAW-114, A-6E BuNo 152930 of VA-52, and Intruder BuNo 151576. And if you're building a model of a Nimitz class carrier, there is some good coverage of the Vinson herself, including overhead shots and several images that show the island in good detail.

"CVA-66 is commissioned" Naval Aviation News  April 1965  p.10-11  USS America commissioning at Norfolk Navy Shipyard.

Picture: "JFK in James River after Launching"  Naval Aviation News  February 1968  p.6

"At war on USS Theodore Roosevelt" Air Forces Monthly  January 2002. Covers CVN-71 operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"USS Harry S Truman"  Air Forces Monthly  April 2003. Covers a visit by CVN-73 to Slovenia. Includes a photo of FA-18C BuNo 164261 in VFA-105 Gunslingers high-visibility colors.

Luftwaffe Aircraft         RN Fleet Air Arm        Royal Air Force           X-Planes        UAVs       Stealth Aircraft

Aircraft Walk Arounds and other References

Aviation Plans on the Web


* The Naval Aviation News archive can be accessed here