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Blue Angels Cougar #7 

U.S. Navy Blue Angels Alumni Association Webmaster http://www.blueangels.org

by Len Mozey

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As stated by LCDR. Scotty Ross, Maintenance Officer of the Blue Angels from 1963-1965, "In my opinion, Navy 7 was the most important aircraft the Navy owned."  This was for two reasons: 1) The team got eighty-five percent of its publicity from work by Navy 7, and 2) Navy 7 served as "parts runner" to maintain the six show planes since in the Tiger era, as with previous years, there were no spare airplanes. 

 The Blue Angels had two F9F-8's.  The first one (BuNo 147404) crashed in  Colorado Springs on April 10, 1960, killing the pilot and plane captain.  The second one  (BuNo 142470) is now on the USS Lexington Museum Ship in Corpus Christi, Texas.

That is me on top of the wing, and John Melita, the aircraft restorer on the USS Lexington, that I am shaking hands with on one photo. 

 John Melita , the aircraft restorer, did a great job with the "Coug."  The basic differences: a refueling probe is missing and the ejection seat as changed from a Grumman to a Martin-Baker Seat.  

The third difference became a trivia question on the Blue Angel Alumni Site (www.blueangels.org) as it would probably only be spotted by a Blue or someone who knows them Team well.  The Blue Angel crest changes each time the Team changes show aircraft, reflecting the type of plane currently being used.  John had put a "Cougar"
  crest on the Cougar, but since it served with the Tiger show aircraft, should have sported a "Tiger Crest." instead. 

The refueling probe was taken off when the Coug was assigned to the Training Command.  To a modeler, this aircraft is an interesting subject by the fact that there were so many different paint schemes used during the season -- from putting a "0" on the tail when it first got to the Blues to a "7" when it left the Blues.  

Also, the BA Crest, the "U.S. Navy" and the "Blue Angels" script changed positions on the aircraft depending on what year it was in service.  This aircraft actually had three drop tanks.  Two were for fuel, and one was made for carrying cargo, such as spare parts for the F-11's. 

 It also was used to pick up personnel as the need arose.  Grumman Aircraft overhauled and painted the F-11's, so whenever one was ready, the "Coug" would fly the pilot to pick up his airplane at Bethpage, NY (Grumman).  As far as I know, it never flew in any airshow, but Lt. Bob Cowles had me put red and blue dye in the wing tanks so we could fly over his hometown and "show off."

Len Mozey and a model of Blue Angels Navy 7 which is located at Trader Jon's (a famous naval aviation watering hole in Pensacola, FL).

 For further reference, there are more photos, and an entire article written by LCDR.  Scotty Ross about the Cougar on the Blue Angels Alumni Association Website. 

 
Len Mozey, BAAA Webmaster

PS. If anyone does a model of this (or maybe any) aircraft in Blue Angel colors, Len Mozey would love for them to send/e-mail a photograph to the Blue Angels Alumni Association.  

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Photos and text by Len Mozey, BAAA Webmaster

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