Grumman F-11 Tiger
Long-Nose Version
F-11F Tiger BuNo 141832

Photo taken by and from the collection William C. Barto

 The Cradle of Aviation Museum's Grumman F-11A Tiger, Bureau Number 141832, was received from the US Navy's Historical Center on March 16th, 1978. The Grumman Aerospace Corporation repainted it in Blue Angels colors; specifically detailed to represent a Blue Angel's F-11A aircraft flown from 1966 to 1967 by Long Islander, Lt. Norman Gandia. The aircraft was then delivered to the Cradle of Aviation Museum to be put in storage until the Museum's Visitor Center was ready to receive artifacts.

As the Visitor Center neared completion, the Cradle of Aviation Museum's staff was faced with an important decision. Do we risk pre-positioning the aircraft and allow the building construction to be completed around it, or wait until building completion, recognizing that we would have to disassemble the F-11A to get it through the doors? We chose to be conservative and wait until the construction phase was concluded.

In October of 1999, the F-11A arrived in pieces at the Visitor Center: forward section, aft section, vertical stabilizer, and dolly-borne wings. Our engineering management approach required that before the sub-assemblies were reunited, non-destructive testing would be performed on all load-critical attachment components. Fortunately the Northrop Grumman Corporation presented the Museum with a generous gift-in-kind which funded their technicians to perform these tests. Over the next few months, our volunteer staff reassembled the aircraft utilizing all new aircraft-rated hardware.

During this same time period, our structural engineer designed the suspension system that incorporates a 5-1 structural safety margin from the roof rafters through the aircraft structure. Four steel brackets were needed to bolt through the main wing spars to attach the four suspension cables. Once again the Northrop Grumman Corporation came to the rescue and machined these parts.

On August 8th, 2000, the F11A, -- the first of 70 air and spacecraft to be permanently installed in the Cradle of Aviation Museum -- was hoisted in the Visitor Center. Four air-driven chain hoists, powered by four air compressors, were used to lift the aircraft. Our new building became not only an architectural masterpiece, but also an aerospace museum!

Photo taken by and from the collection William C. Barto

CAPT. Norm Gandia, Blue Angels 1966-67

Photos courtesy of the Cradle of Aviation Museum

Thanks to: Tom Bispo (Blue Angel 64-65) for sending us these photographs and gathering the information on this aircraft.

Cradle of Aviation Museum
Mitchell Field
Garden City, New York