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On Final

Oil on Board, 24" x 16"

A Panther F-9F-2 from VF-191 about to land on the USS Princeton, April 1952, Korea.

This painting was awarded 2nd place in the 2009 National Naval Aviation Museum art contest.

In addition a print of this painting features in the Pentagon Patriotic Art Program Exhibition on display at the Pentagon 2014-2015

This image was created using APM to plot both the Panther and carrier to ensure both the accuracy of the perspective and of the position of the aircraft relative to the flightdeck.

 The following quote was provided by a Panther pilot I corresponded with who flew off carriers during the Korean War and provided the details depicted.

“We would enter the break on the starboard side of the ship at 300 plus knots, about 250'. On the break, it was a hard knife edge pull, going to idle, drop speed brakes, gear and flaps, and open the canopy. (Our ejection seats had a one percent survival rate below 1,000'). Rolling out on downwind you would adjust altitude not by altimeter, but visually off the ship. Under normal conditions you would put the top of the ships stack on the horizon. Distance abeam on the downwind was generally measured by putting the wingtip on the ship. It was generally preferable to be a little too close than to be too wide. Wide meant a deep pattern, and one of those X-Rated LSO debriefs in the ready room. Start the turn abeam, or slightly ahead of abeam the ship with about a 30 degree banked turn, and 125 to 130 knots. Through the 90 you would put the top of the ships numbers (on the island) on the horizon, and slow to 120-125 knots. Through the 45 you put the middle of the ships stack numbers on the horizon, speed 115-120 knots and the start looking for the LSO and watching lineup. Since these were straight deck ships, the keel and centreline were contiguous, so you did not want to overshoot the ships wake at all. On a good pass you would have about a 5 second groove watching the LSO's paddles and body for corrections. He could give you a high, an OK, a low, a fast, a slow (come on), a roll out to get your wings levelled, and when needed, a signal that you were skidding the plane (done with a leg movement). Unlike later days, a one wire was great, as you still had about five left to stay out of the barriers and barricade. Generally short of the ramp you would get the cut signal from the LSO, go to idle power, and do a dip with the nose of the aircraft to start it down. You were not descending at this point in the pattern, so you needed to drop the nose slightly, then come back to a touchdown attitude (similar to a flare). If you didn't flare, a flat touchdown would frequently keep the hook too high to grab a wire, which meant into the fence.

As we became more experienced we would adjust the position of the ships numbers (on the side of the island) against the horizon depending on wind and deck conditions. When it was flat calm, the lower part of the numbers on the horizon through the 45; normal winds the middle of the numbers; high winds and/or pitching deck and use the upper third of the numbers.

A long groove (more than about 5 seconds) would generally earn you a wave-off so the plane behind you could fly a normal pattern. A really good pass would have you roll wings level and get the cut, almost simultaneously.”

Prints available via Fine Art America