On 23 July 1947 the first jet powered aircraft, an FH-1 Phantom, was delivered to the Navy’s first all-jet squadron, VF-17A, ushering in a new era in naval aviation. Training in these early jet squadrons was sometimes ad hoc, partly because the aircraft themselves were experimental. One pilot reported, “VF-17A trained itself. Checkout consisted of reading the handbook and watching a movie on compressibility.” Less than a year later the squadron was fully equipped with 16 FH-1s. On 5 May 1948 VF-17A became the Navy’s first carrier-qualified jet squadron, having completed three days of operations on board Saipan (CVL 48) during which all of the squadron’s pilots plus the commander of Carrier Air Group 17 qualified with a minimum of eight takeoffs and landings each.
Saturday, July 23, 2011 12:01 AM