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Vought F7U Cutlass

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Westinghouse J-46
2 x 4,600 lbs. ea.
18,210 lbs.
31,650 lbs.
5,500 lbs.
4 x 20 mm
44 ft. 3 in.
38 ft. 8 in.
680 mph
13,000 fpm
40,000 feet
656 miles

Vought F7U Cutlass
Vought F7U Cutlass

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The Vought F7U Cutlass was an innovative aircraft for its time, having its vertical stabilizers and rudders mounted on the main wing while doing away with traditional elevators. The aircraft never fulfilled its potential, primarily due to its engines.

The design made for an extremely maneuverable if somewhat unstable aircraft that could out turn and out roll other fighter aircraft of the time.

In the hands of experienced pilots, the instability could be used to advantage to out maneuver an enemy. However, the aircraft could easily be over controlled into a stall, resulting in a flat spin from which recovery was difficult.

Controls on the Vought F7U Cutlass were hydraulically operated. Unfortunately they proved susceptible to premature failures and were a high maintenance item.

Adding to the aircraft's unusual looks was a long nose wheel strut which facilitated steep angle take offs. In early models, the long strut proved weak and could collapse on the type of hard landings common to aircraft carriers. Later production aircraft had a stronger strut.

A plus of the Vought F7U Cutlass design was the forward location of the aircraft's cockpit that gave excellent visibility while the aircraft was in flight. However, the steep, extreme nose-up landing angle of early designs made carrier landings difficult. Keeping the LSO in sight while on final approach meant landing off of centerline while flying the aircraft in a sideways skid. It was virtually impossible to see the flight deck just before landing. This was somewhat remedied, but never cured, in later designs.

We are told that the cockpit design itself was comfortable and accommodate pilots of virtually all sizes.

For about 60 days during the 1953 season, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew two Vought F7U Cutlass aircraft in addition to their regular performing aircraft. The aircraft only lasted a short time and did not fly in the air show formations due unreliable engines and a lack of power.

The early jet engine design used by the Vought F7U Cutlass was prone to failures, especially when encountering heavy moisture. Firing the Cutlasses cannons was also known to cause the engines to quit. This was remedied in later aircraft models by having the cannons on each side of the Cutlass fire at different intervals.

The Vought F7U Cutlass was the first U.S. Navy aircraft to fly at supersonic speeds, and the first one to use afterburners. It was the first aircraft capable of being catapulted from an aircraft carrier while carrying 5,000 lbs. of external weapons, and the first aircraft capable of dropping bombs while flying at supersonic speeds.

While flying from 1948 through 1959, some 80 Vought F7U Cutlass aircraft, out of a total of 320 of all types produced, were lost or rendered totally inoperative due to problems caused primarily by insufficient power and engine failures.

Vought F7U Cutlass
F7U Cutlass - Trevor

The picture above is of a great looking Vought F7U Cutlass built by Trevor from RCUniverse. It is 1/6 scale.

The first picture below appears to be a prototype Vought F7U Cutlass intended for a Global Quality kit. Unfortunately they have since gone out of business.

The second picture below is of a Vought F7U Cutlass built from a Global Quality kit. It has a wingspan of 34" and is made with a balsa fuselage and balsa sheeted foam wings. It can be powered by a .10 to .15 two stroke engine, or used without an engine for slope soaring.

Pictured third below is a Vought F7U Cutlass built by Ronnie York. It has a 47" wingspan and is intended for a MW-44 turbine engine. All up weight is around 7 1/2 lbs. This too appears to be a kit prototype that did not make it into production.

The last picture below is of a Vought F7U Cutlass as a foamy pusher prop built by J. Morgan of RCGroups. It has a wingspan of 39" with a 43" length and is powered by a Mega 16/15/5 motor.

The Blueprints.com has blueprints, templates and 3-view drawings from which it may be possible to scratch built a Vought F7U Cutlass.

Vought Aircraft.com also has line drawings of the Vought F7U Cutlass.

LDS Laser Design Services has the Vought F7U Cutlass as a kit. Its wingspan and length are both 42 1/2". Weight is around 10 lbs. It needs a turbine engine that produces from 9 to 10 lbs. of thrust for motivation.

BZ Modellbau has a Vought F7U Cutlass with a wingspan of 43" and a length of 47". It needs 90 mm EDF power.

RBC kits has a Vought F7U Cutlass as a kit for sale. It has a 37" wingspan, uses 90 mm EDF power and weighs around 3 3/4 lbs.

There are line drawings available at airwar.ru that may help to build a Vought F7U Cutlass.

R&RCC Designs has a profile model pusher prop Vought F7U Cutlass. It has a wingspan of 25", is 27" long, and weighs about 6 1/2 oz.

Warbird Kits.com has the Vought F7U Cutlass as a kit for EDF or Speed 400 type pusher prop power. Its wingspan is 31" and it is 28" long. It is made from balsa and ply.

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Vought F7U Cutlass
Vought F7U Cutlass - prototype

Vought F7U Cutlass
Vought F7U Cutlass - Global

Vought F7U Cutlass
Vought F7U Cutlass - Ronnie York

Vought F7U Cutlass
Vought F7U Cutlass - J. Morgan

At RCGroups sr71fan posted a video of a Vought F7U Cutlass.

Tom Bacsanzi of RCGroups started a thread about power choices for a Vought F7U Cutlass.

At RCGroups slopepilot is selling a Vought F7U Cutlass.

At RCUniverse gcb mentions the Vought F7U Cutlass.

At RCUniverse bosssman was looking for Vought F7U Cutlass plans.

At RCUniverse mberme had questions about building a Vought F7U Cutlass.