FH-1 Phantom I Fighter

FH-1 Phantom jet fighter in flightThe McDonnell FH-1 Phantom was the first all-jet airplane ordered into production by the Navy and the Navy's first airplane to fly 500 mph.

On July 21, 1946, operating from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, an FH-1 Phantom became the first jet-propelled combat aircraft to operate from an American aircraft carrier. The production version started service at the Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, R.I., in July 1947.

McDonnell built 62 Phantoms between 1945 and 1947, and by May 1948, the first all-jet squadron aboard a carrier was operational with FH-1 Phantoms on the USS Saipan. Phantoms also became the first jets assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps. After 1949, Phantoms flew with Naval Reserve units around the country.

The Phantom put McDonnell Aircraft on a firm financial foundation in the difficult post-war period.

Phantoms were placed on display at the Marine Corps Aviation Museum in Quantico, Va., and at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla.

First flight: Jan. 26, 1945
Wingspan: 40 feet 9 inches (wings folded, 16 feet 3 inches)
Length: 38 feet 9 inches
Height: 14 feet 2 inches
Weight: 10,035 pounds
Speed: 500 mph (max.)
Ceiling: 41,100 feet
Range: 695 miles
Accommodation: One crew
Armament: Four 22 mm cannons
Power plant: Two 1,600-pound thrust Westinghouse J30-WE-20 turbojets