samedi 12 juin 2010


Air Development Squadron Three (VX-3) was formed on 20 November 1948, by merging two squadrons of CVLG-i, VF-1L and VA-1L, and was placed under the operational control of Commander Operational Develop¬ment Force. VX-3's main mission was threefold: to evaluate new and already existing naval aircraft, airborne equip¬ment and methods; recommend methods for the most effective tactical employment of aircraft and equipment; and to recommend training proce¬dures and countermeasures for these aircraft and methods. Based at NAS Atlantic City, New Jersey, VX-3 boast¬ed some of the Navy's most experienced aviators, and from 1948 until decommissioning flew nearly ev¬ery new model of carrier-based aircraft in the fleet.

VX-3 F8U-ls 141358 #5, 141362 #1, and 141347 #6 being serviced in front of the FDR's island in April 1957 during car-quaffs. (Vaught)

141357 and 141358 prepairing for launch, note location of the wing codes and the call number on the tail-cone as well as the forward fuselage. (Vaught)

141362 landing on CVA-42. The raised bulk¬head on the front of the wing is red. [Nought)

The squadron received its first Vought F8U-1 "Crusader" in Decem¬ber 1956. VX-3 also received the Fl 1F-1 "Tiger" and F4D-1 "Skyray" shortly thereafter. In April 1957, VX-3 became the first Navy squadron to operate off the deck of an aircraft car¬rier with these new fighters. The squadron went onboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) for carrier qualifications and advanced TACAN work. VX-3's Commanding Officer, Captain Dose, made the first fleet landing of the new F8U-1 while aboard CVA-42.

VX-3 F8U-1 141358 taxis forward prior to launch from the FAR in April 1957. (USN via Steve Pace)
F8U-1 from VX-3 conducting in-flight refueling tests from a VAH-11 AJ-2 "Savage" tanker aircraft. (USN via NASM)

On 6 June 1957, CAPT Dose and LCDR P. Miller, Jr., took off from the USS BonHomnne Richard (CVA-31) on the west coast and landed on the USS Saratoga (CVA-60) on the east coast, a distance of 2,200 miles, in the record-breaking time of three hours and twenty-eight minutes.
Not all Crusader operations at VX-3 led to glory; some led to blood-n¬guts. In early December 1956 LT Blake landed short of the runway in the dirt. Then on 21 December a VX-3 pilot on his first (and last) Crusader flight raised the wing at 500 knots and lost the wing, the aircraft, and his life. The dubious honor of the first F-8 carrier accident fell to VX-3 when on 2 April 1957 LCDR Miller sheared off a landing gear on touchdown aboard CVA-42. Three days later CDR Boyd lost power on takeoff from the F.D.R. and executed a successful ditching only to drown along with the help rescue crewman.

On 6-6-57 CAPT Dose and LCDR Miller prepair to launch from CVA-31 on their record breaking west to east speed run.(LISN) 143706 during refueling trials. (AAHS) F8U-1 143724 sporting VX-3s new JC tail code in late 1957. (G. S. Williams via Pace)

The squadron continued to oper¬ate the F8U-1 and later the F8U-2 in projects for mirror landing systems, Sidewinders, Zunis, in-flight refueling and aerial tow targets. Air Develop¬ment Squadron Three was decom¬missioned on 1 March 1960.

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