Atlantic Ocean – November 2, 1948

Atlantic Ocean – November 2, 1948


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 2, 1948, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte was operating in waters off the coast of New England.  On that day, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121542), took off from the Quonset Point Naval; Air Station and landed aboard the Leyte. 

     Later, when the pilot took off from the ship, he did so by going off the bow.  Immediately after take off the Bearcat began running roughly and emitting black smoke.  The aircraft lost altitude and dropped nearly to the water, but the pilot was able to recover and bring his plane up to about 1,000 feet of altitude, at which time he began to circle back toward and around the ship.  (The pilot later reported that the cockpit gauges indicated that fuel and oil pressure were normal, but the cylinder head temperature was 300 degrees.)  As the Bearcat was approaching the aircraft carrier from the rear, the engine lost all power and the pilot was forced to make a water landing.  The Bearcat sank within 90 seconds, but the pilot was able to escape unharmed, and was rescued within minutes. 

     The coordinates of the accident were 37 degrees, 19 north, 70 degrees, 14.5 west.   

     The pilot was assigned to VF-71.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 2, 1948   


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