Another Cat Among the Pigeons

At the annual 2014 Wings Over Miami museum car show they had a great variety of cars on display but they also had their aircraft museum open for viewing. There was a Consolidated PBY Catalina “Super Cat out in the car park surrounded by classic cars but in the hangar was their mighty Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat. Sitting next to it was a quite diminutive Porsche which really highlights the massive size of the F-14!

Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat Wings Over Miami Air Museum
The Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat dwarves the Porsche!

This former carrier borne fleet defender was delivered to the US Navy on August 22nd, 1991 and served with fighter squadron VF-31 Tomcatters until 2006. This F-14D (164342) participated in the last Tomcat tour aboard the Super Carrier USS Roosevelt (CVN-71) and was one of the last F-14D to see combat over Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2006. VF-31 was also the last Tomcat squadron in the US Pacific Fleet.

Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat of VF-31 Tomcatters over the Persian Gulf in 2005
Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat of VF-31 Tomcatters over the Persian Gulf in 2005 (Photo Source: US Navy)

Fighter squadron VF-31 Tomcatters was formed in 1948 and has flown a long succession of naval jet fighters. I doubt they would have imagined that one day they would actually fly an aircraft called the Tomcat! The mascot of VF-31 is Felix the Cat.

F-14D of VF-31 Tomcatters US Navy
F-14D of VF-31 Tomcatters
Felix the Cat VF-31 Tomcatters F-14D Super Tomcat
Felix the Cat
Tomcatters just win, baby!
Tomcatters just win, baby!

The squadron first flew the Grumman F9F Panther (1948-1952), then the McDonnell F2H Banshee (1952-1957), McDonnell F3H/F3B Demon (1957-1964),  the McDonnell Douglas F-4B/J Phantom II (1964-1981), their first Tomcats the F-14A entered squadron service in 1981 before switching to the F-14D in 1992. The F-14’s operated over Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2006 following the retirement of the F-14D, the squadron was redesignated VFA-31 and transitioned to their current aircraft, the Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet. The proud history of this squadron continues on today.

US Navy The Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat was operational from 1992 - 2006
The Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat was operational with the US Navy from 1992 – 2006
F-14D Super Tomcat Beware the Blast
At Mach 2.34 there must have been quite a bit of blast!

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