Oak Grove Airfield North Carolina

F11A BuNo. 138639


This aircraft was one of F-11F-1 Tiger/Short Nose 1957-1958.


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 One night, back in the early sixties, a young Navy pilot was returning to NAS Oceana in his F11-1 when his plane began experiencing serious engine trouble. He briefly thought about ejecting, but just before he pulled his halo, he saw the dim lights of an airfield directly below him. It looked to be a very small field...but hell...any size field offered a better option than ejecting into the inky blackness above Lord knows where. So in spite of his loss of power, and in spite of the warning lights blazing on his panel, the young pilot managed to dead stick his jet onto the runway of Oak Grove Airfield. The young pilot didn't know it then, but Oak Grove had been built during the height of WWII. Twenty years earlier, it had been the home of two USMC Corsair squadrons...and both had later seen much action in the Pacific.

A few days later, the Navy sent a ground crew to inspect the F11F-1. They determined that the aircraft could be easily repaired, but there was a problem. While Oak Grove's runways were plenty long for WWII Corsairs, they were nowhere near long enough to launch an F11F-1. The pilot had saved his plane by skillfully landing it on the old air field’s very short runway. But his F11F-1 wasn't ever going to fly away from Oak Grove.

So the Navy called the Marines for help. After looking the situation over, the Marines decided that it would to strap the crippled F11F-1 beneath one of their big choppers and fly the jet to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. Cherry Point, only thirty or so miles east, boasted a state-of-the-art aircraft rework facility.

Only a short distance from the end of Oak Grove's runway, the F11F-1 began to yaw wildly under the chopper. Something had gone wrong. Maybe it was the strong southwest wind. Maybe the straps had been wrongly positioned...nobody knows. But one thing was for sure, the F11F-1 was threatening to take both aircraft headlong into a dark North Carolina swamp. The Marines had no choice. They wisely cut the jet free.

Now, she rests. in the deep woods, a couple of miles the old Oak Grove airfield. She's still in the place where she came crashing through the pine canopy almost fifty years ago. Her engine, her guns and many of her other parts have been salvaged...but her pitiful carcass remains.

For the complete story at told be the author, refer to the link below: