Historic Markers Across Tennessee

F11F-1 Tiger

Marker ID:  
Location: 210-260 Graham Dr, Union City, TN
County: Obion
Coordinates: N 36° 26.214    W 089° 4.254
  36.4369    -89.0709
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


F11F-1 Tiger

The F11F-1 Tiger, a single-seat carrier-based fighter, entered service in 1954 during an era of rapid advancement in aeronautical engineering. The proportion ratios of this aircraft and its swept-wing design are both the result of lessons learned during the early days of faster-than-sound flight. Later redesignated as F-11, it was so fast that during the test firing of a 20mm cannon in 1956, one pilot nearly shot himself out of the sky.
The pilot entered a dive after firing, and as the rounds lost speed and began to fall, the aircraft continued as the same speed, eventually catching up to the rounds. Fortunately, the pilot was able to land safely.

The U. S. Navy's flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, flew the F-11 from 1957-1969, the longest of any aircraft used by the squadron. Captain Robert L. Rasmussen flew this particular F-11 between 1958-1960, most in flight demonstrations as the Blue Angels' diamond formation #4 pilot. He would later serve as Director of the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. After 30 years in this position, he retired in 2014. One of his final acts as director was to oversee the loan of this aircraft to Discovery Park of America. It has been displayed at the front gate of the Navy Base since 1965 and was moved here in 2014. It was not until it reached Union City and the data plate found during its display preparation that it was identified as the aircraft Captain Rasmussen had flown 300 times, fact he never knew until then.