Airborne Awesomosity

The Convair TF-2T Sea Dart

What do you if you are the US Navy and don’t have any floating air strips large enough to launch supersonic aircraft? The answer is to create a supersonic float plane of course.

Splish splash taking a bath at mach 1

In the early 1950’s the US Navy was sitting there watching the Air Force show off all those sleek new supersonic fighters and wanted to get in on the action. The problem was one of size due to the carriers of the day. They really wanted that new delta winged interceptor but the Vought Cutlass taught them that delta wings and carriers don’t mix. So what options do you have?  Well you know the world is seventy percent water and the Navy has a history of seaplanes. So why don’t they take a Convair F-102 Delta Dagger and put in on skis?
Even though this was just a feasibility study, you have to wonder about how these would have been deployed. The logistics involved in how you would carry them on a boat or launch them quickly is mind numbing. This really was the worst answer to the question.

The Sea Dart was on display in front of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station in Pennsylvania. Even with it being a F-102 derivative it still stood out on it’s own. It draws your eyes in ways that no other delta wing does. Even for the most accomplished plane spotter the question is how many times do you get to see a supersonic seaplane? Simply put you don’t.
The Sea Dart went through many different ski configurations during testing. The Navy really wanted to see this concept work. Once again you have to ask why? Below is a short two minute clip from Speedvision with stock footage of the Sea Dart in action.
For the Willow Grove Wings of Freedom website go to

  • It's amazing how "the worst answer to the question" is often the most awesomely cool answer.

    • fodder650

      It is true that there are several cases of this. Also here are the rest of my pictures of the Willow Grove museums outside aircraft. There is only 10 or so in the set.

    • pj134

      That's because they're all attempts to prove Occam's Razor false.

  • VeeArrrSix

    Is that a rudder on the bottom on the tail?

    • fodder650

      I believe it's a stabilizer since it can't be moved. Although it looks hinged.

      • VeeArrrSix

        How does is steer in the water?

  • Number_Six

    The Greek Air Force tried this recently with a Mirage 2000. There may have been elements of the concept they missed in the design phase…
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    • Man, I hate it when that happens to mine.

    • B72

      That's an expensive parking spot.

    • fodder650

      You're doing it wrong

    • highmileage_v1

      Shades of Thunderball! Burble…

  • highmileage_v1

    Where do you attach the ski rope?

    • fodder650

      Onto the rudder that VR6 found

  • Abe

    "Dad, you know how you've been saying you want a new fishing boat? I have just the thing!"

    • Abe

      Oh, and why is it that Convair made so many wild and crazy experimental planes and still didn't make it financially? So much for "Fortune favors the bold".

      • fodder650

        During these years they made their money on both wild and different (F-102 and F106) and old time conventional (B-36). I believe they survived as General Dynamics and didn't die off. Of course karma's a bitch and after what they did to win the B35 Flying Wing/B36 Peacemaker contest they were due to be ruined.

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