Two-of-Few Grumman F9F Panthers Would Be Incredible in a Dogfight at Air Shows

Soon after the Second World War ended, America was quick to jump on the fighter jet train. True, work on machines that could take to the sky by means others than propellers began even as the world’s nations were at each others’ throats, but it wasn’t until peace came that it really took off. And one of America’s first and most important machines of this kind is the Grumman F9F Panther.
Grumman F9F Panther during the Korean War 8 photos
Grumman F9F PantherGrumman F9F PantherGrumman F9F PantherGrumman F9F PantherGrumman F9F PantherGrumman F9F PantherGrumman F9F Panther
Made for the U.S. Navy as a carrier-based fighter jet, the Panther was seriously put to the test during the Korean War. It had close to 80,000 combat sorties back then, squaring off against World War 2 relics like the Yak-9, but also modern aircraft of Russian make, like the MiG-15. It was also the first jet to fly under the banners of the Blue Angels.

The Panther was powered by a turbojet engine that gave it a maximum speed of 579 mph (932 kph) and a range of 1,300 miles (2,100 km). It was mostly armed with 20 mm cannons, but could also hold air-to-surface missiles and up to 2,000 lb (910 kg) of bombs.

Until the airplane was retired in 1958, close to 1,400 of them were made in a small number of variants. It’s unknown how many of them remain today, but stumbling upon two of them at once is a very rare occurrence. Yet here they are, two Panther jets, not quite ready to fly yet, but getting there.

We found the two waiting for a new owner on Platinum Fighters. The first is F9F-4, meaning one of the Panthers powered by an Allison J33 engine and with a longer fuselage, while the second an F9F-5, which generally came with a Pratt & Whitney J48 powerplant, but is offered with an Allison too.

Both are ready to enter restoration work that would eventually allow them to fly once more. They sell complete with “many spare and NOS Grumman Panther parts,” and one can get the pair for just $135,000. Or, if the buyer is generous, they could pony up $229,000 and get a third airplane thrown into the mix, an F-84G Thunderjet.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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