F-14 Tomcat 50th Anniversary: Cradle Of Aviation Museum To Receive The Last F-14 To Ever Fly

F-14 Tomcat 50th Anniversary: Cradle Of Aviation Museum To Receive The Last F-14 To Ever Fly
F-14B Tomcat onboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate Airman Philip V. Morrill) (Released)

The Cradle of Aviation Museum is set to continue the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the F-14 Tomcat fighter Jet.

According to Patch.com, The Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the F-14 Tomcat, one of the most iconic Navy fighters ever built on Long Island. While Hollywood may have cemented the F-14 in the public eye with movies like “Top Gun,” it was Grumman engineers on Long Island that designed and built the famous aircraft.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the storied aircraft, the Cradle of Aviation is expanding its already robust F-14 collection. The collection already includes the third F-14 ever built and the oldest surviving, flying from 1971-1990, and two F-14 cockpits, nose and flight suits.

To enhance the collection in honor of the anniversary, a temporary exhibit will open this month with never-before-seen artifacts taken out of storage, such as concept models and photographs. Objects will be on display until December 2020.

Soon to travel to the museum for restoration and permanent display is the last F-14 to ever fly, number 711 of 712 made, from the Grumman Memorial Park in Bethpage.

In addition to the exhibit, the museum will host a dinner on Aug. 21 at 6, followed by a discussion with distinguished guests to be determined. More information about F-14 transport and dinner will be provided as the celebration unfolds.

F-14D 164603 was first delivered on May 29, 1992 at NAS Miramar to VF-124 Gunfighters, the West Coast Tomcat Fleet RAG (the Replacement Air Group, the naval training squadron for a specific aircraft), and subsequently became one of the first D-model aircraft assigned to VF-2 in June of the following year.

Transferred to VF-213 in late 1997, the jet remained with the ‘Black Lions’ until passed on to VF-101 in early 2002. However, while with VF-213 this Tomcat led the first manned strike of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), when F-14s and F/A-18s from CVW-11 hit an SA-3 SAM battery, and its attendant target acquisition guidance radars, near Kabul’s international airport on Oct. 7, 2001.

BuNo 164603 returned to the fleet in the summer of 2003 when the aircraft was sent to VF-31 and soon became its ‘Felix 101’ jet. Completing a further two cruises with the unit, the Tomcat had the distinction of making the final flight by a Navy F-14 on Oct. 4, 2006, when it flew from NAS Oceana to Republic Airport, Farmingdale, New York.

In addition to the exhibit, the museum will host a dinner on Aug. 21 at 6, followed by a discussion with distinguished guests to be determined.

More information about F-14 transport and dinner will be provided as the celebration unfolds.

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