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Watch: Grumman F-14 Tomcat Type Transition Training at NAS Miramar

The Film “F-14 Air Combat Maneuvering” is a Feast for Naval Aviation Fans

VF-1 F-14A. US Navy photograph

The film “F-14 Tomcat Air Combat Maneuvering” was a promotional film made during the mid-1970s  by Grumman and Aerolog Productions. The Grumman F-14A Tomcat is of course heavily featured and its capabilities explained in detail, but another great thing about the film is the look it gives us of Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar back in the heyday of West Coast fighter squadron activity. Of course Miramar would go on to become the home of TOP GUN, but this film was shot after TOP GUN had begun and during the fleet’s transition to the new jet. It was uploaded to YouTube by PeriscopeFilm.

The film makes a point of explaining three particular engagements. The first engagement is a VF-124 F-14A going against a VF-126 T-38 Talon. The second engagement is a VF-124 F-14A going against a VF-126 TA-4J Skyhawk. The third engagement is a VF-124 F-14A going against a VF-51 F-4N Phantom II. The VF-124 F-14As are crewed by students; the adversary jets by instructors. So the film gives us a nice overview of what fighter tactics doctrine looked like at the time, as well as how it was likely to be profoundly changed in the not so distant future by the incredible F-14.

VF-126 TA-4Js. US Navy photograph

The film includes great footage of NAS Miramar during the mid-1970s. Aircraft appearing in the film include VF-124 Gunfighters Grumman F-14A Tomcats, VF-1 Wolfpack F-14As, VF-2 Bounty Hunters F-14As, VF-154 Black Knights McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom IIs, VF-96 Fighting Falcons F-4Js, VF-51 Screaming Eagles F-4Bs, VF-21 Freelancers F-4Bs, VF-302 Stallions F-4Bs, VF-24 Red Checkertails Vought F-8J Crusaders, VF-301 Devil’s Disciples F-8Js, VFP-63 Eyes of the Fleet RF-8As, VC-5 Checkertails Douglas A-4E Skyhawks, VC-7 Tallyhoers A-4Es, and VF-126 Bandits Northrop T-38 Talons, Northrop F-5E Tigers, Douglas TA-4J Skyhawks, and A-4Fs. Also included is footage of VF-1 and VF-2 operating from the carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) during the first Tomcat Cruise with Carrier Air Wing ONE FOUR (CVW-14) back in 1974-1975.

VF-302 F-4N. US Navy photograph

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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