The Chance Vought F8U Crusader was developed in response to the U.S. Navy’s 1952 requirement for a supersonic, carrier-based day fighter.1 At that time, carriers also embarked specialized night/all-weather aircraft.
The prototype XF8U-1 first flew on 25 March 1955, and easily exceeded Mach 1 in level flight, a remarkable achievement. It was the first time a Navy fighter had exceeded the speed of sound in level flight. Chance Vought test pilot John Konrad reached 35,000 feet. It immediately was obvious that the Crusader was an exceptional aircraft, and in 1957 the coveted Collier Trophy was awarded jointly to the Navy and to Chance Vought for its design and achievements.