The Convair F2Y Sea Dart was a unique seaplane fighter aircraft that rode on the water waves on twin hydro-skis for takeoff ! After the second world war, the U.S. Navy wanted a supersonic interceptor aircraft. To get more "run way length", it was to operate from the sea itself.
Convair got an order for two prototypes in late 1951. The design was a delta-winged fighter with a watertight hull and twin retractable hydro-skis for takeoff and landing. When stationary or moving slowly in the water, the Sea Dart floated with the trailing edge of the wings touching the water. The skis were not extended until the aircraft reached about 10 mph (16 km/h) during its takeoff run.
The aircraft was made at Convair's San Diego facility. First flight was beginning 1953. Violent vibration occurred during takeoff and landing, despite the shock-absorbing oleo legs they were extended on. Work on the skis and oleo legs improved this situation somewhat, but they could not cure the sluggish performance. The Sea Dart proved incapable of supersonic speed in level flight with the J34 engines. A speed in excess of Mach 1 was attained in a shallow dive, making it the only supersonic seaplane to date. On 4 November 1954, Sea Dart, BuNo 135762, disintegrated in mid-air over San Diego Bay, California. But the US Navy had already been losing interest and the program was terminated.
This YF2Y-1 Sea Dart, Bureau Number 135763, is on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum in the Balboa Park area of San Diego, California. It is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola.
Photographed Januari 2012 by Cees Hendriks (c) Copyright IPMS Nederland