name =FF / SF "Fifi"
type =Naval fighter
first flight =
29 December 1931
introduced =June 1933
primary user =
United States Navy
more users =
Spanish Republican Air Force Royal Canadian Air Force
produced = 1932-1934
number built = 120
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =
The Grumman G-5 design was an American biplane
fighter aircraftoperated by the United States Navyduring the 1930s, designated FF-1.Eden and Moeng 2002, p. 762.] It was the first Navy aircraft with retractable landing gear.Winchester 2002, p. 21.]
Design and development
The FF-1 was
Grumman’s first aircraft design for the US Navy. The prototype XFF-1 (serial number A8878) was built to a contract placed on 22 April 1931, first flying on 29 Decemberof that year.Cacutt 1989, p. 155-162.] Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p. 195.] A two-seat design, with an enclosed cockpit, fuselage of all-metal construction, and wings covered largely with fabric. The XFF-1 was powered initially by a 616 hp (459 kW) Wright R-1820-E Cyclone radial engine, it achieved 195 mph (314 km/h) during service trials, and when the original engine was exchanged for a 750 hp (560 kW) Wright R-1820-F Cyclone the XFF-1 reached a top speed of 201 mph (323 km/h), faster than any US Navy fighter in service at the time.
A production order was placed for 27 two-seat FF-1 (G-5) on
19 December 1932. Meanwhile Grumman had completed a second prototype (serial number A8940) to a two-seat scout configuration as the XSF-1 (G-6). Subsequently 33 production SF-1s were ordered based on the two-seat configuration. They differed from the FF-1 principally in having revised internal equipment and in being powered by R-1820-84 Cyclones instead of the R-1820-78 model installed in the fighter version. One XSF-2 was also completed, this having a Pratt & Whitney R-1830Wasp engine in place of the Cyclone.
FF-1s were delivered to Fighter Squadron VF-5B of the USS Lexington beginning in June of 1933. In service the FF-1 became familiarly known as the "Fifi". Delivery of SF-1s started in
30 March 1934, and they also served aboard the "Lexington", with Scout Squadron VS-3B.
Both the FF-1 and SF-1 were withdrawn from first-line US Navy squadrons by the end of 1936 and reallocated to reserve units, most of the FF-1s still being in service late in 1940. Later, 22 surviving FF-1s were modified with dual controls, redesignated FF-2 and used for instructional duties.Green and Swanborough 1988, p. 259.] The Canadian Car & Foundry Co acquired a manufacturing licence for the FF-1, of which it completed a total of 57, some of them assembled from US-built components. Although initially rejected as a fighter by the
Royal Canadian Air Forceas outdated and too slow, with the advent of war, the last 15 of the CC&F production batch were accepted as the Goblin I. The aircraft type served with the RCAF from 17 September 1940until 21 April 1942. "A" Flight of No. 118 RCAF Sqn was equipped with Goblins at Rockcliffe in Ottawa, and subsequently became No. 118 (Fighter) Sqn., later stationed at Dartmouth, Nova Scotiawhere the Goblins for a time constituted the sole fighter force on the east coast. [ [http://www.rcaf.com/aircraft/fighters/goblin/index.php Grumman Goblin] ]
Prior to this RCAF use, a single example was delivered to
Nicaragua, and, allegedly, one to Japan; the remaining 40 were ostensibly purchased by the Turkish government but were in fact received by the Spanish Republican Air Forcein 1937. Eight survived the civil war. [Fitzsimons 1967/1969, p. 932.]
Royal Canadian Air Force
Imperial Japanese Navy, one Canadian-built example under designation AXG
Spanish Republican Air Force
United States Navy
;XFF-1: single prototype, serial number A8878;FF-1: 27 built, two-seat U.S. Navy carrier-borne fighter;FF-2: 25 of the original FF-1 fighters converted by the
Naval Aircraft Factorywith dual controls to serve as fighter trainers;XSF-1: second prototype, serial number A8940;SF-1: 33 built, two-seat U.S. Navy carrier-borne scout;XSF-2: one aircraft, an SF-1 airframe with the 650 hp (485 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1535-72 Twin Wasp Junior engine driving a Hamilton Standardpropeller;G23 Goblin: 57 FF-1s built under licence by the Canadian Car & Foundry Company;XSBF-1: the XSF-2 airframe modified with a triangular frame beneath the engine mounting to carry one 500 lb (227 kg) or two 100 lb (45 kg bombs, flown 18 February 1936
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
ref="The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft"
span main= 34 ft 6 in
span alt= 10.52 m
length main= 24 ft 6 in
length alt= 7.47 m
height main= 11 ft 1 in
height alt= 3.38 m
area main= 310 ft2
area alt= 28.8 m2
empty weight main= 3,098 lb
empty weight alt= 1,405 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
max takeoff weight main= 4,677 lb
max takeoff weight alt=2,121 kg
Wright R-1820-78 Cyclone
type of prop=
number of props= 1
power main= 700 hp
power alt= 520 kW
max speed main= 207 mph at 4,000 ft
max speed alt= 333 km/h
ceiling main= 22,100 ft
ceiling alt= 6,735 m
range main= 685 mi
range alt= 1,100 km
climb rate main= 1,667 ft/min
climb rate alt= 508 m/min
*2× 0.30 in (7.62 mm)
M1919 Browning machine guns
*1× 100 lb (45 kg) bomb
* Cacutt, Len, ed. "Grumman Single-Seat Biplane Fighters." "Great Aircraft of the World". London: Marshall Cavendish, 1989. ISBN 1-85435-250-4.
* Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the 20th Century Weapons and Warfare". New York: Purnell & Sons Ltd., 1967/1969, ISBN 0-83936-175-0.
* Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. "The Complete Book of Fighters". New York: Barnes & Noble Inc., 1988, ISBN 0-07607-0904-1.
* Swanborough, Gordon and Bowers, Peter M."United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911". Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1976. ISBN 0-87021-968-5.
* Winchester, Jim. "Fighters of the 20th Century". Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2002. ISBN 1-84037-388-1.
* [http://www.rcaf.com/aircraft/fighters/goblin/index.php Grumman Goblin]
* [http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/specs/grumman/ff-1.htm Grumman FF-1 'Fifi']
List of US Naval aircraft
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