Grumman FF

infobox Aircraft
name =FF / SF "Fifi"
type =Naval fighter
manufacturer =Grumman

caption =
designer = Leroy Grumman
first flight =29 December 1931
introduced =June 1933
retired =1940
primary user =United States Navy
more users = Spanish Republican Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
produced = 1932-1934
number built = 120
unit cost =
developed from=
variants with their own articles = Grumman F2F

The Grumman G-5 design was an American biplane fighter aircraft operated by the United States Navy during 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 December of 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-1830 Wasp engine in place of the Cyclone.

Operational history

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Both the FF-1 and SF-1 were withdrawn from first-line US Navy squadrons by the end of 1936 and reallocated to reserve units, most of the FF-1s still being in service late in 1940.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 Force as 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 1940 until 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 Scotia where the Goblins for a time constituted the sole fighter force on the east coast. [ [ 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 Force in 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 Factory with 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 Standard propeller;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

pecifications (FF-1)

Aircraft specification

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
ref="The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft"
crew= 1
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
engine (prop)= Wright R-1820-78 Cyclone
type of prop= radial engine
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
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
*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.

External links

* [ Grumman Goblin]
* [ Grumman FF-1 'Fifi']

ee also

* Grumman F2F
similar aircraft=
* List of US Naval aircraft
see also=

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