F-14 Tomcat


F-14D BuNo 164346 “Sweet Little Miss” piloted by Lieutenant Chris Rattigan and Lieutenant Paul Dort assigned to the “Tomcatters” of VF-31, completed the last scheduled arrested landing of a Tomcat on Jul. 28, 2006

Taken on Jul. 28, 2006 in the Atlantic Ocean aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), the main image of this post shows an F-14D Tomcat, aircraft number 110, BuNo 164346 “Sweet Little Miss” piloted by Lieutenant Chris Rattigan and Lieutenant Paul Dort assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Squadron Three One (VF-31), completing the last scheduled arrested landing of an F-14 fighter aircraft.

The F-14 was officially retired on Sept. 22 2006, after 32 years of service to the fleet.

The Museum of Flight, based out of Rome, GA, has been given the extremely unique opportunity by the National Naval Aviation Museum to host and display Georgia’s only Tomcat, a living relic that tells the story of brave men and women who have flown and fought in the mighty F-14.

However, as explained on Museum of Flight website, fees for the transport of the aircraft have been quoted at $40,000. With a price this steep the museum feared that it might crush its chance at homing such an historic aircraft.

To save Sweet Little Miss, director Christine Lewis, contacted the F-14 Tomcat Association. The Association not only offered to support the museum GoFundMe campaign by publishing it in their newsletter, website, and on their Facebook page, but they also offered their expertise and to help the Museum of Flight in saving this iconic aircraft from scrapping.

AircraftProfilePrints.com is offering a commemorative 40″ x 16″ special edition print in order to support the efforts of The Museum of Flight in saving “Sweet Little Miss” from an uncertain future (most likely scrapping) so she can be relocated, displayed and taken care of for future generations to see! Each prints are individually numbered and contain the donor’s (your) name! CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

The F-14 Tomcat was the premier fighter aircraft for the U.S. Navy, from the end of the Vietnam War to 2006. The fighter was glorified on the big screen in movies like The Final Countdown and Top Gun and regarded by its pilots and aircraft engineers as the best aircraft of its time. But when F-14s were retired from service, there was concern that Iran would begin to acquire the spare parts through the black market as the U.S. Navy Tomcats were being demilitarized. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) in fact still flies several of the F-14s that the U.S. sold to Iran in the 70s when the countries were still on good terms. The Department of Defense began destroying the planes and their parts as a result, and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon drafted the Stop Arming Iran Act in 2008 to prohibit the sale of any parts to any entity other than museums.

Museums are now the only place where the F-14 survives, and are the best places to celebrate this unique fighter.

BuNo 164346 was displayed by the Virginia Aviation Museum in Richmond. This F-14 was delivered to the Evaluators of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX-4) in 1992 and before ending its career serving with VF-31, it flew with the Grim Reapers of VF-101 and the Bounty Hunters of VF-2. BuNo 164346 flew combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Unfortunately, the Virginia Aviation Museum has closed, and the fate of this iconic aircraft is uncertain. So give your support to the Museum of Flight GoFundMe campaign and help Sweet Little Miss to find a new home.

We have just learned that Sweet Little Miss has been cleared for disassembly for movement from Richmond VA to Rome GA. Nevertheless she still needs to be transported, assembled and recover from this bad condition (and keeping her in good condition). Remember you can still support the effort, she has a lot of work ahead that needs funds to be raised!

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Laird and Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Tony Foster / U.S. Navy

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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  • I will be sharing this to my page to make my fans aware of her plight. She was the recipient of the yearly plane washes before they closed the museum.

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