On Oct. 17, 2018 “Sweet Little Miss” has arrived at its new home at the Museum of Flight in Rome, Georgia
On Oct. 17, 2018 Grumman F-14D BuNo 164346 “Sweet Little Miss” has arrived at its new home at the Museum of Flight in Rome, Georgia. This jet is the last Tomcat to land on an aircraft carrier.
On Jul. 28, 2006 in fact F-14D 164346 then assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Squadron Three One (VF-31) and piloted by Lieutenant Chris Rattigan and Lieutenant Paul Dort completed the last scheduled arrested landing of an F-14 fighter aircraft landing aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the Atlantic Ocean.
The F-14 was officially retired on Sept. 22 2006, after 32 years of service to the fleet.
As we have previously reported, the Museum of Flight 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.
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 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.
Photo credit: Museum of Flight and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Laird / U.S. Navy
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com