A Grumman U.S. 2B Tracker, part of the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point air show static display crashed at approximately 2:20 Thursday afternoon, three miles south of the air field. There are five injured. Four walked away from the crash. One person is in critical condition and was been taken to Craven Regional Medical Center by ambulance. There is no known cause for the crash yet. Stay tuned to WITN for complete coverage.
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To meet a Navy requirement for an aircraft combining search and attack capability in the carrier based antisubmarine role, Grumman designed a twin engine, high wing monoplane with 1,525 HP Wright R-1820-82WA piston engines, internal weapons bay, retractable search radar and 70 million candle power search light. To help locate a submarine under the water, the airplane was given a Magnetic Anomaly Detector, which was mounted in a retractable tail boom and sonobouy tubes with the equipment for picking up the sounds made by the submarine.
The first flight of a Grumman S2F-1 was made December 4, 1952. The first S2F-1 squadron was Antisubmarine Squadron TWO SIX (VS-26), entering service in February 1954. The airplane received the nickname of "STOOF" (S-Two-F). Torpedoes, depth charges and rockets were used for offensive measures, including its biggest "stick", a nuclear depth charge. The fuel tanks could contain 520 gallons of aviation gas, enough for a combat range of 841 sea miles or a 6 hours flight. The cruising speed was 130 knots and the top speed was 230 knots. A total of 755 S-2F-1's were built.
To See how rugged the Tracker is, Click here to watch a film clip.
Length: 42 ft.
Height: 16 ft. 3 in.
Wingspan: 68 ft. 8 in.
Empty Weight: 18,315 lbs.
Max Weight: 26,000 lbs.
Number of Engines: 2 Wright R-1820-82 or - 82A's
Range: 841 miles
Cruise Speed: 130 knots
Max Speed: 230 knots
Service ceiling: 22,000 ft.
A flying sponsorship for the US-2B is $3,500, payable over a two year period.
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A Supporting Sponsorship is $350.
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75 S-2F-1 (After 1960, S-2A) were converted to US-2B transport aircraft and target tug. All ASW equipment was removed, including the search light. These aircraft could be recognized by the absence of the sonobouy installations in the engine nacelles. These aircraft could carry five passengers and cargo in the weapons bay. The US-2B was flown by both US Navy and Marines Corps.
There were many different versions of the Tracker, including the TS-2A (trainer), S-2B (updated ASW gear), S-2C (larger weapons bay for nuclear depth charge), S-2D (new engine and added electronic countermeasures), and S-2E (updated ASW systems). There were two primary design spin-offs of the Tracker, the E-1 Tracer and the C-1 Trader. The Tracer or WillyFudd or "Stoof with a roof" was an airborne Early Warning platform that took the Tracker airframe, modified it and put a large radome on top of the plane. The Trader provide Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) services allowing the C-1 to bring to the carrier personnel, parts, and the mail. The Tracker was not only used by the United States, but by many allied countries: Argentina, Australian, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, The Netherlands, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The Tracker operated by the Old Dominion Squadron started its service life as a S2F-1 in 1955 from Bethpage, NY. The plane is Bureau number 136404. It served with VS-39 and VS-32 out of NAS Quonset Point, RI from 1955 thru 1965. During this time the Tracker was at sea on the USS Antietam CVS-36, USS Leyte CVS-32, USS Wasp CVS-18 and USS Lake Champlian CVS-39. It was converted to an US-2B at Pensacola, FL in 1965 and 1966. As utility aircraft it flew from NAS Jacksonville, FL and NAS Cecil Field, FL until 1976 when it was assigned to Fleet Composite Squadron TWO at NAS Oceana, VA. In 1978 the plane's service to the Navy ended when it was flown out to the desert and put into the boneyard. In 1982 the airplane was sold by the Navy to a private owner. The Tracker passed through several owners before being donated to the Commemorative Air Force in 2002. The Old Dominion Squadron took responsibility for Tracker 404 in January 2003.