Welcome to VF-17 Squadron. This squadron is made up of people who share two things. First, an interest in the aerial warfare of WWII. Second, a passion for flying the WWII flight simulator Aces High. It allows people to harken back to the days of the heroic pilots and take part in flight operations. Hopefully, it will also cause people to learn a bit more about what the pilots of that time went through.
The real VF-17 Squadron
VF-17 Jolly Rogers
Fighting Squadron 17 was formed in Norfolk, VA on 1 January 1943 under the command of LCdr John Thomas Blackburn. Before having led VGF-29 in Operation TORCH, Blackburn had been a flight instructor at NAS, Miami; he recruited fellow instructor LCdr Roger Hedrick to be XO of the squadron. Fighting Squadron 17 was selected to fly the new Vought F4U-1 Corsair, a gull-winged fighter built around a powerful Pratt-Witney 18 cylinder radial engine. The pilots of VF-17 loved their birds, and quickly gained the nickname "Blackburn's Irregulars" for hell-raising antics: Ens Howard "Teeth" Burriss ran a truck off a highway while playing "chicken" in an inverted F4U, and Ens Ira ?Ike? Kepford held an impromptu low-level dogfight with an Army P-51 pilot over residential Norfolk. After word of this "flat-hatting" reached higher ears, VF-17 was transferred to rural Manteo, NC (on the coast near Kitty Hawk) where they completed their pre-carrier training.
Initially, VF-17 was assigned to the carrier Bunker Hill (CV-17), but problems with visibility and landing gear bounce caused the Navy to question the Corsair's carrier-worthiness. The Jolly Rogers worked closely with engineers at Vought to modify the F4U rather than switching to the F6F Hellcat, which they believed to be an inferior fighter. Lt(jg) Butch Davenport of VF-17 helped develop an airflow spoiler on the right wing of the F4U which helped keep the wings level in a low-speed stall; this modification became standard in all later models of the Corsair. Despite the addition of oleo struts to reduce bounce and a raised seat for added visibility, VF-17 was reassigned to land-based duty while on-route to Pearl Harbor. Fighting squadron 18, flying the Grumman Hellcat, was assigned to Air Wing 17; VF-17 was transferred to the Solomon Islands. The Jolly Rogers reached Ondonga, New Georgia in October 1943.
Carriers of the VF-17 Squadron
USS Bunker Hill CV-17
USS Hornet CV-12