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12 Little Known Facts About The F-14 Tomcat

I feel the need...the need for speed!

1) The F-14 made its first flight nearly 45 years ago, on December 21, 1970.

USAF / Tech. Sgt. Rob Tabor

2) The F-14 was the largest and heaviest US fighter to fly from an aircraft carrier.

3) Depending on wing sweep, the fuselage provides between 40-60% of the total lift for the F-14.

4) The F-14 was the only launch platform for the AIMG-54 Phoenix missile, and it could carry up to 6 of the 1,000 pound missiles at a time.


5) The F-14 had one of the most powerful radars available at the time - it was able to track up to 24 targets at once.

6) The F-14 had incredible flexibility - it served as the Navy's maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor, and aerial reconnaissance platform. That's three very different roles for one jet.

US Navy

7) The only country currently operating the F-14 is...Iran.

Shahram Sharifi

8) The F-14s were exported to Iran in 1976, when the US had positive diplomatic relations with the country.


9) The F-14s wings can be 'overswept' to 75 degrees to save space on aircraft carriers.

10) During testing, an F-14 was landed on an aircraft carrier with an asymmetrical wing sweep.

11) The F-14 doesn't have ailerons. Instead, it uses wing spoilers at low speeds, and differential 'tailerons' at high speed.

12) The last F-14 combat mission was flown in 2006, but the 'Tomcat' is still one of the most unique, impressive, and fastest military aircraft ever built.

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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