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McDonnell F2H Banshee recce ship — smile, soon you will be a target

11 May 2012

McDonnell F2H Banshee recce ship — smile, soon you will be a target

Soon after the Banshee’s introduction the Navy order a variant for photo reconnaissance missions — and soon McDonnell delivered a distinctive and soon to be successful aircraft.

The aircraft was the F2H-2P Banshee with a substantially elongated nose for housing six cameras which used several ports along the sides of the nose as well as along the ventral side. This elongated nose must have made carrier landings all the more challenging for the Banshee’s pilot with reduced visibility of the flight deck during landing approached along with somewhat delicate landing gear and fuel for three landing attempts at most!

Flying higher and faster than interceptors could manage the photo Banshee lived up to its name — whenever the enemy heard her they knew that tragedy could soon be at hand.

The Banshee pictured below waits for all to see her in her original condition at the National Naval Aviation Museum and here is the F2H Banshee fact sheet.

Note the camera ports in the  elongated nose of this recce Banshee — photo by Joseph May

McDonnell F2H-2P Banshee suspended in the National Naval Aviation Museum — photo by Joseph May

The extended length of the longer nose, housing the cameras, can be appreciated from this image angle — photo by Joseph May

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 11 May 2012 06:30

    I can understand the emmense elongated nose area for the camera housing on the Banshee recce, only because in the Korean era they had some monstracities for cameras. For example the F56 Hand held Areial Camera which was 12×12 format focal plane type, meaning that the back of the camera housing was over 16in x 16inches square at the back, with a 2′ to 3 foot long heavy lens that was about 10″ diamenter. Can you imagine handling that baby in the belly of a aircraft, or out of the door in a harness of a “Huey”, doing BDA or low level recon, over a jungle? Cameras were large and bulky back then. The bulk of the camera system gave them nightmares with a problem with the weight in the Banshee nose cameras pod up front as well. That is why it was so darn long…
    Great write up on the Banshee Joe, keep up the good work…

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