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Home > Curator's Corner > November 2013 > Demon Rolls Out after Extensive Restoration
Demon Rolls Out after Extensive Restoration
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Posted: 11/8/2013 9:54:09 AM


The Intrepid Museum Aircraft Restoration Team is proud to roll out its latest project, the McDonnell F3H-2N Demon jet fighter. It took the restoration team 18 months, not counting the interruption by Hurricane Sandy, to complete the project. Led by Chief Restoration Specialist Peter Torraca and assisted by Restoration Specialist Dina Ingersole, a team of volunteers completely repaired and repainted the 1950s-era fighter.

A swept-wing carrier-born jet with cannons and missiles, the Demon was designed and built by the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation (now Boeing) of St. Louis, Missouri. Conceived in 1949, it did not make its first flight until August 1951. The Demon was under-powered with its original engine and proved to be unacceptable. The more powerful Allison J71-A-2 engine was used instead when the Demon entered fleet service in 1956. Overall, the Demon’s service career was short, ending in 1964.


McDonnell Aircraft

Of the 519 Demons built, only 3 survive in museums today. The Demon at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum had major areas of corrosion in the tail surfaces, and the fiberglass nose cone was completely deteriorated. The corroded aluminum structures needed to be completely fabricated from stock sheet aluminum. Peter took this opportunity to train many of the volunteers in sheet metal fabrication and fastening methods. The nose cone was so bad that it needed to be built from scratch, because spare parts for the nearly 60-year-old jet are not available anymore.


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The airplane was then expertly repainted in the colorful markings of fighter squadron VF-41 and represents the Carrier Air Group Commander’s aircraft. Peter spent many hours researching the markings, including all the small instructional stencils that are difficult to see in historic photos. The results are exacting, making this Demon one of the most accurate representations of the type to be found. The aircraft was also treated internally with a corrosion inhibiting material, ensuring that it will last for many generations to come. The Demon at the Intrepid Museum is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida.

This project would not have been possible without the dedication of the aircraft restoration volunteers: P. J. Aronica, Michelle Bailey, Alexis Cataldo, Pete Cea, Rosie Grogan, Steven Hardy, Nick Horten, Mike Kramer, Don Lee III, David Park, James Sherman, and Nikki Sherman. Congratulations to the Aircraft Restoration Team!