National Geographic : 1963 Mar
KODACHROMESBY THOMASJ. ABERCROUMB IEL,NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SIAFF 15) N,.BS. A Vigilante pilot approaches the carrier at 125 knots, while maintaining power to zoom to safety in case of a miscalculation. He chops the throttles only after the tail hook en gages. "When I watched my first jet land," photographer Abercrombie recalls, "I dived for cover, thinking it was crashing." Newest of the Navy's attack bombers, the needle nosed Vigilante carries a crew of two and flies at twice the speed of sound. Tail-loading fuel tanks slide into a Vigilante's unusual linear bomb bay, a tunnel through the fuselage. Bombs are ejected from the rear like torpedoes from a tube.