The XF8U-3 Crusader III fighter plane is the focus of this film produced by the Jamieson Film Company on behalf of Chance Vought Aircraft. Blending animation and footage of the Crusader III, the film presents improvements made to the Crusader III to address shortcomings of previous generations of the plane. These improvements include new electronic and computing technologies that automate many menial cockpit tasks, freeing the pilot to concentrate more effectively on the mission.
The Vought F-8 Crusader, or F8U as it was originally named, was a replacement for the accident-prone Vought F7U Cutlass. Also developed under a contract for the U.S. Navy, the first F-8 prototype took flight in 1955. While the Cutlass was only in production for a few years, naval Crusader fighters remained in operation for nearly two decades. As shown in the video Project One Grand, the F8U-1 Crusader, flown by Navy Commander R.W. "Duke" Windsor, set a national speed record in 1956 by flying 1,1015.428 mph. Notably, some of the first operational flights of F-8 Crusaders were part of reconnaissance missions over Cuba in 1962, which played a significant role in the Cuban Missile Crisis.