Designation: F2H-2P

McDonnell F2H-2P

McDonnell F2H-2P Banshee

A picture of the McDonnell F2H-2P Banshee

The Banshee was developed as an enlarged version of the McDonnell FH-1 Phantom.  The aircraft featured more powerful engines and greater armament than the earlier aircraft.  The F2H-1 prototype first flew on January 11, 1947 and operational aircraft reached service in March 1949.  By the end of 1949 the F2H-2 version of the aircraft was in service.  It featured a longer fuselage and wings which allowed more fuel to be carried, increasing the plane’s range.  The F2H-3 and F2H-4 featured an even longer fuselage and more fuel as well as a search radar making them all-weather and night capable.  The F2H-2 was also modified into a photo reconnaissance version with a lengthened nose housing several cameras.  The Banshee was used extensively during the Korean War as both a fighter and a reconnaissance plane.  Banshees were also sold to Canada and served in the Canadian Navy from 1955 until 1962.  The last Banshees left the U.S. Navy’s inventory in 1965.


Service History:

Wingspan 44 ft 10 in.


Length 40 ft 2 in.


Height 14 ft 6 in.


Weight 22,312 pounds (loaded)


Max. Speed 532 MPH

Maximum Speed

Service Ceiling 44,800 feet

Service Ceiling

Range 1,475 miles


Engines Two Westinghouse J34-WE-34 turbojets with 3,250 pounds of thrust each


Crew 1



Marine Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron 2 (VMJ-2), Marine Corps Air Station Atsugi, Japan, 1958


Serial Number

Built by McDonnell Aircraft at St. Louis, Missouri and delivered to the U.S. Navy on October 12, 1951.

October 1951              To Bureau of Aeronautics Representative, Research & Development, St. Louis, Missouri.

June 1952                    To Naval Air Test Center, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

March 1953                 To Composite Squadron 61 (VC-61), Naval Air Station Miramar, California.

March 1954                 To Overhaul & Repair, San Diego, California.

April 1954                   To Overhaul & Repair, Jacksonville, Florida.

October 1954              To Composite Squadron 62 (VC-62) Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.  Deployed on USS Bennington, USS Intrepid, and USS Forrestal.

September 1956          To Overhaul & Repair, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

April 1957                   To Reconnaissance Squadron 61 (VFP-61), Naval Air Station Alameda, California.

December 1957           To Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 3 (FASRON-3) Naval Air Station Alameda, California.

February 1958             To Marine Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron 1 (VMJ-1), Marione Corps Air Station Atsugi, Japan.

June 1958                    To Naval Air Facility Advanced Base at Oppama, Japan.

October 1958              To Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 4 (FASRON 4), Naval Air Station North Island, California.

October 1958              To Storage at Litchfield Park, Arizona.

1958-2012                   Displayed at St. Louis, Missouri; Cherry Point, North Carolina; and Wings of Eagles Museum, New York.  At some point the aircraft’s original photoreconnaissance nose was replaced with the gun equipped nose of a standard Banshee fighter.

2012                            Loaned to the Pima Air and Space Museum by the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Pima Air & Space Museum

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