VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It has been 50 years since the first flight by a storied member of Naval aviation history: the F-14 Tomcat.
On December 21, 1970 the first Full Scale Development Grumman F-14A Tomcat took off at 4:08 p.m. for a maiden flight in New York.
The flight didn't last long, with the crew forced to return quickly due to weather conditions, but a new chapter in Naval aviation was born in that moment.
The Tomcat and subsequent variants would go on to play a major role in air power dominance for the Navy for decades to come, serving faithfully until retirement in 2006.
Many of the jets were based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.
To mark the anniversary of the first flight, the F-14 Tomcat Monument Association planned a socially-distant toast Monday for 4:08 p.m. at the Tomcat Monument in the Naval Aviation Memorial Park at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.