First flown in 1931, the Grumman FF-1 (affectionately known as "Fifi )" was noteworthy for its innovative design characteristics that marked a great step forward in aircraft design - first fighter with retractable landing gear, an enclosed canopy for both cockpits, and, an all metal, stressed skin fuselage. The "Fifi" was of rugged design typical of all future Grumman aircraft. The single significant drawback to the FF-1 was its poor climb capability, taking six minues to reach 10,000 ft.
The FF-1s entered service with the fleet in June 1933 with delivery to VF-5B, the only squadron to ever operate them. They were withdrawn in November 1935 and relegated to reserve duties. A later model (FF-2) was configured as a trainer with the installation of dual controls and operated with Marine Reserves. By 1941 only two remained in service.