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Grumman F8F Bearcat

16 September 2011

Grumman F8F Bearcat

Along with the F7F Tigercat, Grumman’s F8F was a late WW II design. Inspired by the small yet powerful design of the German Fw 190 the firm was also desiring an improvement of the successful F6F Hellcat.

The Hellcat was superior to the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero but the kamikaze attacks were increasingly becoming effective so the F8F became a hot rod Hellcat. It was 20% lighter, smaller and faster, but — perhaps most importantly — could climb 30% more quickly. The weight and size savings resulted in less range due to less fuel capacity (the F6F and the F8F shared the same engine) as well as 4 x 0.50 caliber machine guns instead of the standard half dozen of the time — but maneuverability was gained and WW II experience against Japanese combat aircraft showed less need for the number of machine guns in a fighter’s armament.

The F8F was the Navy’s last propeller driven fighter aircraft and this Bearcat example is on exhibit at the National Naval Aviation Museum, to see the post about my visit there or posts about other aircraft at this world class museum you need only paste the museum’s name into the search window and select ENTER. More information on the F8F can be found on the museum’s fact page.

Grumman’s last prop fighters, the F7F Tigercat (left) and F8F Bearcat (right) — photo by Joseph May

The wide stance of the main landing gear fit into the wings by retracting the length of the strut as the gear came into the wing recess — photo by Joseph May

The F8F had only enough fuselage to carry the engine, pilot and tail — photo by Joseph May

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 16 September 2011 01:57

    Nice !

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      16 September 2011 20:23

      A hot aircraft in a great blue livery — nice 🙂

  2. 16 September 2011 11:08

    Morning! GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS! Hope you had the chance to photgraph some of their ART!!! There are some terrific works by Artists in that museum.

    I think this museum is my favorite of all aviation museums!


    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      16 September 2011 20:22

      I goofed and did not see the art in the library but did see some around the museum. I’ll be sure to see the museum’s paintings in the library when I visit again in the next few months, or so 🙂

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