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When is a Hellcat not a Hellcat and how can I get one?

16 May 2012

When is a Hellcat not a Hellcat and how can I get one?

I walked into the Wings Over Miami Air Museum not long ago. I drop in when I get the chance as the museum displays, temporarily stores and restores aircraft — more often than not something new is there.

I walked in to specifically see the Demoiselle replica modern. I saw it and photographed it, then — hold on!

And F6F Hellcat, one of WW II’s best aircraft!

Does it not look a tad off, though?

Yes, it is not an F6F, but what is it if not a Hellcat?

It turns out to be another replica of a sort and of an aircraft I had not been aware — North American’s export fighter, a variant of their famed T-6 Texan (or Harvard to those on the Commonwealth). The design is the NA-50 and only a scant few were made though this is not one of them. Clever motivated people to clever incredible things and it appears that Norm Newell contracted restoration expert Les Crowder to modify a Harvard IV to make an NA-50.

I won’t pretend to have a list of the modifications but a few are readily apparent:

  • The wings have been shortened and clipped
  • The rudder area has been increased and rounded
  • The cockpit has been changed from a greenhouse to a razor back though it remains a two seat aircraft, not the single seat of the original NA-50

The aircraft is in a livery as if it served in the Pacific Theater in WW II by a U.S. Navy ace pilot. Though, not historically accurate it looks might fine in its navy blue paint and must look more than slightly reminiscent of an F6F Hellcat when in flight 🙂

“Port-side” profile of the North American Harvard IV cum NA-50 — photo by Joseph May

Cockpit, note the two crew positions— photo by Joseph May

Closer view of the former Harvard’s modified canopy — photo by Joseph May

The NA-50’s information plaque — photo by Joseph May

Note the roundness of the NA-50’s rudder and compare it to the Texan’s rudder, below — photo by Joseph May

The more angular rudder of the T-6 Texan as compared to the NA-50’s, above — photo by Joseph May

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 11 January 2016 03:14



  1. Hellcat | English Language Tutorials
  2. Hellcat – WebLearnEng

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