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An Historic F3F-2 and the Navy’s final combat biplane aircraft

30 September 2019

Galer’s Grumman F3F-2 as he last flew it with its 950 hp Wright R-1820-22 radial showing well—©2019 Joseph May/SlipstreamPhotography

Clearly, this aircraft is the ancestor to the Grumman F4F Hellcat with its stout barrel-like fuselage and narrow track retractable landing gear á lá Loening and Grumman—but with two wings. This particular aircraft was saved from the scrap heap due to a forced water landing by its pilot, Bob Galer (then a 1st Lt in the USMC). He would later be awarded the Medal of Honor as well as retire as a Brigadier General.

This aircraft wasn’t restored by the NNAM but by the San Diego Air & Space Museum (then known as the San Diego Aerospace Museum). This aircraft is in the optimum condition as flown by Galer of VMF-2 coming aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3) when a malfunction forced him into the water.

The National Naval Aviation Museum has an F3F-2 page and this F3F-2 virtual cockpit page.

The F3F-2’s cockpit—©2019 Joseph May/SlipstreamPhotography

The F3F-2’s cockpit—©2019 Joseph May/SlipstreamPhotography

The F3F-2’s cockpit—©2019 Joseph May/SlipstreamPhotography

The F3F was the Navy’s last biplane fighter design since maneuverability had given way to speed for combat—©2019 Joseph May/SlipstreamPhotography

 

 

 

 

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