Touchdown Aviation
military aviation photography - reports - publications - video
Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - 121714
 

The Bearcat was inspired by the early 1943 evaluation of a captured Focke-Wulf FW190 by Grumman test pilots and engineering staff. After flying the FW190, test pilot Bob Hall wrote a report directed to President Leroy Grumman, who personally laid out the specifications for Design 58, the successor to the Hellcat. It closely matched the design philosophy of the German fighter, although nothing of the FW190 was copied.

Designed for the interceptor fighter role, the design team's aim was to create the smallest, lightest fighter that could fit around the same engine as the F-6F Hellcat. Compared to the Hellcat, the Bearcat was 20% lighter, had a 30% better rate of climb and was 50 mph faster. It was also considerably smaller in size, as it was designed to be operated from small escort aircraft carriers.

The first production aircraft was delivered in February 1945 and the first squadron, VF-19 "The Satans Kittens", was operational by May 21, 1945, but the 2nd World War was over before the aircraft saw combat service.

Although the Bearcat was too late for operational service with the US Navy in the 2nd World War, the export verion, F8F-1(D) for France, was very sucesfull in combat in French Indo-China flown by the French Air Force. Being extremely powerful and due its very short dimensions and outstanding power to weight ratio, the F8F Bearcat even posted a serious threat to the the early generation jets.

Grumman F-8F Bearcat c/n D-1088 was built in 1945 at the Grumman production plant with United States Navy Bureau Number (BuNo) 121714 and she was operated by the United States Navy for about then years.

In 1957 she was bought by Ed Maloney of the Planes of Fame Air Museum where she was flown ocassionally and registered N4995V. In 1972 she was bought by Harold "Bubba" Beal and Charles Smith of Knoxville, Tennesse, and re-registered as N1YY. 

In 1977 a complete rebuild was undertaken and she was re-registered again, this time as N700HL. Beal and Smith sold the aircraft to the Duxford based Fighter Collection in 1981, and after some work was undertaken in the USA, it became part of the Collection in the UK in early 1984 and became registered as G-RUMM in 1998. 

She was initially painted in the colours of VF-41 "Red Rippers" as 121714/S-100. She now flies painted as 121714/B-201 of VF-20 "Jokers"

Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom
 

Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat
G-RUMM - 121714/201-B

Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom   Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom   Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom   Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom
 
Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom   Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom   Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom   Grumman F-8F-2P Bearcat - G-RUMM - Fighter Collection, The - United Kingdom
 
 
Bookmark and Share