1949 Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat
s/n 121752 N800H
1569.3 hrs TTSN
145.4 Hrs Since Restoration by Pacific Fighters, Idaho
Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB-16
145.4 Hrs. SMOH by Anderson Airmotive
Aero Products A642-G1
247.9 Hrs. SPOH
Exterior: U.S. Navy
Restored to stock military configuration - Excellent condition
Garmin SL30 Comm
King KT 905 Comm
King KT 76 Transponder
Garmin 296 GPS
1x 150 gallon drop tank
The Bearcat concept began during a meeting between Battle of Midway veteran F4F Wildcat pilots and Grumman Vice President Jake Swirbul at Pearl Harbor on 23 June 1942. At the meeting, Lieutenant Commander Jimmie Thach emphasized one of the most important requirements in a good fighter plane was "climb rate". (Thach shot-down three (3) Zeros during one engagement at Midway.)
Climb performance is strongly related to the power-to-weight-ratio, and is maximized by wrapping the smallest and lightest possible airframe around the most powerful available engine. Another goal was that the G-58 (Grumman's design designation for the aircraft) should be able to operate from escort carriers, which were then limited to the obsolescent F4F Wildcat as the Grumman F6F Hellcat was too large and heavy. A small, lightweight aircraft would make this possible. After intensively analyzing carrier warfare in the Pacific Theater of Operations for a year and a half, Grumman began development of the G-58 Bearcat in late 1943.
The F8F prototypes were ordered in November 1943 and first flew on 21 August 1944, a mere nine months later. The first production aircraft was delivered in February 1945 and the first squadron, Fighter Squadron 19 (VF-19), was operational by 21 May 1945, but World War II was over before the aircraft saw combat service.
Perhaps the best-performing piston fighter ever, the F8F is powered by the same Pratt & Whitney 2800 engine as the Hellcat, the empty weight is approximately a ton less allowing a record-setting time-to-climb to 10,000 feet in under 100 seconds. It was the first featured aircraft of the post-war, newly formed Blue Angels and continued in active service well into the turbine era.
Located: Washington State