Classic Aircraft Trivia

Tag Archives: Grumman F4f Wildcat

Hello, aircraft fans!

In this edition of the Plane Crash, we’ll look at the U.S. Navy’s WW2 top three: the Grumman F6f Hellcat, the Vought F-4U Corsair, and the Grumman F4f Wildcat.

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A painting of a Corsair at Boeing Field.

Wildcat: Before the greatness of aircraft like the Grumman Hellcat and Vought Corsair, the Grumman F4f Wildcat was a fine aircraft.  First built in 1939, this rugged mid-wing 318-mph six machine-gun aircraft held a critical point in the U.S. Navy until better aircraft were supplied.  For instance, Lieutenant Butch O’Hare destroyed five Japanese bombers in six minutes.  Later, despite being shot down in the Pacific, the Chicago-O’Hare airport was named for him.  The Wildcat had a crew of 1, one 895kW (1200hp) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-66 radial engine, a maximum speed of 512km/h(318mph), a range of 1239km (770 miles), and a service ceiling of 10,638m (34,900ft).

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An excellent photo of a squadron of Wildcats during WW2.

Dimensions are as follows: Wingspan: 11.58m (38ft.). Length: 8.76m (28ft. 9in.).  Height: 3.61m (11ft. 10in.).

Armament: Six 12.77mm (0.50in.) machine guns in wings and an external bomb load of 91kg (200lb.).  Total loaded weight was 3607 kg (7952lb.).

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The Grumman F6f Hellcat at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Hellcat: The Hellcat flew for the first time on June 26, 1942.  Many of its war abilities had been learned from its predecessor, the Wildcat.  Specifications for this war-changing plane are as follows:

Crew: 1.

Powerplant: one 1492 kW (2000hp) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W radial engine.

Performance: Maximum speed: 612 km/h (380mph).  Range: 1521km (945 miles).  Service ceiling: 11,369m (37,300ft.).

Dimensions: Wingspan: 13.05m (42ft10in.).  Length: 10.24m(33ft.7in.).  Height: 3.99m (13ft.1in.).

Armament: six 12.7mm(0.50ibn.) machine guns in wings, or two 20mm(0.79in.) cannon and four 12.7mm(0.50in) machine guns, provision for two 453kg (1000lb) bombs or six 12.7cm (5in) RPs.

Weight: 7025kg (15,487lb).

In all, the Grumman F6f ran up a 19 to 1 kill ratio.

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As the sun sets over the Pacific, these Corsairs return home.

And now: the Chance Vought F4U Corsair.  The speed, strength, and firepower of the Corsair enabled it to dominate Japanese opposition, shooting down 2140 against a loss of 189.  Its performance and dependability allowed great flight leaders like John Blackburn, John Smith, Marion Carl, Joe Foss, and Pappy Boyington to create legendary fighter squadrons.  It was truly a superior aircraft.

Have a great day!

Isaiah

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