All text and photographic
Grumman F8F Bearcat
The last of the great piston-engined fighters from The Grumman Aircraft Corp., the Bearcat design featured folding wings for service as a carrier-based fighter with the US Navy. Too late to see active service in World War 2, about 1250 examples were built in the mid-1940s. The Bearcat is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine producing 2100hp, and was used by the RTAF from 1951. The RTAF used both the F8F-1B and -1D models, with about 150 aircraft in use up until 1963.
The Museum's Bearcat is said to have the serial 15-178/98, though it now carries the code 4312 on the nose. According to the Warbirds Worldwide directory the Bearcat (15-178/98) is listed as BuNo: 94956/Construction #: D.205.The significance of the cartoon character painted on the rear fuselage is unknown to me - possibly a squadron emblem?
Page updated 2May2005