Monday, July 25, 2011

The Grumman Bearcat

Next up is the Grumman Bearcat. This was a plane that didn't get much use in World War II as it entered service in 1945. Nor did it see much use in the Korean War but it did make an impact in other ways.
The Bearcat was inspired by a captured German FW-190 although it wasn't copied from that design. It was intended as a continuation of the Hellcat. The design was called to be able to be operated from the Navy's smallest carriers. As a result, it was equipped with a fairly powerful engine.
It was the first Navy fighter to be equipped with a bubble canopy, giving the pilot a full 360 degree view. The aircraft first flew in 1944 and entered service in May of 1945 but it was too late to see combat in World War II.
The Bearcat set a time to climb record in 1946 which took jets almost 10 years to break. It was kept on as it could still outperform most jets at the time.
As you can see, this one is painted in Blue Angels garb as the Bearcat was the first plane used by the Blue Angels in 1946 until 1950.
Because of its speed, it is used by alot of air racers.

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