Grumman F6F Hellcat
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Grumman F6F Hellcat

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F6F Hellcat
Deck crew unfold wing to prepare Hellcat for flight. Click on image to enlarge.
Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine
The Pratt & Whitney R-2800 18-cylinder 2,000 hp engine was one of the most widely used American aircraft engines of WW2. In addition to powering the Wildcat, this engine also powered the Douglas A-26 Invader, the Martin B-26 Marauder, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, and the Vought Corsair.

One of the most successful Allied planes of the War.

Hellcat's predecessor, the Wildcat was performing admirably in the early part of the war for both the British Navy against the Germans, and the American Navy in the Pacific War. But the Navy wanted a plane that would outperform the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Grumman engineers worked closely with the Bureau of Aeronautics and veteran Wildcat pilots. The F6F would be larger, be powered by a bigger engine, have wider, sturdier landing gear, have a bullet-resistant widhshield, 212 lbs. of cockpit armor, additional armor around the oil tank and oil cooler, a self sealing fuel tank, with the ability to carry an additional 150- gallon disposable drop tank to extend range. And Grumman really hustled to meet the demand for the plane that could achieve air superiority in the Pacific. The new plane went from experimental stage to deployment in 18 months. At its peak of production, Grumman was completing one Hellcat every hour.

The plane was also designed to be easy to fly so that pilots could become proficient in short order. It very successfully outperformed the Japanese Zero and accounted for over 5,000 enemy aircraft destroyed in two years of fighting. Hellcat pilots generally loved the plane and achieved a 19:1 kill ratio, meaning that for every Hellcat lost in battle, the enemy lost 19 planes.
Hellcat Basics

Length: 33 ft. 7 in.
Wingspan: 42 ft. 10 in.
Weight: 15,400 lbs loaded
First Flight: June, 1942
First Combat: August, 1943
Number Built: 12,275
Top Speed: 380 mph
Range: 1090 miles
Cruising Speed: 168 mph
Ceiling: 37,000 ft.
Crew: 1
Power: (1) Pratt & Whitney R-2800 2,000 hp radial engine
Prop: 13 ft. 3-blade
Armament: Six .50 cal. wing-mounted machine guns, racks to hold two 1,000 lb. bombs, or four 500 lb. bombs
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F6F Hellcat
USAF Photo
Click on image to enlarge.
National Naval Aviation Museum
F6F-3 on display that the National Naval Aviation Museum In Pensacola, Florida. Click on image to enlarge.

The Grumman F6F Hellcat in U.S. Museums West to East

Note: Exhibits can change, and aircraft can be moved to a different location, so it is always a good idea to check before traveling.

San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA Also on display: the B-24, F4F, C-47, Vought Corsair

Yanks Air Museum, Chino, CA*
Also on display: Lockheed P-38, P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-40 Warhawks

Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs, CA*

Flying Heritage Collection, Everett, WA*
Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston, TX*

Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, MI

National Naval Aviation Museum, Pennsacola, FL

USS Yorktown / Patriots Point Museum Naval & Maritime Museum, Mount Pleasant, SC

National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, VA

Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, Long Island, NY Also on display: F4f Wildcat, TBM Avenger, P-47 Thunderbolt


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