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U.S. Navy Hellcat
Palm Springs Air Museum visit November, 2008

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Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat

Grumman F6f Hellcat with wings folded at Palm Springs Air Museum - California

This Hellcat is kept in flying condition and is a composite aircraft. I do not know the history of this aircraft but It was common during WWII for the Americans to patch together airplanes from pieces of damages planes.

According to the museum sign, the prime manufacturer was Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Bethpage, L.I., N.Y. and the first aircraft flew June 26, 1942. The last F6F Hellcat was produced November 1945 and a total of 12,275 were built. F6F-5 is read as follows: "F" is for fighter aircraft. "6" if for 6th naval fighter produced by Grumman. The second "F" designates a Grumman built aircraft. "5" designates continuing improved or revised versions of the same model aircraft.

The plane's open wingspan is 42 feet 10 inches and is 16 feet 2 inches when folded. Its armaments include six 50 cal machine guns with 400 rounds each. The hellcat could carry up to 2,000 pounds of bombs. F6F first entered combat in August 1943.

Hellcat,  wings extended

The display sign states that "by war's end, Hellcat: pilots accounted for 5,156 aerial victories, which resulted in a 19 to 1 kill ratio. The F6F performed a variety of missions, from aerial combat to close air support and Night Interceptor warfare. Hellcats, once they came into the war were in every naval air engagement until the end of the war. This included the main Japanese supply depot of Truk, New Britain, the Marianas, the Philippines, Okinawa and of course Japan itself. During the battles for the islands of Saipan and Guam in the Marianas, F6F's won a decisive and famous air battle, it became know as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot." 366 Japanese planes were lost to only 26 U.S. Planes. Photo above and right is courtesy of the Palm Springs Air Museum.

Also see on our website

F6F Hellcat - Naval Aviation Centennial
F6F Hellcat - American Aircraft


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