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Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
United States < Back to Collection

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Simple, rugged, and deadly, the U.S. Navy’s Hellcat dominated the skies over the Pacific during World War II.  The Hellcat was called the “Aluminum Tank” by its pilots because it could absorb unbelievable punishment and still bring a pilot back to his carrier. Flyers told stories of Hellcats that were "mostly holes where the airplane used to be.” The F6F was designed to outperform the Mitsubishi A6M “Zero.” By the end of the fighting, the Hellcat had destroyed over 5,000 Japanese aircraft in the air.

The Hellcat’s large wings accommodated the slow take-off and landing speeds on an aircraft carrier. To compensate for the plane’s size, crewmen could fold the plane’s wings for storage. In total, Grumman produced 12,275 F6Fs during World War II.

History of the Artifact
This rare aircraft was built as a night fighter but never flown in combat. After the war, it was modified to be an unmanned drone for anti-aircraft target practice, but was saved from destruction when it was used for training. It was one of the last Hellcats to leave the Navy’s inventory in 1961.

The fighter was displayed in several museums and private collections. It appeared at Oshkosh and other airshows in the 1970s, was on hand for Grumman’s 50th anniversary in 1980, and flew across the Atlantic Ocean via Iceland in the 1990s. The rare Hellcat was acquired by the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in December of 2000.

Did you know?
At one point, Grumman was turning out one Hellcat per hour—644 per month—an aircraft production record that has never been equaled.
General Statistics
Crew: 1
Span: 42 ft 10 in
Length: 33 ft 7 in
Height: 14 ft 5 in
Empty weight: 9,238 lbs
Loaded weight: 12,740 lbs
Engine: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial engine
Engine power: 2,000 hp (1,491 kW) at take-off; 1,625 hp (1,211 kW) at 17,000 feet
Performance
Maximum speed: 318 mph at sea level; 380 mph at 23,400 feet
Range: 950 miles; 1,355 miles with drop tanks
Ceiling: 37,300 ft
Rate of climb: 2,980 ft/min
Armament
6 x .50-caliber machine guns
6 x 5-inch HVAR rockets and up to 4,000 lbs of bombs



F6F Hellcat at War
by Cory Graff

Book_F6F_Hellcat_at_War.jpg This lavishly illustrated book offers a thrilling look at the Hellcat at war. Detailing the Hellcat’s design and development, telling its pilots’ war stories, and tracing the aircraft’s adventures through the end of WWII, this book is a fitting and fascinating tribute to a fighter plane whose performance in a few short years remains unmatched in the annals of naval warfare.

Available in our gift shop >