Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
Place in history: The first Grumman Hellcats appeared in late 1943 and were considered the best all-around fighters in the Pacific. The Hellcat was called the "Aluminum Tank" by its pilots because of its ability to absorb incredible punishment and still bring its pilot safely back to his ship. The Hellcat was designed for one primary purpose – to outperform the Mitsubishi Zero-Sen, and both Japanese and American pilots agreed that it succeeded. Its enormous wing size gave it extra lift, accommodating the slow take-off and landing speeds on aircraft carriers. To compensate for their size, the Hellcat could "fold" its wings for hangar and deck storage. In total, At one point, Grumman was manufacturing one Hellcat per hour – an aircraft production record that has never been equaled.
This aircraft: This aircraft was designed to be flown as an unmanned drone for anti-aircraft target practice, but was instead used for training. It has never undergone a thorough restoration, so is very close to its original condition. It is one of only a few surviving Hellcats, the Navy's fighting workhorse of the Pacific Theater battles.