Grumman F6F-5 'Hellcat'

  Base model:F6F
  Designation System:U.S. Navy / Marines
  Designation Period:1922-1962
  Basic role:Fighter

  Length: 33' 7" 10.2 m
  Height:13' 1" 3.9 m
  Wingspan: 42' 10" 13.0 m
  Wingarea: 334.0 sq ft 31.0 sq m
  Empty Weight: 9,238 lb 4,189 kg
  Gross Weight: 15,413 lb 6,990 kg

  No. of Engines: 1
  Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W
  Horsepower (each): 2000

  Range: 945 miles 1,521 km
  Cruise Speed: 168 mph 270 km/h 145 kt
  Max Speed: 380 mph 611 km/h 330 kt
  Climb: 2,980 ft/min 908 m/min
  Ceiling: 37,300 ft 11,368 m

Known serial numbers
69992 / 70187, 93652 / 94521, 94522 / 94751, 111349 / 111748

Examples of this type may be found at
Intrepid Sea-Air-Space MuseumNew YorkNew York
Kalamazoo Aviation History MuseumKalamazooMichigan
Lone Star Flight MuseumGalvestonTexas
National Museum of Naval AviationNAS PensacolaFlorida
New England Air MuseumWindsor LocksConnecticut
Planes of Fame Air MuseumEden PrairieMinnesota
Quonset Air MuseumNorth KingstonRhode Island
The Air Museum "Planes of Fame"ChinoCalifornia

F6F-5 on display

Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum

Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum

Lone Star Flight Museum

National Museum of Naval Aviation

New England Air Museum

The Air Museum

The Air Museum "Planes of Fame"


Recent comments by our visitors
 Mark Nichols
 , GA
I am trying to locate any information on F6F-5 S/N 72387 or 7799. Please contact me if any information is known.
02/17/2014 @ 14:02 [ref: 68353]
 Jim Price
 Kilmarnock, VA
The USNAVY Blue Angels were formed in April 1946 and flew the F-6f-5 from June til August of 1946
06/12/2013 @ 10:06 [ref: 67879]
 Robert Smith
 Austin, TX
My email is rsmith@texastar.com
03/07/2012 @ 05:25 [ref: 54123]
 Robert Smith
 Austin, TX
My uncle, Lt G. W. Reeves was killed in operations near Manila, Phillipines while flying off the U. S. S. Hancock (CV-19) in an F6F-5 with Vf-7 on 11/19/1944. Although I believe he bailed out of his damaged plane within sight of the carrier and rescue crews launched immediately, they recovered his parachute but his body was never recovered and he was listed as missing in action. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who knew him.
03/06/2012 @ 04:15 [ref: 53871]
 , TX
reading A. Robinson's post...my understanding is that the first Squadron deployed with F6F-5s was VF 7 aboard the Hancock. Could be that I'm wrong.
02/02/2012 @ 11:08 [ref: 52399]
 , GA
The Kalamazoo Hellcat is in the markings of the VF-85 Fighter Squadron that was aboard the USS Shangri-La (CV 38).
08/04/2010 @ 19:38 [ref: 28571]
 , MI
Does anybody know what squadron the kalamazoo Hellcat belonged to?
05/23/2010 @ 18:50 [ref: 26428]
 , AR
Hey, Im doing a research paper on the Grumman F6F Hellcat. My 3 main points are the safety, large capacity for bombs and ammunition, and the self-sealing fuel tanks. If anyone could tell me some facts about those points that would be great. I have most of it done but I need a little more
03/10/2009 @ 17:53 [ref: 23919]
 Aaron F. Robinson
 Wilmington, NC
While bearing a superficial resemblance to the earlier F4F Wildcat, the F6F was an all-new aircraft. Its genesis, however, was in the XF4F-2, which was the precursor of the production F4F-3. Grumman had intended to re-engine the XF4F-2 with a 2,000-hp (1,491-kW) Wright R-2600 14-cylinder radial in 1938, but it was realized that doubling the power would require more than a simple strengthening of the airframe, and the projet was shelved at that time. In 1940, these plans were dusted off when the US Navy was looking for a fighter to complement the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair.

Taking account of aircrew experiences from the Pacific and Europe, Leroy Grumman and Bill Schwendler completely redesigned the airframe to accomidate the R-2600 and the larger propeller it required. Grumman and Schwendler looked at Japanese construction techniques and the conceps behind the A6M Zero. They did not have a complete example to study, but were able to develop a food appreciation of the Mitsubishi fighter's strengths and weaknesses. It is true to say that the Hellcat was influenced by the Zero, but only in the sense that Grumman studied and rejected all of its design philosophies, creating a fighter that emphasized engine power, firepower, and pilot protection.

Following government inspection of Grumman's mock-up, two prototype XF6F-1s were prdered in June 1941. The XF6F-1 flew on June 26, 1942, three weeks after the Battle of Midway. It was powered by Grumman test pilot Seldon Converse. It was a very large fighter for its day, having a low-set wing that has the greatest area of any on a US wartime single-seat fighter. The wing has a slight "gull" effect and was mounted at minimum angle of incidence to reduce drag. As on the Wildcat and Avenger, the wings folded back parallel with the fuselage for stowage aboard carriers. Unlike the Zero, the F6F, soon named Hellcat, was well protected, having self-sealing fuel tanks beneath the pilot and stell armor plate ahead of the oil tanks, behind the pilot's back and head, and protecting the intake under the nose. Thicker alloy skins protected the engine from fire coming from below. The armor plate added about 200 lb (98 kg) to the overall weight.

Between the flight of the first and second Hellcats, Grumman officials coferred with pilots just returned from the Midway operation; as a result, one radical and several minor changes were made to the design. Most significantly, the Wright R-2600 was replaced by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp, which gave almost 25 percent more power and was the same engine used in the F4U Corsair. This simplified the logistics trail from the factory to the front line. The conversion to the new engine was very rapid, and the second aircraft, now designated XF6F-3, flew on July 30, 1942. The propellwe spinner and landing gear fairings of the "dash one" had gone, and a new cowling gave a slimmer look to the airframe. The first production F6F-3 flew in October 1942, a feat all the more remarkable when one considers that the production-line buildings were constructed at the same time. Hellcats were on the production line before the buildings themselves were actually completed.

The Hellcat was found to have much better deck landing characteristics than the narrow-tracked Wildcat or Corsair, with its bouncy landing gear and long, vision-obstructing nose. Apart from some early problems with arrestor hooks pulling off, the Hellcat passed its carrier qualification trials quickly and was soon cleared for unrestricted carrier service.

The first unit to receive the F6F was VF-9 of the Essex air group in January 1943, and the fist squadrons to see action were those participating in the Marcus Island raid of August 31 of that year. These included units aboard the carriers Yorktown, Essex, and Independence, but it was a pair of pilots on a detachment aboard the light carrier Princeton who scored the first victory for the Hellcat, shooting down a Kawasanishi H8K2 "Emily" flying boat. The first major battles between Hellcats and Zeroes toos place over the Solomon Islands in September; however, despite huge claims on both sides, the results were fairly even, with a likely true figure of three Zeroes destroyed and two Hellcats damaged beyond repair in A6M versus F6F combats.

Hellcats avenged the loss of Wake Island and its small force of F4Fs in 1941 by winning air superiority over the island in October 1943. The island itself was not retaken, being bypassed with its garrison left to wither while the US Navy turned its attention to the "stepping stones" that led to the Japanese home islands. The Hellcat's finest hour was in the so-called "Marianas Turkey Shoot" of June 1944. US Navy task force 58 neutralized the remnants of Japanese carrier-based air power in one of the greatest aerial combats in history, paving the way for the occupation of the vital islands of Guam, Saipan, and Tinan.

Variants of the Hellcat were relatively few. The F6F-3N was a night-fighter with APS-6 search radar in a wingtip pod, and the F6F-3E had th APS-4. The F6F-5 appeared from 1944 with relatively few changes from the F6F-3. The canopy glazing was altered and provision for bombs and rockets was added. This was the main production version, with 6,681 of the 12,275 Hellcats being F6F-5s. Added to this number were 1,189 F6F-5N night-fighters.

The Royal Navy took 252 F6F-3s as the Hellcat I and 930 F6F-5s as the Hellcat II. Some of thes were converted to photo reconnaissance duties as the Hellcat PR I and PR II. The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) Hellcats were particularly active in the Indian Ocean and Far East.

Hellcats destroyed more than half the enemy aircraft credited to US Navy and Marine pilots during the war - just under 5,200. A total of 307 F6F pilot became aces by downing five or more enemy aircraft. This was the greatest total for any US-built fighter. Air combat losses amounted to 270 Hellcats, for a kill-loss ratio of 19 to one.

In 1946, the Hellcat became the fist aircraft to be used by the "Blue Angels" flight exibition team. Four F6F-5s were used, alongside an SNJ trainer, which was painted yellow with Japanese markings and "shot down" during each show. Many surplus Hellcats were converted to remotely piloted drones and used in postwar missle tests, notably those of the early AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile (AAM) at China Lake, California. The F6F-3K and F6F-5K drones were complemented by the F6F-5D drone director, used as a relay aircraft for the ground control signal. A number of the F6F-3Ks were used as guided bombs in the Koream War.

As well as the United States and the United Kingdom, the Hellcat served with three foreign air arms. The French Aeronavale received 124 F6F-5s and 15 F6F-5Ns in 1950. They were deployed aboard the carrier Arromanches, used in action in the ground-attack role in Indochina up to 1954. A detachment of the night-fighters served in Algeria up to 1960. Argentina used 10 Hellcats from 1947, later passing some to Paraguay where they served until 1961.

Eight F6Fs have been rebuilt to fly on today's air-show circuits, some of them former drones that escaped destruction during the 1950s and 1960s.
12/24/2008 @ 19:20 [ref: 23336]
 , OTH
Hi Im currently researching the rockets on the F6F Hellcat and would like to know what the sequence was for firing the rockets.

Also, where was the switch located for switching between rockets and guns, was there any ?

09/07/2008 @ 02:33 [ref: 22624]


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