F8F Bearcat

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P & W R2800
2,100 hp
7,070 lbs.
12,947 lbs.
2,000 lbs.
4- .50 caliber
28 ft. 3 in.
35 ft. 10 in.
185 mph
421 mph
4,600 fpm
38,700 feet
1,435 miles

F8F Bearcat
F8F Bearcat
The F8F Bearcat produced by Grumman was the last piston engine fighter produced by the corporation.

The F8F Bearcat was built around the largest, most power per weight, and most reliable aircraft engine of the time, the P & W R2800.

The first US Navy F8F Bearcat squadron became operational on May 21,1945, just before WW II was over. They never saw combat. After World War II, the aircraft were the primary U.S. Navy carrier fighters.
Eventually total of 24 squadrons of the U.S. Navy would be equipped with the aircraft. They were flown into the early 1950’s. Many pilots regarded them as the most maneuverable and fastest accelerating U. S. piston engine fighters ever built.

F8F Bearcat aircraft were originally fitted with “Safety Wing Tips”, the outer 40 inches of which were designed to break off cleanly in case of the wing being over stressed in a dive or other maneuver. After several incidents where one or both wing tips unintentionally tore off, this feature was eliminated from later production aircraft.

The F8F Bearcat features a low single wing design, all metal construction, a bubble canopy, folding wings for carrier operations, self-sealing fuel tanks, four 50 caliber machine guns, pilot armor, a retractable tail wheel, and an eighteen cylinder Pratt & Whitney engine.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels started flying the F8F Bearcat for their demonstrations in 1946.

In the 1950’s both the Thai and French employed the fighter. They were used primarily as fighter bombers against the Viet Minh.

An unmodified production F8F Bearcat set a 1946 time to climb record to 10,000 feet in 94 seconds, after a run of 115 ft. The record stood for 10 years until a jet fighter broke it. However the jet could not take off in only 115 ft.
Rare Bear record holder
Rare Bear

The Rare Bear, a modified F8F Bearcat racer owned by Lyle Shelton, holds the record for the fastest single engine propeller driven aircraft in the world with an average speed of 528.33 mph over a 3 km (1.864 mile) course. The only faster propeller driven aircraft is the four engine Russian Tupolev Tu-95 Bear.
A total of 1,265 F8F Bearcat aircraft were built.
F8F Bearcat - Ziroli
F8F Bearcat
The RC F8F Bearcat from Nick Ziroli is available from plans or as a kit.  It has a wingspan of 86 in. and a length of 69 in.  Construction is all wood.  Power can come from 62 to 85 cc engines.  All up weight is around 32 lbs.  Check out the comments below for a review).

2 thoughts on “F8F Bearcat”

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  2. I have been flying my F8F Bearcat from Ziroli for a little over a year. It has an 86 in. wingspan, weighs 28 lbs. ready to fly, and is powered by a Zenoah 62 engine (see photo above).

    Ground handling is excellent. Advancing the throttle slowly on take off brings up the tail in a very short distance. More power and slight back pressure gets the F8F Bearcat airborne. Only a little right rudder trim is added to achieve straight and level flight.

    The airplane is well behaved, and immediately comfortable to fly. Loops for the rc airplane should be done at about 3/4 throttle from level flight, with full power applied upon entry.

    Stall turns and inverted flight are easier than expected. The F8f Bearcat can even perform a decent knife edge, although a moderate amount of elevator compensation is required to keep it from pitching up. Low speed rolls are more barrel type, but at higher speeds the airplane rolls more axially.

    Landings are easy. With full flaps deployed it slows remarkably. There is a mild pitching up as the flaps are lowered, that is to be expected. Setting up the approach, reducing throttle, the F8F Bearcat comes in smooth and slow, with no tendencies to fall off.

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