Feedback from pilots like Butch O'Hare in early lead to the more powerful R being used. What the Akutan Zero did, though, was to provide information that let American pilots make the most of the Hellcat's advantages.
Walsh would end World War II with 17 kills. The Zero also had trouble in dives, thanks to a bad carburetor the famous Spitfire also had carburetor problems.
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Navy pilots celebrate scoring 17 kills after one of the first combat missions of the Hellcat over Tarawa. The Hellcat even saw action in Korea as a guided bomb, and served until the s in some air forces. You can see a video about this plane below.
Grumman F6F Hellcat
The aircraft had become more important than ever with the continued delay of the Corsair. The battles of had also given navy pilots first-hand experience with Japan's Mitsubishi A6M Zero see NASM collection , whose capabilities came as quite a shock for the Americans, and the Wildcat's shortcomings were now readily apparent. The Navy desperately needed the increased performance of the Hellcat to combat the Zero's dominance. The Hellcat would prove superior to its main Japanese opponent in most performance categories, especially at high altitude.
FHCAM - Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
The only advantage that the Zero retained throughout the war was its legendary turning ability at slower speeds. This advantage disappeared, however, at speeds above knots, because of aerodynamic forces on the Japanese fighter's controls. The lightly armored Zeros were also no match for the Hellcat's rugged construction and six. But they were never available in sufficient quantity and the Zero remained the most numerous of Japanese fighters.
Because of Grumman's foresight in starting production early, Hellcats began rolling off the assembly line immediately and construction continued at an ever-increasing rate. Hellcat production was all the more remarkable considering that many of the Grumman employees had never built airplanes before. Much of the credit for the remarkable rate at which F6Fs were produced goes to the management abilities of Grumman and Swirbul. They fostered a family atmosphere and provided many modern services for their workers, such as day-care centers and counseling offices. As a result, Grumman's employee turnover rate was half that of other airplane manufacturers.
The Hellcat saw remarkably little modification throughout the war. F6F-3s served until the end of the conflict, but in mid Grumman introduced the F6F Externally, the new model differed only slightly from its predecessor.
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The main differences were additional armor plate, a reinforced empennage, and the addition of the RW engine, which had water injection for a limited boost in combat power. Spring tabs on the ailerons also increased maneuverability. The F6F-5's greatest feature was its versatility. It could carry rockets as well as bombs.
This became more important as the number of bombers on the carriers was reduced and fighters had to carry out a wider range of missions.
There were also versions of both models that were equipped with radar to serve as night fighters, as well as a photo-reconnaissance version. One of the last versions to serve in the U. Navy was the F6F-5K target drone. They would see post-war service in a limited role in the U.
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NOOK Book. In his free time, he works on aviation-related history projects, including exhibits and books.
follow He lives in Seattle, Washington. This title is highly recommended! It is just chocked full of color photos and data of one of Grumman's famous "cat" series of aircraft…. If you're an aficionado of the Hellcat, you'll most certainly want to add this fine book to your library. Most highly recommended. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Kids' Books. Read an excerpt of this book!
Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Explore Now. Buy As Gift. This lavishly illustrated book offers a thrilling look at the Hellcat at war--from its first action in September , when fighters off the USS Independence shot down a spying seaplane, to its service with the British Fleet Air Arm and its part in the invasion of Southern France. Show More.
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