The F8F-2 Bearcat was design by Grumman Ironworks and began production in 1947. The Bearcat served in a total of 24 squadrons for both the United States Navy and Marine Corps during 1948. A few of the Bearcat’s notable specs are: the max speed of 455 MPH, lighter airframe compared to similar fighters (when compared to the Corsair, the Bearcat is 3,000 pound lighter), and the second airframe to be used by the United States Demonstration Squadron-The Blue Angels.
Powering the Bearcat is a single Pratt & Whitney radial engine capable of 2,250-hp. It is worth noting the Corsair and the Bearcat share the same engine design, however the lighter airframe of the Bearcat allows the aircraft to reach higher maximum speed. On May 31, 1949 production ended for the Bearcat, yielding a total of 282 aircraft.
The aircraft featured in the video was produced in 1948 and delivered to the Navy for service on December 2, 1948. The aircraft was later placed into storage in 1953 until it’s purchase in 1997 by The Lone Star Flight Museum in Texas. The aircraft was restored to flying condition by the museum.
The current owner, John O’Connor, purchased the aircraft from the Museum in 2011. The Bearcat is quite rare today sight at airshows today. In an interview by the Dailyherald.com owner John O’Connor stated, “fewer than 10 of these aircraft are flying today.” (dailyherald.com) The Blue Angel paint scheme was already applied when the aircraft was purchased in 2011.
Notable Events in the video:
0:10 Mustang “Gentleman Jim” returns to the Hot Ramp
2:27 C-47 with Paratroopers Enter Frame
4:30 Smoke On
4:50 Bearcat Begins Taxi to Runway
5:00 Short Flyby of the Bearcat