Hey Steve, That's a myth. Sounds good but ... not factual. Many believe the F6F was designed after capturing a Zero anyway and keep publishing this myth. As the text at the top states, the Hellcat was in the air by June 1942 already. What matters is that it delivered the same effective combat results as if that myth was true. So chalk it up to poetic license. Quite a work horse wasn't it!
willis E. Vanderberg, e-mail, 01.03.2013 19:21
Just for the record, we had F4U-5N'S aboard the USS Salerno Bay CVE 108 in the early fifties. This was the smallest carrier class built. If the Corsair was so dangerous on carriers we never saw it in our experience.
Chuck, e-mail, 10.11.2012 20:32
My Father became an ACE while flying the F6F-3, station aboard the USS Wasp CV-18. He was in VF-14 "the Iron Angels" and is a plank owner of the Wasp.
Naga, 14.07.2012 01:47
My great grandad had an affinity for this plane. While stationed on Iwo Jima, his line was attacked by a Mitsubishi G4M. The commanding officer told his men to stay in their foxholes, but when a pair of Hellcats teamed up and brought down the Betty, they got up and cheered, with their officer yelling at them to get back in their d*** foxholes.
David Bonnot, e-mail, 22.06.2012 23:46
Stationed at Point Mugu, Ca. 1956/1957 we use the f6f for drones and fired sparrow missles at them. The drones were painted bright red and controlled from another aircraft. Probably in over the year I was at Point Mugu a hundred were distroyed in flight. On one flight, the sparrow missles both missed and the drone lost radio control operation. Heading for downtown Los Angles, the air force was called in with f89 interseptor aircraft. After firing a large number of rockets the f6f finally gave up by running out of fuel and crashing.
Gene L oveland, e-mail, 03.06.2012 22:19
Flew the 1o,ooo Hellcat we received on board the Ticnderoga on two occasions.The cockpit had notes and telephone numbers of every girl who worked on it.I did not follow up. All the The F6's we flew were just great and gave you a feelig of confidence that you were flying the very besy.
George Townsend, e-mail, 08.05.2012 20:56
The F6F Was the Navy Advanced Trainer in Feb 1954 When I graduated at Pensacola. I did my final CARQUAL in The F6F-5.Wonderful airplane. R2800 PW. I loggged about 100 hrs.T/O 54in MP and 2660 RPM. I still remember.
Steve Gorek, e-mail, 18.02.2012 04:39
Don't know if this is true but I believe I read the F6F was the only plane in history designed to combat another aircraft, The Zero. Has anyone ever read this?
Rich, e-mail, 17.02.2012 09:44
Controversy has swirled concerning whether the Grumman F6F Hellcat or the Chance Vought F4U Corsair was the best US Navy fighter of WW II. And, some of that is occurring above. You must know some engineering and considerable history to accurately describe the relationship. I happen to love both fighters.
You will notice, if you check, that radial engines produced much less horsepower only a few years before. Technology advances at the beginning of the war were beginning to promise some amazingly powerful engines. Very powerful engines could only be exploited with large diameter propellers. Grumman and Chance Vought approached this problem very differently. The Corsair came along earlier. To keep the larger prop away from the ground or deck, it was designed with an inverted-gull wing to allow shorter, stouter landing gear for the rigors of carrier landings. Center-of-gravity considerations moved the cockpit further aft. The unfortunate byproduct of this design was that the very long and large nose and the rearward positioning of the pilot caused the carrier deck to be hidden in the last seconds of landing. For a confident, experienced pilot, this was tolerable. But, for inexperienced pilots, the Corsair was a 'killer'.
The Hellcat, on the other hand, put the pilot forward and 'beefed up' the taller landing gear to withstand carrier landings. The Hellcat didn't challenge the inexperienced pilot's abilities. When the Hellcat became available and was deployed, the Corsairs were reassigned to land bases with some Navy but mostly Marine squadrons where landing on airstrips with wide, long runways was the rule and little problem.
Before you think that I'm defending the Hellcat, the Corsair actually had slightly better performance and maneuverability. The Japanese called the Corsair 'Whistling Death' because the oil-cooler intakes in the wing-roots made a distinctive whine during a dive.
Don Parker, e-mail, 25.06.2011 16:40
Flew the F6 at VU 3 in 1958 configured as a drone. Greatest flying time I ever had as the squadron had about 30 of them and putting time on the engines was the only mission. All painted red and in those days there were few if any constraints to just getting in one and going "flying"..........those days will never return !!
r l battersby, e-mail, 02.06.2011 22:23
i operated the f6f drone out of point magu in 54-55 the aircraft is very forgiving in respect to pulling out of almost any attitude you could put it in during takeoff or landing including 90 degree and or inverted takeoff , we flew 4-6 drone ops a day with recovery approx. 60% lots of fun
Klaatu, e-mail, 27.04.2011 04:22
The most effective carrier-based fighter of world War II, period. The Pacific Campaign could never have been won without these aircraft.
Oh yes, I can hear all the Corsair fans disputing that statement already, with their arguments about how much better the F4U performed. The point is, however, that the assertion concerns the most effective CARRIER-BASED fighter, and that title simply has to go the the Hellcat. Boyington and his famous "Black Sheep" Marine aviators were all strictly land-based. The navy finally did deploy F4Us from carriers, but that was only in the last few months of the war, after the Hellcats had already accomplished most of the carrier-based fighting.
Vought first flew the F4U in the spring of 1940 and when, two years later, it still wasn't panning out as a viable carrier-based fighter, the Navy turned to the people at Beth Page, on the other side of Long Island Sound, to come up with an alternative. Grumman designed, built and deployed the F6F in combat in less than 18 months, and all while Vought was still trying to get the bugs out of the F4U. To develop such an outstanding fighter plane in such a short time was a phenomenal achievement by any standards!
C. K. Purcell, e-mail, 26.04.2011 00:11
A good airplane
mark blasco, e-mail, 14.03.2011 22:35
I was just in Maui and dove on a hellcat in about 50ft of water off McGregor point. We heard the pilot survived. Aircraft was in good shape sitting upright on the bottom.
aldol, e-mail, 03.03.2011 17:03
kill ratio against the mistsubishi zero? 19 to 1
B.C., e-mail, 19.02.2011 18:35
Hi Funseekers!..I am finishing up my model aircraft, the F6F, complete with wing armament and radio antenna. This is tge 2nd one, first one was back in the 50's when I was still in H.S. .. This time, as a retired man, I built another wood scale model out of the Guillow box and even hand-crafted the tri-propeller from basswood to give it the authenthic look and painted it blue and yellow, the colors of its carrier usage. Will have photos on Facebook. It was nice reading all the comments on this fine aircraft.
Ben Beekman, e-mail, 03.02.2011 03:07
This was a truly great airplane! According to William Green's book "Famous Fighters of the Second World War", (Doubleday, 1967), the Hellcat is credited with 4,947 of the 6,477 enemy aircraft claimed to have been destroyed in the air by U.S. Navy carrier pilots. If we add the scores of shore-based Hellcats, the total comes to 5,156 enemy machines, the ratio of kills to losses exceeding nineteen to one! Near the end of the war Grumman equipped a test model, the XF6F-6, with an R-2800-18W P/W 2,450 hp water-injected engine driving a four bladed Hamilton Standard propeller. This test aircraft reached a top speed of 417 mph at 22,000 ft.,the fastest of all Hellcats.
Ray Owen, e-mail, 22.01.2011 03:00
Flew this plane off the carrier Wasp (CV -18).Never had a problem ,unless you count the approx. 3'x3' tip of the wing i left in the Philippines after an attack on a Jap cruiser. Returned about 180 miles and landed aboard ship w/no problem. Love that plane.
Ron, e-mail, 02.01.2011 08:53
It caught my attention when you said night fighter. I'm curious about the pair of 20 mm cannons mixed with the 4 remaining .50s on early F6F night fighters in the war years. What was their firing rate and belt composition (AP to HE etc..and respective shell weight and %HE), and any jamming issues? How effective etc...? Any light you can add?
darius, 23.10.2010 15:39
nice plane.igota model rc
Bob Maxwell, e-mail, 19.10.2010 12:06
Bill, Grumman had several plants producing the F6 but the main one was at Bethpage, Long Island, near Farmingdale.
Bill, e-mail, 12.10.2010 16:31
My father was a plant manager for Grumman in N.y. during world war II. I remember going to the field to see Wildcats & Hellcats. We lived in Stoney Brook, Long Island, NY I can't remember the name of the Plant/Field where he worked? Anyone might know? Please e-mail me. Thanks, Bill
BobW, 30.09.2010 22:11
Something this article fails to mention, or at least I didn't see was that in 1944 Grumman was turning out one Hellcat per hour - 644 in one month - an aircraft production record which has never been equaled. That's incredible.
John Carver, jr, e-mail, 30.09.2010 04:18
My dad, Jack Carver, callsign "Bird Dog" was with VF-6 aboard the Hancock....he loved the airplane until the day he died...alkways claimed it was the best. He recieved 5 Air Medals...shot down several of the other guys...and was my hero.
Jim Scanlan, e-mail, 14.09.2010 04:15
Fron feb 53 to June 53, I was in MTC-10 (N) Fighter squadron. It had F6F's. We were the last to use F6's. The squadron taught pilots, for night combat. They had installed a Hughs radar on the right wing. I was a parachute rigger, and I filled the planes with oxygen, which inside, on the armour plate, for the pilots. Jim Scanlan
Aaron, e-mail, 12.08.2010 07:19
Woh, I hope I don't get into trouble here. There is quite an elite crowd at this sight. Here goes: The F6F was the perfect aircraft for the USN when it arrived. An easy (by comparison) aircraft to learn to fly and protectively forgiving. Best engine of the war and dependable frame. Hard combination to beat. Can somebody please tell me where the maximum published speed of 380 mph. came from? It's not true. In a USN comparison test against an F4U-1 and FW-190A a F6F-3 with water injection reach a maximum speed of 409 mph. A USN Air Station Performance Test Each 1000th Airplane (TED No. PTR-2125) report testing a F6F-5 No.58310 they reported a maximum speed of 391 mph. at 23,100 ft. at military power (NOT WAR EMERGENCY). By the way, if they hadn't come up with the Hellcat there would have been a lot of Corsairs at the bottom of the ocean.
Ron, e-mail, 20.05.2010 00:37
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Hellcat had one of the best kill ratios of WW 2. I know it wasn't as fast as other fighters with the same engine, but it could outmaneuver them. It's a shame it had a turtle-back for the duration. A teardrop canopy would have been nice in 1944 like most allied fighters. Heck, a Grumman F8F Bearcat in 1944/45 even better! (Better specify the Mk V RAF variant of the Hispano 20-mm cannons, not the unreliable US M2 or M3 variants). Dig that climb rate!
CathyAnne, e-mail, 01.03.2010 09:09
My dad Ens. John W. Burton (eventually Lt. j.g.) was in the Night Fighting Unit VF-3. He flew with Lt. George L. Cassell, Ens. Lewis B. Humphrey, Ens. Clifford S. Tomlinson, and Ens. Carl E. Poston of the Fighting Three of Air Group Three from Oct 1, 1944 to March 1,1945 off the USS Yorktown. I have his Handbook and have been reading about their strikes over Canton, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Okinawa, Formosa, Iwo & Chichi Jima. He is 89 yrs old and still loves air planes. Recently he took his great grandson to EVERGREEN Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, OR just to see the historic fighter planes and the famed Spruce Goose. His stories from WWII are amazing. What a hero we have in our own family. We are so proud.
Recordo, e-mail, 21.02.2010 17:42
Len: I remember in the early '50s seeing you and your pals flying F6fs out of Floyd Bennet in formation up and down the Rockaway peninsula. There was the occasional PBY but to my recollection, no F4Fs, F4Us or F8fs. What a shame that field was closed. My father was in a ferry squadron from 1942-45 tranporting aircraft between New York, Texas and California.
J.W. Walsh, 18.02.2010 18:00
J.W walsh, 18.02.2010 17:59
Loved this airplane! Came back to the carrier more than once with multiple holes from either Zeke 7.7 mm. machine guns or Jap ack ack. Not good flotation characteristics though. Got shot down at Ishigaki and had to make a water landing. F6F went down in less than 60 seconds and left me swimming out of the cockpit. Rescued by a sub the next day though so all's well that ends well. Best Navy fighter of WWII. My dad was in the war my hole family is !
Len Eisner, e-mail, 01.12.2009 23:58
I joined VF-3 out of operational training in mid 1945 and flew the F6 as George Cassell's wingman; he was the executive officer of the squadron. I truly enjoyed flying that airplane while in the squadron. I left the Navy in 46 to finish college and flew it extensively at Floyd Bennett field in the reserves, sometimes ferrying one to Alameda for overhaul and returning with a rebuilt one. After graduation and return to the service I flew it while waiting for new AM-1s to be delivered to the squadron I was in. Except for the F11F, I would pick the Hellcat as my all time favorite bird.
Charlie Gray, e-mail, 02.11.2009 11:00
During my navy enlistment i was stationed at Point Mugu NAS from 1952-1954, assigned to operations [drones]at the main hangar and worked on the F6F-5K hellcats as a mech. We also had a few F8F bearcats as control aircraft but i much preferred working on the hellcats. What a great aircraft that was, and what a fine group of knowledgeable people i had the privilege of working with at that time.
Mike Granat, e-mail, 19.07.2009 22:40
Flew the aircraft while with Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3). With end of WW11, VF-3 formed a flight demonstration team (8 aircraft). Aside of normal flight ops, we performed shows to encourage pilot recruitment. Conducted last show at '46 National Air Races, Cleveland, Ohio. A three man team flying the new F8F Bearcat also performed. It was the inaugural act for a new flight demonstration team now known as the Blue Angels
Laurence, e-mail, 29.05.2009 01:39
Even though the wildcat and hellcat look similar quite a few changes were made, 1 of note is the wing being taken from mid fuselage to low.Apparently a few japanese pilots made a similar mistake and paid the price for it especialy in its climb rate.
randy, e-mail, 16.01.2009 23:38
I would like to know if it was radio gear that sat behind the pilot. if so, where can I find some photos?
Ace, e-mail, 27.12.2008 08:26
this plane shot down over 1000 japanese aircraft.watch dogfights the zero killers for its action
Luis, e-mail, 06.09.2008 23:15
It is exactly the same as the original F4F Wildcat with a better engine! Whats the point? They ould at least put in a new simpler design.... But above all a good and deadly plane...
Fred J. Ferrazzano, e-mail, 26.05.2008 15:06
My very favorite propellor driven fighter aircraft of all time having worked for the Grumman "Iron Works" at Bethpage and flying in the fleet with carrier work in the mid 50's.
Don Corzine, 05.05.2008 02:34
Loved this airplane! Came back to the carrier more than once with multiple holes from either Zeke 7.7 mm. machine guns or Jap ack ack. Not good flotation characteristics though. Got shot down at Ishigaki and had to make a water landing. F6F went down in less than 60 seconds and left me swimming out of the cockpit. Rescued by a sub the next day though so all's well that ends well. Best Navy fighter of WWII.
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