F8F Bearcat / Blue AngelItem Number: 321
Grumman F8F Bearcat airplane model. Production of the F8F-1 began just six months after the first flight of the prototype, and the first airplane was delivered to the US Navy's VF-19 squadron on 21 May 1945. The Navy's order totaled 2,033 airplanes, and Grumman contracted with General Motors to build the Bearcat under license, with the designation F8FM-1. Only a few Bearcats had been delivered to the Navy when the end of the war halted production. Grumman cancelled 1,258 of its Bearcats, and General Motors cancelled its entire order of 1,876. Production resumed after the war, and several variants were produced, including the F8F-1B, with four 20mm cannon in place of the previously-fitted 12.7mm (0.5 inch) machine guns, several night fighter variants (F8F-1N and F8F-2N), and a photo-reconnaissance version (F8F-2P). Production continued until May 1949.
At least 24 US Navy squadrons flew the Bearcat, some until as late as 1952, after which some were sold to the French Armee de l'Air for combat operations in Indo-China. Another 129 Bearcats were sold to the Thai Air Force.
Mahogany Wood. Wingspan 15 1/2 inches, Length 12 inches.