Grumman Wildcat FM2 – G-RUMW | The Fighter Collection

The Grumman Wildcat is an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service with both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy (as the Martlet) in 1940. Unique among World War II aircraft in that it was originally conceived as a biplane, it was first used in combat by the British in Europe. The Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of World War II in 1941 and 1942. With a slower top speed than the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the Wildcat outperformed it with greater maneuverable. The F4F’s ruggedness, coupled with tactics such as the Thach Weave, resulted in a claimed air combat kill-to-loss ratio of nearly 6:1 in 1942 and almost 7:1 for the entire war.

The Wildcat continued to be built throughout the remainder of the war to serve on escort carriers, where larger and heavier fighters could not be used.

Britains Greatest Test Pilot Eric “Winkle” Brown described the Grumman Wildcat “as the outstanding naval fighter of the early years of World War II … I can vouch as a matter of personal experience, this Grumman fighter was one of the finest shipboard aeroplanes ever created”.

  • STATUS: Airworthy
  • LOCATION: IWM, Duxford
  • OWNER: The Fighter Collection
  • ROLE: Fighter
  • BUILT: 1944
  • LENGTH:  28ft 11in
  • WINGSPAN:  38ft
  • ENGINE: Wright Aeronautical Corp R1820-56WA
  • MAXIMUM SPEED:  332mph
  • RANGE:  900 miles
  • ARMAMENT: Six 0.5in machine guns plus either two underwing 250ib bombs or six 5in rockets

The Fighter Collection Grumman Wildcat was built by the General Motors Corporation (Eastern Aircraft Division) at Trenton, New Jersey for the US Navy in 1945 and accepted by the US Navy on the 24th July 1945. It was immediately placed into storage at Tillamook Naval Air Station, Oregon. The aircraft was subsequently struck off US Navy charge on the 28th February 1946.

The aircraft went through a series of private owners between 1946 and 1975, and in 1975 it was placed on display at the Chennault Air Museum, California. This is where it stayed until 1992, when it was moved to Chino for overhaul to airworthy condition by Fighter Rebuilders. The first post restoration flight took place in January 1993.

The aircraft was acquired by The Fighter Collection in 1993 and shipped to Duxford in April of the same year. It currently wears the scheme of a Fleet Air Arm Wildcat on board HMS Tracker in 1944.

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