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World War II Gallery, 1940-1945

Bird Model A in flight

Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat

Bethpage, 1943

First flown in 1937, the F4F was developed from an earlier Grumman biplane fighter, the F3F. The F4F-3, seen here, was a fixed-wing design, while the later F4F-4 featured folding wings, so that more could be fit on board aircraft carriers. Production models were not only provided to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, but also to the British, who called it the Martlet, and with them it served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. When a new Grumman fighter, the F6F Hellcat, loomed as a replacement, the Navy still needed Wildcats for the smaller escort carriers. To make room for Hellcat production at the Grumman plant, F4F manufacture was turned over to the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors. The Wildcat was thus the only Navy fighter in production throughout the entire war. A total of 7898 were built.

Restored wildcat cockpit

Wingspan: 38'
Length: 28' 9"
Engine: 1200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830
Top Speed: 320 mph
Weight: 5758 lbs

On Loan: National Museum of Naval Aviation

Grumman's Wildcat readies for flight

CAM's Wildcat restoration complete