|Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo|
The aircraft had some unusual design features. Every effort was made to save weight, including the reduction of armament to four Browning .50 caliber machine guns. A lighter wing structure was used, potentially making the aircraft wings vulnerable to failure. The Grumman engineers developed a unique way of addressing that possibility: detachable wing tips. It was determined that under high-g loads, the wing tips would break off and prevent damage to the rest of the wing. Explosive charges were later added to ensure that the pilot could jettison a wing tip if only one separated during maneuvering. There were incidents when the detachable wingtips caused fatal crashes and injury to ground crewmen, and this feature was eliminated during the aircraft's production service life.
Due to its light weight and excellent performance for a piston-engine fighter, the Bearcat
was chosen by air racing teams at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada. The Bearcat was also chosen by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team for the 1946-1949 seasons. On the current airshow circuit, pilot/owner John O'Connor tours with his F8F-2 Bearcat sporting the Blue Angels paint scheme. Below are some photos from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 illustrating this aircraft following an historical photo from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels archive:
|(U.S. Navy photo)|