The Navy's newest fighter is a hellcat, but only to the Japs. To US pilots it is 'bug'-free, easy to fly.

If you can believe US Navy pilots who fly Hellcats, Grumman's newest fighter (technically the F6F) is the finest single-engined fighter ever designed. But pilots' reports are many times more enthusiastic than informative. Pilots currently flying the Corsair — in the same class as the Hellcat — will swear by their log books that the former has a slight edge on the Grumman. One fact about the Hellcat is important, however: the glowing reports from pilots are far more widespread and abundant than they have been for the Corsair.

For an airplane with its horsepower and wing loading (both restricted), the Hellcat is surprisingly easy to fly; there are several women pilots at the Grumman plant in Farmingdale, LI, who put "slow time" on Hellcats as they come off the assembly line. At sea, the Hellcat has proved itself so suitable to carrier operations that it probably will be the only combat-carrier-based fighter used from now on. The Wildcat probably will be the standard fighter on smaller carriers, the Corsair probably being assigned to land-based, instead of carrier-based operations.

This article was originally published in the December, 1943, issue of Flying including Industrial Aviation magazine, vol 33, no 6, p 53.
The original article includes 3 photos.
Photos credited to US Navy.

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