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Grumman F8F Bearcat

Grumman F8F Bearcat Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2008 Title Grumman F8F Bearcat
Author Corwin "Corky" Meyer and Steve Ginter Publisher Ginter Books
Published 2007 ISBN 0-942612-80-9
Format 216 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $39.95


There is a handy title in the Naval Fighter series published by Ginter Books. This covers the Grumman F8F Bearcat from inception through its military and civilian careers. Designed as a high-performance, carrier-based fighter, the F8F significantly outperformed the F6F Hellcat and would have shredded anything the Japanese could have developed, but the aircraft was too late for World War Two and would be the last propeller-driven fighter from Grumman.

The Bearcat would serve as the mainstay of carrier fighter aviation through the remainder of the 1940s and would be phased out of front-line service by the time of the Korean War. The Bearcat would later see combat with the French Air Force and Navy in the Indochina war, but Bearcats were quickly being replaced by the first operational jet fighters by the time Korea blew into a full-blown United Nations conflict.

But what fun is history alone? This title is written by Corky Meyer, and the Bearcat was another of his early test flight experiences. I've read many of his other titles and experiences, and like the other Naval Fighter titles that Corky has authored, this one is pure fun to read.

The title doesn't stop with Navy Bearcats either. There are some good photos and coverage of the Navy's first post-war aerial demonstration team - the Blue Angels. Their first mount was the Bearcat, with a lone F6F serving as the 'Beetle Bomb', a yellow-painted airframe with a 'Zero' painted on its tail that was part of their routine. As the Blues moved on to their first jet, the Bearcat replaced the Hellcat as the Beetle Bomb before that part of the performance was dropped from the show.

This is another great addition to the Naval Fighter line and I find myself acquiring every one! Definitely recommended!