AirVenture Four-Fighter ‘Flight Of The Cats’ To Feature Grumman’s Finest

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This year’s AirVenture will feature the “Flight of the Cats.” Four of Leroy Grumman’s historic designs will take to the sky in unison—four combat aircraft developed within just eight calendar years in the late 1930s and 1940s, but spanning untold generational advances in performance.

Two of these Grumman “cats” carved a legend in the skies over the South Pacific during World War II. First, the F4F Wildcat acquitted itself admirably against technologically superior Japanese fighters such as the A6M Zero. Then the F6F Hellcat, designed with input from test-flying a captured Zero, picked up the fight with devastating effectiveness later in the war.

The feline bloodline continued into the post-war era with the razor-thin F7F twin-engine Tigercat and the brawny F8F Bearcat.

The performance at this year’s AirVenture will be made possible by the generosity of Rod Lewis’s Lewis Air Legends collection (Wildcat, Tigercat, and Bearcat) as well as Evan Fagen flying the Hellcat operated by Fagen Fighters WWII Museum in Granite Falls, Minnesota. Flag your AirVenture calendar for the afternoon airshows on July 27 and July 29.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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