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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat
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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat

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  • 1. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat Quoting Smithsonian National Air and SpaceMuseum | Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat:The Grumman F6F Hellcat was originally conceived as an advanced version of the U.S. Navy’sthen current front-line fighter, the F4F Wildcat (see NASM collection). The Wildcat’s intendedreplacement, the Vought F4U Corsair (see NASM collection), first flown in 1940, was showinggreat promise, but development was slowed by problems, including the crash of the prototype.The National Air and Space Museum’s F6F-3 Hellcat, BuNo. 41834, was built at Grumman’sBethpage, New York, factory in February 1944 under contract NOA-(S)846. It was delivered tothe Navy on February 7, and arrived in San Diego, California, on the 18th. It was assigned toFighter Squadron 15 (VF-15) on USS Hornet (CV12) bound for Hawaii. On arrival, it wasassigned to VF-3 where it sustained damage in a wheels-up landing at NAS Barbers Point,Hawaii. After repair, it was assigned to VF-83 where it was used in a training role until February21, 1945. After numerous transfers 41834 was converted to an F6F-3K target drone with theinstallation of sophisticated radio-control equipment. It was painted red with a pink tail thatcarried the number 14. Its mission was to be used in Operation Crossroads – the atomic bombtests at Bikini Atoll. It flew on June 24, 1946, with a pilot, on a practice flight and was launched,unmanned, soon after the first bomb test. Instrumentation on board and photographic platestaped to the control stick obtained data on radioactivity. Three more manned flights precededthe final unmanned flight on July 25, 1946, which evaluated the first underwater explosion.Records indicate that exposure of this aircraft to the radioactive cloud was minimal and residualradiation is negligible.F6F-3K 41834 was transferred to NAS Norfolk and logged its last flight on March 25, 1947, witha total of 430.2 flying hours. It was assigned to the National Air Museum on November 3, 1948,and remained at Norfolk until October 4, 1960, when it was moved by barge to Washington andplaced in storage. In 1976 this Hellcat was loaned to the USS Yorktown Museum at Charleston,South Carolina. A superficial restoration was performed at the museum, but because of theharsh environment and its poor condition the Hellcat was returned to NASM on March 16, 1982.In 1983, it was sent to Grumman Aerospace where a team of volunteers completely restored theaircraft. In 1985, it was shipped back to the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and 1/2
  • 2. Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland, and put in storage. NASM’s F6F-3 Hellcat is scheduled to be displayed in the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy center at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in 2004. Transferred from the United States Navy. Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation Date: 1943 Country of Origin: United States of America Dimensions: Overall: 338 x 1021cm, 4092kg, 1304cm (11ft 1 1/16in. x 33ft 5 15/16in., 9021.2lb., 42ft 9 3/8in.) Physical Description: Heavy armor plate, reinforced empennage, R-2800-10W engine, spring tabs on the ailerons (increased maneuverability), could carry rockets as well as bombs. Blog this! Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share on FriendFeed Buzz it up Share on Linkedin Share via MySpace Share on Orkut Share on Posterous share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Share on technorati Tumblr it Tweet about it Buzz it up Subscribe to the comments on this post 2/2Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org)