YOU TUBE - Grumman F7F
2 x 2,200 hp. ea.
45 ft. 4 in.
51 ft. 6 in.
4 x .50 cal.
4 x 20 mm
Grumman F7F aircraft were the first multi-engine fighters of the United States Navy. Although deployed to some Marine Corps squadrons before the end of World War II, they did not see any action in the war.
The concept of the Grumman F7F, named the Tigercat, originated in 1941. It was to be a speedy, heavily armed, carrier based fighter that could also be used in a ground support role. As the aircraft developed, it became apparent that it was going to be heavier and faster than
all prior U.S. Navy carrier aircraft. It also differed from most Navy aircraft of the time by having a tricycle landing gear arrangement, while retaining the arresting hook and folding wings of carrier-based aircraft.
Even prior to the prototype's first flight, the U.S. Marine Corps had placed an order for 500 of the aircraft. They wanted to use the Grumman F7F primarily as a close ground support aircraft, flying from land bases.
When the Grumman F7F flew for the first time on Nov. 2, 1943, it was too large for many U.S. Navy carriers of the time. Initially only the Marines used it. The aircraft needed some redesign before it would be able to operate from the newest, larger U.S. Navy carriers.
It was determined that the vertical stabilizer of the Grumman F7F needed to be enlarged by about 30% so that it would meet U.S. Navy single engine handling requirements. The modification took about 30 months to accomplish. Eventually only twelve of the aircraft were produced that met U.S. Navy aircraft carrier requirements. These were never deployed aboard aircraft carriers.
The Grumman F7F was a fast climbing, quick accelerating aircraft, with excellent forward visibility. It had the best range of any Navy aircraft of its time. However, it was not without its faults. First and foremost was its tendency to flat spin to the point where it would not recover. In response, the Navy issued a directive prohibiting spinning the aircraft. Also, due to its
heavy wing loading, it needed a relatively high speed to maintain control of the aircraft with an engine out.
Grumman produce a night fighter version of the aircraft. A fuel tank was removed so that a station could be added to accommodate a radar operator, while nose armament gave way to radar. Another version of the Grumman F7F had more powerful engines and additional fuel capacity.
Production of the aircraft continued after WWII ended. Newer aircraft had radar housed in longer noses. Some Grumman F7f aircraft were equipped for reconnaissance with electronic and photographic equipment.
During the Korean War, Grumman F7F aircraft were used to escort B-29 Superfortresses. U.S. Marine Corps fighter unit VMF-513 flew the Grumman F7F night fighters from bases in Japan. At the outbreak of the Korean War, they went into action as night intruders against fortified enemy positions.
When jet interceptors were employed by the North Koreans, the Grumman F7f was retired from escort service in favor of faster jet aircraft. The last Grumman F7F flew for the U.S. military in 1954.
A total of 364 Grumman F-7F aircraft were built. They served as reconnaissance aircraft, fighters, ground attack aircraft, bomber escorts, and night fighters.
After being retired from military service, a number of Grumman F7F aircraft went on to serve as air tankers for fighting forest blazes. At least two were converted to air racers. At last count, six of the aircraft are still flying.
Pictured above is Arnold Marcus and his F7F Tigercat for sale from a kit by Aircraft International. It is made from Kevlar and has a wingspan of 120". Aircraft International tells us that you can power the scale model radio control airplane with either 3W-38/42i or 3W-48B2 engines.
NitroPlanes has a 50" wingspan F7F Tigercat for sale. It features a fiberglass fuselage and balsa built up wings.
Ducted fans.com has a Grumman F7F kit. Wingspan is 52". It has a fiberglass fuselage and built-up sheeted wings. Power comes from two Axi G28-14-12 motors.
Scale Wings has a Grumman F7F kit with a 112" wingspan, shown in the first picture below. It is of all composite construction. Recommended engines are 35 cc - 60 cc. All up weight is 48 - 55 lbs.
Pictured first below is detail of the Aero-naut Modellbau Grumman F7F built by Lee Crowder from Easton, MD. It has a wingspan of 52 1/2" and a length of 42". Construction is a GRP fuselage and balsa wings. You will need 3:1 geared speed 400 to 480 size motors for power.
Lee writes: "My Aero-naut Grumman F7F is modeled after the Reno racer Bad Kitty. Turned out to be quite a challenge since the plans were in German, not my native language, and it had no landing gear information. Motors are Eflite 480s
with 2,300 ma 3s batteries in parallel, with electric retracts all round and sequencing gear doors."
We want to thank Lee for the information about his good looking Grumman F7F.
The next two pictures are of the F7F Tigercat for sale from Kondor Model Products. It features a fiberglass fuselage and built up wings. Wingspan is 83". To power it you will need a pair of .70 to .91 four cycle engines.
Harry Haney Jr. sent in the last picture on this page of his KMP Grumman F7F powered by RCS 1.40 gas engines.
Detail of the Grumman F7F built by Lee Crowder.
F7F Tigercat for sale from Scale Wings.
F7F Tigercat for sale by KMP.
Grumman F7F built by Harry Haney Jr.