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The Grumman F7F Tigercat was designed to meet a 1941 Navy requirement for a twin engine fighter that could get to altitude fast, had long range, a lot of firepower. The first flight was in December 1943 but the aircraft failed carrier landing tests because of low speed stability issues when operating on a single engine. This was corrected with the F7F-3 in 1945 with enlarged vertical stabilizer and rudder, but by that time the Navy preferred the Corsair and Hellcat fighters. A late variant (F7F-4N) was certified for aircraft carrier operations.

The Marine Corps preferred the firepower of the F7F for close air support: four 20 mm cannons and four .50 cal. machine guns, as well as underwing and under fuselage hard points for bombs and torpedoes. Two squadrons of Marine F7Fs were in training when Japan surrendered.

A separate contract produced 60 more F7F-3Ns and 13 F7F-4Ns, with production ending in late 1946. Both models were night fighters, equipped with radar in an elongated nose, and a larger fin. The first combat operations occurred during the Korean War when the night fighters targeted enemy convoys and also performed as reconnaissance and ground support aircraft.

Aircraft 80374 became surplus after Korea. Because of its powerful engines, it was purchased as an aerial firefighting tanker with a large tank fixed to the fuselage to carry borate and water (therefore called the “Borate Bomber”) up into the late 1960s. It was restored to wartime appearance about 2007.

The National Museum of WW II Aviation features WWII-era veterans!!


There are few WWII-era veterans left, and the National Museum of World War II Aviation is providing an opportunity for the community to meet-and-greet some of these honored WWII veterans.

Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation
775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, 80916

Scheduled to appear are:
Ed Beck—Army POW captured during the Battle of the Bulge who escaped from captivity.
Marilyn Doenges—Army nurse who served in the UK and Northern France
JJ Inman—P-51 pilot who flew missions in China
Noe Romero—Served on the U.S.S Yorktown at the Battle of Midway
Bill Roche—B-17 waist gunner who was shot down by German aircraft twice.
Cole “Junior” Griego—U.S. Navy Medic in the Battle of Iwo Jima

Advance admission purchases are advised for this event because advance ticket holders will be given priority to enter the museum. Appropriate social distancing and face masks will be required and strictly enforced.**

Historic note: 75 years ago on August 14, 1945 the Japanese surrendered, and hostilities in WWII ceased. The formal surrender of Japanese forces was signed Sept. 2, 1945.