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World War II

Grumman G-36 Wildcat (FM-2)

Early Wildcats were the first folding-wing carrier based fighters.  Radio, navigation and range finding equipment were vital for locating the target and the way back to the ship.  

The Japanese Zero had superior climb rates, range, speed, turning radius and slower stall speeds but had no armor plate or self sealing tanks, this made the Zero light and fast, but vulnerable.  Out maneuvered by the Zero, the Wildcat’s best strategy was to“dive in, shoot fast and get out.”  

Wildcats have unlimited dive, with no red line as experienced by noted test pilot Dick Foote.  

The Wildcat played a vital role in the famous Battle of Midway in June of 1942, which we now know was a turning point in the war in the Pacific.  

The FM-2 also provided protection for convoys in the Atlantic and ensured their safety from the German U-boats.  

The FM-2 was in production until the end of WWII.  

Service History

Delivered: June 22, 1945

June 1945 - NAS Tillamook, OR

Stricken: Feb 28, 1946

MFG: Eastern General Motors

First Produced: 1942

Powerplant: Wright R1820-56

Horsepower: 1350

Prop: Curtiss 3-Blade C/S

Service Ceiling: 34,700 ft.

Cruise: 164 mph

Top Speed: 332 mph

Range: 1,310 miles

Empty Weight: 5,448 lbs

Gross Weight: 7,487 lbs

Wing Span: 38’

Wing Area: 260 sq. ft.

Length: 28’10”

Height: 11’9”

Armament: (4) .50 cal machine

guns, (2) 100 lb. bombs

or (6) 5” rockets

Number Built: 7,898 total

4,777 FM-2 Models

This Wildcat was procured by Yanks in 1983 and restored.