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.
|DISPLAY STATUS||COUNTRY OF ORIGIN||CURRENT LOCATION|
|Own||United States||Starfighter Hangar|
|PURPOSE & TYPE||MATERIALS||ERA & DATE RANGE|
|Fighter||Steel||World War II
1939 – 1945
|MFG: Eastern General Motors
First Produced: 1942
Number Built: 7,898 total; 4,777 FM-2-Models
Armament: (4) .50 caliber machine guns, (2) 100 lb bombs or (6) 5” rocketsThis Wildcat was procured by Yanks in 1983 and restored.
Wing Area: 260 sq ft
Empty Weight: 5,448 lbs
Gross Weight: 7,487 lbs
Powerplant: Wright R1820-56
Cruise Speed: 164 mph
Maximum Speed: 332 mph
Range: 1,310 miles
|Delivered: June 22, 1945
June 1945 – NAS Tillamook, OR