- Delivered: June 22, 1945
- June 1945 – NAS Tillamook, OR
- Stricken: Feb 28, 1946
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 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 ofWWII.
This Wildcat was procured by Yanks in 1983 and restored.