Sunday, July 27, 2014

Good Morning Jacob

Letter to my Son
Sunday, 27 July


Good Morning Jacob…

Words have such a limited vocabulary when it comes time to express how we feel.  Unless you are a poet gifted in uttering the strange tongue of speaking between words and their meaning then it is best to express how you feel using the map of your face or the spontaneous brush of your touch.  Maybe you can hold, even seduce, the thoughts of another through the careful measurement of sound that we call music.  It is one of the arts.  What is art if it does not leave us open to suggestion?  In this regard is it not just a bit like hypnosis?  We are suddenly focused in a manner outside our normal experience.  We see beneath the familiar and find something anew.  We are enticed to consider alternative possibilities – not through the logic of rational discourse but by way of the allure found beneath common human experience.  The ultimate language of art is intuition.  It reveals a truth that has always existed from within us yet it has often gone unrecognized.  There were simply no words to suggest its validation.  It’s not math.  The sum of its impressions never delivers the identical response in any two individuals.  In fact, the response varies within the same individual from day to day, moment to moment – from one event to another.  Art is a mercurial truth and cannot be held to a precise quality.  It provides an objective truth because its essence is universally perceived and yet it is subjective because it is meaningless without a human emotional response.  Art is a communication not beholden to words.  In fact, unless you are the poet or a bard whose product requires painting with words, then words themselves only diminish your message. 

A painter is wise to leave their message entrapped in oil.  Verbal explanation distracts the viewer from the art work’s impact, diffusing the painting’s energy.  Words corrupt.  They are the tools of a rational medium that often as not dissembles and distorts a meaning best left unspoken. 

de Kooning

What is the meaning of “yama dama ding dong”?  How about “Papa-ooma-mow-mow”?  How much time are you willing to invest to try to translate these sound-words into a literal meaning?  Don’t bother.  Once you speak these sounds aloud with feeling you will capture their meaning.  There are some experiences in life we just aren't meant to cogitate over.  We absorb a pure expression in oils.  We don’t puzzle through it as though we were plotting the artist’s moves in a challenge comparable to a game of chess – not if we want to be enriched by its sensual nature.  Sure, an academician may write a thesis on de Kooning’s disassembling of women as an act of love on canvas… and it would probably be interesting.  However that isn’t the experience de Kooning felt in the rapture of the moment when he put brush to canvas. 

I’m tempted now to dwell a moment on that word rapture.  I don’t think it’s a simple, pure feeling when held in the human heart.  Neither, for that matter, are the emotions associated with the act of making love.  There is mystifying complexity involved in these feelings.  If you are searching for nirvana then maybe you should take up spiritual yoga or the like.  Human passion is discordant, loaded with conflict.  It can be a vibrant, delicately balanced mesmeric suspension.  It can be an electrical storm, traumatic – a feverish surge.  Attempt to contain it and it explodes.  Wondrous life.


Those are the words.  Leave them for the letters you write when you can’t be with the one you love.  Otherwise, hold her tight and do something for her that is beyond the mere making of words. 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Good Morning Jack

Letter to my Son
Sunday, 20 July

Never too old for somersaults

Good Morning Jack…

Should we roll older people down hills?  I’m picturing a grassy slope, not too steep.  We’ll lay them out lengthwise and give their creaky bodies a gentle shove to get them started.  Keep your arms tucked!  There you go.  Isn’t this fun?  Down the hill you go.  Don’t stop,  Keep rolling.

“That was wonderful.  I haven’t done this since I was a child.”

“I’m asking myself why I haven’t done this sooner.”

“Simple moments of pleasure like these make me less cranky.”

“I’ve got grass stains in my clothes.  This isn’t going to come out.  Mama’s going to be mad.”
“I think she’ll be alright with it.”
“No.  No, I don’t think so.  Here she comes.”
“Maybe she won’t notice.”
“She already has.”
“Frank, what are you doing?”
“I was rolling down the hill.”
“Yes, I saw that.  Don’t you think it’s just a little ridiculous; a man your age.”
“It’s therapy.”
“Therapy?  For what?  I’m married to a man who rolls down hills.  Look at your pants.  I just bought them.”
“Presoak them in a little Shout and I think it’ll come out, Mrs. Kettleman.”
“I should hope so.  I suppose this was your idea.”
“It comes highly recommended.  AARP.  All sorts of geriatric societies and health professionals.”
“He could have broke his hip.”
“The slope is very gentle.”
“Frank, you look clammy.  Are you having chest pains?”
“I’m fine, Mama.  In fact, I feel great.”
“You look dizzy.  Go sit down over there.”
“I do think maybe I shouldn’t have eaten all that chicken at lunch.”

There are significant benefits that come with childlike activities for our senior citizens.  Hill rolling is at the top of most everyone’s list for improving mental health.  We should also encourage other gentle exercises such as somersaults, hop-scotch, and even cartwheels.  Admittedly these motions increase in challenge and require a certain spryness.  Consult your doctor before attempting any of these exercises.  Also, it is best to have professional supervision for any geriatric kinematic program.  It is recommended that a chiropractor be on hand to massage, manipulate and soothe the inevitable sprains and strains that may occur.  Anyone having recent hip replacement surgery should limit themselves to playing in the sink.  You may splash water but you must be sitting down at all times.  Anyone found standing on wet floors will have their water privileges taken away for good.  I’m sorry but this is for your welfare. 

“Have we any questions?  Yes, Billy.”
“I have acid reflux.  Will this be a problem?”
“Good question, Billy.  We ask that no one eat within three hours prior to attempting somersaults and the like.  Food in our tummies can easily get disoriented and head in the wrong direction.  I don’t think any of us want that.  Clara?”

“Tony keeps putting his hand on my hair.”
“Tony we need to keep our hands to ourselves.”
“It’s not her hair.  I think it’s an extension.”
“Tony, shut up.  You don’t know.”
“It’s not even your color.”
“Tony!  Clara.  Let’s settle down.  Tony, keep your hands to yourself or you will have to leave.”
“I just want to have fun.  Can we go now?”
“Yes, I think it’s time we all went to the play room.  Walk!  No pushing.  One at a time through the door, everyone.  Robert – no walkers in the play room.  You’re holding everyone up.  Remember, pleasant manners make for smiling faces, people.”


Thursday, July 17, 2014

CV 5 Yorktown

Yorktown - first modern US carrier

CV 5       Yorktown

Class:     Yorktown            CV 5       1937, 30 September:      commissioned
                Enterprise           CV 6       1938, 12 May
                Hornet                 CV 8       1941, 20 October

                19,875 tons         standard
                25,500 tons         deep displacement

                809ft 6in / 246.6m            overall
                770ft / 234.6m                  waterline
                802 x 86ft                         flight deck
                244.3 x 26.2m

Beam:   83ft 3in / 25.4m

                21ft 6in / 6.5m                   standard
                26ft / 7.9m                         deep load

Aircraft:                96
Crew:                   1,875 men

Armament          (as completed):
                5in    / 127mm guns x 8
                1.1in / 28mm guns x 16
                0.5in / 12.7mm mg x 24

                2.5 – 4in / 64 – 102mm   vertical belt
                1.5in / 38mm                   deck

                Geared steam turbines
                9 boilers
                4 shafts

                120,000 hp / 89,500 kW
                32.5 knots

Range:  12,000nm / 22,220km @ 15 knots
Fuel:       4,300 tons

Note biplanes on crowded flight deck

The Yorktown, CV 5, was the first in a series of three carriers that included the legendary Enterprise, CV 6, and the Hornet, CV 8, famous for the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942.  The design of the Yorktown class of carriers was the result of compromise between treaty restrictions and fleet experience with large carriers.  The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 was an agreement primarily between Britain, Japan and the United States to limit the number of their warships.  Its effect was to hold the size of the Yorktown to 20,000 tons.  Experience with the 36,000 ton Lexington and her sister carrier, the Saratoga, demonstrated the offensive capability of large ships carrying extensive air wings.  By contrast the 14,500 ton Ranger was considered a failure by the Navy because it was inadequately powered, poorly protected and its aerial operations were too easily disrupted by rough seas.

With tanker in Coral Sea

Despite Yorktown’s compromised size it would be the first true modern carrier of the United States and it would provide the basis for the next-generation Essex class carriers that emerged with great impact during the Second World War.  The Lexington class carriers were battle cruiser conversions and lacked the efficiencies that might have come with being designed as a carrier from the keel up.  The Navy could have improved on the Yorktown’s protection had it build the ship closer to 27,000 tons but then treaty limits would have limited carrier production to just it and the Enterprise.  Navy admirals wanted three ships so the Yorktown class carriers were reduced by 7,000 tons, enabling a third Ranger-size carrier to be built – the Wasp.  Unfortunately the Wasp suffered from the same vulnerabilities as did the Ranger and it was sunk by torpedoes within three months of being introduced to the Pacific Theater in 1942.

Struck by torpedo at Coral Sea

Carrier speed is important when operating with the fleet and the Yorktown, like the Lexington that preceded it, was as fast as the heavy cruisers that were its escort.  These ships could top 32 knots when needed.  Launching heavy aircraft from a short deck is not as dangerous as landing on that same pitching deck but it is a challenge having its own peril.  A plane falling into the drink from an unsuccessful launch is almost always fatal – being that it’s in the path of the oncoming carrier.  Carriers divert from the fleet’s course when needed to launch into the wind.  Its speed and oncoming wind combine to maximize the plane’s lift but it also means the carrier must quickly regain lost ground with the fleet after the planes are launched.  Smaller carriers like the Ranger and Wasp weren't large enough to hold the massive power plants necessary to generate fleet carrier speed.

Recovering from dive bomber attack

Both the Lexington and Saratoga came initially with eight inch guns and the armor needed to do battle with an enemy cruiser.  These were America’s first real carriers and it was believed they would have to hold their own in battle with surface ships.  The armor and large guns needed for this role created a substantial weight penalty for the carrier.  At this time the aircraft carrier’s purpose was primarily to provide reconnaissance for the Navy’s large battleships.  The biplanes that populated the carrier’s air wing were too light and underpowered to be anything more than pesky gnats when it came to a clash between twelve inch guns and foot thick armor.  During the 1930s the transition was made to heavy, more powerful monoplanes and it became increasingly evident that the carrier was by itself an offensive force of reckoning.  The carrier’s defense was not measured in guns and armor but in the size of the air wing it carried.  The measure of its power was in getting all your planes into the air in the shortest possible time.

Dealing with bomb damage below deck

Getting quick patch-up at Pearl

By now dive bombing techniques had countered a ship’s ability to rapidly maneuver out of the way of plane-dropped bombs.  Aircraft had become muscular enough to make airborne torpedo attacks lethal for most any naval vessel.  By 1940 a carrier’s air wing was a mix of fighters for defense and the offensive power supplied by dive bombers and torpedo planes.  Just prior to December 7, 1941 the Yorktown’s mix of fighters and bombers was typical for the time.  It consisted of:

                Fighters:              F4F Wildcat –                 19
                Dive Bombers:  SBD Dauntless –             36
                Torpedo plane: TBD Devastator –             18

Normally there were a few additional planes stored on the hanger deck as a reserve.   The torpedo plane could also be used as a horizontal bomber but this approach was rarely effective in naval battle.  Dive bombers were used for scouting duty by replacing bombs with external fuel tanks and fighters could provide escort to the carrier’s bombers. 

Dousing fires at Midway

The installation of radar on the fleet’s carriers in 1940 significantly enhanced the effectiveness of the carrier’s fighter protection.  Approaching aircraft could now be identified from 70 miles out giving the flattop time to beef up its routine combat air patrol circling overhead.  One possible hitch was the displacement of aircraft on the flight deck.  Whereas the British and Japanese policy was to store aircraft on the hanger deck, American naval practice was to have as much of the air wing as possible positioned on the flight deck.  This arrangement saved time in getting all your planes airborne.  The obvious problem occurred when you wanted to launch specific aircraft that happened to be at the rear of the pack.  Placing the fighters at the front made them immediately available for rapid defensive response but it didn't provide space needed for landing when it came time to refuel.  This brings up one of the advantages of having two carriers working in tandem.  One flattop could have its flight deck loaded and ready for offensive action while the second carrier could keep its flight deck cleared of all aircraft but fighters, dedicated to providing the necessary overhead combat patrol.

Destroyer takes torpedo intended for Yorktown 

In practice, the task force surrounding the carrier, whether American or Japanese, was always searching for the opposing carriers.  Discovery of an enemy’s carriers invariably resulted in a quick launch of the task force’s complete air wing.  Whoever struck first was the most likely victor.  The age of the aircraft carrier had arrived.  Knock out an enemy’s carriers and their surface ships must either flee the scene or risk being sent to the bottom of the sea from a swarm of airborne bombs and torpedoes.  The battleship has an offensive reach of no more than twenty miles.  Aircraft from a carrier can strike suddenly out of the blue from their floating base two hundred miles away.  This was dramatically demonstrated at Pearl Harbor and, again, at Midway six months later. 

Bomb punches through wooden flight deck

The Japanese were slow to appreciate the defensive need for radar.  Had their carriers at Midway not relied exclusively on air patrols they might have been able to counter the devastating blow inflicted on them by the squadrons of SBD Dauntless that pounced unexpectedly from nearly straight overhead.  Like their American counterparts, the flight decks of Japanese carriers were not armored.  Effective armor would have made them top heavy and would have required them to make unacceptable cuts in the number of aircraft they carried.  This vulnerability made dive bombing possibly the greatest risk to a carrier’s survival.  One well-place bomb could leave the flight deck unavailable for further aircraft operations.  Fighters were the best means of carrier defense.  By the time of the Battle of the East Solomons, in August, 1942, both the Enterprise and the Saratoga had doubled their fighter complement to 36 F4F Wildcats.  The Yorktown might have done likewise had it not been sunk at Midway – sent to the bottom by a submarine’s two torpedoes, having first been slowed from three bombs in a dive bombing attack. 

Destroyer pulls survivors from water

It took an extraordinary effort on the part of repair crews at Pearl Harbor for the Yorktown to even make it to Midway.  The vessel managed to survive three bomb hits and two torpedoes to her port side at the Battle of the Coral Sea just the previous month.  At Pearl the Yorktown was given a quick 48 hour patch job and sent back to sea along with her sister ships, the Enterprise and HornetYorktown’s squadron of SBD Dauntless would be responsible for sinking the Japanese carrier Soryu while dive bombers from the Enterprise would destroy both the carriers Kaga and Akagi.  A last gasp attack from the carrier Hiryu led to the Yorktown’s demise.  Hiryu, the fourth and final Japanese carrier, was itself dispatched the following day.  The entire battle had been waged without either fleet sighting the other except from the air.

Yorktown capsizes and sinks

The design of the Yorktown, CV 5, displays the confidence the US Navy had developed for the offensive role the aircraft carrier brought to the fleet.  This respect was first earned in fleet exercises by the Lexington and Saratoga during the twenties and early thirties.  The Navy’s faith in a carrier-based task force would be vindicated in battle during the first difficult months of the Second World War by Yorktown and her sister ships, Enterprise and Hornet.  They would each achieve a distinguished place in history.

Yorktown in its early days

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Good Morning Jessicca

Letter to my Daughter
Sunday, 13 July

Good Morning Jessicca…

Michelangelo Buonarroti

Why is it human males grow beards and other primates do not?  You won’t find a gorilla or orangutan having to trim its whiskers.   It’s a peculiar characteristic limited to Homo sapiens.  Similarly, you won’t find any primate other than us where the female is in need of a bra.  Human breasts often develop to a size having nothing to do with nursing.  It is an adornment provoking the male into the role of procreation. 

Sandro Botticelli

Of course, the biological truth is the male needs little provocation to become aroused.  Sex is a full-time preoccupation with him – in urgency probably just behind defending his life and eating to prevent starvation.  The female’s concern on the matter is just a bit more veiled.  Being left with the responsibility of childbirth leaves her somewhat circumspect.

Benvenuto Cellini

Natural selection’s role in determining the nature of secondary sexual characteristics is as Darwinian in cause-and-effect as the shapes of beaks on Galapagos finches.  The bird’s bill shape is determined by the feeding niche available to the animal.  A diet of hard seeds requires a stout bill.  A longer, thinner beak is necessary for a bird that finds its food in narrow passages.  The demands of the bird’s life style define its morphology. 

Willendorf Venus

What external factors determine the nature of human sexuality?  Individual survivability is not the primary role of secondary sexual characteristics.  These are mostly visual cues having to do with messages concerning reproduction in the strictest biological sense.  How successful one is at mating has much to do with one’s display – yes, like a peacock spreading its tail feathers… although humans aren’t normally so flamboyant about it.  The pea-size brain of a bird hasn’t much room for subtlety. 

Pablo Picasso

 Human sexuality is more than physical appearance but, all things being equal, visual appeal is definitely the tie-breaker.  The attraction of one sex for the other is determined by what the opposite sex finds desirable.  Sexual characteristics of males are largely determined by what females prefer in men, and vice versa.  A woman’s seductive power is determined by man’s desire.  Once again, I want to keep things in perspective.  Peacocks haven’t much variation in personality.  We do.  Humphrey Bogart got Lauren Bacall – not Cary Grant.  The woman on this month’s cover of Cosmopolitan is not necessarily a man’s fantasy. 

Peter Paul Rubens

The rules for sexual attraction are not rigid.  Just look at the human population.  It suggests we have an enormous variety in taste when it comes to finding a mate.  Of course, society has a role in the appearance of the human population.  Most civilizations at least make some effort at monogamy.  One individual may have many conquests but such relationships are not widely formalized into harems.  We promote the egalitarian view of there being someone special for everyone.  It’s healthy for everyone to be paired up.  Everyone needs to be on the dance floor, not lining the walls in sullen frustration. 

Salvador Dali

The safety found in modern society enables us to exhibit instances of exaggerated secondary sexual characteristics.  Jungle law no longer restrains the more exotic human tastes.  Dolly Parton proportions aren’t conducive to being fleet of foot.  Women of extraordinary curves and delicately boned men were probably rare among prehistoric populations.  There was a time in human history when Nature was just as unforgiving to us as with all other individuals of the animal kingdom. 

Robert Crumb

There was basically one successful morphology for dogs in the wild – no Pekinese or bulldogs or Dobermans.  People have also broken free from severe biological constraints.  We can be over seven feet tall or four foot six.  We can focus all our time on hitting a baseball better than anyone or we can spend our days identifying what’s poetic in life.

Henry Moore

We are an extravagant species.  We entertain hilarious thoughts.  If you appreciate your sexual identity then you can thank the sex opposite you.  It’s their erotic desires that largely made you who you are.  Think about it.  Even as we accomplish the extraordinary with our minds there is a part of us never far from the siren song of sexual desire.

Georgia O'Keeffe


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Jacob is 15 today

we  are  homeward  bound

G o o d    M o r n i n g    J a c o b

Fifteen years today and how clear my memory is of your birth.  
I was overwhelmed.  I cried with happiness.  From that day 
onward you have always been a very special part of my life. 

Happy Birthday Jacob!

I love you.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger  2009

The world creates continual provocations that rightly stir our emotions.  Emotions though are not the basis for a sound foreign policy - one that is guided by the principles that constitutionally govern this nation; one that sets priorities, enabling us in nearly all instances to work with other nations in determining the most effective course of action; a foreign policy based upon a realistic appraisal of this nation's interests and abilities.  

Today the news is once again focused on Israel and the Palestinians.  The murder of four teenagers has set off a spasm of violence, strikes and counter-strikes as well as the usual competing accusations.  Before this it was Iraq, preceded by the Ukraine, then Syria and Libya.  Each prompts outrage, fear and a call to action of one sort or another.  Fortunately, those responsible for foreign policy in Washington are not now likely to act on impulse or be pressured by the passions of the moment.

I enjoy reading Henry Kissinger.  He's still around and he's soon to publish another book titled World Order, coming out in September.  His last book, On China, was published less than two years ago.  The man is 91, lucid and extraordinarily active.  His book, Diplomacy, is a classic study of relations between nations, primarily in the twentieth century.  Kissinger wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post during the height of tensions between Russia and  the Ukraine.  You won't be inflamed by rhetoric in this piece.  His approach to any problem is consistent.  He analyzes the situation, provides an historic context and offers an empathetic basis for the actions of the main players in the crisis.  He's not one to make rash pronouncements.  He's the voice of dry reasoning.  Kissinger has the temperament suited for an adviser to a president - one whose decisions put great power into play with a result that may defuse a quarrel among the international community or foment unintended further tragedy or merely postpone a reckoning - allowing for passions to first settle down.

Henry Kissinger has many detractors.  His view towards diplomacy is guided by achieving what is possible within a very imperfect world.  As such, there are those who characterize his solutions as being amoral.  Unfortunately relations between nations often have little to do with morality.  Kissinger is not an ideologue.  He works to promote understanding and by doing so, limit the likelihood of further violence, devastation and human suffering.  He is deeply principled and acts upon his convictions in a manner that can be easily misrepresented.  His is a quiet courage.

Monday, July 7, 2014

F4F Wildcat

F4F Wildcat

F4F-4 Wildcat    Grumman

                                carrier-based fighter
                                Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp
                                14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine
                                Two-stage supercharger
                                1,200 hp

Armament:         0.50 caliber mg x 6 / wings
                                Browning:           high velocity
                                                           750 – 850 rounds per minute
                                113kg / 250 lb. bombs x 2 / underwing racks

Wingspan:           11.6m / 38 ft
·         Square wingtips
Wing area:           23.9m2 / 260 sq ft
·         Improved center of gravity
·         Better stability
Length:                   8.8m / 28 ft 9 in
Height:                    3.6m / 11 ft 10 in

Empty:                  2,626kg / 5,785lb
Max takeoff:          3,610kg / 7,952lb

Max speed:               512kph / 318 mph @ 5,913m / 19,400 ft
Ceiling:                  10,638m / 34,900 ft
Range:                    1,239km / 770 miles

F3F predecessor to Wildcat

Grumman removed wing to make F4F monoplane

The original F4F design would be an evolutionary improvement over its predecessor, the Grumman F3F.  The F4F was also to be a biplane but the Navy thought differently.  It was 1936 and the future need for speed meant planes must shed the overhead redundant wing.  Grumman quickly lost the second wing but, unfortunately for them, Brewster Aeronautical had the jump in monoplane design.  A 1937 fly-off competition revealed significant handling problems with the Grumman entry and the Navy choose Brewster’s F2A Buffalo to be the first-line fighter for the fleet.  Still, the Navy wasn’t happy with the choice they had to make.  The Buffalo was merely satisfactory in performance.  Additionally, there were production delays and continuous difficulties with Brewster management.  While Brewster got the production contract in 1938, Grumman was awarded funds to continue development of their XF4F.  The Navy saw potential in the Grumman aircraft and their continued interest in the F4F indicated their misgivings with the Brewster Buffalo.    

1939 test flight makes F4F fleet fighter

Upgrades include armor and more guns

The following year, 1939, the Navy tests the XF4F-3.  The upgraded Grumman entry has an additional three hundred horsepower, making it faster than the Buffalo.  The tail is redesigned and the wings are enlarged giving the plane overall improved performance.  The Navy orders 78 of these Grumman aircraft, effectively replacing the Brewster program.  Improvements continue, most significant were those prompted by combat experience with the British version of the Grumman fighter – the Martlet.  Armament was increased from four to six guns in the wings in 1941.  Armor was added to protect the pilot, fuel tanks became self-sealing and the wings were made to fold back which added an additional fifty percent in storage capacity – an enormous improvement to a carrier’s offensive punch. 

Navy's fighter during early years of war

Narrow landing gear would be a problem

By now the F4F was officially known as the Wildcat.  It would be the Navy’s frontline fighter for the difficult first year and a half of the war in the Pacific.  Pilots would praise it for its heavy armament and sturdy structure.  It was the kind of plane that could bring you home despite being heavily damaged.  It was forgiving.  It was successful.  Still, it couldn’t beat a Zero in a one-to-one dogfight.  The fast and nimble Japanese A6M Zero was normally too elusive to train in your sights.  The most effective counter to this Mitsubishi fighter was using hit-and-run tactics while having a wingman protecting your tail.  Come in quick, smoke the bombers being protected by Zeros, then clear out and play defense, working in tandem with another pilot.  A Zero lingering on your tail to set up a shot is vulnerable to being hit by the heavy firepower of your partner.  The Zero’s Achilles’ heel was its light, unarmored construction.  A rapid stream spewing from six .50 calibers would quickly break the aircraft apart – end of threat.

Butch O'Hare: 5 bombers in one day

Bobbing decks make for tricky landings

By the end of 1943 the new Grumman F6F had replaced the Wildcat as the fleet’s frontline fighter.  Still the Hellcat continued to be produced.  It was manufactured by General Motors and it was designated the FM.  The final version, the FM-2, was produced until August, 1945.  Its ability to take off on very short runways made it the choice for small aircraft carriers.  More than 4,700 of these aircraft were built and they were available for a wide range of activities including anti-submarine operations. 

Wingman helps overcome Zero performance

Combat input from Martlet improved F4F design

The Grumman F4F Hellcat will always be remembered for its significant contribution to naval engagements in the Coral Sea, at Midway and in supporting the Marines at Guadalcanal.

Landing gear hand-cranked by pilot