The Grumman F7F Tigercat was one mean plane. It’s fast, it’s strong and looks really awesome! Developed by Grumman during WWII the Tigercat never got to see action during WWII but would go on to see combat during the Korean War as a night fighter and attack fighter for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. Only 364 were built and only a handful remain flying today.
Why is thus important? Well if you follow my blog and like bringing up anniversaries and todays is the 74th anniversary of the first flight of the F7F Tigercat. It’s a pretty cool and pretty darn big fighter plane that I’ve been fortunate to get to photograph a few times over the years. If you’re at an airshow I suggest you spend some time with this plane because there really aren’t many flying anymore.
The F7F Tigercat is one of the rarer warbirds flying in the world with only 364 built between 1943-1946 only seven are airworthy and only a dozen survivors in total. The Tigercat was built too late to be used in WWII but served in Korea as a night fighter and attack aircraft used in Marine units. While initially it was designed to be used on carriers multiple issues arose preventing carrier operations.
The F7F Tigercat was a multiple engine single seat attack fighter which was later adapted with radar and a second seat for a radar operator. Grumman’s goal was to build a fighter that would outperform all others. They succeeded with a plane that was 71mph faster then the F6F Hellcat and carried more firepower with 4 20mm cannons, 4 50mm machine guns, and hard points for bombs and torpedoes. However, the trade off was weight and high landing speeds forcing the heavy Tigercat be used on land bases.
Since combat use was minimal for the Tigercat some did survivor and were used as aerial tankers. The planes were fitter with a belly tank to be used as aerial fire bombers. One example, owned and operated by Rod Lewis, has flown at the Reno National Air Races for several years in the unlimited category. With a maximum speed of 460mph the plane could be a gold contender but due to its rarity was never entered in that category. Today F7F’s can be seen at some airshows and are a favorite among st spectators for its unique but powerful design.
Images captured with Nikon D4, 24-70 AF-S, 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
For the past few years I have gone to the Wings Over Houston Airshow. WoH is the last major airshow of the season and is usually a lot of fun. The planes arrive on Thursday and Friday with performances over the following two days. It’s a whole lot packed inside a short time frame. The airshow is based out of Ellington Field, Houston, TX. It’s home to a couple of museums including the Texas Flying Legends Museum. Their fleet of aircraft were constantly on display and flying for everyone to enjoy. Now I actually got back in late last night so i haven’t had time to get through all the thousands of images I took but I thought I’d share a couple of quick clicks from the ramp.
Saturday morning was an absolutely gorgeous morning to photograph static planes on the ramp. We had a great sky and plenty of subjects to choose from. I naturally followed the light which lead me to the lineup and the Tigercat parked by itself. Both shot with the D4 and 24-70 AF-S, finished in Adobe Camera Raw. This is just a taste of the fun we had, there’s plenty more to come this week.
I wish I had great words of wisdom to go along this post this morning but truly I just liked this photo of a F7F Tigercat and wanted to post it. Often times I forget that this blog is made for photography and enjoying all aspects of the image. In that essence a simple image is all it takes.
In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
It’s been an interesting last coupe of weeks, mostly due to the fact that I have been stuck behind the computer. It seemed appropriate to have a simple fun photo to end the week on and to kick off a good weekend. This is a Grumman F7F Tigercat photographed this past September. It was part of a sunrise shoot that was one of the best that I have had the privilege to be able to go to.