Grumman Biplane Fighters in Action (Aircraft Number 160)
By Richard S Dann
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc. 1996 52 Pages
PDF 12 MB
As a Student Naval Aviator I happened to be in the right place at the right lime. In 1986. I was in ihe middle of flight school in Pensacola. Florida. It was the 75th Anniversary of naval aviation, and on top of that, the movie "Top Gun" had just been released.
Go back fifty-five years to 1941. and picture young men with their minds on the air. watching Pathe film clips from the air war in Europe just before the feature film starring Ralph Bellamy. Fred McMurrav and Erroll Flynn. The movie, of course, was "Dive Bomber" and I cannot help but think that young men of that era made up their minds to be Navy pilots inspired by the classic lines of Fred McMurray's Grumman F3F-2.
On 10 October 1941. VMF-211 turned in its last Grumman F3F-2. bringing the era of ihe biplane as a front-line fighter platform to a close. It was a mere ten years earlier.when Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation's first aircraft, the XFF-I. took to the air. ushering in the era of all-metal monocoque construction, enclosed cockpits and retractable landing gear for Navy aircraft.
As airframe manufacturers go. the Grumman Engineering Corporation came on the scene much later than most, incorporating on 6 December 1929. Grumman's first two designs, the G-l and G-2. weren't even aircraft, but amphibious aircraft floats, designated the Model A and Model B floats respectively. Eight Model A floats and fifteen Model B floats were were purchased by the U.S. Navy between 1930 and 1932. Fitted to Vought 02Us and 03Us. the floats were of monocoque aluminum construction with retractable landing gear.
Grumman Design 3 (G-3) was never built. It was to have been a twin engined amphibious monoplane similar in appearance to the Consolidated P2Y series and was intended for use by the Coast Guard. Grumman's second aircraft design, the G-4. was a small amphibious single engine biplane and was proposed for use by the U.S.. Army Air Corps as an observation aircraft, but like the G-3 before it. was never built