Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA1116 Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat White 71, VF-20, USS Enterprise, October 1944

On April 4, 1944 the new F6F-5 took to the air. It was a much improved version of the F4F Wildcat. The designers gave the new plane a redesigned engine cowl for the engine that was now water-injected. The injection increased take off performance by 10% and increased the armament capabilities. Production of the F6F-5 lasted until November 1945 when Grumman had rolled out more than 900 “5”s. The UK received some of these aircraft under the Lend-Lease Act and they were designated Hellcat Mk. II. This plane was so lethal that it earned the nickname “Ace Maker” because of the large number of pilots that earned their 5 + victories while flying it.

White 71 is the F6F-5 flown by the noted USN pilot Lt. Leo Bob McCuddin. In April 1944 he was assigned to VF-20 “Jokers” onboard the “Big E” USS Enterprise and was credited with 5 victories while with the “Jokers”. Between October 24th and 25th, 1944 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, he participated in the attack on a Japanese battleship and in the sinking of an escort destroyer. VF-20 completed its tour of duty in January 1945 with a total of 158 victories.

Specifications (F6F-5):
2000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial piston engine
Weight: Empty - 9150 lbs.,
Max Takeoff - 15,410 lbs.
Wing Span - 42ft. 10in.
Length - 33ft. 7in.
Height - 13ft. 6in.
Maximum Speed at 23,500 ft - 380mph
Cruising Speed at 6,000 ft - 168mph
Ceiling - 37,300 ft
Range - 1,530 miles with 150-gallon drop tank
6 X 12.7mm (0.5 inch) wing-mounted machine guns
2 X 1,000-lb bombs, or six 127mm (5-inch) rockets