BZ's 2009 Chino - F7F Tigercats

Photo Gallery

Seeing a Tigercat nowadays is a pretty rare sight. But all 3 remaining examples flying together? Wow! But that's what the crowds were treated to at the 2009 Chino Air show. Not only seeing them flying together and individually, but also an aerobatic performance put on by Steve Hinton!

Nikon D200 w/ 70-300mm VR lens. - Bernard Zee


The Grumman F7F Tigercat was the first twin engined fighter plane of the U.S. Navy. Designed to fly off the Midway class aircraft carriers, it wasn't until later models before all the structural issues resulting from a jarring carrier landing were worked out. By that time however, it was clear that jets were the wave of the future, and very few carrier suitable Tigercats were produced.
Here's the sound of the Tigercat idling.



The Tigercat uses the same engine as the Hellcat. But with 2 of them, could accelerate and fly quite a bit faster with a max speed of 460mph!


Spin recovery was very sluggish though, and pilots were instructed NOT to spin the aircarft - as it could quickly enter an uncontrollable flat spin.


Here's an awesome shot of 2 of them flying close together starting into a turn. Shooting with a slow shutter, not many turned out as I wanted!


Here's Steve Hinton starting his Tigercat Aerobatic routine, with smoke on. He's going low and fast as he starts in on the turn to fly across the crowd line. You can tell he's low by the P-47 in the foreground, which is about to obstuct the view of the pass.


Another shot of 'Here Kitty Kitty', which has some really sexy nose art! (see nose art section for a closeup)
Click on play below to hear the Tigercat on a high speed pass!



Even though there were some handling quirks, pilots loved the plane due to its speed and power. It packed quite the punch too, with four 20mm cannons, and four 0.50 cal machine guns, plus hardpoints for bombs and torpedoes.


Developed during WWII, it was deployed by the Marines right before the war ended, and didn't see any combat.
Some more sounds of the Tigercat as it flies past.



Funny thing was, the original name was supposed to be 'Tomcat', but was rejected as being too suggestive! That name was used without any problem some years later as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat.


A side view shot of the Tigercat taxiing.


Very nice change of pace to see the warbirds doing something else besides flying around straight and level!


Always a trill to experience a close, high speed pass of a large twin engine plane like the Tigercat. It has such a cool sound!


Here's Steve starting up 'Here Kitty, Kitty'. See the puff of smoke of the right (left side of the picture) engine?


From this head on view, the folded wings for carrier operations can be seen as well as the slender fuselage, and long nose gear.


Here's a good view on that long nose gear, and the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines.


Tigercats have a crew of 2: the pilot and a radar operator. The 2nd position can be seen in this rear quartering shot.


'Big Bossman' competes in the Reno air races.


All 3 tigercats side by side, getting ready to head out for the 'gaggle of warbirds' finale.


BZ Chino 2009 Gallery Index