While testing the plane, the Navy wanted the new fighter to withstand a carrier landing at a rate of 19 feet per second. Grumman engineers crunched the numbers and figured that a straight drop of ten feet was equal to this simulated “rough landing” aboard ship. Hung from the rafters inside a hangar, one of the first airframes was subjected to this drop test. The Hellcat thumped down, bounced, and settled to a stop -- unscathed. In fact, the engineers (who must have been bored or feeling extra destructive) then hoisted the plane to the ceiling -- nearly 20 feet from the ground -- and let the big fighter drop. Even at twice the height of the Navy's specified test, the Hellcat fighter survived, completely undamaged!
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