Tail wheel is a piece of Hellcat’s past

The Hellcat’s tail wheel tire tells us a little bit about its history. It looks like the tire on a Mustang or Thunderbolt, which are land-based planes. At some point, long ago, as a training plane, then a drone, then as some lucky civilian’s pride and joy, the Hellcat was flying exclusively from land.

Carrier planes have something a little different. An air-filled doughnut is no good when you are trying to stick that landing. It might bounce the tail over the landing wire. Carrier planes have thin, hard rubber cylinders for a tail wheel.

The FHC restoration staff is currently searching for a seagoing wheel for this famous Grumman fighter.

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