The story behind my Bearcat by Will Bischoff

When I started work at the then Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp in 1948 as a fledgling airframe design engineer I was required to spend a few months working in the shop. I saw this beautiful red Bearcat in the hanger often.  It was designated as Grumman Design 58A (G-58A) and was one of two of the last Bearcats built.  The other one was owned by the Gulf Oil Corp. and flown by the famous Major Al Williams as an exhibition and promotional airplane for Gulf.  It was painted in the well known Gulf colors of white and yellow. My Bearcat was flown principally by Roger Kahn who was Director of the Grumman Field Service Dept.  He used it to travel to the various Naval air facilities around the country where Grumman had support personnel working with the Navy. Roger Kahn was famous in his own right in the 30's and 40's as a bandleader and a songwriter.

The airplane was a stripped down version of the Navy F8F-2 Bearcat.  The arresting gear and all of the armament was removed. Extra baggage space and extra fuel capacity were added.  Often the airplane was also used by flight test operations as a chase plane.  In 1960 it was turned over to Cornel University Laboratories as a research plane.  My last knowledge of the Bearcat it was on display in a museum in California.  The registration number N700A was one of a long list of numbers used by Grumman.

The model is a Royal kit with retractable gear and flaps added.  The gear is a Robart mechanical with a Clippard pneumatic actuators adapted to them.  Both the main gear and tail wheel retract.