WW2 era fighter, designed a built by the Grumman Corporation of New York. The last of Grumman's piston-engined "Cat" series of carrier based fighters for the United States Navy, which included the F4F Wildcat, the hugely successful F6F Wildcat, and the F7F Tigercat, the F8F was designed for one thing: speed, based on requests from combat pilots in the Pacific theater for more speed in the next generation of carrier fighter.

As a result, the design philosophy used to create the Bearcat was to marry the most powerful American fighter engine then available, the Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp (which also powered the F6F, the F4U Corsair and the P-47 Thunderbolt), with the smallest, lightest weight airframe possible.

The F8F incorporated a couple of unique design features, including the ability for the wingtips to seperate cleanly from the aircraft during a high speed dive, to avoid the wings sheering off entirely.

Although the F8F never saw combat in WW2, Grumman must have done something right - at least a few F8Fs are used to this day in air racing competitions (albeit somewhat modified from the original WW2 configuration), and one holds the absolute closed-circuit speed record for a piston powered aircraft.

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