Air Tanker 32 and 40, an F7F-3

F7F-3 N7195C, air Tanker 32
F7F-3, N7195C, air Tanker 32 at Santa Rosa, Calif. May, 1973.

We are adding four more photos today from the Flight Test Museum at Edwards Air Force Base — F7F-3 (N7195C). It was operated by Sis-Q Flying Service as Tanker 32  in May, 1973, and as Tanker 40 in August, 1975.

F7F-3 N7195C, air Tanker 40
F7F-3, N7195C, air Tanker 40 at Lancaster, Calif. August, 1975.
F7F-3 N7195C, air Tanker 40
F7F-3, N7195C, air Tanker 40 at Lancaster, Calif. August, 1975.
F7F-3 N7195C, air Tanker 40
F7F-3, N7195C, air Tanker 40 at Lancaster, Calif. August, 1975.

From Wikipedia:

The Grumman F7F Tigercat is a heavy fighter aircraft that served with the United States Navy (USN) and United States Marine Corps (USMC) from late in World War II until 1954. It was the first twin-engine fighter to be deployed by the USN. While the Tigercat was delivered too late to see combat in World War II, it saw action as a night fighter and attack aircraft during the Korean War. Armament was heavy: four 20 mm cannon and four 50 caliber (0.50 in; 12.7 mm) machine guns, as well as underwing and under-fuselage hardpoints for bombs and torpedoes.

The F7F-3 Tigercat variant:

Single-seat fighter-bomber aircraft, powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W radial piston engines and featuring an enlarged tail fin for improved stability at high altitudes, 189 built.

Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat
Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat, 2007. Photo by Dziban303.

Surviving aircraft:

Beginning in 1949, F7Fs were flown to the then-U.S. Navy storage facility at Naval Air Station Litchfield Park, Arizona. Although the vast majority of the airframes were eventually scrapped, a number of examples were purchased as surplus. The surviving Tigercats were primarily used as water bombers to fight wildfires in the 1960s and 1970s and Sis-Q Flying Services of Santa Rosa, California, operated an F7F-3N tanker in this role until retirement in the late 1980s.

About the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W radial piston engines

The Pratt & Whitney R-2800 (US military designation) Double Wasp (civil designation) is an American twin-row, 18-cylinder, air-cooled radial aircraft engine with a displacement of 2,800 in³ (46 L), and is part of the long-lived Wasp family.

The R-2800 saw widespread use in many important American aircraft during and after World War II. During the war years, Pratt & Whitney continued to develop new ideas to upgrade the engine, including water injection for takeoff in cargo and passenger planes and to give emergency power in combat.

5 thoughts on “Air Tanker 32 and 40, an F7F-3”

  1. Hate to see a rare ol’ warbird not restored back to it’s former military livery . Needs to be “saved” !

    1. The F7F-3 most important role in it’s lifetime was a tanker. I would be appropriate in an historical context to also preserve this type as a tanker.

      1. Can we get Ken Burns (PBS series Civil War, Baseball, etc) to do a historical documentary of firefighting aircraft? Would the public enjoy it, or switch the channel?

    2. The plane has been restored to military colors. If it wasn’t for the advent of firefighting aviation, alot of the World War 2 aircraft would have been destroyed in the aluminum smelters. Firefighting gave them a new life. I would love to see a Tigercat put back into firefighting colors. They had a long history.

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