by Tommy H. Thomason

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Grumman F8F Bearcat Windscreen

One more time - all these years looking at something and I didn't notice the obvious. The F8F-1 and F8F-2 had slightly different windscreens...
(Ignore the fact that the F8F-1 does not have the turnover structure behind the headrest; the windscreen is still representative.)

My guess is that the change was an attempt to help increase the Bearcat's top speed when the change to a more powerful R-2800 was made or perhaps offset the drag of the taller fin (more on that later) and carrying approximately 600 lb more weight. However, it might have been necessary because of the change in gunsight on the -2 (see

Because of incidences of cracking, some Bearcat canopies subsequently received an additional frame a little more than halfway back on the sliding section. This reportedly began after 1949 and included both -1s and -2s.


  1. Tommy, perhaps the different windscreens were for different gunsight arrangements? Reflector glass/not? Armored glass/not?

    1. Oops - there were early and late gunsight according to the -1/2 flight manual (it's not clear that all -2s had the late gunsight). Early used the center pane as the reflector; later had the reflector glass on the gunsight itself. More to follow in an update...