As reported on Global Aviation Resource, The Fighter Collection’s Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat flew for the first time again in roughly five years on May 23rd. TFC’s Chief Pilot, Pete Kynsey, had the honors of taking her aloft again after a protracted period of maintenance by the collection’s maintenance crew and volunteers. The Hellcat has been with the Fighter Collection at the hallowed Duxford airfield, near Cambridge, England for several decades, so it was a delight to see her flying once more. She wears the markings of an aircraft flown by the US Navy ace Lt. Alex Vraciu while he served in VF-6 aboard the USS Intrepid. Vraciu was noted for scoring six victories in just eight minutes on June 19th, 1944. This was during the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”, as the Battle of the Philippines Sea was unofficially known amongst navy flyers due to the overwhelmingly one-sided aerial battles against the severely depleted Japanese air arms. Vraciu went on to receive credit for 19 enemy aircraft, making him the US Navy’s fourth highest scoring fighter pilot.
The Fighter Collection’s Hellcat is one of just a handful of flying examples, and the only one operating outside of the USA. She will be performing at the magnificent Flying Legends Air Show at Duxford over the weekend of 12th/13th of July and the RAFA Shoreham Air Show on during 30th/31st August.
For more pictures of the first flight, visit www.globalavitionresource.com