Trumpeter 1/32 F8F Bearcat - Al Williams’ “Gulfhawk 4”

By Jeff Thomsen

The Gulfhawk 4 was built in 1947 as one of two civilian Grumman F8F-1 Bearcats and designated G-58. It was flown by Al Williams at several airshows to demonstrate the high performance of the Bearcat, including a takeoff with JATO bottle. Its airshow career was brief however, and ended in 1949 with a landing gear collapse and fire that completely destroyed the airplane, although Williams escaped with his life. It was the fourth and last type of aircraft used by him in airshow routines.

The first Bearcat flew in 1944 but they never saw active service during WWII, although the US Navy’s Blue Angels used them from 1946 to 1949. They were a favorite with most of the pilots who flew them.

The model was built from a Trumpeter 1/32 F8F-1 Bearcat kit. Aftermarket items include Aires wheel wells and cockpit, and markings from Red Pegasus decals.

© Jeff Thomsen 2016

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This article was published on Saturday, July 30 2016; Last modified on Saturday, July 30 2016