1997 32¢ Grumman F4F Wildcat
Classic American Aircraft
Issue Date: July 19, 1997
City: Dayton, OH
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
The Grumman Aerospace Corporation was founded by Leroy Grumman, a U.S. industrialist and master designer of U.S. fighter planes. During the 1930s Grumman’s inventions – retractable landing gear and a folding wing later used on the Wildcat carrier fighter – earned him countless U.S. Navy contracts. In 1938 negotiations between the Navy and Grumman led to the development for the XF4F-3 (“X” designating “experimental”). Officially dubbed the “Wildcat,” it became the first of the famous Grumman “cat” family.
By December 1941, 245 Wildcats had entered U.S. service, and for the next two years they served as the main U.S. Navy and Marine Corps fighter. In addition to an increased wingspan, the F4F also sported “squared” wing and tail tips. Necessary for additional lifting surface required by heavier aircraft, this feature eventually became a “trademark” of the Grumman aircraft.
Although not particularly outstanding in terms of performance, the Wildcat was staunchly rugged and well-armed. And in the hands of an experienced pilot, it proved the equal of the highly effective Japanese Zero. Able to compile a distinguished combat record, Grumman aircraft reportedly shot down more than 60% of enemy aircraft in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.