Aviation News – The Fighter Collection’s Grumman FM2 Wildcat returns to the sky, 17/06/13

The Fighter Collection’s (“TFC”) Grumman FM2 Wildcat G-RUMW has flown again at IWM Duxford for the first time since 2008.  Photographs courtesy of David Whitworth.

TFC’s Wildcat, the sole airworthy example in Europe, had its first flight on Monday afternoon in almost five years, in the hands of TFC Chief Pilot Pete Kynsey.

This particular aircraft was manufactured in 1944 and passed through various collectors’ hands until it was restored to flying condition by Fighter Rebuilders in the USA over a period of several years, making its first flight in January 1993 before moving to IWM Duxford, UK, where it has been operated by TFC.  The Wildcat is one of three TFC ‘Cats’, the others being the Bearcat and the currently grounded Hellcat.

© David Whitworth

© David Whitworth

© David Whitworth

© David Whitworth

For more news updates, visit TFC’s Diary.  With thanks to David Whitworth.


  1. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your comment – I completely understand and appreciate what you’re saying, however, I just want to point out that the “Grumman FM2″ designation is based on both TFC (on their website) and the Civil Aviation Authority’s (on the G-INFO website) registered type name for this particular Wildcat, and is used here for consistency with the latter database. It may be that the CAA in the UK look at it differently to the FAA and recognise the designer, rather than the manufacturer, I don’t know – but it may explain why it’s referred to as such.

    Thanks again for your interest and the background.


  2. Saying “GM-built” FM-2 or FM-1 is redundant. The “M” in the designation means that it was built by the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors – and therefore the airplane in qestion is properly identified as an “Eastern” or “General Motors” Wildcat, not a “Grumman” at all. There is no such thing as a “Grumman FM-2″ – or a “Grumman TBM” for that matter.

    If Grumman had built it, it would be an F4F (i.e. according the US Navy designation system in use at the time – prior to 1962 that is – a Fighter 4th Design Built by Grumman.) All Grumman-built aircraft were coded “F” for some obscure reason: the F3F Flying Barrel,the F4F Wildcat, the F6F Hellcat, the F7F Tigercat, the F8F Bearcat, etc. Similarly, an Avenger actually built by Grumman was a TBF, but a TBM was an Avenger built by Eastern Aircraft.

    FAA regulations and conventions focus on who actually “built” the aircraft in question in terms of determining its proper identification. It does not matter who originally designed it or built that design, or who “currently” owns the rights to that design (the type certificate.)

  3. It’s beautiful, except for one minor important point:

    The original this airplane (which is actually a GM-built FM-2) represents was a Wildcat V (GM-built FM-1). While Grumman-built Wildcats, Hellcats and Avengers used by the Fleet Air Arm were all painted with Extra Dark Sea Grey, Dark Slate Grey and Sky camouflage colors (as this is), General Motors used the “Lend-Lease Equivalent” colors of Neutral Grey, Olive Drab and Sky Grey, respectively, for the British originals. This is not rocket science for a researcher to discover. It is, among modelers who obsess over getting the look right, fairly well-known information over the past 15 years or so.

    It always irks me that people who own these airplanes will spend a million dollars to get it flying and think nothing of it, but they won’t spend 50 cents to hire someone who would love to give them all the information necessary to get the look right. I realize 99.999999% of those who will ever look at this airplane won’t know any of this or care if they did know, but what’s the use of “accurate restorations” if they aren’t ACCURATE????? It costs no more in time or money to do it right than to do it wrong.


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