Losses and Aviation Safety

Check out this dramatic photo of an F6F smashing into 6 other parked Hellcats with pilots aboard

A Hellcat smashes into 6 other F6F parked forward on Cowpens’ flight deck as crewmen duck and run for cover. Note that there are pilots in the parked Hellcats.

Taken in January 1945 aboard USS Cowpens escort carrier, the photo in this post is one of the most incredible pictures taken during World War 2 by a US Navy Combat Photographer. A Hellcat smashes into 6 other F6F parked forward on Cowpens’ flight deck as crewmen duck and run for cover (on the left). The camera captured all the debris in mid-air. Note that there are pilots in the parked Hellcats.

Seconds after the crash, men rushed up to the wrecked Hellcats to help the pilots.

Adhering to Grumman’s design philosophy to produce an aircraft in which a pilot could become proficient in a short period of time, and that was easy to operate from a carrier yet could outperform the enemy, the Hellcat was loved by its pilots. Hellcat pilots achieved an amazing 19:1 kill ratio, downing 5,156 enemy aircraft in just two years, accounting for 75 percent of the Navy’s aerial victories during the war. Late in the war the Navy conducted evaluations of Allied and captured Axis fighters. The Hellcat ranked at the top in most categories, making it one of the best fighters in the war. In just 30 months, 12,275 Hellcats were produced by Grumman at its Bethpage Plant Number 3, much of the factory still being constructed as some of the first F6Fs were being built inside.

Photo credit: Photo: US Navy via NavSource.org 

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Recent Posts

Video features former Viggen pilot explaining how JA-37 fighter jocks could achieve radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes

JA-37 Viggen fighter jocks achieving radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes The… Read More

20 hours ago

USAF McDonnell Douglas YC-15 pilot recalls AMST program failing to replace the C-130 Hercules

McDonnell Douglas YC-15 Vs Boeing YC-14 The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) YC-15 was a four-engine… Read More

2 days ago

“Wild Weasel sighted SAM site—Destroyed same.” The story of Wild Weasel’s First Kill

The F-100F Wild Weasel After the single-seat, supersonic F-100 fighter entered service in 1954, it… Read More

2 days ago

USAF predicted a six-year U-2 development plan but thanks to CIA spymaster Richard Bissell and Lockheed Aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson it was deployed in slightly over a year

Richard Bissell Richard Bissell, the senior Government official who took responsibility for the Central Intelligence… Read More

3 days ago

Photos show Wright-Patterson AFB and US Air Force Museum damaged by tornado

Wright-Patterson AFB and US Air Force Museum damaged by tornado On Feb. 28, 2024 Wright-Patterson… Read More

3 days ago