07 24 18

La Patrona

  • Manufacturer
  • Grumman
  • Model
  • F7F-3P Tigercat
  • Name
  • “La Patrona”
  • Tail Number
  • N805MB

The Tigercat’s wartime career never got off the ground, thanks to VJ Day. Just a little ahead of its time, the Tigercat was built for the Midway class aircraft carriers, and was too big for the earlier decks. Sadly, high landing speed and weight, among other problems, kept all but a handful of F7Fs off of carrier service. It was the Navy’s first twin-engine fighter, and heavily armed, with four 20mm cannons and four 0.50-in. machine guns. The Tigercat saw some service in Korea, enough to earn it a reputation with Captain Fred M. Trapnell, famed Navy test pilot, as “the best damned fighter I’ve ever flown.” The F7F could blow by the fast single-engine F6F Hellcat by more than 70 mph. La Patrona, a photo-recon version, was purchased by Rod Lewis in 2008 and is one of five flyable Tigercats. She was the first ever to race at the National Championship Air Races in Reno.