With a maximum speed of 450 mph and unprecedented climbing capabilities, the F8F-2 Bearcat would likely have changed the course of the air war over the Pacific if it had arrived in time. The Bearcat was a study in competitive design. Grumman had received a captured German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter and set about to build an aircraft that would outperform it. The critical need was for an increased climb rate, and Grumman managed to double that of its own F6F Hellcat. Nearly a third of the fighter’s 9,100-lb. weight was its 2,100 hp engine. And the Bearcat still holds the record of 96 seconds from brakes off to 10,000 feet. One of four F8F fighters in the Lewis Air Legends Bearcat squadron – another is the famous Rare Bear – De-Chrome Cat wears an authentic Bearcat paint scheme, and is equipped with all new or overhauled systems including electrical, radios, avionics and hydraulics.