Californian Dream

American aviation legend Steve Hinton has recently brought his F8F Bearcat back to life. Assistant editor Jamie Ewan finds out about Hinton’s work on the aircraft and his long association with this powerful Grumman type

Patchwork perfection: Steve Hinton in the cockpit of F8F NL3025 during its first post-restoration flight on May 8 this year, with its colour scheme needing to be completed.
While under the ownership of Elmer Ward, F8F-2 121707 took on the guise of ‘Gulf awk IV’ – the sole G-58A flown by Maj Al Williams of the Gulf Oil Company between 1947-49. Here it is undergoing an engine run at Chino in July 1992.

“The Bearcat is my favourite propeller fighter”, proclaimed the renowned warbird exponent and air racer Steve Hinton. “I like the way it looks, appreciate it as an innovative and evolutionary Grumman design and, most of all, I like the way it flies.”

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