Got a call today from Breckenridge. Seems Howard Pardue crashed his Bearcat while doing a roll on take-off and dished out, from eye-witness account . Very sad for Howard's family. It is my favorite airplane. An F8F Bearcat that was one of 14 that were hand built by Grumman and designated XF8F. Howard let me borrow all of the records a long time ago which made for some interesting reading. It was built before the war was over and was flown by many of the Navy aces from the Pacific theater at Patuxent River Naval Testing Center. It was then retrofitted with target drone and radio test stuff and then convert back to an F8F by the Navy and donated to Smithsonian. It was cocooned in storage for many years and was finally traded along with an amphib to Daryl Greenamyer for Conquest 2 (a highly modified Bearcat) that held several speed records. It was then sold and restored ad after restoration sold to Howard. He has shown it on the airshow circuit and Reno for many years. I have many fond memories of Howard and the Bearcat. Both will be missed.
Pictures by Lou Furlong.