Bad Kitty

January 1, 2015 • 9:58 am

by Greg Mayer

My west coast correspondent sends the following picture of the “Bad Kitty” (who looks a little bit like Jerry Coyne the Cat).

Grumman F7F Tigercat, the "Bad Kitty", at the Historic Flight Foundation, Mukilteo, WA, December 2014.
Grumman F7F Tigercat, the “Bad Kitty”, at the Historic Flight Foundation, Mukilteo, WA, December 2014.

The plane is a Grumman F7F Tigercat, one of a series of “cat” named fighters made by Grumman; the most well known is probably the F14 Tomcat, made famous by the movie Top Gun. The plane is at the Historic Flight Foundation, an air museum at Paine Field in Mukilteo, Washington. Although designed to be a carrier-based fighter plane, they did not get much use, and this particular plane wound up being used by an Oregon forestry service.

Upon first seeing the picture, and not knowing the type of plane it was, I inquired if it was British, given the Union Jack on the wall behind. In reply, my correspondent sent along some pictures of a Spitfire at the museum.

Spitfire at Historic Flight Foundation, Mukilteo, WA, December 2014.
Spitfire at Historic Flight Foundation, Mukilteo, WA, December 2014.

This plane was from one of the Czech squadrons formed within the Royal Air Force and flown by Czech pilots-in-exile during World War II. The red, white, and blue roundel on the plane’s tail is a Czech Air Force insignia of today; I’m not sure if it was used during WW II.

Update. Reader Graham provides below a link to the very interesting history of this particular plane– besides a Czech squadron in the RAF, this plane, built in 1945, was at different times in the Czechslovak, Israeli, and Burmese air forces, and finally was restored in England before coming to the museum in the US.