Shuttleworth Collection to receive FM-2 Wildcat

A 1943 FM-2 Wildcat (Grumman F4F built under license by General Motors) will be joining the ranks of the Shuttleworth Collection next year. The aircraft, N49JC (s/n 51-235), was once part of the US Navy Museum in Pensacola. Photos of the FM-2 can be found on

Edit: a visitor tells us that the aircraft is actually BuNo 86690 and that the s/n is invalid. See comments.

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  1. Where in the world did you get an S /N? Serial numbers are assigned to US Army and USAF planes. USN aircraft had Bureau of Ordinance numbers assigned. This one is BuNo86690 with the Eastern Aircraft construction number, or manufacturers serial number 5744. The pending completion of the Museum of Flight’s own Wildcat made this aircraft available for sale. My reference is a well worn copy of Warbirds Directory 3rd edition.

    1. Thanks for your comment and extra info. I’ll update the article with it.

      The serial number comes from the data provided by the seller’s website (see link in article) and a couple of other sources IIRC. What did strike me was not that it had an Army serial number, but rather the date corresponding to the serial number (1951). Army planes were loaned/transferred/given to the Navy (or the opposite) on a regular basis. As a result, many aircraft were given Army s/n as well as BuNo.

    • Alan Johnson on March 27, 2012 at 3:16 PM
    • Reply

    The msn ’51-235′ is as quoted by the FAA and I published the explanation below in the March 2012 ‘Air-Britain News’ :-

    N49JC GRUMMAN FM-2 WILDCAT (manufacturer’s serial number 5744)
    Built by Eastern Aircraft Division, General Motors in 943 with US Navy BuA serial 86690. Sold in 1946 to Hardwick Aircraft Co, Rosemead, CA and the FAA records reveal that it was regd N68760 09.02.51 as a ‘Hardwick Special HG-1’ (with msn quoted as 86690 (‘civil’) and ’51-235′ (‘military’)). Regn. cld 05.05.54 and re-regd. as N20HA. Modified for use as a crop sprayer by fitting two wingtip tanks and two underwing tanks (the reason for the ‘Hardwick Special’ designation?). Owned by Don Underwood, Phoenix, AZ, 1956-1958 and photos show it still in tanker configuration at Phoenix and Tucson, AZ during this period. To S S Steele, Safford, AZ, 1963-1964. To James R Freese, Fremont and Modesto, CA, 1966-1972. Regd to Jack Lenhardt / Lenhardt Airpark, Hubbard, OR 03.03.72. Refurbished in 1973 and flown as ‘Marines / 2’. Loaned to US Naval Air Museum, NAS Pensacola, FL 1978-1990 and on display as 86690 / 2. US regn. cld 14.06.89.
    To World Jet Inc, Fort Lauderdale, FL and restored to US Register as Grumman FM-2 N70637 (with msn still quoted as ’51-235′) 04.08.93. To Jeff Clyman / NA-50 Inc, New York, NY, 04.10.93 and re-regd. as N49JC 01.02.94. To John Dimmer, Tacoma, WA 03.10.95. Loaned to Olympic Flight Museum, Olympia Regional Airport, WA to 2002. Loaned to Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA for use a pattern aircraft for the rebuilding of their own FM-2 (Bu 74512, msn 4704). Offered for sale via Courtesy Aircraft and acquired by the Shuttleworth Trust, Old Warden, UK 06.11. Delivered to Old Warden during February 2012.
    The aircraft has not flown for several years and its Wright engine, magnetos, carburettors, and propeller were due to have been removed in the USA for overhaul by
    Precision Engines LLC, Everett, Seattle. Airframe refurbishment is to be undertaken at Old Warden and will include remedial work on the wings, which were modified in the mid-1950s for crop spraying – see above. It is believed it will be repainted as a Fleet Air Arm Grumman Martlet, although the Fleet Air Arm did operate 370 FM-2s supplied under lease-lend as Wildcat VIs. The only UK regd Wildcat – G-RUMW – is also an FM-2. N49JC is expected make its flying debut at Old Warden at the start of the 2014 season.

    • Charles Trainor on January 14, 2013 at 7:03 AM
    • Reply

    The FAA records contain errors. This is one. If you care to look it up you will find that the military aircraft which was assigned serial 51-235 was a KC-97 Stratotanker (See Joe Baugher’s web site). The manufacturer’s serial number is 5744. The Bureau of Ordinance number, the Navy equivalent of a serial number was BuNo86690. Any other number purporting to be assigned by the manufacturer or the military is incorrect regardless of what it says in the FAA records. 51-235 was a Hardwick invention bearing no relation to either the number assigned to the aircraft by the manufacturer or the U S Navy.

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