16" F8F Bearcat "Rare Bear"

(Click for Large Image)

16 inch F8F Rare Bear Racer (Kit Only)

$ 25.00

16 inch F8F Rare Bear Racer kit w/ 17g Brushless Motor Combo

$ 68.00

The 17gm Brushless Motor Combo has a list price of $45.00

The kit includes everything you need to build the airframe and install the controls. Detailed instructions and RareBear #77 markings are provided on a CD that is included with the kit. To complete the model as shown, you will also need:

a micro receiver
two micro-servos
a motor, and appropriate speed controller (included with our motor Combo)
paint, glue etc.
propeller, and spinner if desired
plastic cup to make the cowl (optional)

Our regular Bearcat kit has a 20" wingspan, and the Rare Bear is the same scale. But, the full-size Reno racer's wings were shortened and the canopy lowered for less drag, and the original R2800 engine was replaced by a giant R3350. So, our Rare Bear model uses a big brushless motor, and we clipped the Bearcat wing to 16" wing and gave the fuselage the unique Rare Bear profile. We also modified and refined the airfoil. The prototype weighs about 5 ounces with a 3-cell LiPo and brushless motor. You can use a variety of different small brushless motors depending on the desired performance.

This is a small, fast and nimble airplane meant for the experienced modeler and pilot. It flies very well, but is a bit tricky due to its shortened wingspan. 5 ounces is a lot of weight for such a small plane, but it handles it well. The key is to keep it light as possible and fly smoothly! Our feeling is that expert pilots who like to "go fast and turn left" will enjoy this model.

OPTIONS: If you'd like a Rare Bear that's not quite so wild, it will fly very well with a smaller 10gm motor. That could use a smaller battery and save some weight. If you can shave an ounce off, it's 20% lighter. Just let us know when you place your order and we can include either motor. Alternatively - if you would like the Rare Bear to be as similar as possble to the real thing, let us know and we will shorten the fuselage to exact scale. The model's fuselage was lengthened very slightly in order to smooth out it's flying characteristics. Look very carefully at the pictures: Picture #1 and 2 show the short fuselage on the prototype, picture #3 shows the production model.

Historical Information

The F8F Bearcat was the last piston-engined fighter produced by Grumman, and is widely considered to be the epitome of that genre. The designers basically created the smallest and lightest airframe they could, for the largest engine that was available. With a 2100-HP radial engine and a giant 4-bladed propeller, the plane had unmatched speed and climb capabilities and set records that early jet fighters could not match. It arrived too late to serve in WWII with the US Navy, but served during peacetime into the early 1950's and some planes saw combat in the service of other air forces, such as in Thailand and Vietnam. About ten Bearcats are still airworthy, and can be seen on the warbird airshow circuit. Stock Bearcats have been racing at the Reno Air Races for several decades - and perhaps the most famous Bearcat racer is "Rare Bear", which has been highly modified from the original production configuration for Unlimited-class pylon racing. It has clipped wings, a spinner, and a streamlined canopy. The original R2800 motor was replaced by a Wright R3350 motor (used on the B29 superfortress) rated at 3700 hp (compared to the 2100 HP of the original Pratt and Whitney R2800). The Rare Bear's motor has been hopped up for racing and modified with Nitrous injection (and other mods) and so we can only guess at it's maxiumum horsepower potential. Estimates vary, but 4500 HP seems to be a good estimate! In 1989 this aircraft set the all-time speed record for piston engined fighters at 527mph, and broke the stock Bearcat's climb-to-altitude record (3000 meters in 94 seconds) in 1972. Lyle Shelton's mighty Rare Bear is still the superstar performer at the Reno Air Races. It has won the Gold Unlimited race 10 times. Interestingly, Reno added a Jet Class in 2002 for non-afterburning jets (such as the L39 Albatross). They typically race at speeds in excess of 400mph, far slower than the Rare Bear and other Unlimited-Class racers. Rare Bear has had many different and distinctive paint jobs (and different props) over the years. We decorated our prototype to match the incomparable 2007 Rare Bear, as seen here at the Reno air races. (Click for full-size image)