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Our in-house Aircraft Painter, Ian Hendry was proud as punch with the F4F Wildcat’s “882 squadron” markings applied during August 2017, with JV482 now looking just as she did on that fateful Christmas Eve 1944. In memory of all 882 squadron personnel


Grumman Wildcat F4F JV482 in Hangar 2 at the Ulster Aviation Society, Oct2017


Time-lapse & drone video of the Wildcat's starboard wing being attached by UAS volunteers for the first time in three decades, during May 2022. Filmed & Edited by EDGAR ENGLAND. Production Editor: Mark J. Cairns

Vintage Warbird retrieved from Lough

The only Second World War aircraft in the collection, it was based at RAF Long Kesh with 882 Sqn when it had an engine fire on Christmas Eve 1944 when en route to Lough Neagh for some dive-bombing practice.


It was ditched in Portmore Lough by the then 19-year-old pilot, Peter Lock.

Original Wildcat JV482 pilot Peter Lock (left); Harry McKillop (centre) and Raymond Burrows, Chairman (right) pictured beside the aircraft at the UAS hangar

It was recovered from the lough in 1983/84 with the help of Ulster Sub Aqua Club, Heyn Group, Belfast and Army Air Corps as well as other organisations and individuals. Being restored to static display condition, it was a very good naval fighter aircraft which could give a good account of itself, even against Spitfires. Royal Navy had 15 squadrons of Wildcats in total.

British Army Lynx lifting wreckage of Wildcat F4F JV482 out of the muddy waters of Portmore Lough, Northern Ireland, 1984

The Grumman Wildcat was a carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service with both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy in 1940.

Although first used in combat by the British in Europe, the Wildcat was the only United States Navy or Marine fighter during 1941–42 in the Pacific Theatre, besides the brief appearance of the F2A Buffalo.


With a top speed of 318 mph, the Wildcat was outperformed by the more nimble 331mph Mitsubishi Zero (and it was eventually replaced by the Corsair), but its ruggedness and tactics such as the 'Thach Weave' resulted in an  air combat kill-to-loss ratio of 5.9:1 in 1942 and 6.9:1 for the entire war.

UAS Grumman Wildcat Plane Crash Recovery 75th Anniversary, Portmore Lough

BBC Newsline, News report, Christmas Eve 2019 on RSPB Reserve on Portmore Lough, Northern Ireland where the Ulster Aviation's Grumman Wildcat was recovered after its crash 75 years earlier. Late pilot Peter Lock crash-landed there, and the Wildcat sat in the mud until the mid-1980s when the UAS recovered it.

Wildcat F-4F restoration wing-folding
Manufacturer: Grumman
Model: Wildcat FM-1
Registration: JV482
UAS Location: Hangar 2
Served with: 882 Squadron, Maze Long Kesh
Maximum Speed: 
318 mph at 19,400 ft
Engine: Wright Cyclone
Service Ceiling: 39,500 ft
Length & Height: 8.76m x 3.61m
Wing Span: 11.58m
Armament: 4 x .50" Browning machine guns with 450 rounds per gun; wing racks for two 250 lb (110 kg) bombs or six rockets.

Production1943 - 1944
NotesFM-1 was fiirst version with "Sto-Wing". Identical to F4F-4 but with 4 guns instead of 6 guns.
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