Every pilot loves the Tiger. It’s hard not to. The airplane is one of the ultimate concessions to fun flying, a sporty, eager, little single with just enough practical application to justify it in the minds of those who would never buy a pure fun machine.
But that’s not a problem for Tiger owner Roger Tonry of Camarillo, Calif. A director of photography in the film business, Tonry has a passion for military airplanes and once dreamed of owning a P-51. Economic realities ruled out the Mustang, so today, Tonry flies a military-painted Grumman-American AA5B Tiger—along with a Marchetti SF-260.
Tonry regards the two airplanes as interchangeable. Of course, the Marchetti is aerobatic and the Tiger isn’t—at least, not legally—but the Tiger is still a tough bird with four seats, a quick elevator and the fastest ailerons in the class, contributing to its substantial image as a sport machine.
The Tiger is regarded by some pilots as being well ahead of its time. Perhaps in keeping with the bonded construction characteristic of Grumman’s U.S. Navy Cat series of shipboard fighters, the Tiger and its predecessors, the Cheetah, T-Cat and Lynx, plus the later twin-engine Cougar, were among the first-production general aviation airplanes to feature bonding of wing and fuselage skins.
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