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Barnstormers Logo ISSUE 446 - September 2016
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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - Warbirds - Part I
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Watford, Ontario, Canada
Texas Flying Legends P-51D Mustang, "Dakota Kid II,"
is one of several warbirds we'll look at this week.
We all know that EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is a mecca for aviators and aviation buffs and that there's a vast assortment of aircraft that attend the week long event but the most popular aircraft often tend to be warbirds and by warbirds I mean World War II fighters and bombers. As there are often hundreds of assorted warbirds that attend the event there's almost always something either flying in the airshow, arriving or departing, that will have heads turned.
There were hundreds of assorted warbirds including this Canadian,
former RCAF, Harvard Mk 4, left, and this Howard DGA-15P, right.
From P-51 Mustangs to Texans, Harvards and SNJ's, Stearmans to Chipmunks, there are warbirds in numbers like you've probably never seen before. Whether you take a walk through Warbird Ally or you park yourself along the flightline and await the airshow, or you're watching the arrivals and departures, you're bound to see a warbird at least once an hour, if not more often.
There were some aircraft in Warbird Ally that aren't as common as other warbirds including the Wilga 80, left, and the Cessna UC-78/T-50 Bobcat, right.
A walk through Warbird Ally is a walk through a field of gold for warbird enthusiasts! The 2016 AirVenture saw 370+ assorted warbirds attend the show, some of which stayed the week, some maybe only for a few days or even just in for a day trip. Of the most common warbirds in the Ally, and not surprisingly, were P-51 Mustangs, Texans/Harvards/SNJ's, Stearmans and even de Havilland Chipmunks and all beautiful examples. There were, however, some less common and somewhat unusual aircraft parked in the Warbird Ally that had visitors snapping photos with phones, tablets and cameras alike.

The unusually designed Cessna O-2 Skymaster, left, and a line up of Texans, right.

Parked within Warbird Ally were hundreds of beautiful, stunning and or rare warbirds including, for lack of a better word, your typical Mustangs, Corsairs, T-6 Texans, Harvards, SNJ's, Stearmans and B-25 Mitchell's along with warbirds from later eras including Cessna Skymasters, Globe Swift, Yak 52s, Nanchangs, a Provider, Grumman Bearcat and too many more to name.
This beautiful example of a Hawker Sea Fury can be yours
if you have the wallet to buy, maintain and fly it!
One of the more beautiful and rare warbirds was the stunning Hawker Sea Fury Mk 10. This Sea Fury, though fitted with a Wright R3350, would originally have been powered by the powerful Bristol Centaurus engine which offered over 3,000hp. The Sea Fury first flew in Feb of 1945, a little more than 3 months after the Fury. They served in several different air forces from 1945 until as late as 1968 and included the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Burmese Air Force and the Pakistan Air Force. It was one of the most powerful and fast piston engine fighter aircraft built with a top speed of 460mph and a service ceiling of almost 36,000'. If you're in the market for a warbird, this aircraft could be yours for $1.2 million USD.
The Grumman Bearcat was a beast of an aeroplane and set a world speed record
for a piston-driven aircraft at 528mph.
Another of the rarer warbirds on hand was the Grumman Bearcat which saw action during the latter days of World War II in the Pacific. It first flew in August of 1944 and was introduced to branches of the US military in mid 1945. The Bearcat saw action with the US Navy, Marine Corps, French Air Force and the Royal Thai Air Force with 1265 having been built. Possibly its biggest claim to fame was that it was the second aircraft to be flown by the US Navy aerobatic team, the Blue Angels, which is the livery of the Bearcat that attended the 2016 AirVenture event. The Bearcat has a maximum speed of 421mph, a range of over 1,100 miles and a service ceiling of almost 39,000'. One highly modified Bearcat, known as Rare Bear, set a world speed record for a piston-driven aircraft over a 3km distance of just over 528mph in 1989.
The iconic Supermarine Spitfire, this one from the Texas Flying Legends Museum
a Mk IX, was built and utilised by the RAF throughout World War II.
Arguably, one of the most recognizable and beautiful aircraft to come out of World War II was the Supermarine Spitfire, a British designed and built single engine fighter that was developed in the mid 1930s and is credited, along with the Hawker Hurricane, for saving Great Britain during the Battle of Britain in 1940. The Spitfire was the brainchild of famed English aircraft designer and aeronautical engineer Reginald J. Mitchell. Apart from the Spitfire, his best known aircraft was the outright winner of the Schneider Trophy, which ended with the Supermarine S6B. The Spitfire was a culmination of his development of the S6B but incorporated a variety of designs by other aircraft engineers including those beautiful elliptical wings which were designed by Canadian aerodynamicist, Beverley Shenstone, and the Spitfires monocoque construction having been developed in the United States. The first Spit flew in March of 1936, reaching a top speed of 349mph and began service with the RAF in August of 1938. Final designs of the Spitfire saw top speeds in excess of 450mph. The Spitfire served throughout the war with more than 20,000 having been built. This Spitfire was from the Texas Legend Flying Museum and is a Mk IX.
The P-40 Warhawk was most famous for the Shark Mouth painted on the nose which was first done by the British but made most famous by the US Army Air Corps Flying Tigers.
Also from the Texas Legend Flying Museum was the P-40 Warhawk. It was designed by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation and first flew in 1938. The name Warhawk was given to the aircraft by the United States Army Air Corps and was the name used by the USAAF for all models of the aircraft. However, it was also known as Tomahawk and Kittyhawk, depending on the variant, given to it by the British Commonwealth air forces and the Soviet Air Force. The P-40 first saw combat in the Middle East and North Africa during 1941 with the RAF Desert Air Force Commonwealth squadrons, the first unit to dawn the aircraft with the famous shark mouth livery. The Warhawk was often considered an inferior fighter in the European Theatre of war due to its lack of a super charger making it far less capable against German fighters at high altitude. However, it performed as an air superiority aircraft in the Pacific where its high altitude performance was less important. The P-40 had a top speed of 360mph and a service ceiling of 29,000'. More than 13,000 were built with some 30 of the example still flying today around the world. The museums P-40 wears the markings of the USAF 343rd Fighter Group, 11th Fighter Squadron, "Aleutian Tigers."
The FM-2P Wildcat from the Texas Legends Flying Museum.
Also from the Texas Flying Legends Museum was the FM-2P Wildcat. The Wildcat was designed by Grumman Aircraft and first flew in September of 1937 and flew with both the US Navy and the British Royal Navy (known as the Martlet) in 1940. Though the Wildcat was outperformed by the faster Japanese Zero, it was more maneuverable, had a greater range and was far more rugged than its counterpart, which gave it a greater kill-to-loss ratio against the Zero. Later versions had improved performance, including that of the FM-2, known as the "Wilder Wildcat," which had been optimised for small-carrier operations. More than 7,800 Wildcats were built with the FM-2 having been built by General Motors/Eastern Aircraft division. The Wildcat was flown by 6 air forces including the US Navy & Marine Corps, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, Greece's Hellenic Air Force, the French Air Force and the Belgium Air Force. It had a stop speed of 331mph and a service ceiling of more than 39,000'. The Texas Flying Legends example wears the markings of VMF-114 and was one of only two FM-2 examples to 'star' in the movie, Midway.
The inverted gull wing of the Corsair is probably the most
recognizable feature of this beautiful aircraft.
One of the most stunning of the American designed and built fighter aircraft was that of the Chance Vought Corsair, also built by Goodyear and Brewster, and was first flown in 1940 with the first types entering service late in 1942. The Corsair was designed as a carrier-based aircraft though its carrier performance initially rendered it as unsuitable. The British Fleet Air Arm resolved those issues by using a technique by which pilots flew a continuous left turn, rather than a straight in landing approach, which gave pilots much better landing visibility over the 14' nose until time of flare above the carrier deck. Despite its eventual use as a carrier aircraft, the Corsair was probably best known for it's use with the U.S. Marines and became more famous through the television show, "Baa Baa Black Sheep." For carrier use, the design team for the Corsair had to overcome deck clearance for the huge 13'4" propeller which culminated in a new wing design, and probably the most recognizable feature of the Corsair, the inverted gull wing. Having the landing gear placed in the 'low dip' of the wing gave it the necessary clearance required for the massive prop. The Corsair was the first single engine fighter aircraft to reach speeds in excess of 400mph during level flight with an eventual maximum speed of 425mph, a range of more than 1,000 miles and a service ceiling of almost 37,000' and more than 12,500 of the type were built. The Texas Flying Legends example is that of an FG-1D built under license by Goodyear. At least 28 Corsairs still fly today around the world.
Texas Flying Legends Museum B-25J "Betty's Dream".
The next in the line up of aircraft from the Texas Flying Legends aircraft that flew at Oshkosh was their B-25J Mitchell, "Betty's Dream." The B-25 was manufactured by North American Aviation and was named in honour of Major General "Billy" Mitchell. It was designed as a medium bomber and first flew in August of 1940 and was introduced into service in 1941. There were many variants of the aircraft with one of the most successful of those being the gunship, initially with two forward firing .50 inch (12.7mm) machine guns and a 75mm canon installed in the converted, hatched nose. It was a very successful ground & ship attack aircraft with further variants adding additional forward firing guns in the nose and along the frontal fuselage section. The B-25 flew with 23 different air forces around the world and operated with some until the late 1970s. The Texas Flying Legend Museum's example had a varied civilian career, including having been used as a fire bomber for 9 years in Canada during the 1970s. It is painted in honour of Capt. Charles E. "Pop" Rice, Jr. who became the Operations Officer with the 499th Squadron which was one of two "Betty" bombers which, in August of 1945, carried the Japanese peace envoys to le Shima and flew the return mission from Manila carrying General MacArthur's staff. "Betty's Dream" flew 22 missions and wore 2 silhouettes representing the sinking of Japanese ships. The B-25 has a top speed of 275mph with a range of over 1,300 miles and a service ceiling of 25,000'. Over 9,800 Mitchells were produced with many examples still flying today.
The P-51 Mustang was one of the most successful
fighter aircraft that came out of World War II.
The last of the aircraft from the Texas Flying Legends Museum is one of two P-51 Mustangs they operate, the P-51D "Dakota Kid II." The P-51 Mustang was designed by North American Aviation in response to a need, and a request, by the British for long range fighter escort for the RAF and, in September of 1940, the first Mustang was rolled out only 102 days after a contract was signed. The Mustang first flew in October of 1940 with the first deliveries of Mustangs to the RAF in January of 1942. Originally built with the Allison V-1710 engine, it had limited high altitude performance. Eventually, the British built, Rolls-Royce Merlin engine was married to the Mustang and its high altitude performance above 15,000' then matched, or exceeded, that of the German Luftwaffe fighter aircraft. Eventually, the American built P-51D Mustangs were fitted with the Packard V-1650-7 engine which was a US built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66, two-sage, two-speed supercharged engine built under license. The Mustang was one of the most successful aircraft of World War II and is considered by many to be the best, all-round fighter of the war. The Mustang has a maximum speed of 437mph, a range of over 1,600 miles (with external fuel tanks) and a service ceiling of almost 42,000'. There were more than 15,600 P-51s built and at least 170 survive today, many in flying condition.
There are more warbirds to come such as the Douglas Skyraider, left,
and more P-51 action, right.
This week we had a look at an assortment of various warbirds that attended and/or flew during the 2016 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Next week, we'll return to Oshkosh to have a look at an assortment of other warbirds including Skyraiders, other B-25 Mitchells Mustangs and more.
The rare and fast Grumman Bearcat wearing the colours of the US Navy Blue Angels.
For more information on AirVenture Oshkosh visit:
The unmistakable elliptical wing and lines of the Supermarine Spitfire.


The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk wearing the markings of the Aleutian Tigers Sqn.


The rugged Grumman FM-2P Wildcat from Texas Flying Legends Museum.
The North American B-25 Mitchell was one of the most successful
American built bombers of World War II.
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
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