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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:42 am 
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I'm trying to find photos or references to Don Whittington's Hispano Buchon 'Miss Florida II' that briefly competed in the 1976 Reno Air Races for a future article on the Aircraft. I'm hoping that Air Classics or similar magazines from the time would have mentioned or photographed the aircraft so if any one has access to magazines of this period I would be most grateful for a heads up.

Many thanks

Gary

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:21 am 
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I have the Air Classics, as well as the Reed Kinnert Annual covering 1976. But you're not going to find anything beyond a brief mention of it.

For the record, however, regarding Whittington's N700E....the paintjob was....well....interesting. The Brother's W were friends with the late Jimmy Leeward. At the time, Jimmy's Mustang was called "Miss Florida" and was painted silver with red & white trim, and RAF roundells. The Buchon was called "Miss Florida II" and....not kidding....was painted silver with red & white trim, matching Jimmy's Mustang.

I have seen pictures of the plane sitting on the ramp in Scottsdale, AZ. Both Whittington planes had flown out to Gary Levitz's hangar there (since they had just purchased the Levitz "Precious Metal") and the plan was to caravan up to Reno. Unfortunately, it did not go well. Ten minutes out of Phoenix, Levitz lost an engine in his P-38 and had to return to base. At the fuel stop in Las Vegas, Bill Whittington was checking the screens in the Buchon and found metal in the Merlin. That was as close as the Buchon made it to Reno...never actually made it to the races, and never participated in any of the heats.

Once they changed the engine and ferried the HA-1112 back home to Ft. Lauderdale, it was painted in a very inaccurate version of Ernst Udet's D-ISLU (the original was red....they painted theirs blue). It flew like that for a year or so, until they painted it in the white/green "Eastern Front" scheme. That was what it wore when they sold it to Bubba Beal and Chub Smith, and that was the scheme it was wearing when Beal groundlooped it at Reno.

Hope that helps.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Many thanks Speedy,

I checked the Reno data base and your quite right it did miss the qualifying, however it did get to race if there records are correct. So there should be some photos somewhere.

http://www.airrace.org/race_results/results.php

I don't suppose you recall where you saw the photographs.

Regards

Gary

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Jackdaw wrote:
Many thanks Speedy,

I checked the Reno data base and your quite right it did miss the qualifying, however it did get to race if there records are correct. So there should be some photos somewhere.

http://www.airrace.org/race_results/results.php

I don't suppose you recall where you saw the photographs.

Regards

Gary


Trust me...the data base is wrong. The airplane was hard-down in Las Vegas and sat there until after the races were over. It never made it to Reno, and it never raced.

The photos were part of the late Ralph Payne's collection. Ralph was Gary Levitz's crew chief. Ralph passed away 10 years ago, and the photos went to some of Ralphs other friends.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:39 am 
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Speedy wrote:
Trust me...the data base is wrong. The airplane was hard-down in Las Vegas and sat there until after the races were over. It never made it to Reno, and it never raced.
That's what it says:
Quote:
Pilot: Whittington, Don Aircraft: Miss Florida II - Race 109 Type: Me 109G
Time: Speed: Place: 99
Notes: Mechanical problems enroute, did not arrive Reno.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Thanks Speedy,

How did they get the following so wrong.

From the database.

Race: Unlimited Championship Date: 1976-09-12 Course: lap, 78.40 mi
Pilot: Whittington, Don Aircraft: Miss Florida II - Race 109 Type: Me 109G
Time: Speed: Place: 99
Notes: DNF Lap 3, broken connecting rod.

Regards

Gary

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:03 pm 
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That data base has a LOT of inaccuracies. Sometimes the 'blanks' get filled in with mis-information.

I was too young to be taking pictures back then, but if it was on the ramp, if it had made it to Reno, there would have been a ton of pictures of it--especially given the uniqueness of the paint job.

Here's a selection of reports from books and magazines covering the races that year:

--From the Racing Planes and Air Races Annual: "and Don Whittington's other airplane, the one everyone had been hoping to see race, a Messerschmitt ME-109, down in Las Vegas with metal chips in the oil strainer."

--From Tegler's "Gentlemen, You Have a Race": "Next, it was the Whittington's Spanish 109 whiech everyone had looked forward to seeing on the course, that got only as far as Las Vegas where metal was discovered in the screens and, thus, was out."

--From December 1976 Air Progress: "Whittington now had to airplanes down. His first was a freshly restored Messerschmitt ME-109 that he had officially entered among the Unlimiteds. He made no secret out of it's planned appearance, and thousands waited patiently for the arrival of this rare 34-year old warbird, now equipped with a spanking-new Merlin racing engine. But something had gone wrong. The 109 had made a routine fuel stop in Las vegas on it's flight up from Texas (via Phoenix), during which metal shavings were found in the oil screen of the four-hour old engine...'a sure tip-off that a Merlin is going to heck' as one crew member put it. The historic Luftwaffe fighter would sit out Reno on the ramp at Vegas."

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:06 pm 
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Wow, seems strange to hear a Buchon referred to as a '34 year old warbird'!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Mike wrote:
Wow, seems strange to hear a Buchon referred to as a '34 year old warbird'!


More-so that they are calling it an Messerschmitt ME-109. Today, the warbirdnerds would have a field day with it.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Many thanks Speedy, hopefully a photo will eventually come to light.

Gary

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:51 pm 
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Speedy wrote:
Mike wrote:
Wow, seems strange to hear a Buchon referred to as a '34 year old warbird'!


More-so that they are calling it an Messerschmitt ME-109. Today, the warbirdnerds would have a field day with it.

Isn't it an Me 109J?

That's what a friend used to tell me.

Sadly, he was later killed in one.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:27 pm 
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When G-BOML appeared at Wanaka, NZ in 1992 it was referred to as a Me-190J, but the wholly Spanish-built aircraft are Hispano Ha.1112-M1L Buchons (as far as I know).

Mark, and 'OML, are much missed.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:02 pm 
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Mike wrote:
Speedy wrote:
Mike wrote:
Wow, seems strange to hear a Buchon referred to as a '34 year old warbird'!


More-so that they are calling it an Messerschmitt ME-109. Today, the warbirdnerds would have a field day with it.

Isn't it an Me 109J?

That's what a friend used to tell me.

Sadly, he was later killed in one.


I've occasionally seen it referred to as an "Me 109J". I have a feeling that the J suffix might be a reference to it being an export version of the '109G.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Speedy wrote:
Mike wrote:
Wow, seems strange to hear a Buchon referred to as a '34 year old warbird'!


More-so that they are calling it an Messerschmitt ME-109. Today, the warbirdnerds would have a field day with it.

Dont the true nerds prefer Bf-109? pop2

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