Hello Fellow Enthusiasts.
I hope to lurk and contribute to this forum.
I’m an old guy, and have been around airplanes all my life. My dad flew during the “Great War” WW2; he flew A-20s overseas, and then trained night fighter pilots in P-70s and P-61s. He had friends who flew the P-59, the first P-80s, and the P-84; I have the manuals for them, plus a lot of others. It’s interesting when you read them, to see how restricted the flight envelope really was for some of those planes. Not like the movies. I got a bunch of manuals as a family friend worked after the war at one of the airplane scrapping facilities. He collected manuals out of the planes, and later gave them to me. He is also responsible for one of the P-39s that is still flying. He bought one in a box which was on its way to Russia when the war ended. He paid $750 for it. He was partners with another fellow who was a fighter pilot, and after getting a ferry permit it began its civilian life at Hayward airport, here in California. He had a lot of interesting stories about what needed to be done to get it licensed. The government required that every change made to the plane to allow it to meet CAA rules, in the restricted category. It had to be documented on engineering drawings, and the drawings, for some reason had to be submitted to the Feds through a patent attorney. The idea was, if the Air Force wanted the plane back for a war, then they would have all the information needed to return it to its military configuration. I think it is actually easier now.
The first airplane I flew in was a B-25 when I was about 4. My dad flew it up to San Francisco, and gave the family rides; probably very illegal, but I think the war was over by then, and that sort of thing was happening.
One of my aunts worked in the flight test department at United Airlines, San Francisco, and from her I gained a love of transports. I read all the books and articles I could find about the military and contract transport pilots and crews I could get my hands on. If I had been of that generation that is the job I would have wanted.
As a result, both as a civilian and in the military, I flew on just about every transport and airliner I could. I’ve flown in every prop transport from the C-45 to the C-130 with few exceptions, at some times going to great extents to bum a ride. In the world of commercial airplanes, I’ve flown on just about all U.S. planes from the DC-3 to the present.
I got my pilot’s license and flew and owned a bunch of planes. At one time or another I owned four L-5s, a PT-19, PT-26, and BT-15.this was at a time when you could just about get these planes for nothing. I remember a P-40E and a P-38 for sale at San Jose airport. The P-40 was for sale for $3500 with spares (and a parachute
); the P-38 for $5000. There was also a row of derelict P-61s which slowly biodegraded into spares. I think a couple of them ended up as “borate” bombers.
I’m a retired engineer, and worked for Lockheed and Fairchild in the distant past. I worked out on the Pacific Missile Range, and used to fly out in some pretty ratty old clunker piston planes owned by the Zantop brothers. I worked for a government contract think tank, and did work on an assortment of projects. One island I worked on was covered with wrecks which we would explore. I got a few manufacturers plates off of them.
That’s about it. Now I build models airplanes and ships; mostly solids, and do research on the net. Pretty boring compared to what i did in the past.