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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Warbird Digest
Final Cut-The Post War B-17 Flying Fortress and Survivors - 5th Edition


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:31 am 
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Thanks for those terrific shots, Neal!

1982 was my first year at Reno and I'd never seen anything quite like Dago.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:34 am 
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marine air wrote:
Did those guys go on to do some work for Jimmy Leeward and "the Galloping Ghost?" . Who tweaked Galloping Ghost? I know it was nearly as faast when Jimmy bought it several years before. Last, If Dago Red could've reached it's full potential, would it have had the same potetial for structural failure problems as Galloping Ghost?


No, no, no, no and no.

At the risk of the townspeople lighting their torches and marching on the castle, you can't compare the two. One professional in every aspect, one not so much. And the results spoke for themselves.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:11 pm 
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Speedy wrote:
marine air wrote:
Did those guys go on to do some work for Jimmy Leeward and "the Galloping Ghost?" . Who tweaked Galloping Ghost? I know it was nearly as fast when Jimmy bought it several years before. Last, If Dago Red could've reached it's full potential, would it have had the same potential for structural failure problems as Galloping Ghost?


No, no, no, no and no.

At the risk of the townspeople lighting their torches and marching on the castle, you can't compare the two. One professional in every aspect, one not so much. And the results spoke for themselves.

Considering that Voodoo Chile had the same elevator trim tab failure as Galloping Ghost did, but opposite side, why couldn't it have happened to Dago Red?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:12 pm 
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Neal, Thank you so much for the photographs and insight. Your words and photographs bring great memories back of super early wake ups, sneaking over/thru the pit fence and quietly watching the early preparations in the bitter cold. She sounded brilliant on those mornings, Strega too. It’s so strange to me now as it seems like it was not that long ago.

To see those airplanes moving at those speeds, and making those sounds was incredible. If you have seen a “high speed pass” of a restored warbird Mustang the sound and impact of that plane is about 4% of what a racer would make. Whatever the ratio of the value a racer versus the “correctly” restored warbird Mustang has in today and tomorrow, as an enthusiast there was nothing like them. If there was big money in that spectacle that could be won by these racing aircraft, I have no doubt that Merlin engine parts would continually be fractionally improved and reproduced with the emerging printer technology. Long term, the sport of air racing always added to the vitality and survivability of the Mustang industry. I remember Stilletto’s wing, rejected by a UK museum as being “too far gone” to be used for static display, rebuilt with internal wing radiator coolers and flown at Reno after a 6month rebuild or something like that. Amazing stuff.

While they “looked the same” to many spectators, they were all so different in preparation and details aside from the differing levels of professional care of those that maintained them. Seeing them each year was such a charge for me, as well as catching up with old friends Throughout the slow and dramatic build up towards Sunday afternoon.

Please post more pics, or maybe start a thread again. While I love the restorations in their own right, nothing I have ever seen compares with the Sunday races of years past.


Last edited by Joe Scheil on Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:30 pm 
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“Considering that Voodoo Chile had the same elevator trim tab failure as Galloping Ghost did, but opposite side, why couldn’t it have happened to Dago Red?”

Good question. I would say that first, the attention to detail and skill of the builders and crew chief is what protects a race plane from this type of failure. Different groups of people produce different results. Additionally a competitive raceplane should come apart nearly every year during the off season to have every detail looked at in fine focus by careful people. Lower budget teams did not do that and put a lot of trust onto the parts they were flying.

The longer answer is that the planes were very different from each other. Those racers had completely different tail planes in so many fine details. The horizontal tail planes on the best racers were ex Australian, allowing the builder to set up a different angle of incidence due to a greater range of mounting adjustment inherent on the CAC parts. This allows a Mustang to potentially fly the course at speed without a lot of nose down trim/drag versus a stock NAA Mustang setup which can not do that. The quality of the horizontal tail build is similarly important, it must be accurately built, straight and strong. That attention to detail wasn’t always perfect on some parts seen around the pits. If you look in detail at the trim tabs on the left side on N79111 you will notice that they are completely non standard on the left elevator, built over large to compensate for an NAA stab, and perhaps were poorly engineered where the tabs hinged and came together. The modifications on that tail were under tremendous strain, and ultimately were not able to take what it was subjected to. What makes a good and complete racer is a crew chief/pilot combination that communicates to make the whole thing work together in harmony. Forcing drag and energy loss to edit out a bad habit the plane exhibits due to concurrent mods working against each other is not the right way when the plane is moving at 500 mph through wake turbulence...

While the failure event was similar, the causes and results were very different. One racer cleanly went near vertical and temporarily incapacitated the pilot. The other aircraft pitched and rolled and did not give the pilot time to recover his awareness. One was a purpose built racer from day one. Another was a pre 1970 racer continually modified by different folks without a significant expenditure of money or clear purpose after 1984. I will always remember N79111 as Race 69. Jeannie of 1980 was a historic plane who’s team wanted her to replace “American Jet” at NASM. The story of this photo flight is incredible reading and pure Skip.

She deserved a far better fate than she received.


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Last edited by Joe Scheil on Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:48 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:51 pm 
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Thanks Joe -- I've always thought of WIX as a "Warbird site" more concerned with how the stencils lined up and whether the washers were the correct color on the newest World War II spec restoration than on the postwar exploitation and development of the 1944 technology. I love the restoration stuff and the history as much as anybody, but I'm by nature and inclination a Racer. The really great experiences of my career have been things like standing at Pylon 8 on Sunday afternoon being blown away by the sheer impact of the sounds of a Rare Bear or a Strega blasting overhead at 3500 horsepower and 100 feet altitude. I'd rather talk to Bruce Lockwood about the impact on Dago's performance of new deriching technology than discuss the color of the paint in the wheelwells. Over 35 years of photographing the Races, crewing on the Racers, and trying to understand the explanations of incredibly bright and unbelivably motivated people trying to extract the last mph out of a 50 year old piece of machinery have left me with nothing but admiration for the men and the machines. It's been a heck of a ride.

The Reno Races as we knew them seem to be fading away, but the memories will always be with me. As long as there's interest I'll continue to occasionally do stuff like this here. My life has gone in other directions since I stopped attending Reno, but the memories and the photographs remain.

Thanks again for the kind words...

And I just saw your post about the tail of the Ghost -- great post! Jimmy in his prime was one of the greatest stick and rudder Warbird pilots I've ever seen, bar none. But there was so much he just never understood about developing a Racer and especially about managing a Racing effort. Team management and attention to detail are the real keys to a successful and safe racing operation. That stuff is not seen or realized by the folks in the stands, but they are what make the show happen.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:41 pm 
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Joe -- I'm glad your post came back. That is is still perhaps the best and most lucid short explanation of some of the dynamics that went into that event that I've seen...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:51 pm 
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Thanks for posting the pictures Neal :)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:57 pm 
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Joe Scheil wrote:
<>
I will always remember N79111 as Race 69. Jeannie of 1980 was a historic plane who’s team wanted her to replace “American Jet” at NASM. The story of this photo flight is incredible reading and pure Skip.

She deserved a far better fate than she received.

A most excellent post, sir.
And I agree with your points. :)

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And thanks again for the pictures Neal.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:07 pm 
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Not my picture, but I've always liked this picture of when they took Dago Red to the Pomona Drag Races. 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:12 pm 
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I'm loving this topic, but its making me sad that I won't be going to Reno this year/week... :(

Need to have these stories told earlier in the year to get the juices flowing for September... :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:12 pm 
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They are doing a live feed from the air races starting on Thursday, go to airrace.org .


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:16 pm 
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airtj wrote:
They are doing a live feed from the air races starting on Thursday, go to airrace.org .


Thanks for the info... pop2 Not the same as being there... :wink:

Phil

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:31 pm 
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You got that right, Phil...

Here's another shot of Dan Martin in Dago Red:


ImageDago-5-_PRN4119 by Neal Nurmi, on Flickr

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:29 pm 
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Just thought I'd say this: I'm decidedly more of a historian type, and get much more excited about restored fighters than modified racers. But I absolutely love it when you guys expound. It helps me understand, and thus appreciate, the race scene a great deal.

I believe warbird lovers owe a certain debt of gratitude to racing, and besides, the stories are just plain thrilling. So thanks, and please keep it coming!

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