Chance encounters with Warbirds...

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Aug 27, 2006
I thought maybe we could talk about the times we have seen Warbirds at places other than orgainized events. I always enjoy these chance encounters more that viewing a public display.

Growing up in the 60's, I lived near enough to Republic Field on Long Island, NY to see quite a few warbirds in flight. They flew Hellcats on a regular basis, a B-17 G with a lifeboat attached, AT-6's galore and many others. It was the noise of radial engines that first gave them away and it seems that sweet noise never leaves.

Today, I was at our County airport fixing a computer, as I left the building I looked out over the field and above the roof of a low building I saw the un-mistakable rudders of a B-25. As I walked towards them-(like a bee to honey)- a B-17 G was sitting there also, my pace quickened. Then that noise, I look down the runway and here comes a B-24 on final, I have never seen one in operation. The driver taxied that plane right between the B-25 B-17, did a 180 pretty as you please and shut down. It was not an orgainized event, they were on their way to some airshow and this was just a stopover, very few people there. But there was atleast one Vet there, a Navigator with the 15th AF, Dressed in his Uniform, he described to us his shootdown, the plane exploded and he was blown out. He evaded with the aid of the OSS and partisans, eventually he returned.

Since my dad flew 50 missions in both the B-24 and the B-17 with the 15th, seeing those aircraft and talking with that Vet was a stiring event for me.

About 1978-79 at Sacramento Executive airport there was an aerial photography company that had two photo version P-38's. I saw them fly a few times. Sacramento Exec also had an adjacent duster strip that operated TBF's as crop dusters.

I currently reside in southern California and I've seen some of Chino's museum aircraft operating near VCV (SBD, P-51, B-25) .
About 18 (?) years ago I was up a ladder painting the window frames of my house when a USAAF A-10 flew over at around 1,000 ft, I nearly fell off :shock: :oops: :D
well, because my country is so ****in poor all i see are some old Phil. Airlines DC-3s turned into homes (for people, animals, bugs, etc)
I've been pretty lucky, worked at Mojave airport, a warbird mecca. Just about every flying warbird has been through there. Actually sat in a number of WW2 warbirds, flown in a PBY and C-47 and worked on a bunch of early jets.

Locally there's a Spitfire, P-51, several T-6s, a Vampire and a Mig-17.
evangilder said:
Any chance of you posting a pic of that Vampire, Joe?
Actually it was a Venom (my mistake). Here's a photo...


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I'm blessed with Russells 109' Spit, and Hurri the CWH Lanc ,and Cat,plus the Lizzie soon . Plus an abundance of every type of aircraft doing laps over the Falls so much so that I know when to look up just by the sound . Got flocks of helicopters and am about 7 miles away from Niag Falls AFRES/Ang base with 130's and 135's . Because of the traffic there are VFR routes for sightseeing with altitudes depending on weight and speed. And followed by the question what type of 130 is this?


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We live down the coast from Ardmore airfield in Auckland, home to the Warbirds society. Welcome to the NZ Warbirds Association.

They use our area for training and build ups for shows, so we get free airshows all year round. :p

Harvards (bout 8 of them)
Tiger Moth
de Havilland Beaver
de Havilland Devon (used for Nav and EWO training in the past)
Aorespace Airtrainer (what we used to call the "Plastic Rat" in the RNZAF)
YAK 52
BAC Strikemaster
Hawker Hunter
A4K (still fly them every now and then these days for check outs from Blenhiem)

The trick with the old Airtrainer is it has a naturally aspirated carb, an airshow trick was to fly two across the airfield. As they came over the field at around 50 to 60 feet, one would flip over top of the other upside down.

The down side is simple. You got 29 seconds to be back upright before the fuel cuts out.

Also at Ardmore is the Mosquito build up. This is not a restoration but a full build using salvaged parts from many airframes. A guy out west Auckland spent years making the molds required for forming the shells.

And we have F-86 restorations going on to static display standard. Next time I am out there with my son i will snapp some pics for you all.
Then whats that between the outer engines and the big fuel tanks and there is a bulge on the port aft side of the fuselage I've never seen one before
pbfoot said:
Then whats that between the outer engines and the big fuel tanks and there is a bulge on the port aft side of the fuselage I've never seen one before
Refueling pods. The buldge I think carries either another refueling drogue, staging lights or chaff dispensers.


Was flying out of N57 about 5 years ago. Working on the bird I owned that had a cranky radial. Tinkering with this and that, trying to get it to turn over. Had to get it out of there before an air show the next day.

Anyway, the day before the airshow, they usually brought all the Warbirds in (locally known as the "Real" airshow before the paying public showed up) and most of the guys would do a once over just for fit before doing the real deal the next day. One dude had a P51 that used to show up and he did it that day.

I've got the cowling off, the tail of the bird I'm working on is pointed towards the runway (about 15ft from the tail) and I'm working facing up the active with a friend of mine on the other side of the bird working on the other side. I looked past him and saw the 51 drop into the pattern a good mile or two out. Said, "Hey, go back to the tail and let take a look at the rudder hinges while I fiddle with the peddals" (no problem, I just wanted to position him back there for when the Mustang went by). He gets back there about the same time the 51 crosses the threshold hauling *** about 10 feet off the runway. I look at my friend and point at the now closing Mustang. He turns (the thing was going so fast it really wasn't making much sound) and locks onto it about 30ft away (and closing). AND THAT DUDE WAS HAULING! He blows by us (still right on the deck) about 20 ft away and pulls up at the end of the runway in a slow roll. Look back at my friend and his eyes were the size of grapefruits--but he was grinnin' like a fool.

Usually, at airshows, the fly bys are out in the middle of the field and pretty sedate. This was close enough to catch a load of propwash and heat from the engine. One of the best (and shortest) airshows I've ever seen.
pbfoot said:
I can't find any other pics with those huge outer tanks
Neither can I but my boss has a painting of one in his office refueling 2 special ops Jolly Greens....

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