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FiFi


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Had a day to kill in Fort Worth yesterday so wandered over to check out FiFi. It's getting some major maintenance during the winter. I can't imagine what it costs to keep it running.

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If I remember correctly, those engines on the B-29 were temperamental and had teething problems when first introduced. Probably takes a lot to keep them going 70 some years after they were built.

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1 hour ago, Reichow7120 said:

If I remember correctly, those engines on the B-29 were temperamental and had teething problems when first introduced. Probably takes a lot to keep them going 70 some years after they were built.

Fifi suffered engine problems back probably 10 or more years ago. The CAF had to build new engines from parts sourced from later versions of the Wright R3350.

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46 minutes ago, lorenzo said:

You guys would really enjoy a visit to the SAC  museum just off   I-80 west of  Omaha.  I’m personal friends with one of the curators, I can set you up with a behind the scenes tour . 

SAC? There's a museum for Strategic Air Command? Cool. I would like to see that someday 

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2 minutes ago, lorenzo said:

cutaways at SAC

There must have been a lot of those 4360 cutaways made as I've seen them in multiple museums. The A&P school I attended had one as well. It was a B36 engine as pusher configuration. don't know if they all are.

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11 minutes ago, New Englander said:

There must have been a lot of those 4360 cutaways made as I've seen them in multiple museums. The A&P school I attended had one as well. It was a B36 engine as pusher configuration. don't know if they all are.

There are a few different cutaways at SAC. 

My least favorite story about the SAC museum is, 

on one of my first visits I saw an early Curtis engine.  It was cosmetically restored and sitting on a nice display stand that my friend had built for the museum. It was a naturally aspirated engine with spark plugs and obviously not the right ones . In my collection I have original period correct Curtis spark plugs so I offered them to the museum for that motor. My friend said “absolutly not, the government can come along at any given moment un announced and take any item from the museum they want and you will never see it return “  he went on to tell me about when they took a radial from them out of a mustang .  It resides in some ones office now .

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2 hours ago, lorenzo said:

when they took a radial from them out of a mustang . 

Unh, interesting story, how'sum'evah, none of the Mustangs (A-36, P-51, F-6D, F-51, F-82 are about all that I can think of off-hand now) had radial engines.

best, randy

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2 hours ago, New Englander said:

There must have been a lot of those 4360 cutaways made as I've seen them in multiple museums

Ho-boy, concur!  4 rows of 7 cylinders.  We had one where I first went to C-97 ground school (MSP).

And this whole thread about FIFI was interesting, made me recall many, many factoids of when when I first flew/ferried her (#44-62070, tail number at Randolph AFB was #37) out of the China Lake NAS boneyard at Inyokern, Cal. in 1971 and took it to our CAF Hdqtrs. at Harlingen, TX.

Just in case anyone wonders about the name, FIFI, we named her that for the wife of Vic Agather (Josephine).  Vic sponsored the astronomical recovery costs/burden.

best, randy

 

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3 hours ago, Randy Sohn said:

Unh, interesting story, how'sum'evah, none of the Mustangs (A-36, P-51, F-6D, F-51, F-82 are about all that I can think of off-hand now) had radial engines.

best, randy

Yes sir that's right.

I remember the mustang part but don't remember what the engine was.  

thinking  back it was an Allison not a radial.

 

Probably in a  boat or tractor  by now.

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18 hours ago, lorenzo said:

remember the mustang part but don't remember what the engine was.  

thinking  back it was an Allison not a radial.

 

Mmmmmmm, the original Mustangs had Allisons (V-1710s), then N.A. switched to the Rolls-Royce Merlins (V-1650s) in the later years.  Radials?  Corsairs and Hellcats and Jugs had the P&W R-2800s, mmmmmm, the Wildcats had R-1820s and R-1830s.  Flown all the above, be hard to say which is "mo-bettah" - guess it all depends upon what you wan'na do.

Chuckle, chuckle, you made me recall the P-63 King Cobra, never did get used to having that engine BEHIND me.

best, randy

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33 minutes ago, lorenzo said:

the skill set to do so.

my favorite WWll aircraft is the P-38. 

 

Yup, flew Bob Pond's Lightning quite a bit, was the only fighter that I'd take ACROSS Lake MIchigan when we used to do those shows over there at AZO in Michigan.  The others were all single engine's and those I'd go around the south end of the lake.  But the abolute best, I always thought, was a C.A.F. chum of mine, Lefty Gardner, from Brownwood, TX with his 38 "White Light'n".

"Skill set"?  Chuckle, guess that I'd credit that to the AT-6 that I got my initial USAF flight trainng in at Bevo Howard's school at Spence Field in Moultrie, GA. 

best, randy

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On 1/27/2020 at 7:23 AM, Reichow7120 said:

If I remember correctly, those engines on the B-29 were temperamental and had teething problems when first introduced. Probably takes a lot to keep them going 70 some years after they were built.

Yessir. They had overheating problems that sometimes got magnesium engine parts to burning. Bad news when that happens as magnesium burns like none other and will soon enough burn through the wing. At one point in the B-29 development a plane crashed during a test flight because of the aforesaid problem, and the crew as well as a number of Boeing engineers perished. If my memory serves right the B-29 development program cost more than the Manhattan Project. I seem to remember 2 billion for the Manhattan Project and 3 for the B-29. I also understand that at the time, the B-29 was the only US bomber that had sufficient capacity to get a nuclear bomb airborne. 

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1 minute ago, Gearclash said:

Yessir.They

Read your location just now, seems to me, IIRC, that Alton was the laat stop on the road prior to the Wagner, Garrison & Abbot at the SUX stockyards and we always stopped the truckstop there to eat at the Maid-Rite???????????  And once turned westerly and went to theTulip Festival at Orange City.

best, randy (was then growing up on the farm south of Lake Park and then north of town)

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35 minutes ago, Gearclash said:

 B-29 was the only US bomber that had sufficient capacity to get a nuclear bomb airborne. 

Yup, all true!  The 3350s that we have on FIFI now, however, are much later designs and have largely eliminated all those "growing pains" described.  

Paul Tibbetts was a good chum and I'd taken him along several times at the CAF airshows.  His grandson has also come along and was a B/G prior to retirement and had also come along with us, flew (I think and IIRC) SR-71s at Whiteman AFB.

 best, randy

 

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25 minutes ago, Gearclash said:

At one point in the B-29 development a plane crashed during a test flight because of the aforesaid problem, and the crew as well as a number of Boeing engineers perished.

IIRC, "Eddie Allen".  Interesting stuff, have a book here about it.

best, randy

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On 1/27/2020 at 7:45 AM, lorenzo said:

You guys would really enjoy a visit to the SAC  museum just off   I-80 west of  Omaha.  I’m personal friends with one of the curators, I can set you up with a behind the scenes tour . 

Went to an air show their quite a few years ago.

Really enjoyed the whole experience.

Should load up the BIL and hit it again sometime.

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On 1/28/2020 at 11:32 AM, Randy Sohn said:

Yup, flew Bob Pond's Lightning quite a bit, was the only fighter that I'd take ACROSS Lake MIchigan when we used to do those shows over there at AZO in Michigan.  The others were all single engine's and those I'd go around the south end of the lake.  But the abolute best, I always thought, was a C.A.F. chum of mine, Lefty Gardner, from Brownwood, TX with his 38 "White Light'n".

"Skill set"?  Chuckle, guess that I'd credit that to the AT-6 that I got my initial USAF flight trainng in at Bevo Howard's school at Spence Field in Moultrie, GA. 

best, randy

tip of the hat to you randy,

i live near whiteman, 20 miles ish as crow flies, straight west - we get air traffic out of there all the time and I LOVE and welcome it!!!!

one friend from church is a F/T B2 mechanic, another friend from church is in ANG and a FT/Lifer helicopter pilot now trainer and reports/flies out of there daily, currently on his final 9mo deployment flying muckety mucks around DC.  

is this one of those AT-6 you are talking about Randy? Maybe you even flew this P51 !!

I got to fall in love with these at our hangar last year at work. I am blessed to get to take care of our corporate flight ops in KC. These  people were there for the air show and we allowed them to use our hangar while in town. I got to touch all of them and push them around, some by hand some with tug. 

I have shared some of these before so excuse me if they are boring to someone but i will never forget it - i hope they come back, i will do it all over again 

the 1912 Bi was silly with that lear jet engine on its belly - I love those radials - it was insane how it would go straight up - just think how well snoopy and woodstock could have done in that!!!

 

 

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P51 Tug View.jpg

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P51 Pilot.jpg

Jacks Links 1912 Bi Plane.jpg

Jacks Bi Plane.jpg

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On 1/30/2020 at 10:49 AM, searcyfarms said:

Maybe you even flew this P51 !!

Uhn, yeah, it's a C model (last with the "turtleback canopy" - before the D model's bubble canopy), was sent up here by L.P. and/or Doyle Nolen from the CAF's hangar at Mercedes, TX where I saw it for the first time about 1966.  IIRC, Tiny brought it up here on one of Shirley Metzker's semi's where Jack Sandberg rebuilt it and it, ultimately, ended up here with the So. MN Wg of the  CAF.

That photo's at Holman Field, St. Paul which you can see in the background.  And those photo's of the T-6 "39 Fox" are an earlier model than the G models we flew, I note the many plexiglass panels on it, ours at Spence had only three.

best, randy 

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19 minutes ago, Randy Sohn said:

Uhn, yeah, it's a C model (last with the "turtleback canopy" - before the D model's bubble canopy), was sent up here by L.P. and/or Doyle Nolen from the CAF's hangar at Mercedes, TX where I saw it for the first time about 1966.  IIRC, Tiny brought it up here on one of Shirley Metzker's semi's where Jack Sandberg rebuilt it and it, ultimately, ended up here with the So. MN Wg of the  CAF.

That photo's at Holman Field, St. Paul which you can see in the background.  And those photo's of the T-6 "39 Fox" are an earlier model than the G models we flew, I note the many plexiglass panels on it, ours at Spence had only three.

best, randy 

i took all of those pix just a yr ago they are in kansas city at the downtown wheeler airport - so cool that you know the planes i loved being there and being around them, hearing them, smelling them, touching them and thinking about their lives and where they have been 

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