Thursday, October 18, 2018

AVIATION: Wing Walking Down Memory Lane

The Bomber Gas station, that served as an iconic Milwaukee Oregon landmark for some 60+ years. (Image source:
Uhm careful where Yuhs step Tomaso, Them's Thar Canvas Wings your stepping' upon...

Ah, life upon thee newly acquired Nofendersville Isle upon thou Oregonian coast, where the Seas of Synchronicity are ever Saltier, R' Mateys...

As I found it most Karmic to be listening late one night whilst thou virtual Lighthouse's Spotlight off the aptly named Cape Perpetchua... Kept thoust awake listening to the Air & Space Magazine via my Newsline telephone service from Thy Bungalow by The Sea in Oregon, coming upon the story about a once most unusual landmark that greeted visitors to the suburbs 'O Portland.

Although the Sea constantly churns away at Thy Memory, but I'm fairly certain it was Wayback in the Summer of 1997; Aye Karumba! Definitely in the Mid-1990's when traveling with Kimberly & Roberto that we ran across this very same icon next door in Milwaukee, Oregon by sheer happenstance.

As we'd inadvertently found the Lacey Lady,  a forlorn vintage Boeing B-17G World War II Bomber atop a building apparently somewheres' upon Ye 'Ol Highway 99.

Since I still vaguely recall having breakfast Thar' and I swear that perhaps it was the late Art lacey himself? Who sauntered over to our table and sat down with us for a brief Chinwag', whilst noting Somme-thun' about how I looked like I was hungry, Eh?

Since although the story mentions that the Bomber was part of a Gas Station attraction, I remember eating a leisurely "flap-jacks" breakfast Thar before heading over to Portland International Raceway for the yearly Norm Thompson Hystericals'; Err Historics.

As Thar were a corresponding Restaurant' alongside the Bomber Gas Station during its latter years 'O existence...

Thus I had Zero Clue that the Lacey Lady had come down from its longstanding perch, or that the man who acquired it had passed away. Whilst I especially enjoy the part 'bout flying it to Oregon using I.F.R. What Art Dryly Denoted as "I Follow Railroad!"

As I've got a soft spot for B-17's, especially ever since as a precocious teenager getting to walk aboard the Commemorative Air Force's Sentimental Journey at then Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona...

While sadly, the Lacey Lady's now badly in need of restoration after the torments of Mother Nature the past six-plus decades!

Next I listened to another Air & Space story 'bout a heavily modified vintage WWII Warbird capturing the coveted Three Kilometer speed record, which made me flashback to another of the countless yarns I've poonded' out here on No Fenders when trying to cleverly tie-in Aeroplanes and Motor Racing...

Since part of why I was drawn back to the above story was that this new Contendah' to the Speed Record throne's name sounded somewhat familiar. For which Yep, Stevoe's father is indeed the renown Steve Hinton who previously held the 3km record for a Decade between 1979 and 1989!

When he'd pushed the RB-51 Red Barron P-51 Mustang to an impressive speed of 499-plus Miles Per Hour!

Yet his son, Steven "Stevoe"  Hinton, Jr. behind the controls of another heavily modified North American P-51 Mustang, known as Voodoo was chasing the now retired absolute Speed Record that Lyle Shelton aboard Rare Bear, a heavily modified Grumman F8F2 Bearcat had swiped away from his Pa', with a new speed of 528.33mph set upon August 21, 1989.

And although the younger Hinton wasn't able to officially break Shelton's record speed, since he'd need to eclipse it by 1% to be officially recognized, needing to eclipse 533mph. Stevoe did manage to average an Uber impressive 531.53mph September 2, 2017 - even with a faltering Rolls Royce Merlin engine!

Yet when I think about P-51 Mustang's, many thoughts reverberate over my "collective Yoke," including having built a Testors(?) large scale plastic model kit replete with working retractable landing gear and a sliding open canopy.

Along with a long buried picture I snapped of a beautifully painted Canary or "fly Yellow" P-51 parked during a Paine Field Air show I attended Wayback in the early 1990's. Although I tend to recall this Stang' was simply emblazoned with the word rockwell prominently upon it's fuselage in bold Black lettering.

As Hinton Jnr's fastest of the necessary four laps completed for record consideration was an astounding 554.69mph, well above the "Stock" P-51D Mustang's peak speed of 440mph.

Alas, whilst I wonder just how many of these increasingly rare 'N rarer P-51 Mustangs and other seventy-plus years old vintage WW II Warbirds remain? I found it Karmic that Voodoo suffered multiple fatal crashes, including one at Olympia Municipal Airport, in Olympia, Washington.

which is "Oly Country," a la Oly Beer brewed in Tumwater, WA for which I think even 'Ol Rufus Parnelli Jones Blasted about the Ba-Jah' in a modified Ford Bronco sporting Oly Power, that I had dozens 'o stickers of; But that's another story for another Day...

Alas, it was this same August, 2018 issue of the Air & Space magazine on my NFB Newsline for The Blind telephone service which included a "Teaser" about another variant of the P-51 Mustang I'd never heard of. This being the now Ultra rare twin-engine P-82 variant, for which one's just finished a long restoration.