Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

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RadarRyder
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Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post RadarRyder »

I was at work when I heard that awesome "piston engine" sound that most of us love to hear. I knew right away that it was some type of WWII aircraft. I looked up and saw this beautiful P-51D thundering overhead. I watched as it landed at the airport basically across the street from where I was working. Because I'm certified to enter the airport property I called over to the corporate ramp and asked the young lady on the other end of the phone if that P-51 had just landed on her side of the airport. She replied "Yep, it sure did." I immeidately was filled with excitment and asked her if I could come over and take some quick shots with my phone. She told me that she would have to check with the pilot but would get right back to me. Approximately three minutes later she called back and said "The pilot said come on over and take as many pictures as you want." I drove, rather quickly to the corporate side, and got there just in time to catch the pilot buttoning up and securing the Mustang. I shook his hand and asked him his name and he replied "Bruce Winter." We joked and joshed, and spoke warbird for just a few minutes as, many of you can imagine, he was rather rushed to leave as he had a friend waiting on him. It was only later after I had left the airport, started googling online, did I realize what a special P-51 I had encountered. Not to mention that Mr. Winter was a very professional, polite, and cool guy. I suppose that I was just in the right place at the right time. It was awesome to see Happy Jacks Go Buggy and meet Mr. Winter!!!!
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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil,....is for good men to do nothing."-Edmund Burke

Bomber_12th
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post Bomber_12th »

It's one of the most spectacularly authentic Mustangs flying today, with most all of the period-functioning equipment in-place, including the gun sight, gun solenoids (wired up to the trigger), fuselage fuel tank which has been used, gun camera which has been used/recorded with, and functioning 108-gallon "paper" drop tanks which have been used on long flights (exact replicas, made of carbon fiber, using a mold of an original). Also, the modern radios are concealed within the period SCR-522 radio box. On a restoration like this, even the type and pattern of the replica ammunition is loaded based on what the Group was usually using and how the armorers loaded them, as they were all a bit different. This restoration introduced some period-correct authentic details for the first time that have since become a standard amongst super-authentic warbird restorations, like period Alclad and Reynolds aluminum watermarks on the metal, mixtures of chromate yellow and green (not just one shade), orange, blue, and red dyed hardware (due to the wartime inspection process), every last inspection stamp and label imaginable, and a more true to original form paint scheme/application, such as in-service markings being painted over factory stencils.

Bruce flies the wings off of that aircraft too - it's one of the most flown Mustangs out there, with regular weekend trips ever since the aircraft finished restoration in 2008. Bruce also has an original Bf-109G-6 under restoration to fly, which is being restored by the same company that restored "HJGB" - Midwest Aero Restorations.

Here's the cockpit on "HJGB" - mostly original/stock, with some modern elements for current-day ATC and navigational reasons (if you can believe it, a few other Mustangs flying today have even less modern items, like "Sierra Sue II", "Twilight Tear", and "Upupa Epops", which all have the very basic avionics heads imaginable). "HJGB" is one of the few Mustangs that operates at all times with the gun sight installed. Following three photos by Trey Carroll.

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John Terrell

Bomber_12th
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Re: Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post Bomber_12th »

Here are some more photos which may interest, most of which are via Mike Vadeboncoeur (Midwest Aero Restorations).

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(Note in the following photo, the cut-out in the instrument panel shroud. This is an authentically-recreated field mod that was very popular within Fighter Groups in England, in which the gunsight mount is re-positioned 3-inches farther forward, requiring a cut-out to be made in the instrument panel shroud as well. This was done within a year or so after the aircraft was completed, after Bud Anderson was invited to sit in the cockpit and inspect it, and mentioned the wartime mod, which made it better on the pilots so that the gunsight wasn't so in their face all the time. There is a famous wartime photo of Don Blakeslee, with the same pose, and also showing the same gunsight mount modification. The 78th FG vet P-51K on static display in the Netherlands, still has the same wartime field mod as well. The gear that the pilot is wearing in this photo, the pilot being Bruce Winter, is what he typically does wear whenever flying the aircraft, matching the aircraft's period-look.)

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Here are some detail photos from during the restoration. Note the various shades of chromate zinc, between the two wing halves, just as per original (one half being manufactured in a different location in the NAA factory than the other half - each batch of chromate zinc was mixed on the spot, making the shades different with each separate application). Note the period-authentic Alcoa and Reynolds aluminum watermarks. Since they were applied to the metal with a red dye, when the chromate zinc primer is applied, the red dye bleeds through.

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Coolant door actuator.

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Tailwheel landing gear bay - fabric sections were applied using dope over the lightening holes, from the factory, to keep dirt from accumulating inside.

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In the engine bay, orange dye is used on various pieces of hardware as a sign off approval of inspection, as per originally done at the factory during WWII. All original-type fittings, hardware, clamps, hoses, markings, etc.

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Aileron pulley assembly, with all original inspection stamps.

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John Terrell

Bomber_12th
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post Bomber_12th »

This video here, includes a bit of the footage that was recorded from the restored "Happy Jack's Go Buggy" using the working gun camera that it has installed. As I recall, they actually had Kodak roll some special film for them to use and then develop. It shows Bruce Winter down on the deck and then chasing down Vlado Lenoch in "Moonbeam McSwine" at altitude.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=48 ... =3&theater


Video of the working gunsight:

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=68 ... =3&theater


More photos from Mike Vadeboncoeur/Midwest Aero Restorations.

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(Note all of the bright areas on the metal, where there is spot welding, due acid etching. At the factory, they simply brushed on acid to quickly etch the metal and make it free of any imperfections, prior to spot welding.)

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John Terrell

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blackhawks
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Re: Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post blackhawks »

Thanks to you both. Nice pictures and info.
-mike

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Alan_A
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Re: Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post Alan_A »

That's really impressive work - actually quite moving. Given the potential and sometimes real conflict between curators and the warbird community, it's nice to see a flying example where so much has been done to preserve/re-create the original details. I understand the impulse to fly something in a high-gloss finish and of course to be able to operate in modern airspace... but to me there's something more dignified about an example that looks like a purposeful, "working" airplane... as the original was. Very nice!
"Ah, Paula, they are firing at me!" -- Saint-Exupery

Bomber_12th
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post Bomber_12th »

As spectacular as "HJGB" is (and it really is!), the recent restoration of the 9th AF combat-vet "Sierra Sue II" is even more period-authentic. The "Sierra Sue II" restoration has all of the same authentically recreated details pioneered in the "HJGB" restoration, and more details/processes never done before in a warbird restoration, matching precisely the original wartime factory processes, finishes, scratches and scuffs, etc. - as I outlined in this thread (be sure to checkout the links as well that I included - be sure to view the videos of "Sierra Sue II", like the in-cockpit test flight, in high-def): http://a2asimulations.com/forum/viewtop ... 6&p=319455

(Although having not yet been fitted in the photos, "Sierra Sue II" has an N-9 gunsight, rather than the K-14, just as it originally had when manufactured (all P-51D's had the N-9 gunsight, from the factory, until mid-late production P-51D-20's - "Sierra Sue II" is one of the earlier batch D-20's).
John Terrell

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RadarRyder
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Re: Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post RadarRyder »

Thanks for all the reply's and photo's folks. It was really neet to meet Mr. Winter and see his Mustang. I did ask Mr. Winter how much it cost to maintain a plane like his and he just laughed!!! But did say that he had just had the engine overhauled. No wonder he's a physician now........he definitely needs that kinda of cash flow to keep Happy Jack "Happy!!" LOL!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

BTW - I plan on purchasing Warbirdsims "Happy Jacks Go Buggy - Then and Now" package just because of this chance encounter!!

P.S. - Does anyone here have the "Happy Jack" paint for the WOP2WWII Fighters P-51 from Nathan??? If so I would like very much to have it. I have not been able to obtain it as Nathan's repaint site has been closed.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil,....is for good men to do nothing."-Edmund Burke

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Alan_A
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Re: Meeting the real HJGB and Pilot

Post Alan_A »

@Bomber_12th - huge thanks for the link to the Sierra Sue thread, which unfortunately I managed to miss when it went up. That's truly extraordinary. Reminds me of what a very good jazz CD salesman (back when there were such) said to me about the Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Hot Sevens CD set - "A lot of love went into that."
"Ah, Paula, they are firing at me!" -- Saint-Exupery

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