The collection housed here is, except that red/white aeroplane in the foreground, owned by John T. Sessions.
I was met upon my visit by Vanessa Dunn
(manager, visitor services HFF)
and Hans Toorens,
volunteer at the HFF;
Hans did me the great pleasure of guiding me through the collection, sharing information on this wonderful collection.
Beech D17S Staggerwing (UC-43, GB-2)
NC35JM (c/n 6914)
Previous identities: (44-76069), Bu23734, N67737, CF-GLL
North American NA-100 (P-51B) Mustang, NX5087F (c/n 104-23025)
Previous identity 42-106638, restored from various components.
The P-51 Mustang, named 'Impatient Virgin' was delivered in early 1944 to the 376th Fighter Squadron based in Bottisham, England. It had 700 hours of combat flying, including four sorties over the D-Day beaches.
Its greatest moment of glory came on 27Sep1944, when it was flying fighter cover for the 445th BG in a mission to Kassel, Germany. While engaged in several furious dogfights, this aircraft downed three 18 Fw-190 fighters, while the rest of the squadron destroyed another 15!
Impatient Virgin's demise came on 22Jun1945, when Flying Officer Wade Ross took her on a very low and fast training flight. Ross got into trouble, bailed out and the plane crashed into a field at Little Walden.
In 2002, while some aviation archeologists were excavating a crash site, a man pointed to a nearby field and said, "That's the one you should be digging up," having actually seen the Mustang crash. The archeologists finally found the crash point and, over three years, recovered the Mustang; the restoration took 33 months. An amazing feat.
(The above from various online sources found googling).
An indepth view of the gun positions
Spitfire LF.IXe, N633VS/SL633 (c/n CBAF-IX-571)
Previous identities: SL633 (Czech), 204 (Israel), UB-245 (Myanmar), 'UB424', G-CZAF
The No.312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron Royal Air Force RAF of Duxford consisted of pilots who fled their homeland during the Nazi occupation. It became one of the most famous RAF squadrons of the war. Karel Posta helped establish the No.312 Sqdn.
Flight Lieutenant Posta survived the Battles of France and Britain, and almost six years of combat sorties.
This Spitfire, produced at the Castle Bromwich factory of Vickers Supermarine, flew with the No.312. It was one of 54 machines given to the newly re-formed Czechoslovak Air Force and was asigned to Posta. Throughout 1945-46, Posta performed solo aerobatic demonstrations in this aircraft for hundreds of thousands of people at significant national holidays, such as National Day, October 28,1945, to raise the self-esteem of a vanquisehd nation.
The 'K' on the nose is the unique identifier of an aircraft flown by Karel Posta.
During the summer of 1948, Czechoslovakia was among the first countries to recognize the new Jewish state in Palestineand provided British-made Spitfires. Ironically, the Avia Kunovice Aviation Repair Shop of Moravia modified the donated Spitfires to receive German-made Me.109 extended range fuel tanks for the long trip to the desert war, the only air war to see Spitfire pitted against Spitfire!
When the Israeli Air Force converted to turbine power in 1954 our Spit was sold to Burma.
Having sustained a 'wheels up' landing accident, our Spit was displayed in a Mandalay museum with a T-6 tail and cellophane windscreen. After several
private transactions, the essential components returned to Duxford as a Historic Flying, Ltd. project.
Acquired by HFF in 2007, Historic Flying restored our Spit yo its 1945 specification. The aircraft was delivered to HFF and test flown in October 2010.
The above from a placard on display with SL633 at HFF.
A few more details, found in Scramble magazine no.426 (nov.2014):
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX SL633 (N633VS) made its 1st post-restoration fligh at Paine Field on 15Oct with John Romain at the controls.
Restoration of the fighter, which is owned by John T. Sessions' HFF, began in 2007 with Historic Flying at Duxford,UK. It had its first engine runs in Dec. 2009 and left Duxford in a container on 10 August this year.
The Spitfire was bought out of Burma in 1999, arriving in Duxford in 2002.
Originally delivered to 312 (Czech) Sqdn at Manston on 02Aug1945, it was flown by Flt Lt Karel Posta DFC, a founder member of the unit, who Had escaped from France in September 1940. In Feb. 1946 SL633 was repainted and coded JT-10. It now wears these markings again.
The fighter went to the Israeli Air Force in early 1949 as 20-42, and moved to Burma as UB-425 six years later.
deHavilland DHC-2 Beaver AL.1 N779XP/'52-6132' (c/n 1450)
Previous identities: XP779, G-BTDL, G-DHCB, C-FLOR
An extensive history & images can be found on Neil Aird's wonderful website, DHC-2.com
The spotless cockpit of this DHC-2 Beaver: bushpilots should wipe their muddy boots here!
A very, very impressive warbird: Grumman
G-51 (F7F-3) Tigercat NX6178C (c/n C.225), named 'Bad Kitty'.
|History by www.warbirdregistry.org:
Cal-Nat Airways, Grass Valley, CA, 1964-1966.
- Registered as N6178C.
- Flew as tanker #E43.
Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa, CA, 1969-1985.
Macavia International Corp, Santa Rosa, CA, June 1985-1986.
- Flew as tanker #E43.
Weeks Air Museum, Tamiami, FL, 1987-1988.
- Stored Santa Rosa, CA.
Lea Aviation (US) Inc, Tampa, FL/Duxford, UK, 1988-1993.
- Arrived Duxford, Nov. 13, 1988.
- Operated by Plane Saling Air Displays.
- Flew as USN/JW/483.
Richard Bertea, Chino CA, 1993-2002.
Historic Flight Foundation
, Seattle, WA, March 2006-2011.
- Flown as Bad Kitty
Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat
NX800H, ex/ Bu121752. Not listed in Bob Ogden's 2011 publication.
Following found on Geoff Goodall's warbird website:
John W. Dorr, Orinda CA [.58/64]
Thomas P. Mathews, Monterey CA (race #10 Tom's Cat) [.64/68]
Walter E. Ohlrich, Norfolk VA (race #10 Miss Priss, Tonopah Queen) [.68/72]
John Herlihy, Montara CA (race #8 Sweet Pea) [.72/73]
Harold Beal, Knoxville TN [.73/75]
Harold Beal & Charles Smith/ B&S Advertising, Knoxville TN (race #8 Precious Bear) [.75/77]
Whittington Brothers Inc/ World Jet Inc, West Palm Beach FL (race #8 Bearcat Bill) [.77/95]
Doug W. Arnold/ Warbirds of GB Ltd, Biggin Hill [.90/92]
(shipped to UK, arr. Felixstowe Docks 12.90;
towed on wheels to Ispwich Airport 30.12.90,
flown to Biggin Hill 30.12.90; stored Bournemouth,
del. Bournemouth-Lelystad, Netherlands 23.11.92 for further storage)
Iron Baron Corp, Dover DE [5.94/95]
The Fighter Collection, Duxford UK .95/98 (del. Duxford ex storage Lelystad 25.10.95,
flies as USN "106/A")
Bill Anders/ Talon Investments, Eugene OR [3.98/99]
(flown to Le Havre, then shipped USA 6.98, flies as USN '106/A Wampus Cat')
Bill Anders/ Heritage Flight Museum, Eastsound WA [15.4.99/05]
John T. Sessions/ FWF Ltd/ John Sessions Historic Aircraft Foundation, Seattle WA [7.9.06/14]
Piper L-4J (J-3C-65D) Grasshopper N68935 / 45-4955
The following information was provided by the HFF:
Historic Flight’s Piper L-4J was delivered to the US Army Air Force
on June 8th 1945 as S/N 45-4955. The brand new L-4 was
sent straight to the Pacific Theater where it served on the
Philippine and Ryukyu Islands.
After VJ Day, 45-4955
remained in the Pacific until 1947, where it was
decommissioned on the Island of Okinawa and joined the
civilian world as NC68935.
It was then purchased by an
ex-US Army pilot for $600 and shipped back to the USA.
The aircraft has remained very much intact, and though
restored, it is seen here with over 95% of its original parts.
The quality of this aircraft reflects the care and attention of
Neil Seaton, its previous owner.
NC68935 is powered by a
Continental 0-170-3, 65 horsepower engine. It cruises at
80mph and stalls at 32mph. Its range is 2.5 hours with 12
US gallons of fuel.
Waco UPF-7 NC32018 (c/n 5650); formerly NC32018, N32018
N14307 was registered to Jim Moss (of Buckley,WA) on 06May2014.
Manufacture date listed on FAA site: 2013.
The Gee Bee Model R Super Sportster was a special purpose racing aircraft made by Granville Brothers Aircraft of Springfield, Massachusetts. Gee Bee stands for Granville Brothers. The 1932 R-1 and its sister plane, the R-2 (seen above), were the successors of the previous year's Thompson Trophy-winning Model Z. --Wikipedia
This racer, I am told, is not part of the John T. Sessions collection but parked here for reasons of convenience.
The flying characteristics of such an aircraft, originally built for racing purposes with few rudder actions
and limited maneuverability, is quite different from the other aircraft here on display.
Nigel Hitchman has a detaied background on N14307:
"N14307 isn't a Gee Bee R-2, it is a QED (R-6H) replica; it is much bigger than the R-2, powered by a R-1820 out of a Super DC-3.
It was built by Jim Moss and friends; Jim died last year (I think) and his friends finished it off and took it to Oshkosh. It was based on a smallish airpark out to the east of Auburn and the runway is only just long enough for the QED, so he kept it at Olympia for the initial test flying in the summer of 2013, bringing it back to the airstrip for the winter; but I guess they are now housing it here at HFF.
The original QED was a participant in the 1934 Mildenhall to Melbourne MacRobertson Air Race, flown by Jackie Cocheran, but didn't get very far. It also failed to win a couple of Thompson Trophy and Bendix Trophy races in the US. It was then flown by a Mexican who broke quite a few records, but eventually it crashed into the Potamac river, killing him, but the aircraft wasn't that badly damaged. It was recovered and eventually restored and is now on display at Cuidad Lerdo, near Torrejon in Mexico."
N14307 attended the AirVenture in Oshkosh in 2014, as can be seen on this photoreport (text in Dutch):
Greg Lee added: As far as I know, Benjamin's R2 is still at the Fantasy of Flight in Florida: