FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016

September 17th opened up as a wet, grey and cloudy day. The inclement weather did not bode well for the last Flying Heritage Collection flying day for the year (as is the way, the day before and after were sunny days!). Flying Tanks Day was to be a showcase of some of the FHC heavy hitting ground attack aircraft: the worlds only flying Ilyushin Il-2M3 Sturmovik, a Republic P-47D ThunderboltTallahassee Lassie” and North American B-25J Mitchell bomber plus their North American P-51D MustangUpupa Epops” was thrown into the mix (that unusual P-51 nickname is apparently the scientific name for the Hoopoe Bird – the plane’s World War Two ace pilot, Harrison Tordoff was an ornithology student before the war)!

FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
Warming up for taxiing

Despite the weather the FHC team started the show with the intent of running some of their Soviet era tank armour (T-34/85 and Scud missile launcher) and then fire up all the aircraft engines and display them at least taxiing on the ground. They did all this with much excitement in the crowd and the noticeable beacon light on the tower indicated that despite the greyness overhead, the ceiling was high enough that flying could possibly just go ahead.

Soviet era T-34/85 and SS-1b Scud-A missile launcher FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
Soviet era T-34/85 and SS-1b Scud-A missile launcher
T-34/85 interior cabin FHC
T-34/85 interior cabin
FHC SS-1b Scud-A missile launcher cabin interior
SS-1b Scud-A missile launcher cabin interior

The pilots ran the aircraft out to the end of the long runway and we in the crowd plus the FHC ground team waited in anticipation to see what would happen. Then we could see landing gear lights off in the distance and what appeared to be the B-25 thundering down the runway. Yes!

Against all odds the pilots took off in all the aircraft and put on some very spirited low-level flying (some of the best for the flying season). We were treated to some great formation and individual passes (unfortunately the light wasn’t great for photos and I have done my best to brighten them up a bit but you get the idea)!

FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016 Flying Day Paine Field WA
Flying Tanks Day is away!
The real flying tank - Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik Flying Tanks Day FHC 2016
The real flying tank – Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik
The real flying tank - Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik Flying Tanks Day FHC 2016
The Il-2 was a highly capable, heavily armed and heavily armoured ground attack aircraft of the Soviet Air Force in World War Two that was feared by the German infantryman and tank crews alike
FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016 Il-2 Sturmovik
The massive wings of the Il-2 Sturmovik
FHC B-25J Flying Tanks Day 2016
North American B-25J Mitchell armed with 7 x .50 caliber guns in the nose alone!
FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016 B-25J bomb bay open
B-25J bomb bay open
Republic P-47D Thunderbolt FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
B-25J & P-47D pass FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
B-25J & P-47D pass
North American P-51D Mustang FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
North American P-51D Mustang
North American P-51D Mustang FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
“Upupa Epops”
FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
Break!
B-25J FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
The B-25J Mitchell was built in Kansas City in 1944 and went into service with the Royal Canadian Air Force. 10 years later it was retired and eventually sold as surplus in 1961. It later was converted as a fire bomber until FHC purchased it in the 1990’s and restored it back to a wartime configuration
Republic P-47D Thunderbolt FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
This Republic P-47D Thunderbolt was delivered to the USAAF on June 27th, 1945 – It is painted in the “Tallahassee Lassie” scheme flown by Seattle-born Colonel Ralph C. Jenkins who flew that aircraft in Europe during World War Two
Il-2 FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
Peek-a-boo! The Il-2 was manufactured in 1943 and shot down by flak on October 10th, 1944. Rediscovered in a lake in 1991 it was recovered and restored using parts from 4 other Il-2 wrecks. The original Mikulin AM-38 V-12 engine was replaced with a more easily maintained Allison V-1710-113 V-12 engine. First flown in 2011 it is the only flying example of an Il-2 Sturmovik in the world.
North American P-51D Mustang FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
The legendary North American P-51D Mustang known as the “Cadillac of the Sky”. This one was delivered to the USAAF on January 26th, 1945 and served in England with the 8th Army Air Force flown by Lt. Harrison B.”Bud” Tordoff who named it “Upupa Epops” after a bird!
FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016 - A Great Line-up!
FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016 – A Great Line-up!
FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016 B-25J
The B-25J post flight
P-47D "Tallahassee Lassie" FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
P-47D “Tallahassee Lassie”
Ilyushin Il-2M3 Sturmovik FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
Ilyushin Il-2M3 Sturmovik
P-51D Mustang "Upupa Epops" FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016
P-51D Mustang “Upupa Epops”

This was expected to “just” be a day to wander about the museum, check out the aircraft on static display and the tanks, and really just catch up with friends to enjoy the last display for the season (flying or not). What seemed like it would not happen turned out to be a fantastic flying display and a great day!

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5 thoughts on “FHC Flying Tanks Day 2016

  1. Great photos! My father had a friend who’d flown B-25’s for the RAF during the Second World War. Apparently they used to hedge-hop to avoid detection, keeping the canopies open for better visibility – with all the noise that this implied – while jockeying the throttles to keep the engines in balance and simultaneously fly in formation. Woah!

    Liked by 1 person

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