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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:10 pm 
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Location: Kent, Washington State
We were at the McMinnville fly-in over the weekend, and
one of the guys we were camping with is one of my
best friend's Dad, who grew up with Bill Compton in
the Camby area. I suggested we take a box of beer or
something and go visit him, so several of us piled into an
extended cab pickup truck and headed that way.

I agree it could fly again, no problem. Throw enough good
sheet metal men at the project and $$$ and it could fly in
a few years.

I have to say Bill struck me as a super nice guy, and really
misses flying the Hellcat and his '55 C-180, which has around
1200TTSN and hasn't flown in a long time either.... He was
very gracious and invited us to visit again whenever we
were in the area.

Here are links to a few photos I took.

http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/1.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/2.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/3.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/4.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/5.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/6.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/7.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/8.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/9.jpg
http://www.havasreti.com/Hellcat/10.jpg

Bela P. Havasreti


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:45 pm 
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Location: Pearland, Texas
There is a pretty nice F6F on a rotating plinth ( it swings around like a wind T) at Andrews on the Marine side by the transient DV terminal. They even have a pilot dummy in the cockpit complete in kakhis and a May West ! At night the nav lights come on.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:32 pm 
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Yep thanks to our US Navy, Andrews Air Force Base has about the coolest birdsh*t target I can think of, wish it was in my garage getting the TLC it deserves.....
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 8:52 am 
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Yeah, it definitely needs to come down off of the pole. While we were there parked right next to the hangar where the Hellcat is was the Air & Space A-6. It was bagged and waiting for Udvar Hazie's completion.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:27 pm 
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Location: USA
Bela,
Thanks for sharing the pictures. I have always wanted to see this Hellcat.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:15 pm 
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Location: Kent, Washington State
My pleasure.

We had a blast visiting / talking with Mr. Compton.

Part of me understands why he won't part with it
(the Hellcat is part of him).

He darned near didn't make it in the crash (he was swimming in
fuel, upside-down in the cockpit). That the thing didn't
catch fire is a miracle in itself.

There ain't a nice/eloquent way to say this, but perhaps one day, it
will fly again. You have to give him credit for hanging on
to the thing and sourcing parts over the decades to aid
in the rebuild.

Bela P. Havasreti


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 Post subject: F6F
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:27 pm 
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Location: Salem, Oregon
It was way more that just being upside down and covered in fuel.
Bill so severely hurt it's a miracle he lived. I believe he spent over 60 days in the hospital. It didn't catch fire because the pieces with fuel landed a ways away from the engine/exhaust! If anyone has plans to try and snag it after he passes, good luck!! My bet is to it staying in the family has it is. My dad and I used to go to Lenhardt's on weekends to watch Jack and Bill fly the FM-2, F6, SNJ, Otter ect. Watching Jack fly his DC-3 of that short (1800' or so at that time 1974 or so) strip was incredible. He taxied off the airport and down the street by the grade school, started his take-off and did a dogleg onto the runway and away he went!!! Jack Lenhardt was a awesome pilot!!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:22 pm
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Location: Hillsboro Oregon
My name is Gary Powell and I was friends with Bill Compton.
I have some pictures of Mr. Compton's plane.
One of the pictures of his plane that I have is the same picture that I took at the air show that he crashed on his way home from.
That same picture had been hanging in his office since 1977 or so.
I was 15 years old in Civil Air Patrol working that airshow.
I asked Mr. Compton if I could sit in his plane, He said kid if I let you sit in the cockpit I'm going to have to let everybody sit in the cockpit sorry but no.
One of our CAP pilots had a Navion painted like the Miss America P-51 And his Navion was parked right next to Mr. Comptons Hellcat.
After the show Mr. Compton came over and asked if I still wanted to sit in the cockpit of his Hellcat, and I said yes.
The next morning on the front page of the Oregonian was a color picture of his hellcat busted all apart laying in a field in Canby Oregon.
I was crushed.
I would go to the hospital in Oregon city to see him.
He was in really bad shape but his wife took me into see him as I can recall he was not conscious.
But I would still go up to the hospital to visit with his wife to see how he was doing.
When Mr. Compton was still in the hospital my family moved to Indiana.
From Indiana I had a copy of the picture I had taken at the airshow blown up and sent to him.
He in turn sent me a picture of his hellcat in the air And a very nice letter giving me a brief history of his hellcat.
I'm going to try to find those pictures and get them posted on here this weekend.
It has been a long time since I have seen that letter but I think I have it somewhere I just don't know where.
I moved back to Oregon in 1991 or 92 And at that time I looked up Mr. Compton and he still remembered me And his wife still remembered me as a little kid coming to the hospital to visit him.
By then I was a pilot and own two of my own planes And I used to fly out to visit him.
He took a picture of me with my plane on his grass strip and a Rottweiler puppy I had at the time.
I still have that picture and I cherish it.
I will try to get the pictures posted on here.
Thank you for having this site it has really brought back fond memories.

Thank you


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