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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 1:10 am 
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My Fall/Winter project has been compiling a huge scrapbook of civil P-39 and P-63 clippings & photos.

Among the postwar Cleveland P-63 racers are a few that have unknown or questioned fates:

Spiro "Sammy" Dilles P-63C, 44-4178, NX67115, race # 47 landed at Winslow, Arizona during the 1946 Bendix race with mechanical problems.
I have no record after that. I can't find the clipping but I seem to remember that Mr. Dilles ran an FBO or other aviation business in California for years. I believe it was the same Spiro Dilles who on 3 October 1944 was flying a P-38L-1, 44-24757, out of Redmond AAFB in Oregon when it was lost near Ione, OR. Maybe he didn't get along well with Allison engines? Any info on him or the P-63 would be most welcome.

Ken Knight won the 1947 Tinnerman race flying P-63A race #51, NX4699N, but I know nothing after this about the airplane and I haven't yet found a photo of it.

Steve Wittman flew his P-63C, 44-4321, race #4, NX69797 to eighth place in the 1946 Thompson (ahead of 3 other Kingcobras) and third in the all P-63 event, the 1947 Tinnerman race. I've read that his P-63 sat in his front yard for years after that, and that another pilot put it in a lake later. They were going to attempt to recover it the same day but nightfall came so they waited until the next morning. At that point they could not locate the airplane. If a P-47 can be found in a deep Austrian lake maybe a P-63 can still be found in a much more shallow Wisconsin lake??? If you know the lake in question maybe your'e not saying, but more info here would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:44 am 
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L. Thompson wrote:
Steve Wittman flew his P-63C, 44-4321, race #4, NX69797 to eighth place in the 1946 Thompson (ahead of 3 other Kingcobras) and third in the all P-63 event, the 1947 Tinnerman race. I've read that his P-63 sat in his front yard for years after that, and that another pilot put it in a lake later. They were going to attempt to recover it the same day but nightfall came so they waited until the next morning. At that point they could not locate the airplane. If a P-47 can be found in a deep Austrian lake maybe a P-63 can still be found in a much more shallow Wisconsin lake??? If you know the lake in question maybe your'e not saying, but more info here would be appreciated.


I believe Steve Wittman owned a house near the airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin so the lake may very well be Lake Winnebago.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:07 am 
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Warbirdnerd wrote:
L. Thompson wrote:
Steve Wittman flew his P-63C, 44-4321, race #4, NX69797 to eighth place in the 1946 Thompson (ahead of 3 other Kingcobras) and third in the all P-63 event, the 1947 Tinnerman race. I've read that his P-63 sat in his front yard for years after that, and that another pilot put it in a lake later. They were going to attempt to recover it the same day but nightfall came so they waited until the next morning. At that point they could not locate the airplane. If a P-47 can be found in a deep Austrian lake maybe a P-63 can still be found in a much more shallow Wisconsin lake??? If you know the lake in question maybe your'e not saying, but more info here would be appreciated.


I believe Steve Wittman owned a house near the airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin so the lake may very well be Lake Winnebago.



...or one of Wisconsin's other 15,000 or so bodies of water. :P

P-63 remains, huh? PM if you need somebody local to do some research for you.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:47 am 
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I think that if in fact the plane was ditched in a lake it could be found. I have sidescaned lakes and located several planes, one in excess of 300' deep.

Unlike "ABANDONED" military aircraft this was civilian owned and someone will still own it. Unless clear ownership can be determined from the Whittman estate, I would expect a legal issue after recovery. The only exception would be if the plane where in a body of water where Federal Admiralty law applied.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 12:54 pm 
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L. Thompson wrote:

Steve Wittman flew his P-63C, 44-4321, race #4, NX69797 to eighth place in the 1946 Thompson (ahead of 3 other Kingcobras) and third in the all P-63 event, the 1947 Tinnerman race. I've read that his P-63 sat in his front yard for years after that, and that another pilot put it in a lake later. They were going to attempt to recover it the same day but nightfall came so they waited until the next morning. At that point they could not locate the airplane. If a P-47 can be found in a deep Austrian lake maybe a P-63 can still be found in a much more shallow Wisconsin lake??? If you know the lake in question maybe your'e not saying, but more info here would be appreciated.


Left you a PM, Mr. Thompson.

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 Post subject: Steve Wittman's P-63
PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:02 pm 
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Thank you Dan. I have sent two PM's in return.

Is photo collector Leo Kohn still alive? He might be a good contact on this.

I found a good photo of both race #4 and finally one of the elusive #51 P-63 flown by Ken Knight at this website:

http://www.airrace.com/1947%20NAR%20.html

It looks like #51 might have been red & black. I bet that was pretty! Now I need to find a color photo. Maybe Kevin Grantham will be reading this...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:40 am 
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L. Thompson wrote:
I've read that his P-63 sat in his front yard for years after that...



?????

Image


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 Post subject: Front yard ornaments
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:28 am 
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Can't you just hear, "Now Sylvester, what are the neighbors going to think?"

I had this old Leo Kohn photo also in Joe Christy's little volume, RACING PLANES GUIDE, page 97. I hadn't really studied it until today, however, to notice that it indeed was sitting in his rural front lawn.

I remember seeing another unusual aircraft in the front yard of a rural farm home near Oshkosh in I think 1999. It was an old pusher homebuilt-I don't recall now if it was a Lesher Teal or Nomad or an old Goodyear Midget racer. but it was sure worth a double take as a van full of us were driving back from a country golf course one afternoon.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:51 am 
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Shouldn't that have been "Now Gary what will the neighbors think?"


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:42 pm 
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bdk wrote:
L. Thompson wrote:
I've read that his P-63 sat in his front yard for years after that...



?????

Image


If this airplane is still in a lake, noting that is was once sponsored by the Naval Air Reserve, I'd say the chances of recovery are now that much tougher :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:53 pm 
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Warbirdnerd wrote:
bdk wrote:
L. Thompson wrote:
I've read that his P-63 sat in his front yard for years after that...



?????

Image


If this airplane is still in a lake, noting that is was once sponsored by the Naval Air Reserve, I'd say the chances of recovery are now that much tougher :wink:


Sponsorship does not necessarily mean ownership pop1

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:52 am 
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I'm pretty sure I was joking about the sponsorship making the recovery more difficult. geek


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:57 am 
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Warbirdnerd wrote:
I'm pretty sure I was joking about the sponsorship making the recovery more difficult. geek



Ah :lol: 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:31 am 
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Mr. Wittman's best friend at the time of his death and for many years beforethat was Paul Poberezny. I talked to Mr. Poberezny at Oshkosh at the President's dinner and his mind seemed to be quite sharp. He may remember, or know someone else that would know the general whereabouts that the plane went into the lake.
That area is flat farmland with lots of roads, Lake Winnebago is the logical lake, you certailnly wouldnt want to put it into one of the smaller ones. ALso, the Oshkosh airport is named Wittman Field after Mr. Wittman, so yeah, the airplane probably ran out of fuel or something on a flight and got caught out over the water somewhere.
My dad is good friends with Mr. Poberezny and they talk regularly. I will ask him to ask Paul what he knows about the P-63. I'm sure the topic of retrieveing it has been brought up a few times over those long winters, the last 60 years.
Last, it sounds like the P-63 had an FAA registration, and was purchased at a govt. auction. It has been abandoned for many years. I would buy the salvage rights from the Wittman heirs for a small fee now while it's lost and not worth anything. If someone locates it and raises it, it becomes of much greater value.


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