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When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:34 pm 
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What a beauty! I remember it back in the '90s with the "pimped out" chrome struts and all and this is WAY better. I did like it better before they put the mouth on it but either way it is a fantastic transformation. It would also be my first choice for a ride of all the Collings birds. Look forward to seeing it the next time they come through the Phoenix area.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:26 pm 
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A question...
Does Collings bring all its tour aircraft to every stop?
Last year they had their B-17,24, Mustang and Skyraider at an event.
I've been kicking myself for not going in the AD.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:11 pm 
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JohnB wrote:
A question...
Does Collings bring all its tour aircraft to every stop?
Last year they had their B-17,24, Mustang and Skyraider at an event.
I've been kicking myself for not going in the AD.

No. They tend to bring the "moneymakers" all of the time on the tour though. This includes the B-17, B-24 and P-51. Others are brought in as market conditions, aircraft and pilot availability and maintenance permit. There are a lot of variables that determine what aircraft they bring, but the biggest factor is economic. For example, the Collings foundation is not allowed to sell passenger rides in the Me-262. It can only be used for instruction to people with a valid pilot's license and medical. This will eliminate 90% of all potential people seeking a flight. The Me-262 costs roughly about $1000 per hour to fly, just for fuel alone. This doesn't include oil, maintenance, wear and tear on the airframe, hours burned on the engines which bring them closer to TBO, paying pilot transportation/lodging costs, etc. It doesn't take very long to determine that they need a lot of paid instruction flights in the Me-262, just to break even. It doesn't make sense to tour that aircraft all around the country if it is not making money. It is for this reason that the Me-262 rarely leaves its Houston base to travel on tour or go to airshows with the rest of the touring bombers, except for very special occasions. It is the same reason - economics - that the single engine, single seat Collings fighters almost never go on tour with the bombers.

The Collings foundation is a well run economic powerhouse that has their successful formula very well dialed in. They have to fly their aircraft like a business, with operating costs at the forefront. It is because of this that the Collings foundation has grown tremendously and able to buy huge aircraft and armor collections such as the Evergreen collection and Littlefield collection. I don't mind them doing this, in fact, I prefer it. It is this "business model" mindset that allows them to continue to grow and expand for the benefit of all of us. I do know they seriously looked and continue to look at adding aircraft such as the B-29, Martin B-26 and F-105 to their flying collection. This wouldn't be possible if they weren't as cost conscious and business savvy as they are.

JohnB wrote:
A question...
Last year they had their B-17,24, Mustang and Skyraider at an event.
I've been kicking myself for not going in the AD.
?

I heard that the Skyraider didn't make as much money as they had hoped, so it might change where they take that aircraft on tour this year. With the addition of the newly added TP-40, it wouldn't surprise me if the Skyraider was dropped entirely from the tour.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:41 pm 
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Was there a TP-40N made to transition pilots during WW2?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:11 pm 
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I've read that as few as 26 P-40N's were factory-converted as TP-40N's during WWII (in addition to two factory-converted dual control P-40E's), with dual cockpits/dual controls for advanced fighter pilot training - Kermit Weeks' TP-40N is one of those original WWII factory conversions, and the Collings Foundation's aircraft conforms, inside and out, to those same original wartime TP-40N factory conversions as well (the Palm Springs Air Museum's Warhawk was also one of the factory-converted TP-40N's, as was the P-40N on display at Warner Robins, which has been restored as a single-seater). There were supposedly more that were also converted based on a service bulletin, and there have been several P-40N's converted in recent years to that dual control service bulletin, such as Thom Richard's TP-40N "American Dream". Chris Prevost's TP-40N is another that was restored with the dual cockpit/dual control conversion, but effort was placed in leaving the exterior remaining as much like a standard stock single-seater as possible while still having the full dual cockpit/dual control setup on the inside.

The new identity applied to the Collings "TP-40N" is from an ex-Royal Australian Air Force P-40N. The Collings aircraft of course was originally restored from a wrecked Aleutians USAAF P-40K, which it had previously been restored as/identified as. Back in the summer of 2017 it was reported that the fuselage was sent to Australia for conversion (to where there had already been a full factory-type TP-40N project in the works for some years (as was advertised on Platinum Fighter Sales until around 2016)).


Last edited by JohnTerrell on Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:30 am 
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Thanks.Were there as many two seat P-51s made?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:15 am 
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lucky52 wrote:
Thanks.Were there as many two seat P-51s made?


In mid-late 1945, there were ten Dallas-produced P-51D-25-NT's that were modified with the addition of a second seat and a complete set of controls and instruments added behind the pilot's seat, all within the confines of the stock P-51D airframe. Outwardly the only difference in appearance was that the canopy plexi bubble was taller to allow more headroom for the guy in back. These were known as TP-51D's until late 1947/'48 when, with the formation of the USAF, P for Pursuit changed to F for Fighter and they were re-designated as TF-51D's.

(A great, great many single seat P-51D's and P-51H's were also re-designated as TF-51D's and TF-51H's in USAF service, due to their assigned role as state-side trainers, despite not having a second seat.)

Then, from 1951 to 1952, TEMCO converted 15 Dallas-produced P-51D-25-NT's (that had been in storage) for the USAF, with lengthened cockpits providing more room for the second cockpit in back and a longer canopy frame & plexi bubble. These too were of course designated as TF-51D's, and it is the TEMCO conversion/extended cockpit & canopy that has become synonymous today with the term "TF-51D" - you say "TF-51D" today and everyone pictures the TEMCO style conversions, even though originally, in the late 40's and 50's, the term was applied to both the modified two seaters and the stock single seaters, if they were assigned for training purposes.

So by the end of the Korean War, there had been 25 P-51D's converted to dual control for the US Government - 10 originally by NAA and 15 more by TEMCO.

In the 1960's, three of the Cavalier conversions also featured the TEMCO "TF" extended cockpit/canopy (I've read conflicting reports about whether or not those three had previously been part of the 15 original TEMCO TF's).

Today, there are 16 "TF-51D's" flying with the TEMCO type extended cockpit section, but 14 of those were either converted that way or made new since the 1980's, just for civilian use/Warbird market, and there are several more TF-51D conversions/new builds still to be completed (four currently at Airmotive Specialties and a couple more at Cal Pacific Airmotive). Therefore, there are more TF-51D's flying today (those with the lengthened cockpit and canopy) than TEMCO actually produced.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:39 pm 
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Fascinating.Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:30 am 
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John,

Would you have information on the fates and dispositions of the TP-51D’s?


And on the subject of TP-40N conversions, I have somewhere between 50 and 100 may have been built. The dual control versions were very numerous....in this photo there are at least five of them. What is significant is that the TP-40N was used as a trainer at several of the fighter transition fields, if not all of them by war’s end. In other words perhaps ALL students bound for fighters got a transition ride in the TP prior to being set loose in the single seat. That change to training was significant, and the potential lives saved would be interesting data to see. The USAAF had been trying for years to establish a safe transition and it appears based on the production numbers that the TP-40, regardless of obsolescence, was the aircraft desired. I don’t believe any TP-51D was assigned to a training squadron during the war, or used as a transition aircraft. With the Postwar drawdown and contractions that followed it seems the TP-40 almost completely disappeared, with a few examples perhaps lasting into 1946-47 in the Louisiana area, (still waiting on confirmation of that).


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8272E295-24F0-4050-A561-65A9D6096841.jpeg

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:20 am 
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A few of the photos indicate taken in the Orlando, FL. area.

The original USAAF description (dated 09-13-44) on the "short tail" 0582 photo refers to it as a P-40ES.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:25 am 
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Joe, from the Warbirds Resource Group "Forgotten Props" and Aviation Archaeology pages, along with a bit of my own scrounging, these are the ten P-51D's that were manufactured by NAA as TP-51D's (later re-designated as TF-51D's with the formation of the USAF in 1947) and their known assignments. Unfortunately nothing can seemingly be found on 45-11450 with internet searches, and none of these are known to survive today.

TP-51D-25-NT 44-84610 -
1945: USAAF 337th Combat Crew Training Squadron
1947: USAF 59th Air Defense Roswell Army Air Field, NM
1949: USAF 3595th Pilot Training Wing Nellis AFB, NV
1951: USAF 3615th Pilot Training Wing Craig AFB, AL
1951: USAF 127th Pilot Training Group Luke AFB, AZ
12/18/1951: Written off in crash near Wickenburg, AZ due to engine failure

TP-51D-25-NT 44-84611 -
1948: USAF 3010th Base Unit Williams AFB, AZ
7/21/1948: Taxiing accident Williams AFB, AZ
1957: Sold on the civilian market and registered as N6326T
1957: Sold to the Bolivian AF as FAB 508

TP-51D-25-NT 45-11443 -
8/27/1945: Taxiing accident at NAA Dallas/Hensley Field, TX (ran into 45-11448)
1947: USAF 3010th Base Unit Williams AFB, AZ
5/28/1947: Landing accident Williams AFB, AZ

TP-51D-25-NT 45-11444 -
1951: USAF 3615th Pilot Training Wing Craig AFB, AL
1953: USAFR 2473rd Air Force Reserve Training Center Mitchell AFB, WI

TP-51D-25-NT 45-11445 -
1951: USAF 3615th Pilot Training Wing Craig AFB, AL
4/13/1951: Landing accident Craig AFB, AL.
1952: USAF 127th Pilot Training Group Luke AFB, AZ
6/7/1952: Written off in crash near Luke AFB, AZ due to engine failure

TP-51D-25-NT 45-11446 -
1948: USAF 3010th Base Unit Williams AFB, AZ
1950: USAF 3595th Pilot Training Wing Nellis AFB, NV
5/5/1950: Mid air collision near Nellis AFB, NV
1951: USAF 3615th Pilot Training Wing Craig AFB, AL
4/5/1951: Written off in crash at Craig AFB, AL

TP-51D-25-NT 45-11447 -
1949-50: USAF 3595th Pilot Training Wing Nellis AFB, NV
8/16/1950: Belly landing due to engine failure near Nellis AFB, NV
1953: USAF 3625th Pilot Training Tyndall AFB, FL
Texas ANG
Indonesian AF

TP-51D-25-NT 45-11448 -
8/27/1945: Ground accident at NAA Dallas/Hensley Field, TX (45-11443 taxied into it)
1948: USAF 3525th Pilot Training Wing Williams AFB, AZ
1951: USAF 3615th Pilot Training Wing Craig AFB, AL
7/17/1951: Written off in landing accident/ground loop at Craig AFB, AL

TP-51D-25-NT 45-11449 -
1949: USAF 3525th Pilot Training Wing Williams AFB, AZ
6/8/1949: Written off in crash at Williams AFB, AZ

TP-51D-25-NT 45-11450 -
???

Image

Image


The factory-produced TP-40N low figure of 26 I wrote in a previous post is based on information from research that had been done by Jack McCloy at Fantasy of Flight during the restoration of their original factory-produced TP-40N. Of course it is going on about two decades now since then, and perhaps further research has exposed more TP-40N conversions? The factory TP-40N conversions followed two dual control P-40E conversions, sometimes referred to as the "P-40ES". Online, I've read that as many as 40, 50, or even 100 P-40N's were converted - I haven't seen the evidence of that.

The last photo in Mike Furline's post is of the TP-40M conversion, that had originally been built as a stock single-seat P-40M and was being used as a trainer in Florida. It suffered an off-field belly landing and during the repairs was modified with the TP dual cockpit conversion.

Here is a rather neat looking Russian P-40K two-seat conversion here (obviously the center plexiglass tunnel isn't nearly as long as in the factory TP-40N conversions): http://ram-home.com/ram-old/p-40-uti.jpg

As an aside, there was also recently some discussion on FB concerning others, like the TP-39Q's and TP-47G (both which looked hideous compared to the TP-40N and TP-51D).


Last edited by JohnTerrell on Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:09 pm 
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OD/NG wrote:
JohnB wrote:
A question...
Does Collings bring all its tour aircraft to every stop?
Last year they had their B-17,24, Mustang and Skyraider at an event.
I've been kicking myself for not going in the AD.

No. They tend to bring the "moneymakers" all of the time on the tour though. This includes the B-17, B-24 and P-51. Others are brought in as market conditions, aircraft and pilot availability and maintenance permit. There are a lot of variables that determine what aircraft they bring, but the biggest factor is economic. For example, the Collings foundation is not allowed to sell passenger rides in the Me-262. It can only be used for instruction to people with a valid pilot's license and medical. This will eliminate 90% of all potential people seeking a flight. The Me-262 costs roughly about $1000 per hour to fly, just for fuel alone. This doesn't include oil, maintenance, wear and tear on the airframe, hours burned on the engines which bring them closer to TBO, paying pilot transportation/lodging costs, etc. It doesn't take very long to determine that they need a lot of paid instruction flights in the Me-262, just to break even. It doesn't make sense to tour that aircraft all around the country if it is not making money. It is for this reason that the Me-262 rarely leaves its Houston base to travel on tour or go to airshows with the rest of the touring bombers, except for very special occasions. It is the same reason - economics - that the single engine, single seat Collings fighters almost never go on tour with the bombers.

The Collings foundation is a well run economic powerhouse that has their successful formula very well dialed in. They have to fly their aircraft like a business, with operating costs at the forefront. It is because of this that the Collings foundation has grown tremendously and able to buy huge aircraft and armor collections such as the Evergreen collection and Littlefield collection. I don't mind them doing this, in fact, I prefer it. It is this "business model" mindset that allows them to continue to grow and expand for the benefit of all of us. I do know they seriously looked and continue to look at adding aircraft such as the B-29, Martin B-26 and F-105 to their flying collection. This wouldn't be possible if they weren't as cost conscious and business savvy as they are.

JohnB wrote:
A question...
Last year they had their B-17,24, Mustang and Skyraider at an event.
I've been kicking myself for not going in the AD.
?

I heard that the Skyraider didn't make as much money as they had hoped, so it might change where they take that aircraft on tour this year. With the addition of the newly added TP-40, it wouldn't surprise me if the Skyraider was dropped entirely from the tour.

I agree, Collings Foundation does a very good job of cultivating a successful business in a very difficult to financially maintain environment. I also like that their aircraft are always available to go to airshows (besides those on the tour of course). I got to see the P-38 at a few west coast shows last year, and I know that the Corsair, A-36, Tomahawk, others attend shows here and there if airshow organizers want them. Nothing is free, but they always seem open to support airshows aside from the tour stops. Big fan of Collings!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:39 pm 
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Awesome information! Thank you John.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:52 pm 
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What is that panel sticking up above the canopy?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:01 pm 
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lucky52 wrote:
What is that panel sticking up above the canopy?


It was a mirror that, to my understanding, would project the image of the forward cockpit onto another mirror that was mounted on the top of the rear instrument panel facing back toward the instructor, so that the instructor in back could look straight ahead and monitor what was going on up front (they used a similar setup with the N-3 gunsight installation on early Mustangs, of course with smaller mirrors, to "see through" the nose of the aircraft when looking straight ahead through the gun sight). Kermit Weeks has the original external mirror for his, but after flying with it for a bit he found that it causes a buffet in the tail/ruins some of the flying quality and therefore has chosen to leave it off. The internal mirror, however, remains installed on the aircraft.

These are the three surviving P-40's that I know of that were originally factory-built TP-40N's:

42-105927 - displayed at Warner Robins AFB, rebuilt/restored as a single-seater
44-7084 - displayed at the Palm Spring Air Museum, restored outwardly to resemble a single-seater while keeping the second position in back.
44-7923 - owned/operated by Kermit Weeks, restored in original TP configuration.


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