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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: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:36 pm 
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Sorry but I must agree with Lon Moer. Without the foresight of Ed Maloney and the efforts of a whole bunch of people who wanted to see this airplane FLY it probably would not have been saved at all. And it certainly has been seen by millions more people by flying for the past 30 years than it ever would have languishing in some museum somewhere. C'mon people, there is no way to preserve EVERYTHING from history FOREVER, it is not possible. The loss of this airplane will not make a significant difference in the lives of 99.9999% of the people on the face of this planet, to include the vast majority of those reading this post. In my opinion what was gained over the last 30 years by operating the airplane is FAR greater than the loss of it. The only tragedy here is that a good man, a husband and a father, lost his life. But that too is a part of life and a possibility we all face every moment of every day. Nobody is guaranteed one more breath.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:25 pm 
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Was the N9MB particularly hard/difficult to fly? Just wondering. Other than the aforementioned engine issues seems like a straight fwd airplane to fly, did it have bad stall characteristics?
Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:22 pm 
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Fair point RyanShort, glad I got to see it fly, VERY glad that awesome HD videos exist of it flying to see the sight and hear the sound. That's something we never would have without POF.


Last edited by GRNDP51 on Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:35 pm 
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Glad they flew it, sad they lost it. Tragic a life was lost. The POF folks are top notch so it's especially tragic for them.
My opinion has always been generally the same. Fly them, but extremely conservative and local. If it's boring for us to watch? too bad but treat them as rare and expensive as they are.

Blue Skies for the poor soul lost. Very sad

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:50 pm 
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I don't think that this is time or place to be discussing the wisdom of flying rare aircraft. The Smithsonian does have the Northrup N-1M which was the first flying wing. One still survives.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:24 am 
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Pogo wrote:
Heartbreaking indeed.

I never knew a lot about this airplane except that it was an astonishing thing to know was still operational, and I loved it for that plus other reasons that should be fairly easy to guess. I'm sad to say I know even less of who flew it. Can someone please tell those of us who out of this loop about that pilot? Seems like a bit of a tribute wouldn't be out of order just now.

The pilot was David Vopat. Though I had talked to him a few times recently, I didn't really know him well. I do know that he was an excellent warbird pilot and well versed in many, many taildraggers and had a very good reputation as a fantastic stick from what I know. He had a TON of experience flying everything from Piper Cubs to Mustangs to commercial Airliners. He was associated with several museums/organizations over the years including Planes of Fame, Collings foundation, Slattery's collection, and at least 5 other private owners (probably more?) who let him fly their personal aircraft. I also know that he was an airline pilot with a major air carrier.

In recent times, the main warbirds he flew, IIRC, were the P-51, P-40, T-6, and Flying Wing.

The main impression I got from my limited interactions with him was that he was extremely passionate about aviation and warbirds and would go out of his way to help people with an interest in it. I do remember a story he told me about being involved in a "youth outreach" program to help inspire and motivate disadvantaged youth in the L.A. area. He told me that was one of his most memorable experiences in aviation - getting to share the joy of flying with children that otherwise might not have had the opportunity to do so. When he told me that, I knew he was in this for all the right reasons.

He was one of the "good ones" who was an up and coming rising star in the warbird world. It broke my heart when I heard this news, as I knew when the N9M went down, that he probably was the pilot and his life was cut tragically short.

My condolences to David's family, the POF staff/volunteers and everyone impacted by this tragedy.
I give a toast to David - blue skies and tailwinds to my fellow departed aviator. :drink3:

Here is an excellent video that POF put out last year with David flying the Wing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57ZyBbhcqbU

This is how I prefer to remember him - happy and content to be in any cockpit he could fly in.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:05 am 
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steve dickey wrote:
Was the N9MB particularly hard/difficult to fly? Just wondering. Other than the aforementioned engine issues seems like a straight fwd airplane to fly, did it have bad stall characteristics?
Thanks.



The N-9MB had nearly all the bugs worked out. Capt Glen Edwards said this about the craft in 1945.

"An hour's flight is hardly a fair basis for drawing decisive conclusions. However, the airplane flew surprisingly well, was more stable and handled far better than most would expect. It would take a few more hours practice to make good takeoffs and get the proper coordination on turns. But the technique could be mastered without too much difficulty. It serves its purpose well as a flying model."

http://www.century-of-flight.net/Aviati ... ombers.htm


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:00 am 
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old iron wrote:
This airplane did not have any vertical stabilizing or control surfaces, which means there is less chance of recovery when any one of God-knows-how-many-things-might-go-wrong goes wrong.


They are all there, just not in a form you are used to seeing. The N9M did not defy and laws of physics, stability or control. Your statement is completely incorrect. You know that birds don't have vertical stabilizers either, right?

Someone just the other day predicted all these "no fly" people would come out of the woodwork, and they have.

Glad I got to see and hear it fly for many years. I would never have had that opportunity and it would probably still be rotting in a corner.


Last edited by bdk on Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:08 pm 
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BigGrey wrote:
I don't think that this is time or place to be discussing the wisdom of flying rare aircraft.

Agree with your point regarding this particular thread, but disagree with the place as WIX seems as good a place as any to discuss such matters. So far this thread shows plenty of compassion and sympathy which is always nice to see. It also shows a few respectful opinions regarding flying rare warbirds. No harm there IMHO as long as it doesn't turn into a mess.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:09 pm 
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bdk wrote:
old iron wrote:
This airplane did not have any vertical stabilizing or control surfaces, which means there is less chance of recovery when any one of God-knows-how-many-things-might-go-wrong goes wrong.


They are all there, just not in a form you are used to seeing. The N9M did not defy and laws of physics, stability or control. Your statement is completely incorrect. You know that birds don't have vertical stabilizers either, right?

Someone just the other day predicted all these "no fly zone" people would come out of the woodwork, and they have. Every airplane is a unique individual.

+1

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:36 pm 
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Quote:
Capt Glen Edwards said this about the craft in 1945.

"An hour's flight is hardly a fair basis for drawing decisive conclusions. However, the airplane flew surprisingly well, was more stable and handled far better than most would expect. It would take a few more hours practice to make good takeoffs and get the proper coordination on turns. But the technique could be mastered without too much difficulty. It serves its purpose well as a flying model."


Uhhhhmmmmm ... I do not know the temporal particulars, but this could not have been said too long before Capt. Edwards was killed in an airplane that "flew surprisingly well" ...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:38 pm 
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Mark Allen M wrote:
BigGrey wrote:
I don't think that this is time or place to be discussing the wisdom of flying rare aircraft.

Agree with your point regarding this particular thread, but disagree with the place as WIX seems as good a place as any to discuss such matters. So far this thread shows plenty of compassion and sympathy which is always nice to see. It also shows a few respectful opinions regarding flying rare warbirds. No harm there IMHO as long as it doesn't turn into a mess.


Well said, Mark.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:15 pm 
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old iron wrote:

Uhhhhmmmmm ... I do not know the temporal particulars, but this could not have been said too long before Capt. Edwards was killed in an airplane that "flew surprisingly well" ...


It was three years before. Edward's statement reguarding the flight characteristics of the YB-49 was, "the darndest airplane I've ever tried to do anything with. Quite uncontrollable at times." Two different planes. Two different flight characteristics.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:51 pm 
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I think generally, there's no big argument here on the merits for/against flying the only surviving type of an airplane.
Make no mistake, people in museums and big airplane collections can get very heated on this subject. I once saw an argument between people from two very well-respected museums, over Mid-Atlantic's Black Widow flying that almost came to a fist fight. And in that case, it's not even the only one of its type left in existence.
BigGrey wrote:
I don't think that this is time or place to be discussing the wisdom of flying rare aircraft. The Smithsonian does have the Northrup N-1M which was the first flying wing. One still survives.
That's good to hear, I didn't know that.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:52 pm 
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Mark Allen M wrote:
BigGrey wrote:
I don't think that this is time or place to be discussing the wisdom of flying rare aircraft.

Agree with your point regarding this particular thread, but disagree with the place as WIX seems as good a place as any to discuss such matters. So far this thread shows plenty of compassion and sympathy which is always nice to see. It also shows a few respectful opinions regarding flying rare warbirds. No harm there IMHO as long as it doesn't turn into a mess.


I should have said this thread. WIX is absolutely the place to have the discussion and I didn't mean otherwise.


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