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Chino Air Show Planes of Fame

If you live on the West Coast and like war birds, Chino is the show to see.

Boeing B-17

Boeing B-17

B-17 Miss Angela

I missed the Collings Foundation B-17 and B-24 at Shafter the week before, so it was nice to see at least one B-17 in the air. I believe Miss Angela is based down at the museum in Palm Springs. The crew did a marvelous job of flying photo passes, and the aircraft looked great in the air.

Northrop N9Mb Flying Wing

Northrop N9Mb Flying Wing

Northrop N9MB

I remember as a kid attending a local EAA meeting where the evening's guest was Jack Northrop. He brought factory films of the YB-35 and YB-49. The carefully staged films certainly looked impressive, and Northrop passionately believed he was the victim of politics. Whatever the truth of the matter, I'm glad he lived long enough to see the B2.

The N9MB is, in my estimation, the most unique and important war bird (not in government service) flying today. The resemblance between this proof-of-concept and the eventual YB-35 is unmistakable. It is in effect a prototype of the B2, most sophisticated bomber in history. That the Planes of Fame Museum is willing to fly the N9MB is truly impressive. As far as I know, it is the only airworthy flying wing in civilian hands.

Grumman F8F Bearcat

F8F Bearcat

Next to the Corsair (and the Spitfire, P-47, Sea Fury, etc.) this is my favorite war bird. There were three flying at the show, but sadly none flew an aerobatic performance.
Grumman F7F Tigercat

F7F Tigercat Big Bossman

Mike Brown's Tigercat looked perfect as per usual, but was nigh on impossible to photograph during its flybys. Apparently, Mike thought he was flying qualifying laps at Reno. It is an awesome site to watch, and an aural treat as well. Those wing intakes give the aircraft a unique sound at speed. I managed to get this shot only because he was taking off for his commute home on Sunday, and not yet up to speed.

P-40E Kittyhawk

P-40E Kittyhawk

Yup, based on the markings I believe this would be a Kitty. Don't those Brits just use the cutest names. There were either four or five P-40s flying - so many in fact I lost track.

TBM Avenger

TBM Avenger

"Rumblin' bumblin' stumblin'" whenever I see an Avenger, I can't help but think of Chris Berman's football line. I know the Avenger was a favorite amongst bomber crews, but that's only because they had to fly bombers. They just look so vulnerable pounding their way through the recalcitrant air.

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

P-47 Thunderbolt

Prior to this weekend, I think I've seen a total of 4 Thunderbolts. On Sunday they had five flying together! There's just something about the P-47, whether its the deep oval cowling, or maybe the outlandish nose art for which there is ample room on the cowl. We tend to forget how many were lost on ground attack missions in the closing months of the war. There was a sixth 'Bolt on static display in the infield. It doesn't look to have flown recently, but its too close to be a derelict. Maybe next year we'll see six in the air together.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX

Spitfire Mk IX

At least I think its a IX. Perhaps I should have bought a program. There are certain aircraft which insist on eluding me. Griffon powered Spits are one of them. I have been to Chino twice, and both years there was no Griffon Spit flying. I'd give my eye teeth to see Planes of Fame's counter rotating PR Mk XIX in the air, but luck is against me. There was an earlier Griffon powered aircraft at the show, but it appeared to have a sick motor. Steve Hinton took off in it on Sunday, but immediately circled back and landed. All I got were a couple fuzzy, far away photos.

F4U Corsair F6F Hellcat

F4U Corsair and F6F Hellcat

I know the Hellcat had an unmatched record of success in the air against the Zero, but you just can't tell from watching them at low altitude today. I swear the technique must have been to fly around and let the Zeros shoot at them until they ran out of ammo, then turn to the attack. They flew mock dogfights with the zeros, but the display really didn't do anything to demonstrate the relative performance of the aircraft. Both Americans "won". Imagine that.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

A6M Zero

In another first for me, they had two Zeros flying together. I wish they could wring them out and give an idea of the aircrafts maneuverability. Late in the day, the Sander's brothers R-3350 powered Sea Fury flew a tremendous flight demonstration, showing off its speed and vertical penetration capabilities. It would have really been something to contrast this with the tight maneuvering of Zero. The two aircraft neatly bookend the height of wartime piston engine fighter technology.

Chino Air Show 2005