Friday, February 15, 2019

Kermit

P-51C - Aviation warplane collector and pilot Kermit Weeks restored and flies this P-51C fighter painted in tribute to Lieutenant Colonel Lee Archer's aircraft, "Ina the Macon Belle."
(Source)
What, you thought I meant Kermit the Frog? Uh, no. Though I am a fan of that Kermit, the fellow I'm talking about in this post is Kermit Weeks who owns and operates a pretty sweet museum down Florida way, which you can read more about here. Mr. Weeks also has a very nice YouTube channel featuring lots and lots of cool flying videos. (Where I will no doubt "waste" a lot of time!) With lots and lots of really cool aircraft. (I'm sorry, but I'm a sucker for dang near anything that flies.)

Now y'all know my love for the Supermarine Spitfire, but coming in a very close second (and yes, sometimes she steals my heart) is the P-51 Mustang. A sweet bird and one of the prettiest flying machines ever built.

Anyhoo, I ran across these three videos where Mr. Weeks gives us a pre-flight, a quick overview of the cockpit, then he fires up that sweet sounding Merlin engine, then takes us up in the air for a quick circuit of the airfield. I have to tell you this had me on the edge of my seat and turning my head to see what was going on. It was a bit of a let down to land so soon. I wanted more, much more. You'll see for yourself in a moment, but first a brief look at the man who flew the first "Ina, The Macon Belle."

Lieutenant Colonel Lee Archer, Jr. (right)
(Source)
On October 12, 1944, Archer was a part of a group of six members of the 332nd Fighter Group that shot down a total of nine enemy aircraft while on a strafing mission from Budapest to Bratislava. Archer, flying Ina the Macon Bell, shot down three German Me-109s, and Capt Wendall Pruitt, flying Alice-Jo, show down an He-111 and Me-109. The combined aerial victories earned the duo the nickname “The Gruesome Twosome.”

He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts, and a spot in the history books. After another victory, he became one of only four Tuskegee Airmen to achieve four aerial victories. During his military career he also received special citations from Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, along with the Director of the CIA.
(Source)
Archer is considered by some as the first and—as of 2010—only black U.S. pilot to earn an "ace" designation, for shooting down at least five enemy aircraft. Archer was acknowledged to have shot down four planes, and he and another pilot both claimed victory for shooting down a fifth aircraft. An investigation revealed Archer had inflicted the damage that destroyed the aircraft, and the Air Force eventually proclaimed him an ace pilot. He also destroyed six aircraft on the ground during a strafing mission in August 1944, as well as several locomotives, motor transports and barges. (Source
Now that's one hell of a pilot if you ask me! Lt Col Archer is buried at Arlington, I need to pay him a visit one of these days. Yup, I'll be throwing a nickel on the grass for him.

Now how about those videos Sarge? Well, alrighty then, here ya go!







Sweet!



30 comments:

  1. Kermit's videos are great. I had watched almost all of his series on the big Martin Mars flying boat Hawaii.
    That is one big airplane, and it's still running on piston engines. Big piston engines. I now have that faraway look in my eyes, and in my head I'm hearing big radials and other big aircraft engines go by overhead.

    I filmed Fifi taking off and landing from Philly's Northeast airport and my wife and I were right at the right of the crowd when they started and warmed up those big radials. It was nothing short of awesome.

    Great post!

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    1. Wow, front row seat for Fifi! Nice!

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    2. I think I can paste a link here that will let anyone watch my three and a half minute video of Fifi.
      With your permission, I can give it a try.

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    3. OK.
      https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/NodyvVjDN90NybTUh8s5lVPsrbJEpkzCYxGT1O2QbVR
      In theory this will bring you to a file named Fifi2015 and clicking on the file will make it play.
      You'll like the intro music.

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    4. Very nice!

      Yes, I did like the intro music!

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    5. When I was visiting my mom and dad's house in Dallas many years ago (wish I could remember the exact year, but alas it was long enough ago - early 70's most likely - that the timing is fuzzy) I was out under the carport when I heard the unmistakable sound of large piston aircraft engines approaching. I quickly stepped outside and looked up into the gap among the trees over the backyard, and a B-24 flew by, followed closely by a B-29, which had one engine not acting completely properly as it would spit out a puff of smoke every so often. They were from what was then called the Confederate Air Force. The flyby, brief as it was, was really awesome, made more so by its unexpectedness.

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  2. Sigh, it seems the roar of engines in my head interfered with my proofreading. Please change "...were right at the right of the crowd..." to "right at the front of the crowd.."
    And I might have been rushing just a squeak to get the treasured first comment.

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    1. Ah, a case perhaps of what the old Vermonters of my youth called "buck fever." Often occurring on the first day of hunting season.

      The TFC, it's becoming a thing. (Yes, Paul, I added that to the Acronym Page.)

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    2. Ok, I'm going to be picky again; how come TFC is located where it is and not between TDY and TFS in the acronym page?

      Paul

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    3. OldAFSarge:

      Sorry about such a PITA, but that's how it is when one is ocd.

      Paul

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    4. Oops. Guess I don't know my alphabet as well as I thought!

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  3. Oh now that's just great........MORE videos to watch on the laptop.......(groan)..........heh heh....... :) Good timing there Sarge with this post. Always liked the Mustang, such clean lines on it. Well, plenty of time today to watch, not much snow management to do today and it's only two below now. Love those piston engines, that growl sends chills down the spine! Gracias Sarge!

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    Replies
    1. I know, I know. Lots of interesting stuff out there, where will I find the time.

      (So I post some here to "share the load," as it were.)

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  4. "What are you going to do today, Sweetheart?"
    "Oh, I thought I'd take the 51 up for a spin."
    "That's nice. Have a good time."

    Geeez.

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    1. Yeah, what was in the air for? Maybe five to seven minutes?

      Nice to be rich and have a hangar full of aircraft to fly.

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  5. Glad to see her restored and flying, even if she isn't a -47. Love the sound of big piston engines, even in-line watercooled ones (though I prefer radials or rotaries.)

    Kermit is not the typical "Florida Man" one reads about in so many news articles.

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    1. Nope, I'd like to meet the young fellow (he's two months and change younger than I).

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    2. I know think the P-51 I saw a while ago was this P-51. The razorback cockpit would make it look like a 2-seater...

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    3. Quite possible, I don't know where the museum is in relation to your AO, and Florida is a big state, but a P-51 could make the trip in no time at all.

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    4. Knowing this leftist town, he may have come up here just to piss them off...

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    5. Gives them the vapors, just like the drooling progs in San Francisco who freak out every time the Blue Angels come to town.

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  6. Thanks for the ( left handed ) compliment. It's good to know that the acronym page continues to grow.

    I'm feeling a bit chuffed about myself; when your site came up on my computer, the opening photo showed the wing of the P-51 only to just below the orange stripe. I immediately thought, P-51. I can think of no other aircraft that is so unique in virtually every feature. Ok, ok, there are lots of them on second thoughts. The U.S. created and produced a number of fine aircraft before and during WWII.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. The P-51's wingtips are very distinctive.

      The Acronym Page is alive! (And well, I hope.)

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  7. For me, nothing beats the F4F Wildcat. Because Butch O'Hare. And Midway. Then the P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, and the P-47 Jug. And then maybe the Spitfire (although it's a close run with the P-38 Lightning. Which ties in with your hobby shop piece a couple of days ago. Monogram (and Revell) made a lot of money off of me, back in the days when I didn't have a lot of money to spend!

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    1. I do love the Wildcat, got to see one in person (and in the air) back in the late '80s, early '90s at an airshow at Offutt AFB. It was mixing it up with the made-over T-6s from Tora, Tora, Tora. They also had a P-38 fly in for the airshow but I don't think it participated in the air battle. It did fly over my house, pretty awesome to see it in the air!

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