Back when we lived in Chicago, I went to Kenosha to photograph the Grumman Wildcat that had recently been lifted from Lake Michigan. While I was there, I also got to have a look around the hangar which housed the collection of Chuck Greenhill. His airworthy planes were stored in the hangar but it was also busy working on restorations of some Grumman amphibians.
His Duck was in the hangar and it was a great looking example. I was disappointed that I never got to see it fly. It looked immaculate. I understand it has been sold and is now in Texas. There were also two Mustangs parked in there. One of them, Geraldine, they claimed to be the most authentic Mustang example in the world. I don’t know how you would measure such things but they seemed very confident claiming this. It even included a full, working armament so you could head up and shoot someone down if you were so inclined.
The amphibian restorations were very interesting. Bare metal fuselages and the wings off while they were in work. It would have been good to make regular visits to see how things progressed but I was not able to go back again so couldn’t do that. Even so, pretty cool to see the workmanship on these airframes.
While hiking through Moran State Park, we came up to a road. As we got there a vintage car of some sort was coming towards us. Annoyingly, I had changed the camera to its base ISO to photograph some waterfalls and hadn’t reset it to auto ISO. It was dark in there so, when I shot the passing vehicle, the shutter speed was way too low. It means the shots were blurred but it actually wasn’t as bad as I had expected.
In the center of Fairhaven, I was surprised to see an old London bus. This wasn’t a Routemaster but an older vintage of bus. It was tucked in a shady area next to a building on a sunny day so it was a touch tricky to get a shot of. It was also surrounded by various stuff so I maneuvered to get a reasonably clear shot of it. It still has its UK registration plates so anyone that is familiar with London Transport history, can probably advise what it is. No doubt there is a website for this sort of thing somewhere if I looked hard enough.
Moses Lake was the last stop on my road trip. There were a few things I was hoping to see while I was there but one thing I saw I was not expecting at all. A Douglas UC-67 Dragon, a conversion of the B-23. There weren’t many built at all and I have come across a couple in museums. However, this one looks like it might be airworthy. There aren’t a ton of photos of it online but it has been shot flying a couple of years ago so I hope it is still flyable. It was very close to the fence in nice afternoon light so a great surprise to add to the day.
I first saw the Douglas World Cruiser when Hayman and I were were skulking around Boeing Field prior to an ISAP symposium. The aircraft was being worked on by a restoration team and we chatted to them for a while. When I moved it up, it had moved too and now it lives at Renton. I have seen it plenty of times as it sits in its open ended hangar at Renton. However, it clearly is moved as, on a recent visit, the nose was pointing out of the hangar rather than in. It is not in a great place to shoot but a bit of live view and holding the camera above the wall and you can get a shot.
If you are used to a modern shape of an anchor, particularly one for a large ship, the old style of anchors in the days of the early 1800s will be rather strange looking. They look like a giant version of the sort of anchor you would see on a small boat. This example sits on the seafront in Southsea and comes from a ship that fought in the battle of Trafalgar. It seems in pretty good shape. I wonder whether that is a feature of the materials used or the result of lots of bits of it being replaced over the years.
This is not a great shot but it is a rare airplane. I was out and about when I heard what sounded like a vintage aircraft engine rumbling nearby. I took some long shots and only checked them out when I got home. It turns out it is a Hamilton H-47 Metalplane. This aircraft used to operate on floats – that would have been good to see – but it now is on wheels. Apparently it lives someone in the area so I am going to try and track it down at some point.
I posted some shots of John Sessions’ Dragon Rapide in this post. I was pleased to see another Rapide show up at Fairford for RIAT. I managed to get a few shots of it. It was painted in a nice color scheme and looked very elegant as it pottered by. Not a speedy plane (despite the name) so plenty of time to enjoy it.
During the Italian car day at Exotics@RTC, all of the focus was on the selection of cars inside the mall area. I did take some time to wander out in to the parking lot to see what other cars had shown up that day and hadn’t been “worthy” of a spot inside. As I was strolling around, something unusual showed up. I had no idea what it was but it was clearly pretty old. As it pulled to a halt, we got a chance to take a look around.
It was an Alfa Romeo C6. I asked the guy driving it why he was outside when this would clearly have been something that would have got a prime spot. He wasn’t bothered about all of that sort of thing and was happy to roll up when he wanted and to have those outside check the car out. The restoration had been undertaken in the UK and I imagine it hadn’t been cheap judging by the condition of the vehicle. It had that swoops look that cars of its era sometimes had and was a fantastic looking machine. If I had gone out earlier in my visit, I would have missed it completely!
My wife is a star – well that, or she is a masochist. Our trip to the UK was in three phases. We spend the first phase visiting family. The second phase was my visit to RIAT for a few days while she did things in London and around the south coast. The last phase was our time to tour around East Anglia and relax a little. Our last full day had us up near Cambridge. She suggested I might want to visit the Imperial War Museum aviation collection at Duxford. Since I had taken a chunk of the vacation to do aviation things, I was not going to push anything aviation related for the rest of the trip but she was quite happy to do this. What a star!
I haven’t been to Duxford for ages so I was interested to see how things had changed. What was once called the Superhangar had been rebuilt and had lots of interesting stuff inside. The American Forces section was there last time I went and hadn’t changed a lot. Some of the large airliner stuff outside was familiar but other bits were either new or something I didn’t recall from previous visits. It is a very extensive collection and well worth a visit. I was really pleased to check it out.
I will give a few of the exhibits their own posts but this is a bit of a summary post. Below is a gallery of some of the shots I took as we wandered around.