Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lee's Leftovers

Tropical Storm Lee arrived at the Gulf Coast a couple of days ago and has been working its way inland, losing its classic cyclonic form and devolving into a widespread, northeast-bound rain event. The precipitation field encroached on the DC area last evening and this morning N631S and I had some moisture to deal with on our trip north.

All in all it wasn't so bad. In and out of the showers all the way, with some rising to the level of "moderate." No turbulence to speak of, and for most of the trip a healthy tailwind. Just your basic rainy-day IFR flight, including a nice stretch over New Jersey (left) where the sky brightened and the rain stopped.

This pleasant interlude continued to the Coyle VOR (CYN), when McGuire Approach asked for a descent from 7,000 feet to 5,000 which was back in the schmoo...where we stayed until the final New York Approach controller took us down to 3,000 feet east of JFK. The flight ended with an easy ILS approach through a layer of few clouds at about 1,300 feet to BDR's Runway 6.

Having covered and tied down the airplane, I was walking toward the FBO when I saw the lovely machine pictured below, tucked into a hangar and out of the weather. That's Betty Jane, the Collings Foundation's North American P-51C Mustang, s/n 42-103293.

The aircraft has been modified to include a second seat with dual-controls (located where the fuselage fuel tank was). She's here for a few days – and her compatriot B-17G Flying Fortress and B-24J Liberator are also expected – for a few days of tours and warbird rides. It will be unfortunate if the wet weather forecast for the next few days dampens the event.


Sarah said...

I hope the weather improves while the warbirds are up there! The B24, B17, and Betty Jane were at Warrenton last fall and I jumped at the chance to get some P51 time in my logbook. By far the most expensive entry in my logbook, but totally worth it...what a gorgeous plane! :)

Frank Van Haste said...

Hi, Sarah!

So you got some time in Betty Jane? Cool! I'm jealous!

My friend Steve Cavallo, who flew for NACA during WW2 and has a ton of P-51 time, says that the C model was the fastest Mustang. The bubble canopy used on the D and H cost a few MPH according to Steve. (You can just "see" the vacuum forming in the notch behind the bubble!)

Stay dry!