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Great Air Race Memories at Mojave Airport

Short Flights

 

Hawker Hunter in flight.

Have you ever heard a Hawker Hunter streak by on a low pass? Well, my husband Al and I always took great pleasure in that sight and sound!

Sixteen years ago at Mojave Airport we saw not only a Hawker Hunter, but a Canadair T-33 and a rare and beautiful Hawker Sea Fury do several passes down the runway. A big round Bristol Centaurus engine on the Sea Fury, turning a five bladed propeller made a beautiful noise!

Wonderful memories swirled in my head as the Sea Fury flew over. It brought back all the air racing days at Mojave Airport, when all five of the original Marine Corps Air Station hangars were still standing on the flightline and the only tenant on the field was General Electric.

I met my first Hawker Sea Fury at Mojave Airport during the Mojave Air Races in 1970 when I saw Frank Sanders exhibit a spectacular aerobatic flight demonstration with his Sea Fury. Frank invented a unique smoke generator system on the wingtips of his Fury and when he did a loop, huge smoke rings would just hang in the air!

Another familiar Sea Fury was Dr. Sherman Cooper's "Miss Merced" who won the California 1000 at Mojave in 1970. It was the first Indy-style distance race (1000 Miles) ever held by Unlimited Race Planes.

Twenty race planes in a staggered start from the ground, no size limit, pit stops, no handicaps, Le Mans style pilot teams and the first plane to complete the 66 lap, 1,000-mile pylon race would win. Because there was no size limit, Clay Lacy brought a four engine DC-7, "Super Snoopy" and sat in position nineteen on the runway.

Without telling anyone his secret, Sherm Cooper had placed extra fuel tanks in his Sea Fury and never stopped for fuel or a pilot change. He won the race in his bright yellow Fury with multi-colored flames around the engine cowl and fuselage, to the amazement of everyone!

In 1971, I met O. A. Haydon-Baillie, RCAF, Alberta, Canada and his magnificent Sea Fury. I always knew when he was near by; couldn't mistake his accent for anyone else!

In the 1990s a Sea Fury that raced with the name Blind Man's Bluff was bought by Tom Dwelle and became the first Sea Fury to be mounted with a Wright 3350 engine, and a prop from a AD-1 Skyraider! A new name of "Critical Mass," was given to this Super Sea Fury!

Hawker Sea Fury – British Royal Navy Fighter Aircraft.

First flight of the Hawker fighter-bomber was September 1, 1944 and 200 were delivered to the Royal Air Force. The first Royal Navy version was first flown in 1947, long after WWII was over. The carrier born Sea Fury had folding wings and was powered with the Bristol Centaurus XV, 18-cylindar radial piston engine.

The Royal Navy sent the HMS Theseus to Korean waters in 1950 when the war broke out and Sea Furies flew against North Korea. They were used in ground attack roles and sowed mines outside Communist ports. By the mid 1950s, the Royal Navy Sea Furies were replaced by Banshee jet fighters.

Great memories have been made at Mojave Airport with a wide variety of warbirds and now we are making new memories by sending spaceships into the Black Sky!

See you on our next flight!

 
 

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