Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Commemorative Air Force, Arizona Wing, Part 3

Next stop on the tour is a Sikorsky H-19 Transport and Rescue helicopter. The manufacturer's name sounds like it would be a Russian aircraft — well, in fact, the company's founder was born in Kiev and immigrated to the US, founding the company in 1925. It is now part of United Technologies Corporation. The H-19 is flown by a two-man crew and can carry eight to ten passengers. It is powered by an 800 HP engine which is quite visible in this photo with the engine cowling hinged open.

Tail rotors always looked dangerous to me and the markings on this helicopter confirm it.

Suspended above us is a Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt" fighter-bomber. It was flown by a single pilot and in service from 1942 until the late 1960s. Over 15,000 were produced.

Upon closer examination, you will note that this is actually a half-scale model aircraft which has been flown in various air shows. It has a maximum speed of 150 mph compared to 400+ mph for the real thing.

A tribute, exactly as posted:

"Kindred Spirit is named in honor of our friend, mentor and brother in wings: Robert J. Odegaard, 1946-2012, who was born and raised in a small town 20 miles South West of Fargo, North Dakota known as Kindred, 'Where kindness is a way of life.' This 1945 L5 Stinson was flown by Robert Odegaard on two different occasions. Robert 'Bob' was a world renown pilot and war bird restorer who restored and built many airplanes including 'Stang' a 1944 P-51 Mustang here in the museum, race 57 a Super Corsair that won the 1949 Cleveland air races. race 74 another Super Corsair that he also raced at the Reno air races in 2011. Bob's personality was one that lent itself to making friends everywhere he went. Bob's passion for aviation knew no bounds, he was a tireless promoter of all things related to aviation."

[Comments from my friend, Billy Walker — If I may, I would offer not a correction, but an addition, to your comments regarding a couple of photos you took at Airbase Arizona.  The L-5 “Sentinel” on display belongs to Col. Jon Libelt.  He dedicated “Kindred” spirit to BOTH the late-great Bob Odegaard AND my “Uncle Barnsmell!”    You can read about my uncle SSgt. JH “Jack” Walker on my website:  CaptainBillyWalker.com  BTW: those are “Uncle Barnsmell’s” dog tags hanging from the magnetic compass in your next photo.   Photos and his story are with the L-5 as well.   He was  Gen. “Jumpin’ Joe” Stillwell's pilot in Burma during WWII.

You’ll find a story about my ol’ uncle in the Walker Bunch - Prologue.]

One of Bob's pet project's "Duggy" a DC3/C47 that is known as "The smile in the sky" is a perennial favorite of Oshkosh to kids of all ages. Bob was as skilled a mechanic and inventor as he was a pilot. Bob's many accomplishments included: induction into the North Dakota Aviators hall of fame in 2011, the invention of the "Super Boom" spray airfoil that helped revolutionize the way crops are sprayed from the air. He built the first fly-through spray plane reloading facility in North Dakota. Bob's contagious smile, up-beat attitude and inspirational faith in God gave his friends, family and fans a positive roll model to look up to, his quiet demeanor and sense of humor endeared him to all that knew him, he was considered a Best friend by many and his love of the CAF Arizona wing and the WW II airplanes that the "Greatest Generation" flew is another among many of the reasons we consider him a "Kindred Spirit."

Dominating the hanger is a Douglas A/B-26C "invader" attack bomber. The first of these models began service in 1944 and were still in use until the late 1960s. Two 2,600 HP Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines power this aircraft to a maximum speed of 355 mph at an altitude of 35,000 feet. It offers a range of some 1,400 miles.

I love the personalization of the aircraft — obviously the airmen were homesick both for the land and the ladies.

This aircraft was manufactured in 1944 and flew missions in WWII. After its Air Force Service ended, it was converted into a Aerial firefighter and later to an executive transport.

Last on today's agenda is a 1943 Super Stearman. According to the notice, this aircraft is historically significant for five reasons.

  1. WWII primary military trainer
  2. Last Stearman rebuilt by the Red Baron team
  3. The longest-running civilian aerobatic team ever
  4. One of two allowed to keep the original artwork
  5. This is the LEAD aircraft with the Red Turtle Deck

Stearman were built by Boeing in Wichita, KS. The original cost was $11,000. This aircraft has been modified and improved in most of its performance characteristics. As a result, its value exceeds $250,000.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com