I grew up in the 50’s peddling my bicycle around Long Beach Airport. Lots of surplus WWII planes were being converted as sprayers and fire tankers. There were PBY’s, B-17’s, B-25’s, TBM’s plus P51’s and T-6’s on flat tires, having been bought very cheap, but too expensive to fly.
I bought my first airplane, a Stinson L-5, on Halloween night in 1966 and spent the next (2) years at A&P school rebuilding it. Then on to learning to fly and getting my pilot’s license in a taildragger. At that time I helped on the unlimited P-51 racer ‘Bardahl Miss’ for the 1968 air races. After that on to Lyle Shelton’s Bearcat named ‘Able Cat’ then, now known as ‘Rare Bear’.
Then the Vietnam War came along so I joined the Navy flying as a crewman on an HU-16 Albatross and C-54’s. I finished up as a mechanic on H-46’s with HC-6 (helicopter squadron) in Norfolk, VA.
Later in 2005 I started racing again with the ‘Midnight Miss III’ race team and two years later, in 2007, we brought home the 1st place Gold at 235 mph. The T-6 reminds me of the old 1930’s & 1940’s air racers that were developing the newer ideas and technology that we use today.
Dennis hails from Searchlight, Nevada.