Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - 09:26 AM UTC
"Fireball", the 1:6th scale radio controlled P-47M built by Dave Gianakos and Bob Frey, was presented to the Valiant Air Command Museum in Titusville, Florida recently.
On March 26, 2009, Fire Ball was unveiled at the Valiant Air Command Museum in Titusville, Florida. My wife Gail and I drove the model down to Florida from Denver, Colorado. There were many people in attendance, including two former P-47 pilots. Col. Bill Dillard (in red sweater) flew P-47Ns in the Pacific theater in WWII. Many of his missions were long-duration fighter escorts for B-29s attacking targets in Japan. Bill has logged over 1,000 hours in all types of P-47 aircraft. In the Viet Nam war, Bill flew F-4s and F-105s. Now 86, he enjoyed flying a high performance Midget Mustang until two years ago, when he lost his FAA medical due to implanting of a heart pace maker.
Also in attendance was Lt. Col. Vic Bast, who flew P-47Ms with the 56th Fighter Group, serving in the 61st Fighter Squadron. Vic scored a kill on a FW-190 on December 23, 1944, when the 56th FG battled over 300 enemy planes (the 56th fielded 48 planes!) Talk about a target rich environment! Also in some of the pictures (in white short-sleeved shirt) is Bob Frazier, a director of the Valiant museum. Bob was an engineer with Pratt &Whitney engine company for over 40 years, and helped develop some of the famous engines to come out of this great corporation.
Fire Ball has made its final landing to a safe parking spot in this very nice museum.