Test your P-51 memory, knowledge and research ability!
by Mike Shelton
Yoak, Vadeboncoeur, Kallio, Schiel
William D. Yoak
This Mustang was owned by Scott Smith-the owner of an Oldsmobile dealership from-- Florida during the late 1970's. It was entered as a contestant in the 1979 Miami Air Races in Homestead, FL. I think it was entered at Reno as well,during 1979. It was eventually acquired by Don Davis of Casper Wyoming who formed The Tired Iron Air Racing Team. This aircraft in addition to a Corsair and a T-6 comprised the race team. Earl Ketchen flew this aircraft in competition (under Davis' ownership) until 1983. Ketchen and a passenger were to lose their lives in this aircraft in 1984 after failing to recover from an aerobatic maneuver.
I believe that airplane may be HABU from the Tired Iron Racing team. Earl Ketchum was killed along with a passenger during a loss of controlled flight during acro I believe in Colorado? Hope that helps. The photo is somewhat blurry however Habu was seen in those markings.
It's "Habu" and in all liklihood, that's Earl Ketchen in the cockpit with the remainder of the "Tired Iron Race Team" on the tarmack. Photo doesn't show clipped wings - so this was "Habu" as she appeared at Reno '81.
The late race 81, HABU!! Built as 44-73196 and surplused as N5449V. First noted in Ohio, owned by Fred Johnson in 1963 before moving to Chris Milam of Layfayette LA. in 1978. Not sure of the history between there. Became a member of the tired iron racing team and was campaigned at reno for several years. Scared everyone in the pits during 81' but always looked great. Had belly strakes special tips and a bunch of other odd mods for racing. Destroyed July 15, 1981 near Aspen CO during an aerobatic manuver. Reg cancelled 12/81
I had the unfortunate luck to work for Don Davis at Rocky Mountain Aviation in Casper for the spring and summer of '82. We were sometimes called over to help with the war planes. HABU was given clipped wing tips, fenced ailerons, strakes on the cooler inlet and outlet, days spent rigging the tail wheel doors, a much smaller canopy, and nitrous and water injection on what I seem to remember was a Griffon engine
I have several pictures of Habu from that last air show in Colorado if any one is interested in a copy