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Thread: Before it was Rare Bear

  1. #71
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    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Yea... this ain't Facebook... LOL

    Love it you guys!

    One of the things I've missed here is the exchange of some of you... excuse me, "old timers"

    Used to be a lot of banter among crew/pilot.. I think it all sort of felt "inside" and sheltered here (ads but none shoved up your keyster... that I'm aware of!) but it still came off as pretty private..

    So anyway, you two were around BEFORE IT WAS RARE BEAR so your cross talk is extremely entertaining..

    Neal, John I know how memories fade, these chats run some mental dental floss between those forgotten portions...

    Again, keep it up please!
    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  2. #72
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Photo via Bill Kientz
    " Early 70?s. In 1974 he would become Lyle Shelton?s crew chief on Rare Bear. "
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    remember the Oogahonk!

    old school enthusiast of Civiltary Warbirds and Air Racers

  3. #73

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Moer View Post
    Photo via Bill Kientz
    " Early 70?s. In 1974 he would become Lyle Shelton?s crew chief on Rare Bear. "
    My recollection of Reno 1969 Able Cat crew pictured as follows:

    Bottom left to right. George (Navy Los Alamitos)?, Randy Difani (grunt), Dennis Buehn (Navy Crew Chief), George (Navy Los Alamitos)?, Pete Behena (AA A&P, Photographer).

    Top left to right: Bill Kientz (TWA PIlot, electrical expert), Bill Hickle (China Lake?), Lyle Shelton (TWA Pilot/Navy Reserve, Expert Air Racer), Cliff Putnam (TWA Pilot, Mechanical Expert & Crew Chief), Harry Smith (AA A&P).

    Most repair/restoration work accomplished Hangar F8 Compton, CA. Towed to Santa Ana, CA. First flight to Chino, CA, where yellow zinc chromate painted, approx. one week prior to Reno. Took 5th place 1969 Reno Gold Unlimited. Great fun and extraordinary experience. We stayed at the Mapes Hotel, downtown Reno. Possibly John can add details.

    Randy Difani (T6 Racer #18 "Thunderbolt" ret.)

    PS Recall Lyle returning from reserve duty overflying Compton in an A4 Skyhawk, with drop tanks, prior to landing at Los Alamitos.

  4. #74

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Racer 18 View Post
    My recollection of Reno 1969 Able Cat crew pictured as follows:

    Bottom left to right. George (Navy Los Alamitos)?, Randy Difani (grunt), Dennis Buehn (Navy Crew Chief), George (Navy Los Alamitos)?, Pete Behena (AA A&P, Photographer).

    Top left to right: Bill Kientz (TWA PIlot, electrical expert), Bill Hickle (China Lake?), Lyle Shelton (TWA Pilot/Navy Reserve, Expert Air Racer), Cliff Putnam (TWA Pilot, Mechanical Expert & Crew Chief), Harry Smith (AA A&P).

    Most repair/restoration work accomplished Hangar F8 Compton, CA. Towed to Santa Ana, CA. First flight to Chino, CA, where yellow zinc chromate painted, approx. one week prior to Reno. Took 5th place 1969 Reno Gold Unlimited. Great fun and extraordinary experience. We stayed at the Mapes Hotel, downtown Reno. Possibly John can add details.

    Randy Difani (T6 Racer #18 "Thunderbolt" ret.)

    PS Recall Lyle returning from reserve duty overflying Compton in an A4 Skyhawk, with drop tanks, prior to landing at Los Alamitos.
    Just additional information on the crew in 1969;
    Top left to right: Bill Kientz (TWA PIlot, electrical expert), Bill Hickle (China Lake/later Flight Systems Mojave), Lyle Shelton (TWA Pilot/Navy Reserve, Expert Air Racer), Cliff Putnam (TWA Pilot, Mechanical Expert & Crew Chief), Harry Smith (American Airlines A&P).

    Bottom left to right. Austin Cranston (Navy Navy Chief, Los Alamitos), Randy Difani (grunt), Dennis Buehn (Navy Crew Chief), George Williamson (Navy Los Alamitos), Pete Behena (American Airlines A&P, Photographer).


    Randy, since you are on here and may have a better memory of the dates, Neal was inquiring about the timeline of the events as they unfolded. I have been going through what archives we have as I can get to them and have not found Lyle's yellow 11x14 pages from 1969 yet. We have his Daytimers sorted out but they only start in 1970 from what I've been able to find.

    This thread has uncovered a lot of information and I have to dig to get at it now. My Mom is now 90 years old and can't remember what car we are in anymore, let alone what the white and purple airplane is in the pictures on the wall.

    "John -- what was the timeline of all this? When did Lyle move the kit into the hangar? When was the fuselage more or less complete? When did Putnam get his hands on the engine and when was it actually hung on the airplane?

    Neal"

    For reference.
    Last edited by BellCobraIV; 11-18-2021 at 03:00 PM.
    John Slack

  5. #75
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Found another one......
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    remember the Oogahonk!

    old school enthusiast of Civiltary Warbirds and Air Racers

  6. #76

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by BellCobraIV View Post
    Just additional information on the crew in 1969;
    Top left to right: Bill Kientz (TWA PIlot, electrical expert), Bill Hickle (China Lake/later Flight Systems Mojave), Lyle Shelton (TWA Pilot/Navy Reserve, Expert Air Racer), Cliff Putnam (TWA Pilot, Mechanical Expert & Crew Chief), Harry Smith (American Airlines A&P).

    Bottom left to right. Austin Cranston (Navy Navy Chief, Los Alamitos), Randy Difani (grunt), Dennis Buehn (Navy Crew Chief), George Williamson (Navy Los Alamitos), Pete Behena (American Airlines A&P, Photographer).


    Randy, since you are on here and may have a better memory of the dates, Neal was inquiring about the timeline of the events as they unfolded. I have been going through what archives we have as I can get to them and have not found Lyle's yellow 11x14 pages from 1969 yet. We have his Daytimers sorted out but they only start in 1970 from what I've been able to find.

    This thread has uncovered a lot of information and I have to dig to get at it now. My Mom is now 90 years old and can't remember what car we are in anymore, let alone what the white and purple airplane is in the pictures on the wall.

    "John -- what was the timeline of all this? When did Lyle move the kit into the hangar? When was the fuselage more or less complete? When did Putnam get his hands on the engine and when was it actually hung on the airplane?

    Neal"

    For reference.
    John,

    Unfortunately, I do not know anything about Lyle's timeline for procuring, transporting, etc. of Able Cat. I arrived on the scene approximately late spring/early summer 1969. Saw a funny airplane (first thought it was P-51) on it's gear, sans firewall forward, driving by Compton. I stopped in and this guy was cleaning/stripping a part on the ramp. I asked if he knew who owed it and he said I do...I asked if he could use help and he said yes. I didn't know anything about working on aircraft...but the rest is an amazing exciting history for me. Many many volunteers helped get Able Cat to Reno in 1969. However, the technical/mechanical spark plug/leader of the repair effort was Cliff Putnam. Also, he was a super nice guy along with all the people I worked with. Of course Lyle was traveling the country gathering up the needed parts, etc. to get Able Cat flying.

    Randy

  7. #77
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    Mar 2002
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    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Another thing I'm curious about is this exhaust system, which is apparently quite unique. There's been a lot of talk here over the years that this 2 into 1 setup was worth 200-300 horsepower, and that one of the huge mistakes by the Texans was to replace it with a more conventional system. Why did this work so well, and who came up with the design?

    Pete Behenna photo...
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  8. #78

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by wingman View Post
    Another thing I'm curious about is this exhaust system, which is apparently quite unique. There's been a lot of talk here over the years that this 2 into 1 setup was worth 200-300 horsepower, and that one of the huge mistakes by the Texans was to replace it with a more conventional system. Why did this work so well, and who came up with the design?

    Pete Behenna photo...
    I'm not sure that the exhaust system in that photo is the version that was installed during the Bearcats glory days but I'd be happy to be corrected. The good exhaust was a nightmare to work on. I can recall questioning why anyone would put together a puzzle that cantankerous and being told it was "tuned", the pipe from each cylinder would join the pipe from a cylinder preceding in the timing order to help exhaust gas scavenging and contribute a small amount of thrust. The exhaust exits also worked as a venturi (exhaust augmenter), the exhaust actually helped to cool the engine (unless part of it failed) by motivating the air under the pressure cowl to exit. That system had gone through so many heat cycles that it was almost beyond repair and anytime it was disassembled it was a nightmare to reassemble because nothing fit, nothing would line up and you'd have to start taking it apart again. With all of that said, it should've been replicated not scrapped.
    Last edited by knot4u; 11-24-2021 at 02:50 PM.

  9. #79
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    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Thank you very much for the detailed post, knot4u. I'm not an engineer, or a mechanic, so can't evaluate in detail much of the tech side of this, but what you are saying makes sense and could well explain some of what I saw over the last few years of Rare Bear racing efforts. It would be interesting to find out whether the developed system you describe does date from the beginning or from a later point in Bear history. Some of it sounds a lot like Dave Cornell thinking, but when I think of the really remarkable thinking that went in early on, like thrust line changes and that remarkable canopy I can only marvel at what these guys were doing right from the beginning.

    Stuff like this makes me glad not to be a mechanic. Thank you again for the post.

    Another Pete Behenna photograph:
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  10. #80

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    I can recall a long ago conversation in a mini van amongst friends, I was still a fairly young man and I pondered whether a female named after her mother should be called Junior? It quickly turned into an interrogation regarding my private activities, but I've still never gotten an answer to that question. If someone names their daughter after the mother can that child be considered a Junior?
    Last edited by knot4u; 11-25-2021 at 02:10 PM.

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