Three very nice shots from the "Mac" Baigent collection, courtesy of his daughter Jan.
The reverse stamp dates them as 1951.
In discussion with Dave, we think they were taken at Taieri (where Mac was based in 1951) after the TAF Mustangs had been allocated to the squadrons but before the "provincial" Otago colour scheme had been applied.
Some lovely shots there chaps! And yes, it took about 2 years before the famous "checker-board" squadron markings made their appearance. The Taieri squadron was the only one to operate P-51s for about the first year, with Whenuapai, Ohakea and Wigram getting theirs in 1952. The original factory colour scheme was bare metal for fuselage and fixed tail surfaces (plus main u/c doors), and "silver" (special aluminium finish) on wings and moveable control surfaces. Wings were of course carefully "profiled" with a type of putty to remove all imperfections, then sprayed with the finishing paint. The Vampires also received very similar factory treatment. At one point somebody suggested that it might be a good idea to finish the RNZAF Vampires in bare mental to save on re-finishing costs and manpower, but an officer "in the know" pointed out the aerodynamic problems which would be encountered with such a change. About this time it was noted that the special "profile" boards supplied with the Vampires in 1951 for assisting in re-profiling the wings could not be found! However I think they eventually came to light. Will have to look up the appropriate files if any further details required. David D
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 13, 2019 15:37:30 GMT 12
I had heard that before that P-51 wings had to be painted because if left as bare metal they were un-aerodynamic and had all sorts of trouble flying. But I was not sure whether to believe that till now.
I recall Bill Fitzharding Jones saying that he was asked by the Auckland TAF Squadron C.O. to paint a whole aircraft silver, so he did, and the pilot said the smoothness of the paint added nearly 30 mph to the aircraft, and he had the rest of the fleet painted after that. I'm sure he will have told you that story too, David?
Somewhere on here there is the painting guide for the wings which shows where they must be filled and painted. I didn't think any wings left the factory bare, it was standard to fair and paint them before delivery.
Dave and Noooby, The wings were filled and sanded smooth to ensure the laminar flow profile. The silver was there to protect the filler. All those Oshkosh/Sun and Fun machines with polished wings would fail a real judges test. Same with polished fuselages. Except for Tuskegee and a few other examples they were just natural metal