Greg Shelton Airshows - The Aircraft

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The Boeing Stearman was the most widely used primary trainer for pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s.  An entire generation of pilots earned their wings on the thousands of Stearman trainers in operation at that time.  During the late 1940s a large number of these rugged airplanes were sold by the military to civilians.  Stearmans would begin uses for agricultural flying, general aviation, and would eventually become a benchmark performer at air shows and early aerobatic competitions.


Greg Shelton’s 1943 Super Stearman first served with the U.S. Navy as an N2S-3, serving as a primary trainer during World War II. It was later converted to a 450 HP crop duster in 1949.  In 1985, it was transformed into the colorful and entertaining Super Stearman that you see today.  A sponsor, Tulsa Aircraft Engines built the 450 HP Pratt & Whitney radial engine.



FM-2 Wildcat


The FM-2, officially called the Wildcat, was named the “Best Dog Fighter Below 10,000 Feet” compared to the F6F Hellcat, F4U Corsair, P-47 Thunderbolt, and P-51 Mustang.  The FM-2 was the strongest and most powerful version of the Wildcats, often referred to as the “Wilder” Wildcat. By the time the F6F Hellcat was introduced in 1943, the Wildcat had already proven itself as a viable instrument of aerial warfare. Wildcats were the primary Navy and Marine Corps fighter at the start of World War II and fought in all major battles including Wake Island, Battle of Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal. The Wildcat is best known for its contribution at the Battle of Midway and Guadalcanal. Wildcat pilot Butch O’Hare shot down five Japanese bombers that were attacking the USS Lexington during the Battle of Coral Sea, becoming the first U.S. Navy Ace of World War II.  A Wildcat is on display in his honor at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport that bears his name.  Eight Medal of Honor recipients were Wildcat pilots, more than any other fighter aircraft of World War II.  After the introduction of the F6F Hellcat, Wildcats continued to serve as a front line fighter throughout the war.  


Greg Shelton’s FM-2 Wildcat was built in 1944 and flew at NAS Alameda and San Diego in VJ-9 and VJ-12 utility squadrons towing targets for other aircraft.  It was given to a high school in Livingston, Montana in February 1946.  In 1956 it was sold and used for aerial photography.  From there it was sold from owner to owner and eventually came to be on display at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, Texas where it remained for 15 years.  In 2006, Greg purchased the Wildcat from the museum, loaded it onto a trailer, and trucked it home to his hangar in Collinsville, Oklahoma.  

 

450 Super Stearman