Winged Titans of the Motoring Industry Steal Show

Read about the aircraft displayed at the Dream Machines 2011 show.

There's something to be said for the feeling of walking among cars and suddenly hearing the roar of propeller engines screaming overhead, that which belongs to planes performing stunts miles into the air.

All kinds of aircraft were at Dream Machines this year. A Douglas A-26 from 1944, a Douglas C47B, spit-fires and bombers were all on the airfield, in addition to many other makes and models.

Rick Clausen of the Stockton Field Aviation Museum was there with a PV-2D “Harpoon” that the museum had discovered in October.

“The owner sold it to someone in Clearlake and we offered to take it off their hands,” Clausen said.

The PV-2D Harpoon is a giant, with a wingspan stretching until about 686 feet, a major increase from its predecessor, the PV-1 (551 feet). Two, nine-cylinder radial engines power this “Harpoon”—one on each wing. With a fully loaded aircraft, the engines together produce a little over 4,000 horsepower, with a maximum speed of 322 mph. The PV-2D was equipped with eight forward-firing machine guns, and was used to attack ground during World War II.

The Stockton Field Aviation Museum cleaned up the “Harpoon” and it was taken to the Dream Machines show after it had been sitting for 16 years in Clearlake.

“They were going to crumple it up into beer cans, and we said, 'no',” Clausen recalled.

Dan Martin of San Jose was also there with his P-51 Mustang, a legendary fighter plane of World War II. “This particular Mustang fought with the 356 Fighter Squadron in Europe in 1945,” Martin said.

With a wingspan of about 32 feet, the P-51 Mustang was loaded with six .50 caliber machine guns, about 2,000 pounds worth of bombs, and between six and ten H.V.A.R. rockets. The engine used to fly this performance fighter is a liquid-cooled supercharged V12, producing up to about 1,700 horsepower. It can fly up to 437 mph.

When Martin bought his Mustang in 1975 in Central America, it had been in a wreck. He spent the next three years rebuilding and restoring it.

“You always dream of something you like doing,” Martin said, who achieved his dream when he rebuilt one of the most prominent fighters of World War II history.

Now Martin flys his P-51 Mustang himself, and races it in the Reno North Air races.

Dan Card of Fresno showcased his Prototype land/air aircraft, “The Mermaid.” Card handled his project in a different way than Martin and the Stockton Field Aviation Museum. He had the parts built in Czechoslovakia, and then had them shipped to California where he proceeded to put them together into a very unique and amphibious-landing aircraft.

Over the course of three years—between the years of 2005 to 2007—it took about 2,200 hours and “a very understanding wife” to build, Card said.

“The Mermaid” uses a six-cylinder engine that produces 120 horsepower.

“It's been a fun project,” Card said, “pure, unadulterated fun.”


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