I have always liked World War II aircraft and wanted to feature the P-51D Mustang on a t-shirt but not just any scene would do…. I wanted it to be something different. I decided to draw the background in such a way that it would give the viewer the impression that something was different but what? The answer is the ground is overhead and the sky is below. That’s right, in reality the Mustangs are flying upside down! Keeping the blue sky above you doesn’t always work in the fighter pilot world. (Click to see my P51D Mustang design.)
The airplane in the foreground is dedicated to a P-51 fighter pilot that I knew, it bares the markings of 1st Lt. Dale Karger, reported to be World War II’s youngest ace. He is credited with shooting down 7.5 aircraft, including one ME-262 jet fighter, and destroying 4 aircraft on the ground all at the age of 19!
Lt. Karger flew with the 8th Air Force, 357th Fighter Group, in the 364th Fighter Squadron, and was based in Leiston, England; they were known as the “Yoxford Boys”. He received the Distinquished Flying Cross and 10 Air Medals.
I came to know Mr. Karger when I was young growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania. He owned and operated the local auto parts store that my brother and I frequently visited to get parts for the cars we were working on. Little did I know that he had such an amazing history, he never mentioned anything about being a pilot or flying P-51′s he just quietly went about his business, just a really nice guy. It was only after I learned to fly and saw him at the airport (he owned a Piper Arrow then) that I even knew that he could fly… but he still kept his secret! Just an average guy out at the local airport doing some “touch and goes”.
One day I was at the parts store and noticed a really cool, well worn and aged, A2 leather flight jacket hanging on the far wall behind the cash register. Wow, I had to ask where he got it…it was really neat! This is when he finally told me that it was his jacket from his earlier fighter pilot days in World War II flying P-51′s. He never bragged about his experiences, just modestly mentioned that he was WWII’s youngest ace and was in Chuck Yeager’s group, that was about it. I was utterly speachless, did I just hear what I think I heard? Yep, I sure did!
It’s funny though, he never said much more about what he did during the war and we mostly talked general aviation stuff when I was in his store, it wasn’t until many years later (thanks to the internet) that I found out about what he really did. He was that kind of guy, I guess he figured that he was a young pilot “just doing his job”.
Here is his record:
December 5, 2- FW-190′s North Berlin.
December 24, 1- ME-109 South of Kassel
January 14, 1-ME-109 Northwest of Berlin
January 20, 1-ME-262 North of Munich
March 2, .5-ME-109 Southeast of Magdeburg
March 24, 2- ME-109′s Southwest of Gutersloh
I have always been fond of the western United States and thought it would be cool to see the sites from the air. When you are talking about “the old west” what is more familiar than Monument Valley? Visions of John Wayne, wagon trains, and “westward ho” immediately come to my mind when I see photos of that part of the states. This is why I created the “High Wing Adventure” design.
We recently took a vacation to Monument Valley and Moab, Utah and decided to rent an airplane and fly over the area to see Arches and Canyonlands parks from the air.
Since we live in Florida and rarely have to deal with high elevation flying, we thought it would also be a great chance to get some dual in mountain and high density altitude flying. So off to the airport we went!
We were soon paired with an instructor and C-172 and the adventure began. What a great way to see the scenery, we flew towards the Canyonlands first, snapping pictures all along the way. I was in the back taking the photos and later I would switch and get to do some flying too.
We landed at the Needles Outpost airstrip (photo to the right) and switched seats, I flew the trip back over Arches and back to our starting point, Canyonlands Field (KCNY). What a great flight!
If you want to see more photos just browse through the photo blog on the right side bar.