The following was written by John Baker.
I had an experience yesterday [8/16/01] that I thought you would enjoy hearing about. I was returning from a local flight to the Frederick, Maryland Municipal airport in my 1946 Aeronca Chief (cruising speed about 80, landing speed about 50), when I heard a radio call from Corsair N713JT, requesting information on aircraft in the vicinity of the airport. I was on downwind, putt-putting along at about 70 mph, when I heard the call. Since my plane has no electrical system, and just a handheld radio, my radio transmissions are not easily heard. I announced that I was turning base, and shortly thereafter, that I was turning final. On final approach, I heard the Corsair again, saying he was on base leg. I touched down on the runway (a bit of a crosswind and an awful bounce on landing), rolled a couple hundred feet and turned off the runway at the first exit. That's when I heard the roar of the Corsair overhead, as he did a high speed pass right over me, a climb back to pattern altitude, and a break-off to the left for a landing approach. From our vantage point taxiing next to the runway, my 11 year-old son and I had a beautiful view of the Corsair in flight. As we taxied back to our hangar, we saw the Corsair land and taxi to the ramp.
After putting our Chief back in the hangar, my son and I walked over to the ramp where the Corsair was parked. It was Mr. Joe Tobul's F4U-4, registered as N713JT. It was there for the "Wings Over Frederick" air show to be held this weekend, August 18-19. I took some photos of the Corsair, then Mr. Tobul returned to the plane in a rental car. He pulled his baggage and flying gear out of the plane, including a Garmin 295 GPS that he uses as his primary navigation tool, (backed up with a loran). After learning that he was indeed the pilot, I apologized for getting in his way with my slow airplane. He said, "Oh that was you! I had you in my sights!" He said he had not heard my radio calls, and was surprised to see me on final approach just in front of him. He said I was not in his way since he was doing a fly-by, but was concerned that he had scared me. I explained that with my handheld radio, I can hear much better than I can transmit, so I knew he was there. He then invited both my son and I to climb up onto the wing to look into the cockpit. It's pretty original except for the radios and some instruments. The area behind the cockpit, once home to a massive radio, is now used for luggage. Mr. Tobul said the plane flew many missions in Korea. I helped him put the canopy cover on the plane. He said it leaks in heavy rain, so he put a plastic garbage bag over the radios. He was a very friendly and kind to us - I sure did appreciate that he let my son climb up to the cockpit.
John has a website devoted to Stinson and Aeronca aircraft, including his own.
Visit it at www.hangar9aeroworks.com
Sadly, on November 10, 2002, Joseph Tobul was killed while attempting a forced landing in his Corsair. He will be missed.
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