Wednesday, May 14, 2008

F me??? Well, FU too, buddy!

Have you ever wondered about the misanthropic 'FU' emblazoned proudly on PapaGolf's flanks? Judging by the number of people that have asked me about it, chances are good that you have. Heck, I asked too when I first went to "take a look," which is my code for "pretend to look for a reason not to buy this plane."

Well, as it turns out, Papa comes by his easy-to-misconstrue tattoos honourably. The simple explanation is that the US Air Force numbered F-86s with the 'FU-' followed by a three-digit integer, as can be plainly seen here:

"Sure," you say, "but what has that to do with an RV-6?" Well, the backstory there is that the builder of PapaGolf was an F-86 pilot stationed in Europe back in the '50s. He flew in the 417th Fighter Bomber Squadron under the umbrella of the 50th Fighter Bomber Wing. His squadron commander was a fella you've probably heard of, Gen. Chuck Yeager. On the tail of this plane, you can see the unit emblem that Papa has painted on his tail as well:

This the unit patch that was worn on their uniforms:

Here are a couple more photos of 417th birds that I was able to find via the Google Oracle:

Papa is missing the big yellow stripe show on this 417th F-86:

That's a bit of a shame. It's purty.

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