"Ole Yeller"

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The "Tex" Hill Wing is the proud recipient of a 1942 SNJ-4 "Ole Yeller", courtesy of Rich Ferguson, who donated the aircraft to the Wing. Many thanks Rich for your generosity!

Here is a brief history of our SNJ:

Ole Yeller was born in Dallas, Tx at the North American Aviation facility. She stretched her wings for her first flight on July 18, 1942. On August 10, 1942, she was transferred to the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Fl., where she was a used for pilot training. She suffered her only known injury on February 9, 1943, with a landing gear failure. 

She remained on active duty until May 2, 1949, when she was put in long term storage at Pensacola. WWII was history, and the need for pilot training slowed. But in 1951, the Korean Conflict reared its ugly head, and the United States again found itself at way. In August, 1951, Ole Yeller was reactivated and modernized in preparation for a return to service training pilot. But before she did, she was painted the bright yellow color that she still sports. That was in June of 1952. 

In August, 1953, she was transferred to the Naval Air Station at San Diego, getting ready for her first overseas duty. On September 6, 1954, Ole Yeller was shipped to Sangley Naval Station in the Philipines, where she served until August of 1956. Having completed her fourth tour of duty, she was shipped back to San Diego. 

On Spetember 11, 1956, Ole Yeller was handed over to the Aircraft Disposal Unit in San Diego for Disposition by Sale. In 1961, Rich Ferguson Sr. purchased Old Yeller, leaving her to his son upon his passing. And that is where our part of her history begins.

Until recently Ole Yeller had been hangared in San Marcos, but she was soon to be relocated to her new home at Stinson Airport, under the care of the "Tex" Hill Wing.

She had sat idle for several months, so the first order of business was to prepare her for her short flight from San Marcos to San Antonio. On Thursday, June 9th, a cadre of "Tex" Hill Wing members made the journey to San Marcos to check her out. Oil level was checked, tires were aired up, then a spin of the engine with no sparkplugs to ensure good oil pressure. Finally, the big moment: take on a load of fuel, followed by the first start. 

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Once her R1340AN-1 550 h.p. Pratt and Whitney radial smoothed out and was purring sweetly, the next step was to taxi Ole Yeller around the tarmac, checking her controls and brakes. 

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Everything checked out. She was then returned to her hangar, awaiting her flight to her new home.

This was a very exciting day for the "Tex" Hill Wing, and all who were able to be at the event were elated at the initial runup checks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 -- The big day. Old Yeller flew from her current home to her new home at Stinson Airport, arriving at 11:00 A.M. There were festivities to celebrate her arrival, including a cake and even a red carpet. 

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Ole Yeller had arrived! 

Ole Yeller to Stinson

Read the continuing story in our "Wing Blog".

 © caf "Tex" hill wing 2014 - 2017