1969 was a very good year. The Archies (Sugar Sugar) were at the top of the charts. Ford/Mercury was cleaning up the tracks at NASCAR; so much in fact that Richard Petty left his long tenure with MoPar in oder to get himself behind the wheel of one of those track burning modified Torino Talladegas. And I was turning 18.
In Case You’re Wondering, That’s Petty, Not Me!
There was another burner on the loose — a guy from Windsor, Ontario, named Billings (http://www.spitcrazy.com/jerrybilling.htm) who was burning up tracks in the sky flying Dale Robertson’s WWII Spitfire (MK923) at airshows. Billings knew a thing or two about Spits, having flown one over Normandy on D-Day.
In 1969 I had the honor of guarding MK923 as it sat on the apron at Niagara Regional Airfield where it flew mock dogfights with a P-51 Mustang owned by American Rockwell. What an amazing privilege and a great vantage point from which to watch the show!
The video below is more recent, and actually two different aircraft (“my” Spitfire was retired and the Mustang destroyed in a crash many years ago) but the feeling is much the same. Though both aircraft are similar and sport almost identical Merlin V12 super-charged engines, differences in aerodynamics produces an entirely different sound from each. Fans of either will know their plane by its signature sound. See if you can tell the difference.