FUN AIRCRAFT I OWNED WHILE WITH GENERAL SCIENTIFIC
I spent the next couple of years as Director of Electronics Engineering with the
General Scientific Corporation. Built a gorgeous brick Williamsburg type home
across from my home, Miskel Farm near Sterling, Viginia. It served as the offices and
laboratory for the electronics division of General Scientific. I received an
interesting patent while with General Scientific. Fundamentally what it described
was a "no battery remote radio transmitter" that was powered by radiating it with
radio frequency energy from a distant transmitter. All it was was two tiny crystal
diodes and a short piece (few inches) of wire for an antenna. The patent covered
the popular "Sensormatic" anti-shoplifitng devices seen in department stores around
the world. Sad to say the patent ran out before I could collect any royalties on
it. We built a number of sonobuoys for the US Navy using my principle.
I bought a twin engine Aero Commander 520 as illustrated above from a friend.
Gram and I flew it to Miami, Bimini and Nassau on vacation. I used it to commute
to Ocean City, Maryland where General Scientific was conducting a number of
microbiological battery cell tests in the Atlantic Ocean. One of my inventions was
featured in a twin full color page in the center of LIFE magazine titled, "First
Application of Micobiologically Generated Power." It showed a test tube driving
an Esaki diode which ran a crystal controlled 50 Mhz radio transmitter on the top
of the test tube. Bugs running a radio transmitter was a novelty.
Sold the Aero Commander and bought a type of 'Cavalier' customized P-51D Mustang
shown below. The fuselage fuel tank was removed and a passenger seat installed
behind the pilot. All external machine gun ports were covered with flush riveted
aluminum skin. Same was done for the rocket rails and bomb attachments. The Rolls
Royce Merlin engine's cylinder heads were milled for a higher compression ratio which
increased power output to about 1800 horsepower and required 120 octane fuel. Modern Bendix
avionics were also installed. It was a good IFR (instrument flight rules) aircraft
even though it did not have an autopilot. I flew it IFR to Florida a number of times.
High cruise speed was about 360 miles an hour. A P-51 really needs an experienced
crew chief to keep it running in top condition. Since I did not have one I finally sold it to a Vice
President of General Motors. This nut completely totalled this beautiful
aircraft by running it into a snow and ice bank at Willow Run Airport in Michigan at
about 130 miles an hour. He walked away from the crash, but the aircraft was
completely destroyed. Today, P-51s like mine are selling for $600,000 plus. I should
have put it in a barn and waited.