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Finnish RF-61F Reporter - Esko 'Roope' Halme

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Over Exposed! - Part 3: Trials at Tampere

After the RF-61F Reporter arrived at Tampere, the black underside was repainted light blue for daylight operations and green bands were added on top of the natural metal. Additionally the black spinner was repainted yellow and an 'F' was painted on the tail. The meaning of the 'F' is unknown, but it seems likely that the letter was chosen because that's what was there when the aircraft was recovered. This is the scheme that the aircraft would wear throughout much of its testing. It was somewhat unusual for Finnish aircraft at the time but harkened back to the Swedish Gladiators of F 19 that fought for Finland during the Winter War in 1940.

The primary test pilot for these trials was Esko 'Roope' Halme. Halme was one of the most experienced test pilots in Finland. Having completed 49 sorties flying Blenheims with Lentorykmentti 4 (LeR 4) during the Winter War, Halme was no stranger to multi-engine aircraft, but the Reporter would prove to be a new experience for him.

The Nortrop RF-61F Reporter was the most modern aircraft in Finland at the time. It was the faster than the Bf 109G and had a longer range than the recently-retired Ju 88. The aircraft could easily fly from Hanko to Utsjoki and back again, so the acquisition of replacement drop tanks from the US was not a priority. Eventually, the pylons would be removed altogether for normal operations, but they remained during much of the testing phase. Pilots found the aircraft to be very large, but the tricycle landing gear made it easy to handle on the ground. Despite its size, it was as maneuverable as a fighter due to its innovative spoilerons, another first for the Finns, although the Reporter lacked the fighter brakes of the P-61 fighter variants.
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anonymous's avatar
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aero3-5's avatar
Looks very good in Finnish markings and camo.
comradeloganov's avatar
Thanks! This camo is based on the Swedish Gladiators of F 19.