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Finnish RF-61F Reporter - Utti Air Races

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Over Exposed! - Part 5: A Day at the Races

While assigned to TLeLv 46, RP-999 participated in the 'Mid Summer Air Festival' held at Utti Airbase in Finland on 24 June 1950. For this airshow, an air race was planned in which four Bf 109s of HLeLv 31 marked in flashy paint schemes would race around a pylon-type track. The organizers at Utti had only intended for HLeLv 31 to race, but TLeLv 46 personnel heard about the event and decided that the RF-61F could give the Bf 109Gs a run for their money. One can't attend a costume party without a costume, however, so they set about repainting the RF-61F in markings appropriate for an air race. Given its American origins and big twin-row Pratt & Whitney radial engines, the personnel of TLeLv 46 decided to paint the left boom and wing in a scheme inspired by the Gee Bee Model R racers of the 1930s.

When the RF-61F made its unexpected appearance over Utti on the morning of the race, it soon became apparent that not everyone was thrilled with the newcomer's presence at the air show. The facilities at Tampere allowed TLeLv 46 to make a much neater job of the Reporter's scheme than HLeLv 31 was able to hand paint in the field on their Bf 109s. 'Over Exposed' had come to the party in costume, but had just made the faux pas of showing up the host

In anticipation of being allowed to compete against the the 109s marked 'A' through 'D', RP-999 had an 'E' painted on the tail, but she was not allowed to participate in the race on account of 'not having registered' beforehand. After the race, however, 'Over Exposed' was allowed to do a few laps around the pylons on its own where it beat the race times set by the 109s. While the air show was a complete success, the paint used was not temporary and TLeLv 46 was soon forced to repaint the Reporter once again.

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