Ray Hylan.
by Gloria L. Santucci
     These photographs are of the last Boeing of the famous F4B/P-12 series. Some 586 of these airplanes were built for military and export from 1928 through 1933. Of this series, the F4B4 was the best known and liked American military airplane.
     Out of this total only this one, Serial No. 9241, survives in airworthy condition and it enjoys the distinction of closing the era of the biplane fighter aircraft that served the U.S. in the thirties. Some of the F4B4's were on reserve duty at the time of Pearl Harbor.
     No. 9241 led a aregimentary life until it was acquired by Ray Hylan of the Hylan Flying Service, Rochester, N.Y. in 1942. It became the only privately owned F4B4 and was given CAA certification with the number NR9329. As operator of the Lafayette School of Aeronautics, Lafayette, Louisiana,
Ray Hylan.
     Boeing NR 9329 at Utica Airport, 1944. (NR then was C.A.A. designation for restricted aircraft.) Fuselage stripe is broken where "moosehead" was removed. Speed ring was red, sunbursts black and rest white.
Ray Hylan.      Ray Hylan used the airplane to put on a display of aerobatic flying for each graduation class of this military primary flight school. Then the airplane was painted all white with a sun-burst wing design of black and red. Who can forget Ray rolling the F4B4? In low pitch, it seemed that the roar of the engine would shater windows!
     The airplane was often hangared and serviced at Hylan's flying school at Utica, New York. There, between shows, the airplane was flown aerobatically by Albert (Red) Panella.
     After World War II, Ray Hylan had the airplane painted red with white trim and flew No. 9241 at public airshows. The flying was always superb and spectacular. The combination of this red biplane and the
roar of its engine as it flew by the crowd summed up all the romance of the biplane at the airshows. Hylan and his F4B4 were always a great attraction.
     In the fall of 1949, after engine trouble at an airshow at Buffalo, N.Y., the airplane was ferried to Hylan Airport at Rochester and was never flown again. Many people and many offers came to Ray Hylan for his unique airplane. But being a man of aviation, he listened only when the Smithsonian Institution asked to
Ray Hylan.      Red Panella and Herb Rumble prepare to remove "moose head" which identified Ray (Moose) Hylan as ownere and pilot of No. 9241
have the Boeing. In March 1959 Ray donated the airplane to the National Aircraft Collection of the museum.      In August 1961 the airplane's restoration to its present state was completed at the Naval Air Material Center. Ray Hylan.      Albert (Red) Panella with the Boeing F4B4 at Utica Airport in 1945.

 
Ray Hylan.
     This is the F4B4 with Ray getting ready to be moved to Pensacola for restoration by the naval air museum. It was moved there because the new air & space museum in DC. was not yet completed, This is around 1959 as I remember
Ray Hylan.      This is the finished product in Marine colors. After a few years it was moved to National Air and Space museum in DC and repainted in Navy colors. About ten years ago it was moved again to the new museum out at Dulles.

 
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