This was Max Hoffman's "Boomer" at Reno during the late 70's.
While I was a student during the 70's at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, I had the pleasure of talking with the owner of "Boomer", Max Hoffman several times as I was learning to fly with the university flying club. Boomer was based at Valley Airpark in Fort Collins and I was able to get an up close and personal look at the aircraft several times. Max was always gracious and willing to share his knowlege of the aircraft with me. Max was a colorful character and enjoyed doing some showing off in his P-51, which caused him to get written up by the governor of Wyoming when Max buzzed the CSU football stadium during a Colorado State/Wyoming football game.
Man I did a search on my Grandpa's P-51 I and found this, its pretty crazy. He also won best of show at Oshkosh In '76 for one of his P-40's. So I figured I should post my response.
Max Hoffman was my father, he unfortunately died in an air crash in 1986. That shot was taken at the 1979 Reno race. That is actually me in the cockpit doing an engine run after changing out a bad magneto.
Fabulous memory for me! Also great to see my son Erik had seen this and posted a thought as well, I love it. Thanks for posting this.
Thanks for posting, max was a great man! He always took time to explain things he was working on when I would see him with Boomer. Fortunately I have been able to view the rebuilt Boomer a few years back after it was destroyed in s fire, I think max would be proud
Mike - I remember your Dad well from the Canadian Warplane Heritage days in the late 70's early 80's. He and my Dad, Dick Foote knew each other well as my Dad had a P-51 for many years. I used to fly in the shows with myDad in my T-6 or one of our Tora planes and he flew his Wildcat. I'll never forget sitting in the grass one night at the CWH show along with your Dad and just having a great conversation about how fortunate we were to fly these great airplanes and how much I reminded him of you. He spoke so proudly of you. He was a very great guy -a true "Man's Man" that belied a very sensitive, kind man underneath. Glad to have been able to share this with you. Robin
I moved to Fort Collins around 1980 or 1981. I new Max's plane was out at the Fort Collins/Loveland airport. I looked him up in the local phone book and asked if I could go and walk around his plane. He was very nice and said that was fine, just don't get on or in the plane. At that time Stump Jumper was parked next to Boomer, and there was a P-40E that I can't remember the N number, but no shark teeth and a drop tank. Later at the same airport the soon to be Aluminum Overcast was parked.
At the downtown airpark, at various times, were a couple of different P-51's, N167F being one of them. That was parked out back of Daryl Skurich's Vintage Aircraft. Now the downtown airpark is gone and you can't even get close to the tarmac at the Fort Collins/Loveland airport. But they were great memories!
Mike, memories of ski trips and Boomer at Fort Collins. At one point there was a pic of Boomer hanging in the Smithsonian.
Cheryl L Hoffman
Wow - I just found this today after running into a friend of my Dad's in Texas. I have a few tears in my eyes. Erik is my nephew, Mike is my brother and Max was my Dad. These memories are amazing. My story was Dad flying me back to Colorado to see an Elton John concert in 1976 - pulling a few Gs and into the sunset over the Rockies. He made me attend a famiy reunion in Kansas, and I thought I was going to miss the concert for family. He made sure I got to do both!! It is a great loss that my children never got to know him or this kind of flying.
Mike and Cheryl this Stacy your cousin in Kansas. I sure would like to touch base with you guys and see how everyone is doing. Erik if you see this will you please tell your dad to email me? Thank you.
Keith R Forrest
Back in the late 70's I was taking flight lessons from my brother at the Ftc lvd airport which at the time I think the FBO was owned by Max. I spent a lot of time there and got to talk to Max a fair amount. He was a real down to earth guy and easy to talk to. One day I asked what it would take to get a flight in the Boomer just in passing, he replied" Go grab a couple of parachutes out of my office" I don't know how many people get to ride for over an hour of aerobatics in a P-51 but it is a memory I will never forget for as long as I live. When I heard about Max's accident I didn't know how or who to send condolences to but hopefully this will suffice. I remember Mike flying what I remember was a T-34 and seeing him around the airport. I have thought of Max and the Boomer often, Max even gave me a small artist drawing of Boomer that I still treasure. A really great guy, the world could use a lot more like him.
I am Warren Eaton’s Son. Grant Eaton. Former Owner of T-28 D Fennec N9102Z back when Max was still alive. also based at Ft. Collins/ Loveland Colorado when my father flew it for Colorado State University’s High Altitude Atmospheric Research Program.
My father and step mother bought it from the University when the cloud seeding program was suddenly cut after the 1st Big Thompson Flood.. My father owned a High Altitude Photography Company based in Greeley, Ft. Collins Downtown Airpark and Loveland Colorado.
We flew it along with Max in his P-51 “Boomer” at air shows.
We hung out at Darrels doing maintenance and rebuilding Warbirds.
I flew with Max several times as he was among the few my dad trusted around me.
For awhile my dad worked for Max as well.
We also used to own Cessna 180 N3655C.
Both planes where used for my fathers Aviation Photography Businesss
It was bought from the previous owner at the Ft. Collins Downtown Airpark
I knew Max from the late 1960’s through until his death.
I was also friends with “Chuck “ Easton of Easton’s Crop Dusters out at Lasalle, Colorado.
My father flew skydivers back then based at the Easton Airfield in both our plane and a C-182 owned by Chuck.
Chuck passed after complications caused by the chemicals after a crop dusting accident he had before his death.
His older son Robert and I are friends but don’t talk much.
Because our last name is so close many thought we was all related.
Chuck used to own and fly a TBM Avenger himself.
He was a wild character and yet just like R.A.Bob Hoover was also a perfect gentleman.
Bob Hoover let me run his P-51 at Oshkosh Only because Max and my father vouched for me.
Max and my father and my brother and myself flew together from Oshkosh back to Ft. Collins after a show.
Boomer had a slower cruise speed then my fathers T-28 because ours was a Fennec with the bigger Powerplant..
It also had a higher service ceiling then Boomers.
It is now owned by a pilot in New Hampshire I think.
I can tell you many tales of Max and others back then.
Max sold Boomer and then later bought it back and kept it at Ft.Collins/ Loveland Airpark then along with our Warbird. He would always call us on the radio when he was rolling or climbing out as our home was just northwest of the Loveland Airpark close to Windsor.
Grant Eaton 386-561-1181
Adding to my older brother's telling;
I remember Boomer doing wild aerobatics over the great plains -just like Art Scholl- backflipping flat-spinning stalling tumbling and lots of rapid rolls...
I then met him while Darrell was making the XP-51 and Max had a brakes failure in this, my Dad and Grant went out with the F-250 and lassoed Boomer's tail with a rope tied to the front to stop it as he was too low on fuel to risk any alternate airport. Later I'd see him fly his other warbirds out of Ft.collins-Loveland, and was so enthused I had Grant make each of them for me in 1/32nd scale (very accurately)... Now there are decal sets for this available!