Jim was working for Disney Productions flying the corporate Gulfstream back then and doing part time flying for Frank Tallman and Paul Mantz. He did a bunch of the flying in Mad Mad Mad world. That is when there was flying in movies. Much cheaper to turn on a computer than fuel up a plane and pay a pilot.
I was lucky enough to have Frank Tallman as my first instructor as a little kid. Since my family had been involved in the "Mad World" movie, Tallman related a story to me about how there had been no film in the camera when he flew the Beech through the sign. The sign had been built out of balsa wood and paper. But they ran out of balsa and the crew built it out of "real" wood the second time. The reason that the movie scene ends (cut away to another shot) so fast after that stunt is that in another second you would have seen the Beech nearly destroyed with pieces coming off of it.
We saw Red Tails tonight. IMHO it did not do the pilots or their story justice. I am not checked out to fly the P-51, P-40, BF-109 or ME-262, however I believe I can say with some reasonable authority that none of their turning and looping radius is as small as a long-wing Taylorcraft or 450 Stearman, particularly at 450 MPH and FL300. I also don't think that every B-17 shot down over Europe took a hit to the starboard wing root and folded the burning wing up and over the fuselage, in exactly the same way as that one famous photo of a B-24 dying that way.The attention to detail on the CGI models of the aircraft is awesome, but the flight maneuvers were not accurate for any pilot in the audience.
They took an important part of American history, and a source of great pride to the black community, and turned it into a rather weak "pop" movie. I would have expected this from lesser moviemakers, but George Lucas should know better and should have taken his position as "steward" of this story more seriously. It is a good movie, but not a very good or great movie which is what they deserved. IMHO Spielberg would have done it right, perhaps with less visual pizazz and CGI detail, but his film would have had a soul that was closer to the truth.