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What is/are the "Holy Grail(s)" of warbird restorations?

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Zack Baughman
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#1 Posted: 10/21/2010 16:22:54

Just to spur some discussion, what do you think is/are the Holy Grail(s) of potential aircraft restorations in the warbird world?  To kick it off, I would suggest that the Republic P-43 Lancer would be one.  I've read about rumors of surviving parts here and there, but as far as I know, there is not a complete airframe anywhere in the world.  What a sight that would be to have a P-35, P-43, and P-47 all together at an airshow!  I guess we could take it a step further and discuss "Holy Grails"  of potential warbird discoveries as well (such as Glenn Miller's Norseman or something similar).  What are some others? 

 



EAA Timeless Voices Program Coordinator & Museum Collections Assistant "Let No Story Go Untold!"
Zack Baughman
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#2 Posted: 10/22/2010 08:42:47

Just to clarify, I'm interested in the restorations or discoveries that have NOT happened yet. 



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Craig Cantwell
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#3 Posted: 10/22/2010 10:04:58

Enough parts to put a PBM-5A, a B-32 and a P-66 back in the air.



Zack Baughman
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#4 Posted: 10/25/2010 16:39:30

I know there's at least one PBM-5A in existence at the Pima Air & Space Museum.  I have no idea what condition it is in, but if the money were available it could probably be restored to flying condition (which brings up a whole other argument/discussion about preservation and restoration of rare examples of aircraft).  I don't know that there are any surviving parts for a B-32, and I know there are no airframes hidden out there.  That's an awfully big airplane to try and build from a dataplate or scratch.  I have no clue about P-66 survivors or wrecks, or even if any parts exist.  It's be a neat airplane to see on the warbird circuit though! 

Any others come to mind? 

 



EAA Timeless Voices Program Coordinator & Museum Collections Assistant "Let No Story Go Untold!"
Hal Bryan
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#5 Posted: 10/26/2010 08:10:14

The first extinct airframe that comes to my mind would be the FW-200 Condor - I'd love to see one of those come back to life, in either Luftwaffe or Lufthansa colors ...

 

A flying Supermarine Attacker would be very cool - I know of one at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton:

File:Supermarine Attcker FB.2 WP290 ST812 1831 Sqn STN 25.02.56 edited-2.jpg

And my all-time favorite jet fighter, the F-86. The type itself is fairly common, but two-seat versions (which would make a check-out that much easier for me! ) are extinct, so far as I know:

File:NAA TF-86 transonic trainer.jpg

 

 



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Craig Cantwell
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#6 Posted: 10/26/2010 11:27:23

I've known about Pima's PBM for a lot of years. It's Navy owned, so there is absolutely zero chance it will ever have an engine turn over again, much less fly. They could have had a second one, but due to some stupidity on an attempt by a Navy salvage team, the effectively destroyed the airframe.

  As to the B-32, there are a couple of nose turrets and one outboard wing panel still in existence. It would be a major undertaking, work and $ wise, but could be done.

 The only possible location of some P-66 parts would be the area of northern India/Pakistan, where the US was assembling the aircraft and training the Chinese pilots during the war. I've heard rumors of two airframes that were shipped back to the factory for repairs, but were not  repaired and they got surplused. In chasing the rumors for nearly 25 years now, I've never talked to anyone that had, or knows anyone that has seen them,. There is also the rumble that someone in California has been working on a scratch built reproduction, but likewise, for all the years I've been chasing it, no hard evidence so far.

 It wouldn't be a super complicated aircraft to build, other than the several oddball extrusions that would be required. And, before anyone jumps on the idea, BT-13/15 parts do not interchange with P-66 parts, with the exception of some interior controls and ancillary items, such as instruments, radio boxes and the like. If the P-66 had been built according to the original plan, they would have, but by the time it went onto production, virtually nothing was common.

 

Lots of fun thoughts and droolings....



Orval Fairbairn
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#7 Posted: 10/28/2010 22:19:40

A couple:

1. Brewster Buffalo

2. Curtiss-Wright CW-21B

A friend (now deceased) got to fly the CW-221B in China and LOVED it! I understand that a flight of four crashed in the Chinese mountains and tat the wreckage is probably still there.

3. Martin B-10/B-12 There is supposedly a wreck of a B-12 off the end of the runway at the old Hamilton AFB, in CA. I have never seen it, so ti si probably nothing but a nameplae by now.

4. Curtiss P-36 One is flying in Europe, in French colors.



Mike Dean
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#8 Posted: 10/29/2010 07:00:53 Modified: 10/29/2010 07:07:37

For me it would be the Douglas A-20 Havoc. A major weapon of WWII, flown by the U.S., the British, and Russians. Played a big part in the lead up to D-Day.

I know Kermit has one. Maybe two. But they need restoration. I've also heard of one being restored in... Pennsylvania, I think. But I don't know how far along they are with it. There is one, in flying conditon, in Texas. But they don't fly it any more, due to it's rarity. And, of course, there's the one in the Air Force Museum, in Dayton. But that's mostly a "cosmetic" restoration.

We had a former Havoc pilot - 12th AAF, 47th BG(Lt), 86th BS - in our office, who retired a couple years ago. Jim is a modest and quiet man, with a seriously odd sense of humor (loves the pun), and a lovely wife. Katie was an army nurse, and with one of the first groups into the concentration camps after liberation.

Jim loves to reminisce about the war years, and the A-20. The one thing he doesn't talk about much, is his Silver Star. Awarded for actions he took while leading a mission over Italy. (He doesn't think it was all that big a deal.)

Jim suffered congestive heart failure last spring and is now on 24hr oxygen. I don't want to say he's close to leaving us, but I sure would love for him to get one more look at the plane he loves, in the air, while there is still time.

(If anyone has one, and is listening, the home field is Burlington, WI - BUU. Please give me a couple hours notice before you drop in. thumbsup)

 



Louis Knapp
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#9 Posted: 10/30/2010 00:33:42

I second the PBM.  I'd love to see one of those flying, since that's what my Dad flew in WWII....Louis



Hal Bryan
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#10 Posted: 11/3/2010 15:04:23 Modified: 11/3/2010 15:05:14

(Reposting for Adam Smith - the page he'd pasted in earlier was redirecting our entire site through the Internet Archive. )

Me163 flying replica!   XCOR have the engines, just needs someone to build an airframe.  However, I have been saying this for ten years now, maybe it's time to put up or shut up!

Edit... click the image below for info from the Internet Archive of the XCOR website about their 163 Project:


Me163_v03.jpg

 

 



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Bob Gish
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#11 Posted: 11/3/2010 20:55:52

For me it would have to be the Red Barons DR-1. They had a steel fuselage, right? Just imagine someone had dragged the remains (of the plane, not the Red Baron) into a barn where they were discovered 90 years later!

That would be the holy grail, a very rare and famous plane with a connection to a famous pilot.

Does anyone know what happened to the wreck? My guess is all of the parts were salvaged to keep other planes flying.

 



Zack Baughman
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#12 Posted: 11/4/2010 08:47:19
Bob Gish wrote:

 

For me it would have to be the Red Barons DR-1. They had a steel fuselage, right? Just imagine someone had dragged the remains (of the plane, not the Red Baron) into a barn where they were discovered 90 years later!

That would be the holy grail, a very rare and famous plane with a connection to a famous pilot.

Does anyone know what happened to the wreck? My guess is all of the parts were salvaged to keep other planes flying.

 

 

Hi Bob.  Manfred von Richthofen managed to land the DR.1 he was flying when he was shot down (most likely by ground fire and NOT by Canadian ace Arthur "Roy" Brown, but that's another discussion altogether).  From everything I have read, it was largely ripped apart by souvenir hunters, many of whom belonged to the company of Australian machine gunners thought to have shot the Red Baron down.  I know of three "pieces" that survive in museum collections: the engine is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London; the control stick is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra; and the seat and a chunk of structure are displayed at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto.  I want to say the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton has a small piece of the plane too, but I can't be sure if my memory is correct on that one.  It wouldn't surprise me at all, and I'd even wager that there are other pieces of the plane still in private hands passed down from generation to generation.  I seriously doubt they'd ever come together in any kind of restoration though (but it'd sure be a sight to see!). 

Zack

 

 



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Brian Von Bevern
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#13 Posted: 11/5/2010 12:12:46

How about a Ju-87 Stuka?  Iconic symbol of early WW2, and it'd be a cool/scary/evocative airshow act to have it come screaming down from 10,000 feet with the sirens blaring...



Brian V
Robert Dingley
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#14 Posted: 11/6/2010 11:35:32 Modified: 11/6/2010 11:39:22
Brian Von Bevern wrote:

 

How about a Ju-87 Stuka?  Iconic symbol of early WW2, and it'd be a cool/scary/evocative airshow act to have it come screaming down from 10,000 feet with the sirens blaring...

 

Brian, I am with you on the Stuka. Mid 70's, a fellow from Mississippi brought his 2/3 Stuka replica to the Blue Angels air show across town at NAS Pensacola. It was everything you are imagining and more. I recently was shoving things around the shop and found my old July,1967 Sport Aviation with a feature article on this builder with pictures of the project under construction. BTW, the Blues are again having their annual Homecoming airshow in a few days Nov 11 to 13 at the NAS. Always awesome. And they always roll their old stuff out of storage.

Now about that PBM. Our National Museum of Naval Aviation here does not have one of those, but does have a P5M parked outside. This is the tallest airplane that I have ever seen and I believe that a PBM could be parked under its wing.

Bob

 

 



Zack Baughman
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#15 Posted: 11/8/2010 14:59:26

One of the Holy Grails was just pulled from Lake Michigan this morning - a Vought F4U-1 Corsair with a BIRDCAGE canopy!!!  http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/corsair-lake-michigan-waukegan-106904213.html

Look for an EAA story on this later this week, complete with some FANTASTIC photos from an EAA member who was on the scene. 



EAA Timeless Voices Program Coordinator & Museum Collections Assistant "Let No Story Go Untold!"
Zack Baughman
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#16 Posted: 11/9/2010 07:18:15

And here is the EAA story on the birdcage Corsair recovered from Lake Michigan yesterday (with an excellent photo gallery by EAA member David Staffeldt):  http://www.eaa.org/news/2010/2010-11-08_corsair.asp

Zack

 



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Robert Dingley
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#17 Posted: 11/16/2010 10:26:32
Zack Baughman wrote:

 

And here is the EAA story on the birdcage Corsair recovered from Lake Michigan yesterday (with an excellent photo gallery by EAA member David Staffeldt):  http://www.eaa.org/news/2010/2010-11-08_corsair.asp

Zack

 

 

More video from WEAR tv3 in Pensacola. Interview with the curator and the barnacle pickers. This link will not last for long.

Bob

http://www.weartv.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wear_vid_12169.shtml