AirCorps Aviation: AirCorps Library

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AirCorps Aviation recently launched a paid website subscription service that gives the Warbird restorer and the enthusiast access to over 500,000 searchable micro-film drawings.  It is called AirCorps Library.

“AirCorps Library is a collection of WWII and legacy aircraft resource easily viewable in one place. The searchable drawings and blueprints, as well as design, flight, maintenance and restoration manuals, are quickly accessible at high-resolution. AirCorps Aviation’s research and effort to organize these resources for our restoration projects has led us to establish this library that you can now take advantage of as well.

The goal of the program is to provide a cost effective system for users to share resources that will help promote, preserve, and keep WWII and legacy aircraft safely flying through the 21st century.”

 

AirCorps Library has complete drawings for:

Fighters: P-51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt, Corsair, F6F Hellcat, F8F Bearcat

Bombers: B-17 Flying Fortress, B-25 Mitchell, TBM Avenger

Classics: T-6 Texan, Stearman, Grumman Duck, Howard DGA, Staggerwing, BT-13 Vultee

 

Visit: AirCorps Library and follow them on Facebook

 

Photo Credit: AirCorp Aviation/ AirCorp Library

Information Excerpted From: AirCorps Library

Collings Foundation Continues To Grow

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The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” while in service with the West Virginia Air Guard, 167th Fighter Squadron.

The Collings Foundation is continuing to expand it’s collection of WWII aircraft since it recently acquired second B-17G for their collection “Shady Lady”, a P-38L Lightning, a Bf-109 G-10, and  a second P-40 Warhawk in August 2015. (See article here) The Foundation’s North American TF-51D is nearing completion and also they recently acquired a very rare Pt-17 Stearman operated by the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.

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The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” under restoration at American Aero Services in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

The Collings Foundation’s North American TF-51D ‘Toulouse Nuts’, will be joining the National Wings of Freedom Tour in 2016.  The Collings Foundation says that their TF-51D is one of the finest restored to date, “…tens of thousands of hours went into rebuilding this fighter to ‘brand new’ condition. Every surface, rivet, wire and instrument is perfect. The 1450 hp Merlin engine looks like it just came off the factory floor”.  The Foundation’s example of the TF-51D is one of three original survivors in the world, and will be painted in its original colors, “…as a West Virginia Air Guard, 167th Fighter Squadron P-51 called ‘Toulouse Nuts’ “.  “The TF-51D model is a unique Mustang variant with a full dual cockpit and bubble canopy. Following in the footsteps of the Foundation’s beloved P-51C Mustang “Betty Jane,” the new TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” will be available for flight training during the national Wings of Freedom Tour. Imagine flying the legendary P-51 Mustang as it had just rolled out of TEMCO / North American Aviation!”

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The Collings Foundation’s newly acquired PT-17 Stearman, operated by the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.

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The Collings Foundation’s Stearman was flown by Tuskegee Institute Field Instructor James J. Hyett on several training flights during WWII.

The Foundation, also recently acquired the only flyable PT-17 Stearman operated by the Tuskegee Airmen s/n 41-25454.  The only other example is on static display in the Smithsonian.  According to the Collings Foundation, “the U.S. Army accepted the aircraft from Boeing’s Wichita Division in 1942. It was transferred to Tuskegee Institute Field, Alabama in 1943…In November, 1944 this Stearman was sent to Bush Field, Augusta where it was stricken from U.S. Army records and moved to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for sale”.  This Stearman was transferred to the Collings Foundation in 2015, after undergoing a meticulous restoration by Joseph Armstrong of Towanda, Pennsylvania to brand new condition.  The Collings Foundation plans to operate this Stearman to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and, “… to those who overcame racial discrimination and persevered against adversaries to become one of the greatest fighter pilot groups in United States history. The Tuskegee are credited with some 15,500 combat sorties and earned over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievements during WWII”.

 

Information Credit: Collings Foundation

Photo Credit: Collings Foundation

Article Written By: Thomas Reilly

Hangar 11: P-40 and Hurricane Update

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Hangar 11 Collection’s P-40M “LuLu Belle” in flight. Photo Credit: Platinum Fighters Sales

The Hangar 11 Collection based out of North Weald in the UK recently listed their pristine examples of the Hawker Hurricane IIb and Curtiss P-40M for sale through Platinum Fighters Sales.  Although this is a big surprise for Warbird enthusiasts in the UK, Peter Teichman at the Hangar 11 Collection explained that,  “it isn’t a quick process to sell aircraft of this type, so I am not counting on any disruption to our 2016 season. We are very relaxed sellers and are under no pressure until the right home is found for the P40 and Hurribomber”.  Mr. Tiechman said that the reason for the sale was in order to focus their resources toward the completion of their rare MK IX Russian Spitfire PT879, which the collection needs hangar space for.  Since Mr. Tiechman began the Hangar 11 Collection in 1999, not only has he amassed an impressive collection of Warbirds, but a collection that has set the standard of high quality restorations.  The Warbird Watcher will keep you up to date as more information becomes available and as the futures of the collection’s Hurricane and P-40 are decided.

Credit: Hangar 11 Collection and Platinum Fighters

Article Written By: Thomas Reilly

72 Years Ago-A Higher Call

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72 years ago today- Famous meeting between German pilot Franz Stigler and the crew of B-17F ‘Ye Old Pub’. Despite the B-17 being damaged Stigler refused to shoot it down, and instead escorted them to safety.

A Terror of the Pacific, Hellcat Pilot Lt. Bill Gorden

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Lt. Bill Gorden in his Navy dress whites. Photo Credit: MAAM

Many of us remember where we were when we heard that the World Trade Center Towers fell in Manhattan. The Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was a similar event for the Americans who came to be known as the Greatest Generation. Bill Gorden was 18 years old when he heard President Roosevelt announce to the nation, that the United States had been attacked for the first time since the War of 1812. Mr. Gorden knew that, being of military age, he had two options; to wait for the draft; or, to enlist in the service. He chose the Navy Air Corps, and was taken into training by the Navy in February of 1942. He was sent to a school in Worcester, Ohio, where he spent six weeks learning basic navy skills such as communicating with ships. He did not receive a uniform until almost three weeks into his training, due to a shortage at the time.

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USS Hancock Photo Credit: MAAM

After Basics school, Mr. Gorden was accepted into training as a Naval aviator and began his flying in the Navy at the controls of Piper Cubs and Aeroncas while he was stationed in Kalamazoo for about four weeks. Following his first taste of flying he was transferred to Iowa where he went through preflight and primary flight school flying Navy Stearmans. Upon completion of this training, he was stationed at NAS Corpus Christi where he flew the North American SNJ, the Navy version of the famous T-6 Texan. While at Corpus Christi, the main focuses were formation flying, communications with flags from the cockpit, and bombing and shooting practice. Mr. Gorden received his instrument training in the SNJ in Beeville, Texas. After completing his training, he received his wings at Corpus Christi, and was ready to take the controls of a frontline fighter. He picked up his F6F Hellcat in Daytona Beach, Florida. Mr. Gorden flew his Hellcat for about three weeks, and practiced the skills necessary to land on an aircraft carrier on land. Shortly after he successfully made his first trap on an aircraft carrier in his Hellcat. With some time off to briefly visit his family in Detroit, he received orders to report to San Diego and was assigned to squadron VF-7.

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An F6F Hellcat on final approach to the USS Hancock CV-19 in 1944 Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Upon shipping out aboard the U.S.S. Hancock, CV-19, and Essex Class Aircraft Carrier, Mr. Gorden spent the last 6 months of the war flying strafing, escort, and bombing missions in the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan. The tactic that they used was to pursue Japanese planes and do their best to get home themselves. Mr. Gorden had countless close calls and had hits on his aircraft, but was never shot down during his time in the Pacific Theater. At the conclusion of the war, Mr. Gorden left the Navy, and rejoined and was a part of the Navy Reserves as a “Weekend Warrior” shortly after. In the reserves he flew Hellcats on the weekend for four years where he and his squadron worked on bombing, strafing and formation flying. When Mr. Gorden moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, he was forced to resign from his squadron at the rank of Lieutenant. Shortly after his retirement, The United States became embroiled in Korea. He had a family to raise but he seriously considered signing up again before his squadron, VF-7 shipped out to Korea. Mr. Gorden has not taken the controls of an aircraft since.

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A Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat from VF-7 making and emergency landing after takeoff from the USS Hancock on July 6, 1944 Photo Credit: crash-aerien.news

Mr. Gorden is one of the finest examples of the Greatest Generation, who answered his country’s call in one of its greatest times of need. He fought against the Japanese during their most vicious point in the War as they were being pushed back to mainland Japan. Mr. Gorden is a true American hero. Upon questioning him about whether or not he and his squadron mates knew that they were a part of history , he stated, “you just wanted to keep someone from killing you (and just) think about what you needed to do”. The heroes response…

 

 

Interview and Article By: Thomas Reilly

A Great Tribute to the B-17 Flying Fortress and Her Crews

Doc’s Kickstarter Campaign A Success

100docDoc’s Friends have announced that they have secured the necessary funding to complete their newly restored B-29’s flight testing.  As of October 22, 2015 over $140,000 out of the necessary $137,500 for flight testing has been pledged by almost 800 backers on Kickstarter.  With over $60,000 pledged in two days.  Doc’s Friends expressed their thanks to their supporters by saying “We DID IT: Words cannot express the excitement and gratitude felt by our team right now.”  With a week still remaining, all pledges over the goal will go towards maintaining Doc as a flying museum. Visit: Doc’s website and Facebook page for more information

Photo Credit: Doc’s Friends

Help B-29 “DOC” Take to the Skies

imageB-29 44-69972, better know as Doc has undergone a 15 year restoration that has included over 300,000 man hours to complete, after sitting abandoned in the California desert for 42 years.  Doc’s first engine run took place in early September 2015.  Now Doc’s Friends need to raise the necessary funds in order for Doc to complete her flight testing.  The cost of the flight testing is $137,500.  In order to facilitate in the fundraising process Doc’s Friends has started a Kickstarter page, which gave them 30 days to raise the necessary funds.doc3

As of October 3, 2015 there are 26 days remaining in the fundraising period and Doc’s Friends has raised a total of over $30,000 with 300 backers.  In order for Doc’s Friends to receive the money for flight testing they must completely fund their project.  Please help Doc’s Friends to complete their flight testing and get another B-29 back in the sky.

Visit Doc’s Friends Kickstarter Page to Donate and Website For More Information

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Photo Credit: Doc’s Friends

Airshow in Nîmes France

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The Warbird Watcher would like to thank our friend Fesquet Luc for the amazing pictures!

Curtiss P-40E 41-13570

p-40e41-13570This P-40E is headed to Pioneer Aero in New Zealand for restoration work.  Pioneer Aero has announced that it will be arriving at their shop in mid September.

Some information on the recovery and condition of this P-40E from lend lease aircraft: “The P-40E was recovered from its watery grave of 55 years on 31 August 1997. Although the lake was relatively shallow, the aircraft was brought to the surface using flotation gear and gradually brought to the shore. In shallower water the tail plane and fin were removed along with the ammunition boxes and covers to the wings. The P40-E seemed remarkably complete and well-preserved.  The only effects from the water seemed to be corrosion to the ferrous elements. For example, the metal handles for the ammunition boxes had rusted away. Likewise, the magnesium cam covers and items on the rear of the Allison engine had literally dissolved to nothing. The wheel hubs that appeared to have been protected more by the silt looked to be intact and the tires were still inflated.”

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Information Sources and Photo Credits:

http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/english/articles/sheppard/p40recovery/

Pioneer Aero