As we mentioned last week with our progress report on their Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress, Desert Rat, the Vintage Aviation Museum recently acquired a rare Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon naval attack aircraft. The Harpoon served in the US Navy as Bu.37276. In 1954, the Navy retired the Harpoon to their storage yard in Lichfield Park, Arizona. Here she gathered dust for three years before a man named John Rosenthal acquired her in August, 1957, and placed the aircraft on the civilian registry as N7272C. The Harpoon bounced between a number of different owners in the following decades, receiving a conversion into a crop sprayer with a hopper in the fuselage, and spray bars on the wings. This aircraft worked hard for a living, but hasn’t flown in over a decade. She currently sits alongside a couple of other hulks at Johnson County Airport in Buffalo, Wyoming, as part of a now long-dormant aerial spraying fleet.
Vintage Aviation Museum members recently visited the airframe, and took the rudders to Salt Lake City, Utah. They hope to recover the control surfaces over the winter, and prepare the Harpoon for a 2018 ferry flight to their base in Woods Cross, Utah (just outside of Salt Lake City).
As the museum states… Once she is safely at Woods Cross we plan to go thru her nose-to-tail and get her ready for some events in 2018, so we can share a piece of history with the public. Some of this work includes removing the old spray tank that is still inside the fuselage, as well as the spray bars that are still mounted to the underside of the wings.
Currently, there are only three airworthy Harpoons in the entire world, so getting 37276 flying again will be a significant feat. The museum has nicknamed this powerful, majestic beast of an aircraft, Bad to the Bone and recently received a message from Christina Olds, daughter of legendary WWII ace General Robin Olds, on why she feels that Bad To The Bone should be returned to flight.
“The Vintage Aviation Museum has taken on a profoundly important and challenging project: the restoration of a recently acquired and rare WWII era Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon. Aircraft are living monuments to history. They memorialize their crews and missions in a way no plaque, sculpture, photograph or video can possibly match. The return to flying condition of this Harpoon will educate and inspire all who witness it, both on the ground and in the air. It will be only the fourth airworthy Harpoon in the world, so please join us in our effort to return her/it skyward.”
We share Christina Olds views about this Harpoon, and believe she should fly again for all of the same reasons. If you would like to help the Vintage Aviation Museum get Bu.37276 back in the air again, please contact them HERE to find out how. The organization also has a web store with some cool products to buy HERE as well.