2017 In Review Through Warbirds News’ Top Articles

2017 has been another great year for warbirds, with many significant events and first flights taking place. We at WarbirdsNews have endeavored to keep our readers informed of as many developments as possible, with exclusive reports of major milestones in the warbird and aviation museum community. Although we couldn’t cover everything, it has been a remarkable year of growth for us here too culminating with our merger with Warbird Digest Magazine. We are always looking for new leads, as well as writers/photographers who are able to provide coverage. With your help, we can have an even better 2018, and be sure not to miss any important first flight this year! Below are some of the highlights from 2017…

January

Glenn H. Curtiss Museum P-40 Restoration

In August 2011, the Restoration Shop at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum purchased the remnants of three P-40 Warhawks, one of which is being restored to display condition. Two of the aircraft were originally recovered from a Florida swamp just off the Suwannee River after a mid-air collision in 1945, while the third crashed at St. Simon Island around the same time. Although it will never fly again, it’s mechanical systems will be functional. The P-40 will be displayed in a flight attitude with the allowance for someone to sit in the cockpit and work the controls for flaps, landing gear, lights, and other systems. The Allison V-1710 V-12 will be re-installed in the aircraft. Click HERE to read the full article.

Air Mobility Command Museum Rescues C-119

An early photo of the 314th Troop Carrier Group’s Fairchild C-119B Flying Boxcar 48-352 operating from a base in South Korea during 1953. This is the same C-119 that was transported to the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for restoration and display. (Courtesy photo)

A true piece of American history that sat in the Mojave Desert for decades and was slated for scrapping now has a new home at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Delaware. A C-5M Super Galaxy, operated by the 709th Airlift Squadron, and an AMC Museum team traveled to Edwards Air Force Base, California between December 16th and 19th, 2016, to transport portions of Fairchild C-119B Flying Boxcar 48-0352 “Am Can Co Special” to the AMC Museum at Dover AFB for restoration and display. Click HERE to read the full article.

February

CAF Dixie Wing P-63A Flies!

The beautiful silhouette of the Bell P-63 Kingcobra. (Photo by John Willhoff)

After more than 40 years since it’s last flight, 16 years of restoration (interrupted by the Mississippi River flood of 1993) and countless man hours by the dedicated volunteers at the CAF Dixie Wing, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing Bell P-63A-6 Kingcobra 42-68941 flew for the first time on Saturday February 18th, 2017. Just after 1300hrs local time, pilot Jim Dale took off from Atlanta Regional Airport, home of the Dixie Wing.  Click HERE to read the full article.

March

B-17 “Desert Rat” Taking Shape

The effort to restore the B-17E Flying Fortress known as Desert Rat has come a long way in recent years. Once a “mystery Boeing in a barn,” the project has since teamed up with the Vintage Aviation Museum. The VAM also holds title to an earlier B-17C model which, in addition to the “Rat,” they will restore to the air. With these plans to fly two B-17 models not currently gracing the skies, the VAM has a unique and inspiring mission. Click HERE to read the full article.

April

‘Just Jane’ Re-Finish Completed

The crew of “Just Jane” has accomplished quite a chunk of work this past year. When we last checked in, the Lincolnshire folks were in the process of stripping off the old livery, with plans to re-paint the entire Lancaster. Since then, the complete re-paint has been accomplished, and looks magnificent. Click HERE to read more about “Just Jane.’

May

Museum of Aviation F-100 Super Sabre Goes on Display

After seven years of hard work, the North American F-100D Super Sabre at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia is now on display. We have been following this restoration at WarbirdsNews for some time now, producing periodic progress reports (click HERE to see them). She arrived at the museum, a corroded, tattered hulk in 2010, but a small band of dedicated volunteers, including retired Air Force General Rick Goddard, lavished thousands of hours of intensive care upon the Viet Nam War combat veteran fighter-bomber. As many of our readers will recall, General Goddard flew this specific aircraft, serial 56-2995, on 180 missions during his tour with the 309th TFS flying from Tuy Hoa Air Base in South Viet Nam. In fact, Goddard received the Silver Star for a mission in ‘995 on February 9th, 1969, making this aircraft an even more important and remarkable survivor. Click HERE to read our coverage of this restoration.

The 60th Anniversary Planes of Fame Air Show Recap

The 2017 Planes of Fame Air Show celebrated the Planes of Fame Air Museum’s 60th anniversary and the 25th year they have held the air show at Chino Municipal Airport in Chino California. The 2017 event also marked the first time that Planes of Fame’s Founder, the legendary Ed Maloney, was not at the announcer’s stand. Sadly, Ed passed away last year, just a short time after the 2016 show, so the museum presented this year’s display in his honor. Click HERE to read the full article.

June

A6M Zero Rises Over Japan With a Japanese Pilot in The Cockpit

More than 70 years after the end of World War II, a wartime Mitsubishi AZ6M Zero once again soared in the skies over Japan with a Japanese pilot at the controls on June 3rd. The flight, conducted by Kazuaki Yanagida, 66, was a special demonstration at the two-day Red Bull Air Race 2017. After the end of World War II, Zeros flew a few times over Japanese airspace. However, all of those flights were undertaken by American pilots. Click HERE to red the full article.

Flying Heritage Red Letter Day – Mosquito Flies and Corsair Arrives!

The Mosquito roars overhead during her first North American flight. Aviation legend, Steve Hinton is at the controls. (photo by Joe Kunzler)

Friday, June 23rd was a special day at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in Everett, Washington. Not only did they fly their deHavilland Mosquito T Mk III for the first time over American soil, but it also saw the arrival of their freshly restored FG-1D Corsair. Mosquito TV959 arrived at the museum back in December, fresh off the boat from her Ardmore, New Zealand based restorers, AvSpecs Ltd. During her test flights in New Zealand, the Mosquito flew in silver dope primer and temporarily marked as a Royal New Zealand Air Force example, NZ2337. However, during the reassembly process in the USA, museum technicians repainted her as an RAF FB.IV night intruder variant, NS838. She now has a full suite of 20mm cannon and .303 machine guns. The real NS838 served in 605 ‘County of Warwick’ Squadron. During the period that Flt Lt Alan Wagner flew NS838, she gained the nickname ‘Wags War Wagon’, and he officially became an ace in the aircraft during the night of March 5/6, 1944. Click HERE to read the full article.

July

World’s Only Flyable A-26K ‘Counter Invader’ Airworthy Again!

In January 2010, a rare warbird arrived in Fort Worth, Texas after a cold ferry flight from Billings, Montana. That journey signaled the beginning of a 6-1/2 year restoration effort to return a B-26K ‘Counter Invader’ to airworthy status. On Saturday July 8th, 2017 the world’s only flyable B-26K “Counter Invader” returned to the air! Click HERE to read the full article.

Flying Legends 2017 – Air Show Report

The only recently restored Hawker Hurricane Mk.I P2902. This aircraft flew with 245 Squadron during the Battle of France. Pilot Officer Kenneth McClashan put her down on a beach after tussling with a pair of Bf 109s on May 31st, 1940 during the desperate fight over Dunkirk. Her remains were recovered in the 1980s, and used to resurrect this historically significant airframe. (photo by Luigino Caliaro)

This year saw the 25th anniversary edition of the annual Flying Legends air show at former RAF Duxford, the Imperial War Museum’s facility near Cambridge, England. The locally-based Fighter Collection organizes the event, which has become the most important warbird display in Europe. This year’s show took on even greater significance, as it also marked the centenary for both the Imperial War Museum and Duxford airfield. This merits a short historical review for both… Click HERE to read the full report.

Fifi and Doc Finally Flying Together

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh never fails to bring rare and even unique acts and events, and so it was for 2017 as well. For warbird enthusiasts, perhaps the biggest of these moments was the long-anticipated Boeing B-29 Superfortress formation flight between the Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 “FIFI” and Doc’s Friends B-29 “Doc.” After a week practicing formation flying together, the two iconic bombers performed a majestic formation pass right in front of the crowd on the Saturday. History was made! Click HERE to read the Oshkosh report.

August

Collings Foundation’s F-4 Phantom II Takes to the Skies Again!

The Collings Foundation‘s F-4 Phantom II is now the only flying example of its kind in North America. She took to the skies again in the capable hands of former US Air Force ‘Rhino’-driver Harry “D-Day” Daye at 10:50am local time on August 8th, 2017 from Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. Listed on the US civil registry as N749CF, the 1965-built McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II once flew with the USAF as 65-0749. She is currently painted in the markings of 66-7680, an aircraft that the legendary Col. Robin Olds’ flew during Operation Bolo in the Viet Nam War. Click HERE to read the full article.

September

Vintage Aviation Publications Acquires Warbirds News

Vintage Aviation Publications, publisher of Warbird Digest, (warbirddigest.com) announced the acquisition of Warbirds News (warbirdsnews.com), the popular online news platform dedicated to warbird restoration and aviation museums. Warbird Digest itself was recently re-acquired by its original founder, Tim Savage, who first created the publication in 2004. As part of a strategic development plan, Savage wants to add a strong digital component to the company, hence the acquisition of Warbirds News. Click HERE to subscribe to Warbird Digest.

October

Texas Flying Legends Museum’s P-51C Mustang ‘Lopes Hope 3rd’ Flies!

 

Lope’s Hope 3rd is pulled from the hangar. (photo by John LaTourelle via AirCorps Aviation)

On Monday October 16th, 2017, P-51C Lope’s Hope 3rd flew for the first time since 1946. The flight took place in Bemidji, Minnesota after an intensive, three-year restoration effort at AirCorps Aviation. This is the third, highly authentic Mustang restoration that AirCorps has completed since 2011. Click HERE to read the full article.

Italian Air Force Museum Unveils Reggiane Re. 2002

Photo by Museo Storico Aeronautica Militare

A freshly restored Regiane Re.2002 was unveiled in October during a ceremony held at the Italian Air Force Museum, at Vigna di Valle, near Rome, Italy. The only complete example on display of three known survivors, the aircraft was restored using an 80 percent complete airframe that the museum has owned since 1970. Missing parts, such as the engine, propeller, cowling and portions of the left wing were either sourced or built new for the project, which is based on Serial No. 126, an aircraft that had been built for use by the Luftwaffe, mainly on anti-partisan duties in France. Click HERE to read the full article.

November

EXODUS: Getting Boeing C-97G ‘Angel of Deliverance’ Out of New York!

Angel of Deliverance successfully lifts off from Floyd Bennet Field this morning. (photo by Ricardo von Puttkammer)

When Tim Chopp, founder of the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation (BAHF), acquired Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter 52-2718 just over twenty years ago, he had no idea of the odyssey that awaited his organization. It seemed inconceivable in May, 2002, when the venerable cargo plane landed at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York, that it would not fly again for another fifteen years! Now, after a decade and a half of determined labor, the BAHF is preparing to escape the bounds of this closed airfield, turned National Park. Click HERE to read the full article.

December

‘That’s All, Brother’ Runs Her Engines!

“That’s All, Brother” successfully starts her port engine for the first time! (photo – screen capture from CAF video)

The Commemorative Air Force announced that their D-Day veteran Douglas C-47 Skytrain That’s All, Brother successfully ran her engines for the first time in many years. This famous aircraft was amongst the first to cross the Normandy beaches on D-Day, leading the main paratrooper force during the Allied invasion of Europe on June 6th, 1944. She is currently under restoration at Basler Turbo Conversion’s facilities in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Click HERE to read the full article.

Combat Veteran C-47 Takes Flight

Sunset trip, the Turin Aviation Group’s C-47B 43-48950 during her recent first flight. (photo by Moose Peterson)

In early December, a historic Douglas C-47 took to the skies again for the first time in many years, flying from Keystone Heights Airport in Starke to Tampa Executive Airport in Tampa, Florida. C-47B 43-48950 served with the famous IX Troop Carrier Command, 52nd Troop Carrier Wing, 315th Troop Carrier Group, 34th Troop Carrier Squadron during WWII and participated in several combat actions, including Operation Varsity, the largest ever airborne assault to take place on the same day and location. Thousands of aircraft and over 16,000 paratroopers took part in the March 25th, 1945 Allied push across the northern Rhine River into the heart of Nazi Germany. Click HERE to read the full article.

And that’s how we conclude 2017. WarbirdsNews wishes to thank our many readers for their continued support, and looks forwards to growing our coverage in collaboration with our new colleagues at Warbird Digest Magazine….

Click the image below to buy the Warbird Digest issues published in 2017

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