2018: Warbird Year In Review

A beautiful study of the Brewster Corsair in the early morning light on June 29th. She is sitting on the airport's compass rose. This area is free of metallic objects within its vicinity, allowing aircraft to have their compasses swung for calibration purposes. (photo by Jay Miller, used with permission)

2018 has been another great year for warbirds, with many significant events and first flights taking place. We at Vintage Aviation Publications through WarbirdsNews.com and Warbird Digest 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 ninth issue of  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 2019, and be sure not to miss any important first flight this year!

In case you haven’t yet seen the 2018 issues of Warbird Digest Magazine, links to each edition are provided below. The cover-art alone is worth more than a second glance, but you will discover even more fabulous stories and photography inside. It really has been a great year… many thanks for your continued support!

Issue #82 is just around the corner as well… you won’t want to miss it!

Issue #76 – Jan-Feb 2018 BUY IT NOW

Issue #77 – Mar-Apr 2018 BUY IT NOW

Issue #78 – May-Jun 2018 BUY IT NOW

Issue #79 – Jan-Feb 2018 BUY IT NOW

Issue #80 – Sep-Oct 2018 BUY IT NOW

Issue 81 – Nov-Dec 2018 BUY IT NOW

Below are some of the Warbirdsnews.com highlights from 2018.

January – ‘That’s All, Bother’ Takes the Skies

That’s All Brother in the skies!!! First air-to-air shot from the CAF. Bravo to all concerned! (image by Jim Koepnick via CAF)

Douglas C-47A ‘That’s All, Bother’ Takes the Skies – In a frigid, cold Wisconsin winter the icon Douglas C-47A (s/n 42-92847) took the skies for the first time after almost 22,000 hours of painstaking effort to repair or replace any deficient structure, hardware and systems. Doug Rozendaal and Tom Travis, both long-serving CAF veterans, had the privilege to conduct the test flight of this iconic C-47. Read the full article HERE.

February – F-104 Flight Training Launches

The F-104 with its unmistakable silhouette returning from the training mission.

F-104 Flight Training Launches at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center – Flying the F-104 has been a dream of countless aviation enthusiast and back in February it became a reality. Licensed pilots with both the means and the urge to fulfill a test pilot’s dream now have direct access to flight training in the magnificent Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. Read the full article HERE.

 

March – Paul G. Allen Expedition Discovers The USS Lexington

A pair of Devastators, one lying on its back atop the other. The expedition located seven examples of this missing breed in the Lexington’s debris field. (image credit Paul G. Allen)*

Paul G. Allen Expedition Discovers the Sunken USS Lexington and Her Aircraft – An expedition, led by Microsoft co-founder, Paul G. Allen, had discovered their final resting place under nearly two miles of water in the Coral Sea some 500 miles off Australia’s northeast coast.  Read the full article HERE.

April – Greek Spitfire Resurfaces at Biggin Hill

A closer view of Spitfire Mk.IXc MJ755. Some of her components are lying on the hangar floor in front of her, with one of her wings tucked up against the wall to the right, as well as the chin cowl. Another Spitfire restoration is clearly well under way in the background too. (photo by Andy Patsalides)

After being out of public view for the past ten years, the Hellenic Air Force Museum’s Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc MJ755 resurfaced again recently in the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar on the old Battle of Britain aerodrome, RAF Biggin Hill. Read the full article HERE.

May – 3rd Annual TBM Gathering

Four Avengers in close formation during the TBM Gathering in Peru, Illinois last weekend. Eleven Avengers made the gathering, alongside a number of other choice warbirds. It was certainly a marvelous experience for all whom attended as Warbird Digest’s Greg Morehead relates in this article. (photo by Greg Morehead)

3rd Annual TBM Gathering – Avengers and Veterans, Warbirds and Patriots Invade Illinois – This year eleven Avengers made the gathering, alongside a number of other choice warbirds. It was certainly a marvelous experience for everyone who attended as Warbird Digest’s Greg Morehead relates in this article. Read the full article HERE.

June 2018 – Messerschmitt Bf 109 – June 2018 Water Recovery in Russia

A remarkably well preserved Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 was recovered from a lake in Russia this past June. (photo via Wings of Victory Foundation)

Messerschmitt Bf 109 – June 2018 Water Recovery in Russia! In June, members of Russia’s Wings of Victory Museum and ICAR led the team which found and recovered the Bf 109 this past June. After raising the aircraft using inflatable air bags, they towed her to shore and dismantled the airframe, shipping it to the Technic Museum of Vadim Zadorozhniy. Read the full article HERE.

July – FOUND! Lost Squadron P-38 Piloted by Lt. Col. Robert Wilson

A wartime photo of Lt. Robert H Wilson in the cockpit of his P-38 Lightning. Hot Point Solutions has just successfully located the site on the Greenland Icecap where Wilson’s lost Lightning still lies… nearly eight decades after he abandoned it. (image via Hotpoint Solutions)

FOUND! Lost Squadron P-38 Piloted by Lt. Col. Robert Wilson – In July, the Arctic Hot Point Solutions successfully located the site on the Greenland Icecap where Wilson’s lost Lightning still lies… nearly eight decades after he abandoned it. Read the full article HERE.

August – Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik Raised From a Russian Lake

Back in August, we featured a story on the recent recovery of an Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik from a lake in Russia. Now we have more details on this recovery, and Mark Sheppard brings us a remarkable piece on the history of this aircraft and its salvage. (photo via Wings of Victory Foundation)

Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik Raised From a Russian Lake – We were amazed back in August when we saw some fabulous images of a surprisingly complete and intact single seat variant of the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik rising to the surface of a lake in Russia. The recovery took place within the last week, conducted by the Wings of Victory Foundation. Read the full article HERE.

Westland Lysander first flight – As twilight approached of  a sultry, summer’s August eve the Aircraft Restoration Company’s John Romain started up the Bristol Mercury engine in Westland Lysander Mk.IIITT V9312 in preparation for her first flight since December 30th, 1944. Read the full article HERE.

Warbird Adventures Unveils Their Dual-Seat, Dual-Control P-40 Warhawk! -Warbird Adventures adds a beautifully restored, dual-seat, dual-control Curtiss P-40N to their fleet of aircraft. Members of the public will be able to fly in this aircraft, and even receive flight training towards their P-40 rating in the aircraft. Read the full article HERE.

September – Brewster F3A-1A Corsair Arrives at National Museum of WWII Aviation

A beautiful study of the Brewster Corsair in the early morning light on June 29th. She is sitting on the airport’s compass rose. This area is free of metallic objects within its vicinity, allowing aircraft to have their compasses swung for calibration purposes. (photo by Jay Miller, used with permission)

Brewster F3A-1A Corsair Arrives at National Museum of WWII Aviation – In July the Brewster F3A-1A Corsair Bu.04634 flew for the first time, following a lengthy rebuild at Ezell Aviation. In September the magnificently restored aircraft finally arrived at her new home with the National Museum of WWII Aviation in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Read the full article HERE.

The Ghost of Gananoque – ‘A Flying Boat in a Barn’ – In September, our own Richard Mallory Allnutt  stumbled upon a WWII-era Canadian Vickers Canso flying boat hidden away for decades in an old hangar near Gananoque in Ontario’s Thousand Islands region. Read the full article HERE.

October – ‘Beach City Baby’ Flies! – WWII Combat Vet C-53 Airborne Again

Jason Capra grinning from the right seat in Beach City Baby on the combat veteran C-53’s ferry flight from Beach City, Ohio to her new home in Franklin, Pennsylvania. Following her first flight, the aircraft will now begin a marathon effort to bring her back to authentic wartime configuration. (photo by Greg Morehead)

‘Beach City Baby’ Flies! – WWII Combat Vet C-53 Airborne Again – A historic, combat-veteran Douglas C-53 Skytrooper (41-20095) took to the skies again for the first time in several decades in Beach City, Ohio on Saturday October 6th, 2018 following a remarkable three-year effort by Jason Capra and his team of volunteers at Vintage Wings Inc. Read the full article HERE.

Paul G. Allen: 1953 – 2018 -While we rarely remark on the passing of aviation luminaries, as that is not really our role, it is hard not to offer our thanks to the life and legacy of the late Paul Allen, who died in October from complications relating to non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Read the full article HERE.

November – Ju-87 Unveiled at Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum Hangar Opening

Junkers Ju 87R-2 Stuka wk.nr. 5709 sitting partially disassembled in the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum’s newly opened display hangar. The aircraft has been undergoing restoration over the past several years, but was unveiled to the public for the first time on November 10th, 2018 at the hangar’s grand opening event. (photo by Randall Malmstrom)

On Saturday, November 10th, the late Paul G. Allen’s Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum (FHCAM) held a grand opening ceremony for their third hangar. For the occasion the extremely rare Junker Ju 87R-4 Stuka, which has quietly been under restoration for several years now, was introduced to the public. Read the full article HERE.

December – Junkers Phantom Pharewell in Japan

A gorgeous shot of one of the two commemorative F-4EJ-Kai Phantom IIs on show at the December 2, 2018 Phantom Phinale at Hyakuri Air Base near Tokyo. (photo by Rich Cooper)

In celebration of their nearly half century Japanese Phantom II operations, 302 Squadron held a special air show on December 2nd at Hyakuri Air Base just north of Tokyo. Several of their aircraft were painted in commemorative liveries to mark the event. Read the full article HERE.

 

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