Vintage Aviation Museum’s PV-2 Harpoon Close to Flying Again

The Vintage Aviation Museum's PV-2 Harpoon sitting at the airport in Buffalo, Wyoming will be flying again this June if all goes well. They will then ferry the bomber back to their main base in Woods Cross, Utah for further restoration before campaigning her on the air show circuit. (image via Sean O'Brien)
Back in October, 2017 we published a report HERE concerning the Vintage Aviation Museum’s acquisition of a rare Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon that served in the US Navy as Bu.37276. The aircraft is currently located in Buffalo, Wyoming, but they are working to return the aircraft to airworthy condition for a ferry flight to their main base in Woods Cross, Utah, where a more formal restoration will take place. We recently received an update on the project from Sean O’Brien, Vintage Aviation Museum’s president, and thought our readers would enjoy hearing their news….

A while back our crew moved Bad To The Bone back on to airport property. Prior to that she had been stored for a number of years on privately-owned land adjacent to the airport in Buffalo, Wyoming.  Since moving the Harpoon back to the airport, we have been plugging away on our mission to return her to flight.  One of the two rudders which came with the project is pretty heavily damaged and would require quite a bit of metal work in order to repair it to airworthy condition. However, Gary Hilton, our aircraft supply manager, was able to locate a replacement set that only needed new fabric. Locating these rudders was no easy feat, as Lockheed only built 500 PV-2s back in WWII, so spare parts are hard to come by these days. We had hoped to get Bad To The Bone flying again last year, but unfortunately 2018 proved to be extremely busy with our other projects, so we had to postpone our original goal.

At the end of 2018, we launched our online fundraiser to increase the project’s visibility with the public. With help from the aviation community, we are now on the road of meeting our goal of $25,000… but one does not get to a destination by gliding. At the time of writing, Bad to the Bone’s progress has been steady. Through generous sponsorship from Tempest, we now have a full set of brand new spark plugs. We have also been working on collecting the supplies needed for the return to flight. The rudder fabric is being replaced as I write, and our next milestone is to send a crew to Wyoming for the first phase of onsite work, which has a tentative completion date of May 1st, 2019.

Stripping the rudders to prepare them for new fabric. (image via Sean O’Brien)

Finally – and most importantly – overhauling the two carburetors for the engines will cost an estimated $9,000. Once these are rebuilt, we will be better able to meet a projected FAA airworthiness certification by May 15th, with a hoped-for “fly date” of June 1st, 2019.

Also, thanks to the efforts of one of our volunteers, Rian Olsen,  the process has begun of returning the Harpoon back to her WWII configuration with some replica .50 cal. machine guns that he is fabricating.

The replica .50 cal. machine guns for the Harpoon coming together in Rian Olsen’s workshop. (image via Sean O’Brien)

Over the past year, we were also able to get the nose art drawn up. The very talented Adam Washer from Scouts Pinstriping did this for us. Also, we wish to send a big thank you to Flyboy Toys for creating a rendering for how Bad To The Bone will look like once she is flying and re-painted.

Adam Wisher’s artwork for Bad to the Bone. (image via Sean O’Brien)

If anyone wishes to donate to this project to return a rare WWII naval attack aircraft back to flying condition, please click on the link below…

A rendering created by Flyboy Toys showing what Bad to the Bone will look like when she’s finished. (image via Sean O’Brien)
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