After many years of painstaking effort, Focke-Wulf Fw-190F-8 wk.nr. 93182 – known the world over as White 1 – is coming close to flying again. Dr. Mark Timken was, for many years, the driving force behind resurrection of this extraordinary aircraft at his home base in Kissimmee, Florida. However, he reluctantly sold the project a couple of years ago, and the Collings Foundation has now taken up the reins, moving the fighter to GossHawk Unlimited in Casa Grande, Arizona. GossHawk have a stellar reputation in the aircraft restoration business, and are no strangers to the ‘190 as a breed, having shepherded the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum’s Fw 190A-5 (wk.nr.151227) across the finish line in 2010. The fighter is inching ever closer to completion, and we are pleased to present a status update from Wally Van Winkle…
White 1 – Restoration Update
By Wally Van Winkle, Tucson, AZ
With the engine and its associated cowling mounted to her bare aluminum airframe, White 1 appears virtually complete, seemingly just waiting for a ‘splash of paint’ before she’s ready to fly. But looks can be deceiving, as they say. This is just a test fit to ensure that the engine, the recently-received oil cooler ring and armored shield at the front of the aircraft align together properly.
Every detail is being attended to at GossHawk Unlimited, as it had been earlier with the White 1 Foundation, to make this restoration as authentic as possible. At the top of this list is the lovingly restored BMW 801D engine to power the aircraft, instead of a less expensive, easier to maintain, U.S. equivalent. The fighter also has a rare, fuselage-mounted, internal master compass. Other remarkable efforts towards authenticity include details most people will never see, such as the specially remanufactured metric rivets employed to rebuild the airframe, the use of RLM-45 rotbraun primer to coat the aileron fabric, and even the recreation of the printed ink markings on the bare aluminum skins within the aircraft’s interior. Indeed, all of the aircraft’s wiring is of the correct gauge and color-coding as per original manufacture. Even the silk-screened markings on the SVK 2-151/131E (canon) fuse and distributor box are faithfully reproduced under the cowling!
As for what will happen in the immediate future, technicians at GossHawk will remove the 14-cylinder BMW “Power Egg” from the airframe and send it off to California for run-in testing and initial operational checks. Once the engine returns to GossHawk, the remaining detail assembly work and final painting will take place, returning ‘White 1’ back to her original 9./JG-5 Eismeer markings from the day in February, 1945 when she fell to the guns of an RAF Mustang over Norway.
While it is never practical to estimate when the aircraft will fly again, it shouldn’t be too far off. She will make yet another jewel in the crown for the ever-expanding Collings Foundation of Stow, Massachusetts. We cannot wait to see this day!
Many thanks to Wally Van Winkle for this restoration report, as well as GossHawk Unlimited and the Collings Foundation for providing access!