Scott Glover’s Mid America Flight Museum has just secured a truly historic aircraft for their collection, the magnificently restored Grumman J2F-4 Duck Bu.1649. This Duck was present at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, and flew search and rescue operations following the attack.
Glover purchased the beautiful amphibian from long-time owner, Chuck Greenhill, and has spent the past several days ferrying the aircraft in stages from Kenosha, Wisconsin to her new home in Mount Pleasant, Texas. It has been an epic journey for both Glover and his friend Matt Bongers. They finally arrived home on September 6th.
Scott Glover’s new prize first joined the U.S. Navy in December, 1939 and served right through the war. Jack Hardwick bought the Duck from the War Assets Administration in 1947, placing her on the civil register as N63850. While owned by William Patterson, the aircraft suffered a crash landing on Lake Killarney near Nassau in the Bahamas in 1955. The aircraft sank, and lay abandoned underwater until 1991 when William Floten and Kevin Hooey salvaged the wreck and shipped it to Miami for storage while searching for more components to mount a rebuild effort.
David Arnold purchased the project in 1997 and had it moved to Wichita, Kansas for restoration, but this never took place. Chuck Greenhill acquired the Duck soon after in October, 1998 and he contracted Wichita Air Services to conduct the restoration with parts from another wreck recovered in Alaska. The aircraft flew again for the first time on May 27th, 2005, wearing her original wartime markings. She went on to win Grand Champion at Oshkosh in 2007! While the aircraft apparently had just 51 post-restoration hours on it at time of purchase, it has obviously added significantly to that recently. Glover expects to fly the Duck regularly for the public in the years to come, and it will be wonderful to see this rare type (one of just three currently airworthy examples) on the air show circuit helping to tell the story of WWII from the unusual perspective of an actual Pearl Harbor survivor. Congratulations to all involved!
WarbirdsNews would like to thank Scott Glover, Matt Bongers and the Mid America Flight Museum for their images and help with details in this article.