During these difficult times with the world threatened by a global pandemic and the associated shutdowns, publishers across the spectrum have struggled to continue producing their product. Unfortunately, Warbird Digest is no different. This issue was supposed to reach your mailbox in March, but staff illness and our inability to work from the office hampered its completion.
While publishers are having a rough go at it, some warbird operators and museums are also struggling to survive. With nearly all air shows through this July now cancelled, and Living History Flight Experiences curtailed, the organizations that rely upon these activities need help from warbird enthusiast’s more than ever. We would encourage you to make a donation if you can, or even to book a flight for the future to support these fine groups.
Despite the various global crises that the world seems to be suffering at the moment, warbird sales activity remains strong, and the aircraft restoration business also seems to be continuing to thrive. This gives us a good measure of hope that we will rebound quickly too. We remain excited about many of the new projects in the pipeline that will soon take to the air.
In this issue, we take a look at a varied group of warbirds, including two of my personal favorites. While I can’t claim to own a Piper L-4, I regularly fly a J-3C Cub of similar vintage. Hands down, it is my favorite airplane and one that will stay in the family long after the other aircraft are gone. I am personally fortunate to live with my airplanes, in other words I live on the airport. During the recent lock downs, I made it a point to fly the Cub as often as practical given the early spring weather conditions.
The OV-10 Bronco is another favorite of mine, probably stretching back to my college years when I read Marshal Harrison’s A Lonely Kind of War. A rarity on the warbird circuit on can hope that more will join the ranks of restored airframes in the future. Still years from learning to fly, books were the outlet for my aviation interests and, to a good measure, still are.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Warbird Digest, and we would like to extend our gratefulness to our advertisers who have continued to support us during this difficult time. We hope that you will give them your support.
Inside issue #88 of Warbird Digest
ACE MAKER AIRSHOWS – This trio of ex-Royal Canadian Air Force Canadair CT-133 Silver Stars not only routinely perform on the air show circuit, they also continue to serve in their intended role, providing a valuable resource training current United States Air Force and Navy pilots. Photo and text by Mike Killian
GRASSHOPPER – The benign Piper Cub becomes a weapon of war. Photo and text by Leonardo Correa Luna
BEHOLD AN ASHEN HORSE – A North American-Rockwell International OV-10 Bronco with an impressive history has returned to the air. Text by Stephen Chapis
WARBIRD MELTING POT – Warbird Digest brings the story of how a trio of Yaks brought a diverse group of like-minded warbird pilots together. Text and photos by Stephen Chapis
TANTANLIZING TAKEOFF – The ubiquitous Beechcraft Aircraft Corporation model 18 went to war in many guises, including as a bombardier and gunnery trainer dubbed the AT-11. One surviving example, the second oldest flying, belongs to John and Fran Torbett Hess, of Fayetteville, Georgia. Text and photos by Greg Morehead