December 26, 2007

Constellation for Christmas

News reports are hitting the aviation press that the German airline Lufthansa has purchased THREE Lockheed Constellations! Here is the link to one article.

A quote off the Starliner web site - "The Starliners have now been sold to Lufthansa. Plans are to start work on N7316C, one of the Starliners in Maine. The plan is to get this one operational and FAA certified for flight. The other two Starliners may or may not become operational in time."

Great news that another Connie will take to the skies! (Photo from Aerofiles)

December 22, 2007

Vintage SNJ Photo

This photo comes from my personal collection. A family friend said her father was a photographer in the Navy and gave me copies from his collection. Look forward to posting photos from my vintage collection on a regular basis. Check back to see more!

December 16, 2007

Longnose 190 in FL

A Flug Werk built "Longnose" Fw190 now resides in FL! Thanks to Chuck Gardner for the photo of the amazing machine sitting in the FL sunshine. One of the unique features of this scratch built replica is its American Allison V-12 engine... that is running in an upright position where the original German engine was running inverted! The owner recently imported the 190 from Germany to add to his impressive collection of Spitfires and other Warbirds.

December 9, 2007

Running of the Bulls

OK... odd headline... but another great picture came through from Steve Dickey that I just had to post. The Red Bull P-38 during a recent engine run. Nice shooting Steve!

December 6, 2007

38 Shines

The Red Bull P-38 is now showing its shine! Thanks to Steve Dickey for the photo from the recent work on the rare fighter. The machine is not too far from its first flight.

Mustang Gathering Video

Just watched this great clip filmed at the Mustang Gathering.

Check out the video titled Once In a Lifetime Event! It is 10 minutes of amazing footage!

December 2, 2007

AAA - Air Mail Days

News release from the AAA...

"The Antique Airplane Association and the Board of Directors of the Air Power Museum are excited to announce that the 2008 AAA-APM Fly-In will commemorate the 90th anniversary of air mail service in the United States. The 2008 Fly-In theme will be Air Mail Days, to honor the pilots and airplanes of the early air mail service. The dates for the fly-in are August 27 to Sept. 1, 2008, at Antique Airfield near Blakesburg, Iowa."

See more here.

November 17, 2007

Fantasy of Flight Display

Warbird photographer Bill Scheuerman caught Kermit Weeks flying some rare birds in his collection recently. The rare Grumman Duck was even flown off the water. Also note the amazing Storch restoration that was displayed on the ramp of the most recent Art Deco hangar built at the aviation themed attraction. Thanks to Bill for allowing us to post the photos!

If you are reading this please share with us the location of more Art Deco hangars you know of and send us a photo to post. Post your comments below.

Hurricane Flies in New Colors

The Lone Star Flight Museum unveiled their freshly painted Hurricane at their most recent open house - fly day. This Hurricane has been in restoration for many, many years and flew from the restoration shop in its silver primer color. The rare fighter was transfered to the paint shop near Houston and recently rolled out in this historic desert scheme. Thanks to Ryan Harris for the above photo.

November 4, 2007

The Swoose

It appears that the NASM and The Air Force Museum have come to an agreement on the future of the famous B-17D named "The Swoose."

Read The Washington Post story here.

History of The Swoose is here.

October 29, 2007

Waco and Lockheed Flyin - Chino

October 18th thru the 21st.

On Thursday
when the flight took off from DFW the skies were clear blue and the visibility was unlimited. The Dallas skyline showed crystal clear. I knew the flight might be a fun one when as we boarded the airplane I noticed that the Capt had a rubber chicken stuck in the windshield wiper on the MD80! It didn’t take long and the Capt was making jokes on the PA and offering a bottle of liquid refreshment to whoever could announce the most popular attraction at Disney World! Crazy pilot. Once we were up and cruising I pulled out the ipod to listen to some new music from Mainstay and Rush of Fools. The older couple sitting next to me also settled in and even pulled out their ipods! Guess everyone is gearing up with ipods! It was hard to hold back a laugh as the lady scrolled down to The Backstreet Boys as her choice of tunes for the flight! While flying along I noticed the highest mountain tops all had snow on them. Must have been a little cooler in CO than in TX. About the time I was dozing off the Capt pointed out that we were over the famous meteor crater in AZ. Off to the North I could just make out the Grand Canyon. Again... clear skies and a smooth ride all the way to CA.

I always am amazed at people’s impatience with air travel. They get irritated in the boarding lines... roll their eyes while waiting for other passengers to take their seats... and then rush off the airplane to go wait for their bags. Once they have their bags that almost knock you over to get out to the shuttle to the rent cars only to get mad waiting in another line. This fast paced world really should SLOW down! Me... well... I think back to the days when people dressed up for a travel "event" as they flew coast to coast and it took all day! On the East coast people board a vintage airliner... flew all day and only made it a third of the way across the country. Then board a train to ride all night only to wake up in the morning at a train stop near an airport where they would board another vintage airliner to fly the remainder of the trip to the West coast. I have a feeling those travelers were a little more patient than the airline travelers of today!

After grabbing the rent car (a HOT red Ford Focus with only 5 miles on it... yehaw!) I made the quick dash to the hotel to check in. Flying into Ontario airport is really easy. Rent car is just down the road... hotels are just minutes away and the Chino airport where the flyin is being held is 10 minutes away. My friend Les was finishing the set up at his new hangar when I pulled up. Only a few airplanes have arrived. We snacked on some food and jumped into introductions. This small event is attracting people from New Zealand, France, Canada and all over the US! So I chatted with a few gentlemen from Canada as the sunset over the hangars. The lights in the valley to the south started shimmering in the night as the glow of the sunset highlighted the edged of the mountains. A few of us stood on the ramp looking at the sight in silence. It is looking like the weather will hold out for a great flying event.

Friday morning I was in no hurry to rush out the door.... this WAS vacation! The drive down from the hotel in Ontario to Chino is only about ten minutes. One way you know you are getting close to the Chino airport is the smell. There are still quite a few feed lots around the airport full of dairy cows.

I arrived at the hangar and jumped into introducing myself to the airplane owners that were in attendance. This flyin was meant for Waco biplane and Lockheed twin owners. Participation was low with only one Lockheed 12 flying in from CA, two others are based on the field, for a total of three. As for Waco's there were only seven total, with two based at the field. My friend Les did a great job of hosting the event and had scheduled options for attendees to choose their daily itinerary. I spent some time listening to the Lockheed 12 owners share their flying adventures with their machines. One owner from Canada just purchased his airplane from a collector in South Carolina. He is now restoring the airplane and has his mechanics working on it full time in hopes of flying it next summer. Two other owners airlined in from New Zealand and Australia!

A small group of us decided to visit one of the museums on the airport and made our way to the other side of the field. Yanks Air Museum owns a large collection of vintage aircraft that includes a freshly restored Lockheed 12. It didn’t take us long to find it in their hangar for close inspection. On my last trip to Chino in May I took quite a few pictures. The aircraft are displayed a little differently now after having a new hangar built. We concluded our own tours of the museum and made our way back to Les's hangar for lunch.

The hangar has an amazing outdoor grill so lunch was hot off the grill! The remainder of the afternoon was spent watching aircraft arrivals and hangar flying. I ended up leaving the airport mid-afternoon to catch up with a friend in Pasadena.

Saturday morning I arrived at the airport a little earlier so I could take a few pictures. Les flew his Lockheed 12 for a morning photo mission so I was able to take a few shots of his return. Today was the day for an outing to the famous Flabob airport in Riverside. A few Waco owners made the flight over while the rest of us drove. Flabob is set down in between some small mountains which made for scenic pictures.

Palm trees, mountains and vintage airplanes... a setting I don’t have many pictures of! The airport cafe was full of pictures of famous California aviators and made for great conversation starters during lunch. After the meal I walked around the field with a friend that I made thru an aviation forum online, Mike. Mike is from England but lives in the San Francisco area and is an amazing photographer. I have used a few of his shots on my blog before. Anyway... we ducked in and out of a few hangars to see what types of aircraft are based at Flabob. We found two unique projects in a French Caudron which is a replica of a famous racing airplane and in another hangar found a Wright Flyer replica going together. Before we drove back to Chino we were able to shoot a few pictures of the Waco’s that departed.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon around Chino taking more pictures, walking around the hangars to find more vintage airplanes and visiting with the flyin guests. The evening banquet was highlighted by the director of the film One Six Right speaking about the making of the movie. That topped off another fun aviation event out in Chino.

Sunday before catching the flight home I had time in the morning to drive around. So I found on the map that I wasn’t too far from Cable Airport. I had heard stories of Cable being the base to more vintage aircraft so I made my way down the old Route 66 to the airport. Found a few rare airplanes out on the ramp. After lunch I caught my afternoon flight out of Ontario for home.

So it was worth it to make the trip to make new friends and be able to photograph the airplanes in the bright sunshine. My Chino pictures are here... and the Cable pictures are here.

October 2, 2007

September 16, 2007

Evergreen Aviation Museum

On a recent trip to the Portland area I ran down to McMinnville, OR to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum. This is the home of the famous Spruce Goose. The large hangar houses more than just the famous flying boat. Visit the gallery of my pics here.

August 25, 2007

Times Change

Like vintage cars or boats, vintage airplanes are now demanding higher and higher prices. There are even brokers who are buying up aircraft just to resell at elevated prices. At one point I heard some complaints about that. My thought is more along with what a friend of mine told me a few years back... an airplane is worth what someone will pay for it. So if I am asked what my Cessna 170B is worth I have a hard time answering. If I throw a price out there people gasp. I laugh because values are relative. Relative to what was paid for the aircraft... how much was invested in it... and how much sentimental value it has to the owner.
Now that some of the aircraft owners are aging and selling their aircraft off there are new collections developing. Aviation enthusiasts who are coming into money are quietly building up amazing collections. A few of the larger collections of vintage and Warbird aircraft, either in museums or private collection, have recently sold some significant aircraft. Tillamook Air Museum recently sold their B-25, Spitfire and Thunderbolt (pictured above). The Lone Star Flight Museum has sold their F7F Tigercat and A-20 Havoc. As time passes I predict we will see more aircraft change hands and even some collections fade away.
What excites me is that there are some of these new collectors that are very enthusiastic about saving rare aircraft from extinction. A rare aircraft comes on the market and these collectors are the first to step up to give them a home. As times change the aircraft will change hands. When that happens the aircraft will be available for display at more airshows and for viewing by more people across the country.

August 24, 2007

National Waco Club Pics

Pictures have been posted from the 2007 fly-in of the National Waco Club. Check out the web site here. There continues to be a steady stream of restorations of vintage biplanes and a few of them are pictured here.

August 12, 2007

Oshkosh 2007

Having only missed one year at the Oshkosh airshow since 1988 it is hard to write about another trip to the show. Thousands of airplanes, some of them are the rarest flying machines in the air and friends around every turn. This year I invited my friend, Lynn, along for his first trip to aviation heaven. We arrived SUN and headed for home late on WED. So it was a short trip but we covered alot of ground in the short time we were there. Between myself and some other friends that joined us at the event we showed Lynn the ropes. Routes, shopping and must see features of one of the largest airshows in the country. Oshkosh is one of those events that you fill your days full and dont know how tired you are until the day is over!

July 19, 2007

Glacier Girl to Oshkosh

Latest news on Glacier Girl is that once the engine change it complete it will fly from Goose Bay to Oshkosh. EAA press release here. Looks like it will fly to England another year. (Steve Dickey photo)

Hangar Full of History

Another great picture of the busy working going on in Breckenridge via Steve Dickey. Two Mustangs, Super Pinto, and Lightning. Nice toys to work on!

July 17, 2007

Spartan Landing accident

Sorry to report that the Blankenburgs Spartan Executive has been involved in a landing accident on its way to Oshkosh. Sounds like they walked away with no injuries but the airplane is a little dinged up. Best wishes to them in having it returned to the air soon.

July 16, 2007

Weekend Flying - July

The weather improved over the weekend for flights on SAT and SUN. Some of my pics from the weekend are here. SAT I flew a quick flight to blow the spiders off. SUN I flew up to Gainesville for fuel and snapped a pic of the propliners parked out on the old runway.

ol'927 Flies

Great news to report that the B24A "ol'927" has flown! Oshkosh is on the schedule so looking forward to seeing the machine in person after its makeover. Pic pulled from WIX under the post titled "Gary - whats the plan for Diamond Lil" Interesting note is that the pilot for this flight was one of my flight instructors, Bill Goeken! Nice pic of your flying the big bird, Bill!

July 8, 2007

Thunder Over Michigan

The Thunder Over Michigan airshow was also this weekend. The highlight to this years show was the large gathering of B25s. It sounds like 14 of the medium bombers were in attendance! Pics from the show are on this thread on WIX. Be sure to scroll through all the pages. Special thanks to Eric Dumigan for allowing me to post the pic of the B25 line up. Visit his web site here.

Flying Legends

The Flying Legends airshow at Duxford, England was this weekend. Check out the pics here. Always great pictures by the photographers in attendance! Note that the P51 "Miss Velma" completed its trip from the US by flying across the Atlantic. The P38 had to end its trip in Goose Bay and will need an engine change.

June 21, 2007

Operation Bolero II Begins

The P38 "Glacier Girl" and P-51 "Miss Velma" depart June 22 to start the flight to England. The forum on AirshowBuzz is up and photos are coming in from the start of the trip! Check out the forum here.

June 17, 2007

June Showers

Still raining quite often here in Texas. Was able to fly Thursday night after some showers rolled through. Took the pic above of a shower just Northwest of the airport. Made for a colorful sunset. Earlier today I checked the mouse trap in the 170 and was greeted by another kill. Two mice down. Hopefully that was all the mice that have taken a liking to my airplane!

June 3, 2007

Best of the Best

This from EAAs web site... My vote is for the Spartan... other great machines in the running but the Spartan is just highest on my list.

Six of the world’s finest restored vintage aircraft will travel to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this summer to participate in the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s first “Best of the Best” People’s Choice Award competition. These aircraft will be showcased at EAA AirVenture, “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration,” on July 23-29 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
AirVenture visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite among these restored vintage aircraft. All six vintage aircraft have been masterfully restored to virtually like-new condition and are great examples of our rich aviation history. The National Aviation Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI) joined together to create and sponsor the competition.

The aircraft scheduled to appear are all former winners of various NAHI events held throughout the country since 1999. They include the Lockheed P-38 “Glacier Girl” (owned by Rod Lewis); Piper L-4 (owned by June and Colin Powers); Spartan Executive (owned by Kent and Sandy Blankenburg); Fairchild KR-21 (owned by Pat McNerney); Grumman Duck (owned by Chuck Greenhill); and Waco ATO (owned by Alan Hoeweler).

“We at EAA are truly excited about hosting these magnificent aircraft," said Adam Smith, EAA Vice President/Outreach. "This program allows the public to vote on their personal favorite from the group, each of which is a masterful example of aircraft restoration."

The presentation of the “Best of the Best” trophy will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 28 at EAA AirVenture. Representatives of the Hall of Fame, EAA and NAHI will be joined by several enshrinees of the National Aviation Hall of Fame in the trophy presentation.

This activity undertakes a completely different selection process than that for EAA's legendary “Lindys” presented each year, regarded as the world’s top aviation construction and restoration awards. The EAA awards are based on a strict set of judging criteria, while the “Best of the Best” program crosses traditional aircraft categories and relies on public-preference voting.

The National Aviation Heritage Invitational promotes aircraft restoration via friendly competition, bringing valuable aviation treasures together in one venue. This endeavor is a joint effort under the auspices of Rolls-Royce North America Inc., the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the Reno Air Racing Foundation and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

May 29, 2007


At the Chino airshow I was able to take a few pictures of a nice Packard into front of my friends Lockheed 12. Made for a great art deco scene! If I made this a black and white picture some might not know the age of the scene!

May 27, 2007

Operation Bolero II



Philadelphia, PA (May 24,2007)—On July 15, 1942, a United States Army/Air Force Squadron departed American soil on Operation Bolero, a World War II aid mission to support U.S. allies in the war torn European theatre. Due to insurmountable weather-related problems en route, the entire squadron of six P-38s and two B-17 Bombers was forced to abort its mission and make an emergency landing on a remote ice cap in Greenland. “The Lost Squadron,” as it has become known over time, drifted miles from its original location and only one P-38, encased in 268 feet of ice, was salvaged.

A recovery and restoration mission taking more than ten years and costing over a million dollars brought this legendary P-38 Lightning, now known as Glacier Girl, to her original flying glory. On June 23, 2007, Glacier Girl will finally complete her fabled World War II transatlantic mission when she departs from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey bound for Duxford, England.

“This monumental flight will bring closure to Operation Bolero as well as pay homage to the brave aviators who beat the odds to survive certain death on that polar ice cap in Greenland during World War II,” said pilot Steve Hinton, who will fly Glacier Girl in her transatlantic flight in June. “It’s thrilling to be a part of this historic event.”

Dubbed Operation Bolero II, after the original WWII operation, the mission remains as challenging as it is historic. Glacier Girl will be accompanied by the P-51 Mustang Miss Velma, a vintage WWII U.S. war bird that will be flown by air show legend Ed Shipley. The P-51 will be equipped with Wingspeed Corporation’s satellite-based aircraft communications technology that will allow anyone on the ground to communicate with the pilots via email communications and receive answers from the cockpit while the planes are in flight. Wingspeed’s network will also allow real time tracking of Glacier Girl’s historic journey exclusively at, a new social networking and user-generated/content-sharing Web site for aviation enthusiasts.

“It’s an honor to be Steve’s wingman as we trace the same flight path that Glacier Girl flew over 60 years ago,” said Shipley, US Air Force Heritage Flight pilot and founder of “Wingspeed’s cutting edge communications technology will allow us to chat with enthusiasts from anywhere on the globe while we’re in flight, so the world can experience this with us.”

After landing, Glacier Girl will remain in Duxford for the renowned Flying Legends Air Show on July 7 and 8, where she will be featured alongside an impressive line-up of over 50 aircraft from both the WWI and WWII era. Glacier Girl will then return to the U.S. for EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, where she will fly the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight.

May 20, 2007

Chino 2007 - Sunday

Sunday was almost and exact repeat of Saturdays airshow schedule. The fog burned off alittle sooner that Saturday. Was able to use different settings on the camera and think some of the P38 pics turned out better. Only one minor incident in the show today... an F86 was doing a fast flyby and lost one of its drop tanks. Landed out in the grass next to the runway so no harm done. Another great day of Warbird flying! Had a nice cool breeze blowing and I am showing signs of being out in the sun! See the pics here.

Chino 2007 - Saturday

The day started out cool and foggy but the people were pouring in the gates to the airshow. I really was surprised how many people were coming in at 0830am! With the fog and no sunlight I didnt take any pictures until close to noon time. Before walking the ramp I visited with my friend Les and took a few pictures of the hangar he is building to house his Lockheed and Wacos. When the sun did some out it it was still hazy but the pictures did come out fairly clear. It was a great airshow... Sea Fury acro, large Warbird flyby with one or more of each type flying, and a flight with three P38s in formation! The flyby pattern here at Chino has to be one of the best I have seen. The flybys are made in a banking turn so that the aircraft appear very close. This sure makes for great photo opportunities. See Saturdays pics here.

May 19, 2007

Planes of Fame Pics

Check out the Planes of Fame web site for official pics!

Headed off to the airshow here in a few minutes. Will be posting again tonight.

May 18, 2007

Chino 2007 - Friday

My bags were packed and I was ready to head to bed late Thursday night when something didnt smell right. No... everything for the trip was ready. Airline tickets... check, hotel... check, rent car... check. OH! I know what that smell is! SKUNK! The weather in Texas has been cool at night and I had the windows thrown open to let in the cool breeze. The friendly neighborhood skunk had made a stink and now it was in my house. So much for a restful start to THIS trip! (My excitement before a trip usually doesnt allow any restful sleep anyway.) I turned on the a/c to clear the air and hit the sack.
I caught a mid-morning flight out of DFW to Ontario, CA on American Airlines which would give me plenty of time to visit the Chino airport to see the early arrivals. Three hour flights can be alittle long to go without food so I grabbed an over priced airport muffin right before boarding. I had to laugh because right about the time I was thinking I paid too much for the muffin they announced on the flight that snacks were available... $3 for a bag of M&Ms. HA!
Why Chino, CA for an airshow? One of the most active FLYING museums in the country that flies their World War Two airplanes is in Chino. The Planes of Fame museum puts on one of the best airshows that displays the rarest of the rare in Warbirds. I last attended this airshow a few years ago and wanted to return.
The flight landed alittle early so it was just after noon time when I dropped my bags off at the hotel and made the 20 minutes drive down to Chino. In years past I have not been able to see one of the other museums at Chino, Yanks Air Museum. When I drove by the Yanks hangar I saw that they were only open until 3:00 so I made a quick visit. See the pics here.
Before I made my way down to the airshow ramp I walked thru the Planes of Fame hangars. There is always a new Warbird in the museum that I havent seen before so I dont mind paying the museum admission again. There were two TF51 Mustangs under restoration. I took a walk down the ramp to the main parking area and was greeted by the sight of three FLYABLE P38s Lightnings parked side by side! Cant wait to see them fly on Saturday! There were quite a few airplanes already down on the ramp... see my pics from Friday here.
I called it a day early to rest up for the next two days of airshow. I should be posting more pictures again tomorrow night!

May 16, 2007

B24 Rollout

Last weekend the CAF B24 was rolled out in its new paint scheme! Thanks to Alan Brooks for the pic! Formally known as Diamond Lil the new name is Ol 927.

Chino Preview

Just to give you a preview of the P38 action over Chino this weekend!!! Here is a pic from Mike Shreeve of the Planes of Fame P38. Three P38s are scheduled to fly in the airshow this weekend. Thanks for the preview Mike!

May 14, 2007

Niagara Falls

Check out this picture taken by my friend Kent Wien over Niagara Falls on a trip across the country in a DC-3 a couple weeks ago! To read about the trip go to Kents web site and click on Trips and go to the posts about DC-3 Transcon. He and his dad flew the DC-3 from NY to WA!

170 Flying Again

Finished up the annual on Friday night and make a quick flight at sunset. Feels good to have burned up the gas in the tanks and have bugs all over the leading edges! A few pics above of one of two mouse nests I found... one by the left fuel tank and one out in the right wingtip!

May 10, 2007

Busy shop in Breckenridge

Steve Dickey sent me another round of pictures from the current projects in the shop out in Breckenridge. A privately owned Mustang having a rear seat installed and in the background the Flying Bulls P38 comes together. Thanks again Steve!

Annual Time Again

The 170 is in annual again. All is well accept for the fact that a mouse has been making the 170 a home! Spent last night cleaning out the nests and droppings! Now that it is washed out on the inside maybe the smell will go away! More rain is in the forecast for the next week so the return to flying status might be delayed until next week even thou it might be flyable this Saturday. When I pulled it out last week to run the engine after the oil change a Huey came in for a landing a few hangars down!

May 9, 2007

Warbirds For Sale

This has to be a record year for Warbird aircraft sales. Many have changed hands and even some aircraft that have sat for years in museums are being pulled out, dusted off and offered for sale! Check out this latest list from Provenance Fighter Sales.

May 8, 2007

Lone Star repaints their B25

Thanks to Trae for allowing me to post this pic! It shows Special Delivery in her new colors! This "Doolittle" paint scheme replaces the bright blue paint scheme that it wore for many years. Here is the history of this B-25.

April 29, 2007

CAF B24 Makes Midland Newspaper

Diamond Lil restored to original configuration
Stephanie Miller Staff Writer
Midland Reporter-Telegram

World's only second B-24 also receives new name

Though it's taken approximately seven months and countless hours of work, crew members are close to completing the restoration of the CAF's B-24, with a new look and new nose art to be revealed next month.

The CAF's B-24, known as Diamond Lil, is one of two flying B-24s in the world, said Kay Crites, director of public relations for the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The Collings Foundation owns one and the CAF purchased its B-24 in 1968. Now after several months and nearly 3,000 hours of manpower, Diamond Lil has been restored to her original B-24A configuration.

"It's the new and improved version of our B-24. We're excited to have her return to her more historically accurate configuration," Crites said.

"It's an important part of our mission to tell the story of World War II and to honor those who serve. The reconfiguration helps us tell the story by showing what she actually looked like before she was modified for transport purposes."

Interest for the B-24 remains strong today, considering the 202,048 hits received as of Tuesday since Oct. 27 on a Web site featuring war birds and classic military aircraft that has a series of forums with one relating to the CAF's B-24.

According to records, the plane was diverted in 1941 from an Army Air Forces order for B-24As to be given to British Air Commission. But in the fall of that year, Diamond Lil was damaged during a training mission and shortly afterwards, the Consolidated Air Craft Corporation, which built the aircraft, took it back and modified it for transport. The aircraft served in various roles before it was bought by the CAF.

The reason why the crew took on the project was because of its varied history, said Gary Austin, crew chief of the B-29/B-24 Squadron. It was intended to be a bomber and became a transport, prototype and test bed for later versions of B-24s, he said. During the post war era, Diamond Lil served as a corporate aircraft and freight hauler before coming to the CAF, he added.

Austin did a majority of the aircraft's work which began Oct. 27 and hopes the B-24 will be in the air in May.

The aircraft has a wing span of 110 feet, is 66 feet long and 18 feet tall, Austin said. Some new features include four gun positions out of the original six positions. The others will be completed after the Twin Tails ceremony on May 12, Austin said. "This is a work in progress. It takes more than seven months," he explained.

The bomb racks are new along with the paint job, a brown and green camouflage, which was its original paint scheme. It previously was painted in a Ploesti, a north African desert paint scheme.

Austin completed about 80 percent of the work and by the end of the project around the end of May, he will have worked 2,929.5 hours on the aircraft.

"It's a privilege to be able to work on them. It honors the vets and it teaches the younger generations to honor the vets, too," Austin said on why he devotes countless hours to the aircraft's restoration.

"When you get a vet come up and start reminiscing about their experiences in the old airplanes and they tear up, it makes it worthwhile to have such an impact on their lives."

Volunteers and occasional contract workers contributed approximately 300 to 400 additional hours of the work to the aircraft.

In addition to her new paint job and new look, Diamond Lil will be known by her new name, Ol' 927. According to records, AM927 is her serial number and she was known as Ol' 927.

"This is authentic to this airplane. It's what this plane was called," Austin said of Diamond Lil's new name.

The new nose art, however, currently is concealed by a large question mark and will be revealed at the May ceremony.

The painter of the nose art is Chad Hill of Chicago, who 30 years ago saw Diamond Lil at his first air show, Austin said.

While details of the May 12 ceremony are preliminary, the Twin Tails featuring the B-24 will be held in conjunction with the American Airpower Heritage Museum, Crites said.

"The idea is to let the public in on what's become an international interest on this plane," Austin said about what he hopes visitors will gain when they tour the aircraft.

"It's a good opportunity for folks from Midland-Odessa to be the first to see the international interest from this plane."

April 3, 2007

P38s Over Chino

After posting a few pictures of Glacier Girl in Texas I saw pictures of her now in California. Last weekend the Planes of Fame flew their P38 along with Glacier Girl... so 2 P38s in formation together! Thanks to Brandon K. for the picture! A rare sight! The plan for the Chino Airshow in May is for 3 P38s to fly together. Already have my reservations made for THAT show!!

April 2, 2007

One more from Steve

Steve Dickey sent me quite a few pictures of Glacier Girl when she made her stop in Breckenridge so I just had to post another!

B24 make over progress

The make over for the CAF B24A is nearing completion. To read about the task and see the details follow this link. If you want to jump ahead it appears that there are now over 100 pages of posts on the forum topic!!

March 14, 2007

P38 times 2

My friend Steven Dickey sent me pictures of a surprise visitor to the Breckenridge, Texas airport. He works for Ezell Aviation and in the hangar is the P38 under rebuild for The Flying Bulls. Looks to me like the visitor fits right in! Thanks for sending the Glacier Girl pictures!

The Home Aerodrome

The airport where I am based out of, Northwest Regional, is a fun airport. It is one of the largest privately owned airports in the country as far as number of aircraft based on the field. As the weather improves there will be more flying activities happening around the home aerodrome so check in as I post more pictures from 2007. Here is the first installment! (When viewing the pics be sure to click on slideshow for easy viewing)

February 25, 2007

New Carpet

Last weekend I was finally able to install my new carpet in the 170. Only took a few minutes to pull the seats out and install the carpet but it took me several hours to reinstall the back seat! All back together now and flying good.


A few more pictures have been posted online of the early model P40 that belongs to The Fighter Collection in England. As of this writing it is being flown out of California.

Scroll down this page for the pictures.

February 6, 2007

Fighter Factory

I read an article in Forbes magazine a few years back about Jerry Yagen and his technical training schools but what captured my interest was his growing collection of vintage aircraft. One of the first aircraft I saw owned by Mr. Yagen was his Spitfire Mk. IX at Oshkosh. Not but a few years later I found the web site that lists his aircraft! The Fighter Factory is fast becoming one of the top collections of flyable World War Two aircraft. Emphasis on the FLYABLE part! Be sure to check out this list of aircraft that is under restoration! And if assembling a collection of this size isnt enough a new hangar complex has been built near Virgina Beach to protect it! New build hangars with a 1940s look along with a few World War Two structures that have been imported from Europe! If you couldnt tell I am impressed with Mr. Yagen and how he spends his money preserving vintage fighters.

February 5, 2007

Early Model P40

Pictures have started appearing online of an early model P40 that suggests it has Pearl Harbor history! Rebuilt in California and final assembly at the Chino airport.

See this pictures here.

Compare this early model to other P40 models here.

January 30, 2007

Low, Fast & Close!

Just the way a Warbird airshow should be! This appears to be the Warbird show in France shot a number of years ago. Check out how they dive down into the valley across from the airstrip!

Video here.

January 18, 2007

January 9, 2007

Airshow Buzz

The site I have been looking forward to for 6 months in finally live.

Check out the videos... hopefully they will post more soon! These guys make some AMAZING videos!

2023 Aviators Gift Guide

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