Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Warbird Restoration

Re-blogged from The Lexicans:
There’s a great article about restoring old warbirds in this month’s issue of Air Force Magazine.  Here are the lede grafs and a screen-shot of one of the article’s accompanying pics:
The scarcity of some World War II airframes today drives a small industry that can take what can only be described as airplane DNA and deliver a restored, flying aircraft. Restoration technology now makes it feasible to resurrect historic aircraft from little more than dented scraps of metal.
A striking example of this artistry is one Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk that survived a crash landing in 1942 to emerge as an award-winning restoration indistinguishable from the day it rolled off the Curtiss assembly line in 1941. The restoration shunned the iconic, but now ubiquitous, “Flying Tiger” shark’s mouth paint scheme to create instead a rugged-looking US Army Air Corps fighter of the type that rose to meet Japanese warplanes over Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The Tomahawk’s odyssey began when it was earmarked for the British Royal Air Force and then transferred to the Soviet Union in December 1941. Identified with the RAF number AK295, it was technically a Tomahawk IIB—essentially equivalent to the USAAC’s P-40C.
The text version of the article is here but I recommend reading the PDF version for the photos.
The audience at The Lexicans is primarily former military pilots and folks who worked on military aircraft but I think the article would be of interest to EIP's readership as well, if only for the engineering that's in it.


  1. Your article brings to mind a nice little aircraft museum in the middle of New York state. Wings of Eagles (formerly War Birds Museum, although some people apparently took exception to the word "war") does a lot of restoration of old aircraft and has a frequently changing exhibit of restored and replica planes, as well as some historical displays around the edges. I think it is worth a stop and a look if one is in the area. From the website, I see that they seem to be doing okay, and I am glad for that. Site: http://www.wingsofeagles.com/

    1. Thanks for that link, Anne. I've been down that way when I lived in Rochester but had no idea there was an air museum in the area.

  2. I got involved in this a bit, when I apprenticed as a welder. We had several weeks of aluminum welding, where the best of us were allowed to work on some aircraft parts. I didn't realize so much aluminum was used in those days, for some reason I thought of it as a post-war thing. There we were, forming metal parts out of sheet aluminum, then making bigger parts by welding all the smaller parts together. The jigs were all made out of wood, and were so valuable, that if you screwed them up, you might as well find another career. Bottom-line, it's a multi-million dollar rich mans hobby. It's not really a restoration. Most of the parts start from aluminum sheets imported from China, because 99% the US aluminum plants are closed. Still though, I love welding aluminum. Gas welding, not TIG.

    1. Yeah, you GOTTA have the Big Bucks to own any sort of vintage aircraft... or Hell, any airplane, in general.


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