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Warbird Alley's
Warbird News

Here's the latest news from the warbird aircraft community.

We update this page regularly. Items are moved to the
News Archive after approximately fourteen months.

Today's Date:

[Click the newspaper to jump to the latest news.]

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editor@warbirdalley.com

January 2014:

  • 9 January: Supermarine Spitfire MkXVIIIe G-BUOS (XM845) is back in the air. The aircraft made a successful post-restoration flight at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK. The aircraft was involved in a fatal accident in Norway in August 2010 [2010 News Archive>>]

  • 14 January: South Africa's Thunder City owner Mike Beachy Head made the first flight in five years of his rare English Electric Lightning T.5, ZU-BBD (XS452). It is the only Lightning in airworthy condition. [Video>>]

February 2014:

  • 18 February: A 1953 Hawker Sea Fury FB.10, N13HP (c/n 37536), crashed under unknown circumstances in a heavily-wooded area near Breckenridge, Texas, USA. Owner/pilot Ray Hofman was killed.

  • 22 February: A 1958 Beechcraft T-34 / A-45 Mentor, N666 (c/n GM141), lost engine power just after takeoff from Hollister, California, USA, and made a rough forced landing on vacant land adjacent to the airport. The pilot was injured and "life-flighted" to the hospital. The airplane was substantially damaged. [Editor's note: Can we finally retire this N-number now?]

  • 25 February: A 1954 Douglas C-118A Liftmaster, N351CE (c/n 44599), operated by a cargo company, encountered severe turbulence near Emmonak, Alaska, USA, resulting in damage to its wing. The aircraft landed safely. No one onboard was injured.

March 2014:

  • 4 March: The Fantasy of Flight Attraction/Museum in Polk City, Florida, USA has announced it will be closing as a public attraction on 6 April 2014. Owner Kermit Weeks announced he will continue to operate the center as an events-only facility, and continue to restore and maintain historic aircraft. [More details>>]

  • 7 March: Noted warbird owner and airshow pilot Ed Bowlin passed away at age 79 after an illness. Ed and his wife Connie have worked tirelessly for many years to support the U.S. warbird community in many ways. [Ed's "Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame" citation>>]

  • 17 March: A 1945 Grumman TBM-3 Avenger, N53503 (Bu.No. 53503), operated by the Rocky Mountain Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, suffered a collapse of its left main landing gear while taxiing at Glendale, Arizona, USA. The aircraft's engine and propeller were damaged, as was some sheet metal on the fuselage and wing. A fundraiser has begun to get the aircraft back in the air. [Donate here>>]

  • 23 March: A 1951 Cessna O-1A / L-19 Birddog, N211PP (c/n 22956), lost engine power after picking up an advertising banner in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. The airplane ditched into nearby Tampa Bay. The pilot was not injured.

  • 24 March: A 1943 Stinson L-5 Sentinel, N63777 (s/n 42-98626), operated by the Commemorative Air Force, suffered a propeller strike during landing near Amarillo, Texas, USA. Neither occupant was injured.

  • 25 March: A 1940 Boeing A75N1 Stearman, N59154 (s/n 75-402), struck a parked aircraft during taxi at Shafter, California, USA.

  • 27 March: A 1943 Boeing B75N1 Stearman, N47964 (s/n 75-7540), ground-looped on landing in Mesa, Arizona, USA, striking taxiway lights. The pilot was not injured.

April 2014:

  • 11 April: Despite many months of mediation and negotiations, the Fort Vancouver National Trust and the National Park Service failed to come to an agreement that would have allowed the historic Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver, Washington, USA to resume operation. The Trust plans to continue its operations in various ways in the local area, but not as a resident in the museum buildings.

  • 19 April: A Nanchang CJ-6A, N594T (c/n 4032008), crashed while attempting an emergency landing in a field near Lennon, Michigan, USA. Both the pilot and passenger were killed. Witnesses reported hearing the engine sputtering prior to the crash.

  • 27 April: A modified 1957 Hawker Sea Fury T. Mk 20, NX20SF / VZ368 (Race #8, "Dreadnaught") collided with a Cessna 210 over the northern part of San Francisco Bay while the two aircraft were returning home to Ione, California, USA after a fly-in event at Half Moon Bay. The Cessna crashed into the water and its pilot was killed. The Sea Fury managed to continue, and the pilot and his passenger landed safely at their home base 40 minutes later. Dreadnaught and its owners are well-known in the U.S. air racing community. [More details>>].

  • 29 April: The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announced that it will be moving its corporate offices to Dallas, Texas and, more significantly, establishing a National Airbase at the Dallas Executive Airport. It is hoped that the new location, close to a major metropolitan area, will provide greater public attendance and more opportunities to build a world-class attraction. The move is expected to be complete by the end of 2015. [Full story>>]

May 2014:

  • 4 May: Long-time airshow performer and warbird owner Eddie Andreini, Sr. perished during an airshow performance at Travis Air Force Base, California, USA. While performing an inverted ribbon-cut maneuver in his 450-hp 1944 Boeing PT-13D Super Stearman, N68828, the aircraft touched the ground and slid to a stop. Unfortunately, a fire broke out, consuming the aircraft. Andreini's other airshow mounts included a Yakovlev Yak-9U and a North American P-51 Mustang. [Editor's note: We offer our sincere condolences to Eddie's family, friends, and associates.]

  • 9 May: A 1943 North American AT-6C Texan, N164EW, crashed in a partially-wooded area near Roxbury, New York, USA. The owner/pilot was injured, but is expected to make a complete recovery. [Editor's Note: Our very best wishes to Jim, the pilot, who is a friend of ours.] [Side Note: A Roxbury, NY newspaper became the center of a social-media firestorm in the 24 hours following this accident, when they published a graphic photo of the blood-streaked side of the aircraft in their online coverage. Public opinion finally got them to remove the photo, but for many people, what has been seen cannot be unseen. We feel this is a perfect example of why the media is rarely perceived as a friend to aviation, especially when bad things happen.] [Watershed Post coverage, without the offending photo>>]

  • 15 May: A 1941 North American AT-6C Harvard IIA, F-AZQR (c/n 88-12326), landing gear-up in a freshly-planted sunflower field near Pérignac, France, after an apparent engine failure. The pilot was not injured, and the aircraft appeared to have suffered only minor damage.

  • 16 May: A 1945 Chance-Vought F4U-4 Corsair, N713JT (Bu.No. 97143, "Korean War Hero") came to rest inverted in the grass next to the runway at Peachtree, Georgia, USA, after departing the side of the runway during a crosswind landing. Pilot Jim Tobul is reported to be relatively uninjured. Plans are already underway to repair the aircraft.

  • 22 May: A 1945 Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk. IX, G-PMNF (TA805), departed the paved surface of the runway during landing at Biggin Hill, UK, tipping up on its nose and damaging the propeller (and, presumably, the engine). The pilot was not injured.

  • 26 May: A 1943 Meyers OTW-160 biplane (identity unknown, but believed to be N34341, s/n 86), went off the end of the runway in Tehachapi, California, USA, ending up on its nose. Neither occupant was injured.

June 2014:

  • 1 June: A 1968 SIAI-Marchetti/Aermacchi F.260, N7895 (c/n 123), landed in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, USA with the nose landing gear only partially extended, leading to substantial damage. The pilot was not injured.

  • 3 June: A 1943 Boeing PT-17/A75N1 Stearman, N505V, ground-looped after landing in McCall, Idaho, USA. The pilot was not injured.

  • 4 June: A North American AT-6C Texan, N13372 (c/n 88-13372), crashed in a wooded area near South Prairie, Washington, USA. Both pilots were killed. Witnesses reported that the engine was "sputtering" before the accident.

  • 8 June: A 1941 Boeing A75N Stearman, N26M (s/n 75-1925), operated by an air museum, went off the runway during landing at Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. Neither the pilot nor the passenger were injured, but the aircraft sustained some damage to its landing gear and right wing.

  • 15 June: A 1961 Lockheed SP-2H Neptune firebomber, N4692A (Tanker 48), was forced to land with its nose landing gear not locked in the "down" position at Fresno, California., USA. Despite putting out a dramatic shower of sparks as its nose touched down on the runway, the aircraft was not believed to seriously damaged.

  • 16 June: A Saab 91B Safir, ZU-BSG (c/n 91-289), crashed short of the runway while landing at Krugersdorp, South Africa. The condition of the pilot is not known at this time.

  • 16 June: An ultra-rare warbird has once again taken to the skies for the first time in 48 years! A 1947 deHavilland B.35 Mosquito, CF-HML (s/n VR796), made its first post-restoration flight at Sidney, British Columbia, Canada. The pilot was Steve Hinton. The aircraft will soon be based in Vancouver, BC. There are now two airworthy Mosquitos in the world.

  • 17 June: A 1944 Grumman JRF-5/G-21A Goose, N888GG (s/n B70) crashed into the parking lot of a ski area near Connor, Montana, USA. The pilot was killed. Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft in a flat spin, descending out of a snowstorm. [Local news report>>]

  • 29 June: A 1950 deHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10, VH-UPD (s/n H-F102), crashed while performing aerobatic maneuvers near Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia. The pilot was reported to be seriously injured. The passenger had minor injuries.

July 2014:

  • 4 July: A 1944 North American P-51D Mustang, N1451D (s/n 44-74446) ("Checkertail Clan"), crashed shortly after takeoff near Durango, Colorado, USA. Both the owner/pilot and his flight instructor were killed.

  • 17 July: A Boeing E75 Stearman, N53546 (c/n 75-8649), ground-looped and flipped over while landing in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, USA. The pilot was not injured.

  • 19 July: A North American AT-6 Texan, N39313 (c/n 91074), ended up on its nose after landing in Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Neither person on board were injured.

  • 25 July: A Yakovlev Yak-52, N333YK, suffered an engine fire after landing at Islip, New York, USA. The pilot was not injured.

  • 26 July: A 1942 Ryan ST3KR, N59418 (c/n 2168) crashed into wooded terrain near Newnan, Georgia, USA, after allegedly suffering some kind of mechanical trouble. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured, and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

  • 26 July: A 1974 Hiller UH-12E Raven helicopter, N107HA, lost power and flipped over on landing in Anson County, North Carolina, USA. The pilot was not injured, but the aircraft was substantially damaged.

  • 31 July: A 1948 Hawker Sea Fury T.20, G-RNHF (c/n ES3615), operated by the Royal Navy Historic Flight, suffered the partial collapse of its landing gear during landing at RNAS Culrose, Helston, Cornwall, UK. The aircraft was damaged, but the pilot walked away uninjured. The aircraft's landing gear was observed to extend extremely late, only a second or two before touchdown. Other aspects of the incident are still under investigation. [Video>>]

August 2014:

  • 16 August: A 1958 North American SNJ-6 Texan, N211A (c/n 121-42318), ground-looped upon landing in Readington, New Jersey, USA. Damage to the aircraft is unknown.

  • 16 August: A Boeing A75 Stearman, N719BL, was slightly damaged after suffering a ground-loop during landing in Seattle, Washington, USA. The pilot was not injured.

  • 20 August: The crew of a 1943 Douglas C-54 Skymaster, N9015Q (c/n 43-22178), operated by Island Air Transport, was unable to extend the nose landing gear of their aircraft. They made a successful landing at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA with the nose gear retracted.

  • 23 August: A 1941 deHavilland DH.82C Tiger Moth, C-GMFT (c/n C1178), crashed into trees after takeoff in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, slightly injuring both occupants.

  • 25 August: A Hiller UH-12E Raven, N4035A, operated by the Cape May County Mosquito Control Commission, crash-landed near a soccer field in Middle Township, New Jersey, USA after suffering a mechanical failure. The passenger suffered non life threatening injures. The pilot was not injured.

  • 29 August: A North American Harvard Mk.4 (registration unknown) departed the edge of the runway after suffering the collapse of its landing gear while landing in Toronto, Canada. The pilot and passenger were not injured.

September 2014:

  • 6 September: A 1970 SIAI Marchetti SF.260B, N800RH (c/n 11-02), suffered an engine failure and made a forced landing near Osterberg, Germany. The aircraft came to rest upside down, and both occupants sustained minor injuries.

  • 6 September: A 1951 Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, N212KY, lost power and ditched into the ocean off Miami Beach, Florida, USA, while towing an advertising banner. The pilot was rescued by jetskiers.

  • 14 September: A Boeing PT-17 Stearman, TG-JEN, crashed into the surf while performing low-altitude aerobatics over the beach south of Escuintla, Guatemala. The pilot survived and allegedly walked out of the wreck under his own power. [Video of the accident >>]

  • 17 September: A 2002 Yakovlev/Aerostar Yak-52TW, N916BM, landed with one of its landing gear not fully extended in Pubelo, Colorado, USA. The pilot was not injured. The aircraft's propeller made contact with the runway.

  • 19 September: A 1954 North American T-28C Trojan, N531KG (c/n 226-108), crashed while performing aerobatics over the Virginia International Raceway near Alton, Virginia, USA. Both the pilot and passenger (his mother) were killed.

October 2014:

  • 7 October: A Marsh/Grumman S-2F / S-2T Turbo Tracker, N449DF (Tanker 81), operated by the California Department of Forestry, crashed while fighting a forest fire in the Yosemite National Forest, California, USA. The sole pilot was killed. [Details>>]

  • 8 October: A Focke-Wulf Fw 190-A8, N4190 (c/n173056), ended up on its nose after landing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. The pilot was not injured.

  • 23 September: The pilot of a 1944 North American P-51D Mustang, N351BD ("Big Beautiful Doll"), was forced to make an intentional gear-up landing in Mesa, Arizona, USA after he was unable to extend both main landing gear. [Details and video of landing>>]

  • 23 September: A 1946 North American T-6G Texan, N22NA (c/n 168-326), suffered an engine failure shortly after takeoff and make a forced landing near the runway in Naples, Florida, USA. The landing gear collapsed and the aircraft was substantially damaged. [Details>>]

  • 29 October: A 1941 Curtiss-Wright P-40B Warhawk, N284CF (c/n 16073), ground-looped during landing at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA. The aircraft departed the side of the runway and the landing gear collapsed. The pilot was not injured.

  • 30 October: A 1959 Hawker Hunter Mk.58, N332AX (ex-C-BWKB), operated by a defense contractor, crashed on approach to Naval Air Station Point Mugu, near Oxnard, California, USA. The pilot was killed. [News report>>]

November 2014:

  • 8 November: A 1968 Nanchang CJ-6A, N6315T (c/n 2332045), suffered the collapse of its nose gear on landing in Lakeland, Florida, USA. The pilot was not injured.

  • 9 November: A 1943 deHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth, VH-IVN, ended up on its nose after landing at McKay, Queensland, Australia. Neither the pilot nor the passenger were injured.

  • 13 November: Art Nalls, owner and pilot of the world's only civilian-owned BAe Harrier VTOL jet, has announced that he has acquired a second Harrier from the UK -- this one a two-place T.8 trainer. Nalls plans to use the new Harrier for flight training and proficiency flights, as well as airshows.

  • 14 November: A deHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10, VH-RVY (c/n C1/0472), crashed shortly after takeoff near Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. Both occupants sustained serious injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

  • 15 November: A 1945 deHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth, N28681 (c/n 86530), crashed shortly after takeoff in Williamson, Georgia, USA. Both occupants were injured, and the aircraft appeared to be totally destroyed.

  • 18 November: The purchasers of Connie Edwards' collection of Hispano Buchon fighters, Swiss-based Boschung Global, Ltd. has announced that they will restore all six of the rare Merlin-powered variants of the famous Messerschmitt Bf-109, with at least two being restored to flying condition. The "Edwards Messerschmitts" were stars of the 1968 movie "Battle of Britain," and had been stored in Edwards' hangar in Texas for many decades.

  • 20 November: After more than a decade of restoration, The Aircraft Restoration Company's Bristol Blenheim Mk.I, G-BPIV, has successfully completed its first test flight. [Details and photos>>]

  • 23 November: The Yankee Air Museum in Detroit, Michigan, USA has announced that it is changing its name to the "National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run." An exciting part of the change is that the museum will soon be occupying part of the huge Willow Run bomber plant building, where thousands of B-24 Liberator bombers were produced during WWII. [More information>>]

December 2014:

  • 2 December: A 1968 Nanchang CJ-6, N4350D (c/n 2232013), lost power shortly after takeoff in Mesa, Arizona, USA and crashed into several obstructions during a forced landing. The pilot and passenger were not injured -- an astonishing outcome, considering that both of the aircraft's wings were ripped off, and that the aircraft came to rest inverted next to a large fuel tank and several trailers. [News report>>]

  • 6 December: A 1952 deHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk, N833WP (s/n C1/0714), went off the runway and struck a sign during landing in Chino, California, USA. The pilot and passenger were not injured.

  • 6 December: A 1964 Fouga CM-170 Magister, N300FM (s/n 494), made a forced landing on an 1800-foot long private airfield near Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA, after the pilot apparently ran out of fuel. The aircraft was very heavily damaged, with the fuselage breaking into two pieces. Miraculously, the pilot was not injured.

  • 13 December: Evergreen Vintage Aircraft, a for-profit organization that owns approximately 25 of the aircraft on display at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, USA, has filed for bankruptcy. The museum claims that its operation is financially sustainable, so it its hoped that the museum will remain in operation. Evergreen is home to more than 180 aircraft and significant artifacts, including the massive Hughes H-4 Hercules flying boat. [News report>>]

  • 26 December: A 1943 Douglas DC-3A, N43XX (c/n 11665), experienced an engine fire during landing in Riverside, California, USA. The aircraft sustained minor damage.

January 2015:

  • 10 January: A 1951 deHavilland DHC-2 / L-20A Beaver, N4794C (s/n 51-16545), suffered the collapse of its landing gear on landing in Juneau, Alaska, USA. The pilot was not injured.

  • 18 January: A 1984 Yakovlev Yak-52, N124YK (c/n 844804), suffered the collapse of its nose landing gear on landing at Torrance, California, USA. Damage was minor, and the pilot escaped injury.

  • 22 January: The owners of the famed "Proud Bird" restaurant adjacent to the Los Angeles International Airport have announced that they have secured a 20-year lease with the airport that will allow them to remain in business. Nearly $5.9 million in improvements will also be made to the building and the aircraft exhibits. The Proud Bird is noted for displaying a large collection of vintage aircraft and realistic mockups, along with hundreds of rare and historic aviation photos. The restaurant had been embroiled in a rent dispute since September 2013, and had previously announced that it would be closing. [More>>]

  • 27 January: Col. Jack Wilhite (USAF, Ret.), noted owner/pilot of the world's only flying two-seat MiG-17 fighter, unexpectedly passed at the age of 86. A former F-80, F-84, F-86 and F-100 pilot, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and numerous other awards and decorations during his military career. He continued to fly his MiG-17 in airshows and special events right up until his passing. His charity work and generosity were notable aspects of his outgoing personality. [Editor's Note: We wish to pass along our condolences to Jack's friends and family. He was one of our heroes, and he will be missed.] [Amateur documentary video of Col. Wilhite>>]


Col. Jack Wilhite. (Photo source unknown.)

  • 30 January: Collector/pilot Kermit Weeks' Fantasy of Flight attraction, which closed to the public last year, has re-opened its doors on a limited basis as an aviation museum. The Lakeland, Florida-based facility contains a large collection of vintage aircraft. [News coverage>>]

March 2015:

  • 3 March: A 1941 deHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth, I-GATO (c/n 85253), crashed in a field near Nervesa della Battaglia (Battle Ground), Italy. Both the pilot and passenger were injured, and the plane was substantially damaged. Photos show that the aircraft appeared to hit the only tree in a rather large field. [Newspaper report>>]

  • 5 March: A 1942 Ryan ST3KR (PT-22) Recruit, N53178, lost engine power and made a heavy forced landing on the fairway of a golf course in Venice, California, adjacent to the Santa Monica Airport. The pilot, veteran actor and pilot/owner Harrison Ford, was injured in the accident, but is expected to recover. [Local idiotic news report>>]

  • 10 March: A deHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth, ZK-BMY (s/n DHNZ101), ended up on its nose during landing at Tauranga, New Zealand. The pilot and passenger escaped injury, and the aircraft appeared to suffer relatively minor damage. [News report>>]

  • 11 March: A 1992 BAe Hawk Mk. 67 (T-59) jet, N506XX (c/n 386/6K011), operated by a civilian defense contractor, veered off the runway on takeoff at MCAS Yuma, Arizona, USA, impacting a nearby government vehicle and catching fire. A U.S. Marine inside the vehicle was killed. The two pilots were examined at the hospital and released. [Local news report>>]

  • 12 March: A 1943 Boeing A75N1 / PT-17 Stearman, N7772J (s/n 75-8175), nosed-over during landing in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, USA. The pilot, who was not injured, reported that a wingtip caught a snow bank during the roll-out.

  • 23 March: "Doc," the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that was restored over the past 15 years after being rescued from certain doom on a California bombing range, was rolled out of its hangar for the first time in Witchita, Kansas, USA. Doc will become only the second airworthy B-29 in the world when it makes its first post-restoration flight sometime later this year. [Rollout video>>]
     
     
     

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