What's a "Warbird," and what is this Web site all about?
A warbird is an airplane that was once used by the armed forces of any country, and is now privately owned and flown.
Many hundreds of ex-military aircraft from around the the world have been saved from destruction and given new life by devoted men and women who enjoy preserving history. These people involve themselves with old aircraft not only for the love of flying and the look, sound, feel and smell of the aircraft themselves, but also for the historical significance these aircraft played in the shaping of their respective nations.
Whether a docile training airplane, a large cargo transport, a low-and-slow observation plane, a four-engine bomber, a nimble piston-engine fighter, a supersonic jet or a rescue helicopter, warbirds helped make history. They served over the jungles of Vietnam, in the deserts of North Africa, over the bloody battlefields of Europe, in the snows of Korea, and at countless training bases at home and abroad. They provided food and supplies to soldiers and civilians alike, transported Presidents and Generals, and saved countless lives, both in war and peacetime. They have been a major part of some of the most significant events of the 20th Century.
But most of all, they have provided the "brute force" that nations needed when diplomacy failed. Almost every nation on earth has at least a small air force which serves as an important instrument of their national security. The use of the airplane as a weapon was developed almost concurrently with its use as a mode of transportation.
Every once in a while, someone attends their home-town airshow, notices a couple of old warplanes flying around, and gets the idea that by putting them on public display, the plane's owners and pilots are somehow idolizing war and war-making machines. Nothing could be further from the truth. No soldier has ever wanted war. An effective fighting force is one whose very strength and fighting capability deters the enemy from fighting in the first place. However, conflicts are not always resolved so easily, and when a nation commits its air forces to combat, it does it with the knowledge that human lives (on both sides) are at stake.
The men and women who fight for their country are, and have always been, the finest people a society has to offer. No other endeavor requires its participants to confront their own mortality in such blunt terms, and no other career field expects its members to sacrifice so much.
Regardless of your personal opinions about war and its role in modern society, the fact is that we are all here because of the sacrifices made by past generations. A Warbird aircraft is a living tribute to those men and women who long ago sacrificed everything for the defense of their nation. It is a "living, breathing," visible link to those earlier times of conflict, and it reminds us all how very precious our peace is.
Warbird Alley's purpose is to celebrate these great airplanes and the people who fly them. We hope to provide owners, operators and enthusiasts with a helpful starting point for their online travels and research. We're constantly improving, re-organizing and redefining the way we provide information. We ask for your help in accomplishing this by sending us Web links, pilot reports, essays and photos. Thank you!
Photo by William G. Mancebo
A couple of friendly
reminders for those who
1. Our site emphasizes warbird aircraft types
that are privately-owned
and still airworthy today.
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