Wednesday, 29 January 2014

'Flyboys' soar with vintage P-40 Warhawk


'Flyboys' soar with vintage P-40 Warhawk 

From the isles of Kent to the hills and plains of San Diego, California now, where a fighter 'plane from a different war has also recently undergone restoration.  In this case it is a 1943 Curtiss P-40E Warhawk that has been rebuilt practically from scratch by the skilled workers and enthusiasts at the San Diego-based restoration company Flyboys Aeroworks.

There's more than just one facet to this story, however.  Not only has an important piece of historical machinery (and a dashed good fighter aircraft to boot) been restored to prime condition, an airframe previously given up to the icy conditions of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands has managed to be salvaged and used as a starting point to bring this particular example back to life.

The team at Flyboys Aeroworks are not your usual retired volunteers, either.  Many of them are apprentice engineering students from the nearby San Diego Mirimar College, putting their knowledge and skills to good use on this project and others like it.  All seem to have an interest in this era, however, and it is splendid to see this manifested in their work. 

Although this particular P-40 is destined for static display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans the skills needed to restore it are essential for the maintenance and future reconstruction of airworthy examples.  It's also great to read that original 1940s blueprints and equipment were used in the restoration of this P-40.


Flyboys Aeroworks to Unveil Newly Restored P-40 Curtiss Warhawk Commissioned by The National WWII Museum in New Orleans

I'm preaching to the converted here but I can't say enough how important it is, for the continued remembrance of our favourite eras, that new and young generations learn the skills needed to keep all aspects of the past alive (and that includes the very skills themselves).  It is people like those at Flyboys, or - as also recently reported - at the Severn Valley Railway's forthcoming Heritage Skills Training Academy, who help to maintain these ageing machines and ensure that they can continue performing at the events we all enjoy (rather than just becoming museum relics, or words and pictures on a page).  I'm sure you'll all agree with me when I say we owe them (and those training them) a debt of gratitude and I hope we shall see many more similar setups in the future (and here's wishing Flyboys the best of luck with their next project). 

I would go so far as to say it is almost a duty for those of us with an interest in fast-receding eras to involve ourselves as best we can in helping to ensure those times aren't forgotten, and where possible pass on our enthusiasm to those young minds interested in and receptive to finding out more about the past.  I'm not usually one for New Year resolutions (and with the first month gone already, I'm a little late!) but these two articles have inspired me to try to get to more museums and events this year - maybe even volunteer where I can - and hopefully do a bit more to keep the spirit of bygone ages alive.

1 comment:

  1. That's a really impressive restoration job. I agree that it's important to keep repair and maintenance skills alive. Plus there's something satisfying in being able to do things with one's hands; I bet the people who've restored the plane take real pride in what they do.


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