Lt Col Richard “Dick” Cole, last surviving member of the Doolittle raid, has passed away

Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.)

Lieutenant Colonel Richard “Dick” E. Cole, Jimmy Doolittle’s copilot and last surviving member of the Doolittle raid on Tokyo on 18 April 1942, passed away on 9 April 2019.

Born in 1915, he enlisted as aviation cadet in 1940. He was one of the 80 crew members selected to take part in the famous raid against Tokyo and mainland Japan, led by the famous James “Jimmy” Doolittle. Taking off from the USS Hornet in their B-25 Mitchells, a medium bomber designed to operate from land, the raiders bombed Tokyo and other targets in the Japanese mainland. Running out of fuel after their mission, they parachuted or crash-landed in China. Five raiders were captured and executed by the Japanese, with another three becoming prisoners of war (one of whom died of malnutrition during his captivity).

Richard Cole remained in the China-Burma-India theater of operations after the raid. He served in the US Air Force until 1966, retiring with over 5,000 flying hours.

Our thoughts and prayers go to Lt Col Cole’s family and friends.

Read more about Richard Cole’s life and career on the US Air Force’s website.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/04/11/lt-col-richard-dick-cole-last-surviving-member-of-the-doolittle-raid-has-passed-away/

New Warbird Shirt & 15% off all items in the shop

A new Warbird Shirt is available from our shop: “Old Crow”, the P-51D Mustang flown by 357th Fighter Group ace Clarence “Bud” Anderson, wingman to “Chuck” Yeager.

Save 15% off this new shirt, or any other item in the shop, by using the promo code 15APRIL19 between 5 anf 9 April 2019. Thanks as always for your continued support !

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/04/05/new-warbird-shirt-15-off-all-items-in-the-shop/

Morane-Saulnier MS.733 flies again in France

Morane-Saulnier MS.733 n°134 F-WYOT ( Photo © Vintage Aircraft Midi Pyrénées )

Morane-Saulnier MS.733 n°134 F-WYOT ( Photo © Vintage Aircraft Midi Pyrénées )

On 17 March 2019, the Morane-Saulnier MS.733 Alcyon No. 134 (registered F-WYOT) made its first flight after a four-year restoration. This first test flight lasted thirty minutes, and was made with gear extended. Five other flights were made since. This aircraft is a former French air force example, and was purchased by a Swiss owner after its military service before returning to France  in 2015.

More information (in French) and photos can be found here.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/04/04/morane-saulnier-ms-733-flies-again-in-france/

New Warbird Shirt: Spitfire Racer !

A new Warbird Shirt is available in our shop: the Spitfire Racer ! This is Spitfire Mk 21 LA217 of No 41 Squadron in 1947 at Blackpool. You can find this shirt design as well as others in our Warbird Shirts shop and help support the website.

Civilian or racing liveries are not very common on the Spitfire, and this one is probably the most famous. Are there any other good-looking liveries that you know of ?

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/03/26/new-warbird-shirt-spitfire-racer/

Spitfire T.9 PT462 damaged in gear-up landing

The Aircraft Restoration Company (ARCo) announced on its Facebook page that the Spitfire T.9 “Indy” made a wheels-up landing  at Denham Aerodrome on Wednesday the 27th of February.

Spitfire TR Mk 9 PT462 at Flying Legends 2018 (Photo © Jean-Pierre Touzeau)

Spitfire TR Mk 9 PT462 at Flying Legends 2018 (Photo © Jean-Pierre Touzeau)

The pilot and copilot were unharmed but the aircraft sustained some damage, the extent of which will be evaluated when the aircraft is brought back to Duxford.

Source: Aircraft Restoration Company’s facebook page

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/03/02/spitfire-t-9-pt462-damaged-in-gear-up-landing/

Engine runs for RAAF Museum Mustang “Duffy’s Delight”

The North American Mustang Mk 23 “Duffy’s Delight” (serial A68-170, registered VH-SVU) of the Royal Australian Air Force Museum recently made its first engine runs since the engine was returned from overhaul.

Mustang A68-170 painted as A68-750 at Avalon Airport in 2011 (Photo Johntorcasio (CC BY-SA 4.0)).

The aircraft was fully restored in the nineties and made its first post-restoration flight on 17 February 1999. In 2012, the aircraft was grounded after metal had been detected in its Merlin engine’s oil screens. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/02/05/engine-runs-for-raaf-museum-mustang-duffys-delight/

First official flight for XP-82 Twin Mustang prototype

After an unexpected first flight on 31 December, the prototype of Tom Reilly’s North American XP-82 Twin Mustang made its first “official” flight on Monday 28 January.

Ray Fowler was again at the controls of the XP-82 for this “second first flight”, which went very well.

Warbird Digest made this video showing the first flight. You can also find more information and photos on the project and first flight on their website.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/01/30/first-official-flight-for-xp-82-twin-mustang-prototype/

Lufthansa withdraws its financial support to Ju 52 recreational flights

The Junkers Ju 52 “D-AQUI” (Photo Neil (CC BY 2.0))

In an effort to reduce expenses, Lufthansa has announced that they are withdrawing their financial support to their foundation, the Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung. The foundation has been operating the Junkers Ju 52/3m D-CDLH among other aircraft since 1986 and offered paying recreational flights in Germany and Europe. The aircraft is the oldest airworthy Ju 52 in the world and carries the historical Lufthansa colours of D-AQUI in 1936.

It is possible that the aircraft will still be available for display flights at airshows and other events but no decision has been made yet. The tragic accident of Ju-Air’s Ju 52 in August 2018 was reportedly not a factor in the decision.

More information on this topic can be found on Flight Global.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/01/26/lufthansa-withdraws-its-financial-support-to-ju-52-recreational-flights/

Unexpected first flight for XP-82 Twin Mustang prototype

The North American XP-82 Twin Mustang 44-83887 on test flight over Sierras in 1945 (Photo USAF)

The North American XP-82 Twin Mustang  on test flight over Sierras in 1945 (Photo USAF)

Tom Reilly’s North American XP-82 Twin Mustang prototype made an unexpected first flight on 31 December 2018 during a high-speed taxi test. Ray Fowler, who was at the controls, flew the aircraft after picking up too much speed to stop safely within the remaining runway length, and flew for about five minutes before bringing back the Twin Mustang to a safe landing.

The aircraft, serial number 44-83887 and FAA registry N887XP, was acquired by Tom Reilly of Douglas, Georgia, in 2008 and has been undergoing restoration to airworthy condition since. The aircraft had not flown since 14 December 1949 according to the XP-82 Twin Mustang Prototype Project’s Facebook page.

Find out more about the project from their website: XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Project.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2019/01/02/unexpected-first-flight-for-xp-82-twin-mustang-prototype/

Pilot injured in Hawker Hunter ejection off Honolulu

Hawker

(Source: YouTube screen capture)

Hawker Hunter N323AX, operated by ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Company) crashed into the sea off Honolulu on 13 December 2018. Its pilot ejected before the crash but was seriously injured. Available reports indicate his injuries are not life-threatening and that he is recovering. The pilot was acting as a civilian contractor taking part in the Sentry Aloha exercise.

Sources:

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2018/12/15/pilot-injured-in-hawker-hunter-ejection-off-honolulu/

Two de Havilland Vampires destroyed in hangar fire near Paris

The Melun-Villaroche airfield (Google Maps screenshot)

The Melun-Villaroche airfield (Google Maps screenshot)

A hangar fire at the Melun-Villaroche airfield near Paris destroyed two privately-owned de Havilland Vampires Saturday morning, according to local media and sources.

The fire reportedly started in one hangar, totally destroying the aircraft inside, before spreading to the neighbouring hangar and severely damaging another Vampire. Some sixty firefighters were engaged to contain and stop the fire, and nobody was hurt.

The second aircraft is “certainly unsalvageable” according to Didier Chable, president of the local Association des mécaniciens pilotes d’avions anciens (AMPAA).

Sources (in French, with pictures):

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2018/12/09/two-de-havilland-vampires-destroyed-in-hangar-fire-near-paris/

Henri Ecochard, Free French Piper L-4 “Grasshopper” pilot

The CAF French Wing is proud to present the latest issue of its documentary series, History and Duty of Remembrance.

In this episode, Stéphane Duchemin receives Henri Ecochard, Free French and Piper L-4 pilot.

Henri Ecochard was 16 when war was declared in 1939 and 17 when, a year later, he joined the Free French forces in England. In 1941, he left for Equatorial Africa and joined Syria in June. He took part in the Libyan campaign in 1942 and the Tunisia campaign in 1943. He was trained on the Piper L-4 in 1944 in Algeria and then took part in the Liberation of Europe with the 1st DFL until his demobilization after the victory against Germany in 1945.

In this interview, he looks back on his years of war and was very moved to find his Piper Cub (those of the Association Ham & Jam) during the Paris Villaroche Air Legend.

NB: The video is in French, but you can select automatically translated English subtitles by clicking the settings button on the lower part of the video.

Source: CAF French Wing website

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2018/12/05/henri-ecochard-free-french-piper-l-4-grasshopper-pilot/

Spitfire PR.XIX PS890 to fly again in 2019 following post-accident restoration

Spitfire PR.XIX PS890/F-AZJS at Duxford in 2015 (Photo Alan Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Spitfire PR.XIX PS890/F-AZJS at Duxford in 2015 (Photo Alan Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0))

The French newspaper Le Républicain Lorrain reports that the Spitfire PR.XIX registered F-AZJS, which was damaged in a take-off accident in June 2017, is currently being restored by Historic Flying Limited in the United-Kingdom as well as in the USA. The aircraft is expected to fly again  in the spring of 2019.

More information and photos can be found on the Républicain Lorrain website (in French).

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2018/11/26/spitfire-pr-xix-ps890-to-fly-again-in-2019-following-post-accident-restoration/

Switzerland: OFAC temporarily grounds Ju-Air’s Junkers Ju 52s

The Swiss federal civilian aviation office (Office fédéral de l’aviation civile, OFAC) has temporarily grounded the two Junkers Ju 52 used by Ju-Air, based in Dübendorf. The examination of the wreck of the aircraft that crashed on August 4, killing all 20 on board, has revealed structural damage to the wing spars.

This type of damage can not be detected during routine maintenance and, at this stage of the investigation, no link has been made between such structural damage and the accident. This temporary grounding is a precautionary measure while waiting for the investigation to provide answers as to the causes of the accident.

More information on this topic can be found on ARC info (in French).

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2018/11/21/switzerland-ofac-temporarily-grounds-ju-airs-junkers-ju-52s/

Two killed in P-51D Mustang “Pecos Bill” crash in Texas

The P-51D Mustang "Pecos Bill" (Photo Christopher Ebdon)

The P-51D Mustang “Pecos Bill” (Photo Christopher Ebdon (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0))

The P-51D Mustang “Pecos Bill” (s/n 44-74445, registered N4132A) crashed yesterday in  Fredericksburg, Texas. Little information is available on this tragic event but police have announced that the pilot and his passenger were killed in the crash. Some sources indicate that the passenger was a World War II veteran.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and relatives of the victims of this tragic event.

Sources: Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2018/11/18/two-killed-in-p-51d-mustang-pecos-bill-crash-in-texas/