Vintage warbird restoration: Wikis

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Restored de Havilland Vampire warbird

Vintage Warbird Restoration or classic aircraft restoration is the process of taking exotic and complex aircraft from the World War II and postwar era, and performing processes such as maintenance, repairs and refurbishments in order to restore these military aircraft to their original wartime state.

Contents

Restoration process

While some are simply restored in minor ways pertaining to appearance and the exterior of the plane, many more are brought to the Federal Aviation Administration or the FAA’s specific requirements of airworthy conditions. This process of restoration can take anywhere from three months to one year on average depending on the specific project, and can range in cost starting at 20 thousand dollars all the way up to one million dollars. Many museums do not hesitate to spend this kind of money on a featured warbird. According to Classic Warplanes, some of the tasks performed on these vintage jets include:[1]

  • Structural repairs
  • Standard maintenance
  • Interior and exterior paint
  • Decals and stamps
  • Upholstery replacements
  • Control heads and radios
  • Parachutes, ejection seats, and ejection seat cartridges
  • Rewiring

Where warbirds are today

Once these planes are restored, they usually either go to one of the many collectors of vintage aircraft around the world, or are placed in working or living museums. When in these museums, they are put on display and continue to be flown for air shows and private rides. According to Warbird Museum Links, a few of the most notable museums in the United State are:[2]

Tasks of the examiner

A SBD-5 Dauntless Dive Bomber is salvaged from the depths of Lake Michigan.
The same model after restoration.

To get these classic jets to their peak performance, maintenance checks performed by certified examiners that specialize in this specific class of aircraft, have to be performed at least once a year. During a standard maintenance check, the examiner looks over every aspect of aircraft maintenance, construction and parts involved in the assembly of the aircraft. For instance, each nut and bolt used in the restoration of the warbird has to be government certified.

Restorers cannot purchase a bolt from the local hardware store; they have to purchase supplies from approved catalogues and retailers. After the flight examiner has gone through the government-issued check list of tasks, they take the plane up for a test flight to make sure everything is the way it should be. If everything checks out, the examiner signs the airplane off in the plane’s log book. Every aircraft has its own individual log book, and many times this book is just as important as the actual aircraft itself because it gives a detailed history of everything about the aircraft, such as where and when it was made, how many hours it has flown, and any accidents it was in. Examiners spend a great amount of time looking over this log book, which goes along with just one of several tasks on which they focus intently.

Many classic jet examiners are certified only in one particular aircraft because there are so many components involved. After signing the aircraft's log book, the examiner is able to teach the potential pilot the specifics about flying the warbird, and eventually signs the new pilot off. This makes the new pilot legally able to fly that specific aircraft. When beginning to check out a potential pilot, the examiner must make sure the pilot has met all prerequisites. For example, the pilot must have 1000 overall hours in a certified aircraft, and take a practical test that takes roughly an hour and a half to complete. The Practical, which is actually flying with the examiner and doing specific skills, is dictated by a written manual issued by Washington D.C. called the Airline Transport Pilot Practical Training Standards (ATP, PTS), as well as an oral test that usually takes about an hour.

On top of these assessments, the examiner focuses intently on the attitude and judgment of the new owner pilot because once a license is issued, it can not be revoked without bringing legal matters into effect. This whole process is called a “type rating” and means that the pilot is only certified in that particular aircraft. If a pilot wants to become certified in another type, they must go through the exact same process for each different aircraft, which can become very costly. After this tedious process of getting checked out in a classic warbird is finished, the certified pilot is able to put this new accomplishment to use. Flying in a warbird is quite an achievement, and it is easy to understand why being humble about this might prove to be difficult.

Air shows

Warbirds are known to be among the fastest propeller-driven planes ever built. There are several different types of warbirds such as the Fighter, Trainer, Bomber, Jet, Transports, Utility, etc. These divisions of warbirds can then be broken down by manufacturer. Examples of different manufacturers and their respective aircraft types include the Hawker Hurricane, Meyers OTW, Avro Lancaster, Beechcraft C-45, Avro Shackleton and Folland Gnat. These vintage warbirds are a huge component of air shows all over the world, and they actually draw crowds to where they are exhibited and flown. Formation groups of warbirds are a highly anticipated feature of any air show. Warbird Alley claims that some of the best-known air shows in the United States that feature warbirds are:[2]

A growing hobby

Warbird Restoration is most closely focused with ensuring the long lasting survival of these vintage, exotic components of history to ensure their popularity for future generations. So many one-of-a-kind aircraft have been found and restored to their original state in hopes of preserving their significance in history. Finding the aircraft and resources needed to restore these warbirds may prove to be difficult for many of the people involved in restoration. Many enthusiasts and restorers learn that working on a restoration project means trips to junkyards, bargaining and trading for parts and skills, or begging with anyone who has a needed item. Some have even opted to rummage through old crash sites to find spare parts. If a part was unattainable, local businesses may sometimes replicate the part to the best of their abilities. Although this is a very time consuming, in-depth project, many have flocked to this process whether it is as a hobby or profession. There are now at least 500 different companies that focus on aircraft restoration alone, and it is continuing to grow.

Clubs and organizations

For the warbird owners, pilots, and enthusiasts, there are clubs and associations you can become familiar with. Some of the most well-known organizations in the United States are:

  • Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was founded in September 1953 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The primary focus of the group started with building individual airplanes, and it soon grew to include antiques, classics, warbirds, aerobatic aircraft, ultralights, helicopters and contemporary manufactured aircraft.
  • Warbirds of America (WOA) is a non-profit organization formed in 1966. A year after its start, it became a branch of the EAA.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) focuses predominantly on the safety involved in aviation as a whole. This administration was brought into action when the Air Commerce Act of May 20, 1926 was formed. The Act charged the United States Secretary of Commerce with fostering air commerce, issuing and enforcing air traffic rules, licensing pilots, certificating aircraft, establishing airways, and operating and maintaining aids to air navigation.
  • Classic Jet Aircraft Association (CJAA) founded in 1989, works with the federal government, specifically the FAA in Washington, providing valuable input to law and regulation makers.

All these different clubs and organizations primarily focus on group members communicating back and forth on any information pertaining to technical expertise, flight training, safety, and maintenance. One of their main goals is to establish a library devoted to the history of aviation and to the construction, repair, restoration, maintenance and preservation of vintage aircraft. These organizations allow aviation enthusiasts the opportunity to share information, stories, and their passion of aircraft quickly and easily.

See also

References

  1. ^ Spick, Mike. Classic Warplanes. New York: Smithmark, 1991. ISBN 0-86101-622-X.
  2. ^ a b Warbird Museum Links Access date: 2009-01-27

External links

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warbird]]

Vintage Warbird Restoration or classic aircraft restoration is the process of taking exotic and complex aircraft from the World War II and postwar era, and performing processes such as maintenance, repairs and refurbishments in order to restore these military aircraft to their original wartime state.

Contents

Restoration process

While some are simply restored in minor ways pertaining to appearance and the exterior of the plane, many more are brought to the Federal Aviation Administration or the FAA’s specific requirements of airworthy conditions. This process of restoration can take anywhere from three months to one year on average depending on the specific project, and can range in cost starting at 20 thousand dollars all the way up to one million dollars. Many museums do not hesitate to spend this kind of money on a featured warbird. According to Classic Warplanes, some of the tasks performed on these vintage jets include:[1]

  • Structural repairs
  • Standard maintenance
  • Interior and exterior paint
  • Decals and stamps
  • Upholstery replacements
  • Control heads and radios
  • Parachutes, ejection seats, and ejection seat cartridges
  • Rewiring

Where warbirds are today

Once these planes are restored, they usually either go to one of the many collectors of vintage aircraft around the world, or are placed in working or living museums. When in these museums, they are put on display and continue to be flown for air shows and private rides. According to Warbird Museum Links, a few of the most notable museums in the United State are:[2]

Tasks of the examiner

is salvaged from the depths of Lake Michigan.]]

To get these classic aircraft to their peak performance, maintenance checks performed by certified examiners that specialize in this specific class of aircraft, have to be performed at least once a year. During a standard maintenance check, the examiner looks over every aspect of aircraft maintenance, construction and parts involved in the assembly of the aircraft. For instance, each nut and bolt used in the restoration of the warbird has to be government certified.

Restorers cannot purchase a bolt from the local hardware store; they have to purchase supplies from approved catalogues and retailers. After the flight examiner has gone through the government-issued check list of tasks, they take the plane up for a test flight to make sure everything is the way it should be. If everything checks out, the examiner signs the airplane off in the plane’s log book. Every aircraft has its own individual log book, and many times this book is just as important as the actual aircraft itself because it gives a detailed history of everything about the aircraft, such as where and when it was made, how many hours it has flown, and any accidents it was in. Examiners spend a great amount of time looking over this log book, which goes along with just one of several tasks on which they focus intently.

Many classic aircraft examiners are certified only in one particular aircraft because there are so many components involved. After signing the aircraft's log book, the examiner is able to teach the potential pilot the specifics about flying the warbird, and eventually signs the new pilot off. This makes the new pilot legally able to fly that specific aircraft. When beginning to check out a potential pilot, the examiner must make sure the pilot has met all prerequisites. For example, the pilot must have 1000 overall hours in a certified aircraft, and take a practical test that takes roughly an hour and a half to complete. The Practical, which is actually flying with the examiner and doing specific skills, is dictated by a written manual issued by Washington D.C. called the Airline Transport Pilot Practical Training Standards (ATP, PTS), as well as an oral test that usually takes about an hour.

On top of these assessments, the examiner focuses intently on the attitude and judgment of the new owner pilot because once a license is issued, it can not be revoked without bringing legal matters into effect. This whole process is called a “type rating” and means that the pilot is only certified in that particular aircraft. If a pilot wants to become certified in another type, they must go through the exact same process for each different aircraft, which can become very costly. After this tedious process of getting checked out in a classic warbird is finished, the certified pilot is able to put this new accomplishment to use. Flying in a warbird is quite an achievement, and it is easy to understand why being humble about this might prove to be difficult.

Air shows

]]

[[File:|thumb|right|2008 Commemorative Air Force Airsho]] Warbirds are known to be among the fastest propeller-driven planes ever built. There are several different types of warbirds such as the Fighter, Trainer, Bomber, Jet, Transports, Utility, etc. These divisions of warbirds can then be broken down by manufacturer. Examples of different manufacturers and their respective aircraft types include the Hawker Hurricane, Meyers OTW, Avro Lancaster, Beechcraft C-45, Avro Shackleton and Folland Gnat. These vintage warbirds are a huge component of air shows all over the world, and they actually draw crowds to where they are exhibited and flown. Formation groups of warbirds are a highly anticipated feature of any air show. Warbird Alley claims that some of the best-known air shows in the United States that feature warbirds are:[2]

A growing hobby

Warbird Restoration is most closely focused with ensuring the long lasting survival of these vintage, exotic components of history to ensure their popularity for future generations. So many one-of-a-kind aircraft have been found and restored to their original state in hopes of preserving their significance in history. Finding the aircraft and resources needed to restore these warbirds may prove to be difficult for many of the people involved in restoration. Many enthusiasts and restorers learn that working on a restoration project means trips to junkyards, bargaining and trading for parts and skills, or begging with anyone who has a needed item. Some have even opted to rummage through old crash sites to find spare parts. If a part was unattainable, local businesses may sometimes replicate the part to the best of their abilities. Although this is a very time consuming, in-depth project, many have flocked to this process whether it is as a hobby or profession. There are now at least 500 different companies that focus on aircraft restoration alone, and it is continuing to grow.

Clubs and organizations

For the warbird owners, pilots, and enthusiasts, there are clubs and associations you can become familiar with. Some of the most well-known organizations in the United States are:

  • Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was founded in September 1953 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The primary focus of the group started with building individual airplanes, and it soon grew to include antiques, classics, warbirds, aerobatic aircraft, ultralights, helicopters and contemporary manufactured aircraft.
  • Warbirds of America (WOA) is a non-profit organization formed in 1966. A year after its start, it became a branch of the EAA.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) focuses predominantly on the safety involved in aviation as a whole. This administration was brought into action when the Air Commerce Act of May 20, 1926 was formed. The Act charged the United States Secretary of Commerce with fostering air commerce, issuing and enforcing air traffic rules, licensing pilots, certificating aircraft, establishing airways, and operating and maintaining aids to air navigation.
  • Classic Jet Aircraft Association (CJAA) founded in 1989, works with the federal government, specifically the FAA in Washington, providing valuable input to law and regulation makers.

All these different clubs and organizations primarily focus on group members communicating back and forth on any information pertaining to technical expertise, flight training, safety, and maintenance. One of their main goals is to establish a library devoted to the history of aviation and to the construction, repair, restoration, maintenance and preservation of vintage aircraft. These organizations allow aviation enthusiasts the opportunity to share information, stories, and their passion of aircraft quickly and easily.

See also

References

  1. ^ Spick, Mike. Classic Warplanes. New York: Smithmark, 1991. ISBN 0-86101-622-X.
  2. ^ a b Warbird Museum Links Access date: 2009-01-27

External links


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