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Warbirds Galore at AirVenture 2018

June 14, 2018 - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 is shaping up to be a banner year for warbirds fans, with several new restorations planning on joining old favorites on static display and in the air.

As always, the North American P-51 Mustang, one of the premier U.S. fighters of World War II, will be strongly represented, with more than 20 expected to fly in. One of them is a freshly restored C-model P-51 painted as Lopes Hope 3rd. The airplane is painted to honor WWII pilot Donald Lopez and his time in the China-Burma-India Theater.

Another brand new restoration, a Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat, will also grace the field at AirVenture. The Bearcat was stationed on the Essex-class carrier USS Tarawa (CV-40) in the mid-’40s, then passed through a number of private owners before being damaged in an off airport landing in 1969. After more than 40 years in storage, the airplane was restored over a five-year period by Ezell Aviation in Breckenridge, Texas.

Another visitor coming from Texas is a Douglas A-26K Invader based in Fort Worth named Special Kay. This twin-engine medium bomber/attack aircraft has been recently restored to its mid-’60s U.S. Air Force glory, and honors the veterans who flew the type out of bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War.

These three airplanes are expected join the beloved Boeing B-29 Superfortress Doc, several Curtiss P-40s, multiple Grumman F7F Tigercats, and the XP-82, the only surviving prototype of North American’s legendary Twin Mustang. This year, we’ll be celebrating early jets with a complement of North American F-86 Sabres, Lockheed T-33 Shooting Stars, a MiG-17, and a number of rare early British jets like the de Havilland Vampire and Venom, and the historic Gloster Meteor. Those last three, along with a pair of Supermarine Spitfires and a number of other aircraft, will also serve to commemorate the centennial of the Royal Air Force.

Other warbird types expected in good-sized numbers are at least 80 North American T-6/SNJ Texans/Harvards to commemorate the type’s 80th anniversary, a gathering of Nanchang CJ-6s, not to mention a strong turnout of Beech T-34 Mentors and North American T-28 Trojans. In addition, a dozen Douglas C-47s/DC-3s, including the Commemorative Air Force’s That’s All, Brother, will be making formation flyovers in advance of their planned 2019 flight to Normandy on the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion.

You can learn more about many of these airplanes at Warbirds in Review sessions held daily during AirVenture at Warbird Alley.

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