OSH Warbirds in Review Part#2 “Radial Rumble”

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Warbirds are an important part of AirVenture and 2018 was no different. A total of 377 warbirds of all kinds descended into Oshkosh this year. Special emphasis was placed on the 80th Anniversary of the North American Texan, and the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force. The United States Air Force Heritage Flight brought the General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon which flew formation flybys with the North American P-51 Mustang and the Douglas A-1 Skyraider. Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Doc’ was in attendance as was C-47 Skytyrain “That’s All Brother” which was one of the lead aircraft that dropped paratroopers over Normandy on D-Day.

 

Boeing B-29 Superfortress better known as “Doc” is one of only 2 flyable B-29’s left in the world out of 3,970 built was in attendance. Doc rolled off the production line in Wichita Kansas back in March of 1945. Too late to see service in WWII, Doc flew as a radar calibration aircraft with other B-29’s. The squadron became known as the Seven Dwarfs and eventually became target aircraft on the bombing ranges at China Lake CA. Doc spent 42 years in the desert before a group of volunteers took possession of the aircraft. Several Years of painstaking restoration work followed with Doc taking to the air again in July 2016.

 

A pair of Grumman F-7 Tiger cats were part of AirVenture 2018. NX379AK a 1945 built F-7F-3N and NX7629C also a 1945 built F-7F3 flew several times during the week. The F-7 came along too late to see combat in World War II, but was used as a Night Fighter and Attack Aircraft by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the Korean War. A total of 364 F-7’s in all variants were built with less than 10 still flying today.

 

21 years ago the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation was founded and from that the United States Air Force Heritage Flight was born. The Heritage Flight features modern day United States Air Force aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War era aircraft. This historical display of American Air power currently features the A-10,F-16,F-22.and F-35 flying in formation with the P-51,P-38,P-47,P-40,F-86, and the A-1. 10 specially trained civilian pilots fly these historic flights in roughly 50-60 airshows a season. This years AirVenture Featured the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon along with the North American P-51 Mustang and the Douglas A-1 Skyraider.

 

One P-51 Mustang drew considerable interest, that being N51VL, serial number 44-73656 a 1944 built D model. This P-51 is painted in the colors of Moonbeam McSwine, which was piloted by Colonel William T. Whisner Jr. who is credited with 16 aerial kills in Word War II. The late Mr. Vlado Lenoch flew this aircraft from 1988 to 2013 when it was sold and exported to France. In 2018 the Warbird Heritage Foundation of Waukegan IL brought Moonbeam back to the United States and re-registered it in honor of Mr. Lenoch.

 

Many other warbirds were on display or flew in the daily airshows, these included Trainers, Transports, Bombers, and Fighters. The daily airshow featured several examples of the C-47 Skytrain, T-28 Trojan, P-51 Mustang, A-1 Skyraider, and the F-4 Corsair.

 

Carefully choreographed performances were flown everyday of AirVenture, with extended Warbird performances on Friday and Saturday. All of these aircraft have played a significant part in defending our Freedom, we need to keep that history alive and flying for future generations to see. Until next time, “Blue Skies to All!”

 
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