canoecarrier
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The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:12 pm

I was digging into the history of P-61 today and the restoration efforts that have been going on for almost 2 decades with the plane and wondered how long we can expect efforts like that to continue on modern military aircraft in the future. Most of the work is being done by retired aircraft mechanics and machinists on aircraft that are becoming more and more rare. Mostly because they're from WW2 and a time where lots of variants and aircraft types were being produced.

Sometime soon won't the surviving wrecks rot away and become unsalvageable, or the expertize these volunteers have to build a plane from a base plate fade or wreck found in a jungle after 40 years fade away? The world's militaries just don't make as many aircraft as they once did. Will the same restoration efforts be used on planes like the F-22 or the F-35? Maybe, but at a much reduced scale.

Lots of questions there. Just thought I'd get your opinions.
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ptrjong
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:03 pm

I'm not a technician but it's obvious to me that restoring, maintaining and flying WW II era aircraft and early jets is much easier and cheaper than keeping up modern combat aircraft with all their complexity and failure prone electronics. I guess the P-51 will easily outlast the F-22 in the air.

Peter 
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canoecarrier
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:19 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 1):
I'm not a technician but it's obvious to me that restoring, maintaining and flying WW II era aircraft and early jets is much easier and cheaper than keeping up modern combat aircraft with all their complexity and failure prone electronics. I guess the P-51 will easily outlast the F-22 in the air.

I too think that's a given. The example I gave was the P-61 currently under restoration at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum. That plane was recovered in 1984 and is still not in flyable condition. Personally, I think this is going to end up being a dying trade or endevour. We can only pull up WW2 aircraft from the English Channel or find wrecks in New Guinea for so long. It's entirely possible that museums will get aircraft in flying condition directly donated by the military from here on.
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ptrjong
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:43 pm

If people furnish enough money for it, the P-61 restoration is possible, even if the result is really a new aircraft with an old c/n plate. At least when finished it will have more manageable operating costs, compared to an Avro Vulcan or supersonic fighter.
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kc135topboom
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:01 pm

Well, there is always the replica programs, like the Me-262 project here in the US. I believe they flew one of their replicas in Germany a few years ago.
 
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ptrjong
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:29 pm

TopBoom, do you think we'll see a warbird B-52? Much more expensive to run even than the Avro Vulcan, of course, but on the other hand, it's America.
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canoecarrier
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:57 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
Well, there is always the replica programs, like the Me-262 project here in the US. I believe they flew one of their replicas in Germany a few years ago.

The Flying Heritage Museum in Everett has one of those in flying condition.

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 5):
TopBoom, do you think we'll see a warbird B-52? Much more expensive to run even than the Avro Vulcan, of course, but on the other hand, it's America.

I'd be surprised if we ever saw a flying B-52 once they retire them. By then wouldn't you think it will take 20 hours per flight hour to keep one in the air?
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dlednicer
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:30 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):
The Flying Heritage Museum in Everett has one of those in flying condition.

FHC's example is a real Me 262A-1a/U3 (Werk Nr. 500453, N94503). I haven't heard of it reaching flight status, but rumor is that it will be flying with real Jumo 004s.

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The four replicas have gone to the Collings Foundation (N262AZ), Messerschmitt Foundation (N262MS, D-IMTT), Evergreen Aviation Museum (110999) and the Military Aircraft Museum (N262MF). The Evergreen example is non-flying. The fifth one, that was under construction, has not been completed.

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canoecarrier
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:50 am

Would those be original Jumo 004s or new build Jumo 004s using modern metals based off the original designs? Those engines were so fickle and dangerous I can't imagine they'd use the original engines.
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Kiwirob
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:00 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 2):
That plane was recovered in 1984 and is still not in flyable condition. Personally, I think this is going to end up being a dying trade or endevour.

I think it's more a case of having enough money to do the job and sending it to the right people who can do the job. For some reason a lot of old fighter aircraft get restored in New Zealand.
 
Venus6971
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:11 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 8):

I believe they are powered now by two GE J-85's the same engine on T-38's and F-5's.
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trigged
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:26 pm

DOD has pretty much said that no current fighter or bomber will make it in to civilian hands. Sorry guys, but unless someone scratch-builds a B-52, B-1, or F-15/16/18/22/35, you're not gonna see one in private hands. The de-mil procedure ensures the aircraft is scrap afterwards. You might get a C-130 or if you're reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaallllllly lucky you might get a C-5, but that is gonna be it.
 
checksixx
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:00 pm

Quoting trigged (Reply 11):
DOD has pretty much said that no current fighter or bomber will make it in to civilian hands. Sorry guys, but unless someone scratch-builds a B-52, B-1, or F-15/16/18/22/35, you're not gonna see one in private hands.

Nonsense...there are currently B-52, B-1, F-15, F-16, F-18, and F-22 out there in museums. Should be a F-35 in museum hands within 5 years too.
 
boeingfixer
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RE: The Future Of Military Aircraft Restoration

Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:36 pm

Quoting trigged (Reply 11):
DOD has pretty much said that no current fighter or bomber will make it in to civilian hands. Sorry guys, but unless someone scratch-builds a B-52, B-1, or F-15/16/18/22/35, you're not gonna see one in private hands.
Quoting checksixx (Reply 12):
Nonsense...there are currently B-52, B-1, F-15, F-16, F-18, and F-22 out there in museums. Should be a F-35 in museum hands within 5 years too.

checksixx, you should read the last three words of the sentence by trigged. He didn't say that museums wouldn't get these aircraft. He was talking about private citizens obtaining these aircraft. All of the aircraft listed by trigged that are in museums are still owned by the government. Even if the aircraft are displayed in privately owned museums, they are on loan from the parent agency and remain government property.

Cheers,

John
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