The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, in service today, almost sixty years after its first test flight, is one of the most versatile and successful aircraft ever designed. Originally conceived as a replacement for the Convair B-36, with a long-range, high altitude, free-fall nuclear delivery mission, it has adapted over the years to changing technological and political conditions, assuming a wide variety of tasks and requiring tactics unforeseen by the engineers and airmen responsible for its design and procurement in the late 1940s. Today, it is still flying and fighting, and will probably do so until 2040 or longer. One saying that is popular with today’s aircrews is: “The last B-52 pilot hasn’t been born!”
The Zero was a long-range fighter aircraft operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service from 1940-5, and was considered the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world. It had excellent maneuverability, long range and a legendary reputation as a dogfighter. The Zero was involved in the air raid over Dutch harbor on June 4, 1942. Many flight characteristics were learned from recovering a Zero that crashed landed on Akutan Island.
First flown in 1930, the Pilgrim served as an airliner, bush plane and USAAF light cargo and supply aircraft. The Pilgrim served in all parts of Alaska and played a part in the construction of the Al-Can highway. The Pilgrim is in Alaska Airways livery, and had been hauling fish from Bristol Bay until 1985
The Royal Air Force initially ordered what would be designated by the USAAF as the AT-6 Texan in 1938 and named it 'Harvard'. In 1940, the Harvard MkIIB was built under license in Montreal for the Royal Canadian Air Force, the RAF and the USAAF, with a total 2,557 built. It is reported that in WWII an occasional Harvard would fly in to Annette Island, Alaska, where Canadian units were stationed, adding to the strength of the 11th Air Force.
P-51 and B-25
The Historic Flight Foundation is dedicated to bring a bygone era back to life, delivering a hands-on education about the technology and innovation that served as the springboard for today’s aviation. It was established by John Sessions in 2003 with the intention to collect, restore, and share significant aircraft from the period between the solo Atlantic crossing of Charles Lindbergh and the first test flight of the Boeing 707. Throughout the intervening years, Historic Flight has acquired at least two aircraft annually and engaged the best restoration resources available to return the collection to original splendor.
Grumpy’s flight path began in 1943, training US Army Air Force pilots. In 1944, she was transferred to the Royal Air Force as part of the Lend\Lease program and worked for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Though her work was quiet, she trained crews to fly B-24 Liberators for the critical aerial offensive in Southeast Asia. Post-war, it’s probable that she spent time in storage, but also joined auxiliary bombing units responsible for defending western Canada.
Nicknamed “their little friend” by Allied bomber crews in World War II, the P-51B Mustang emerged in 1942 as the fast, high-altitude North American fighter that could escort bombers deep into enemy territory and turn the tide of losses sustained during long-range missions. The P-51B also saw action in the Korean War and remains a favorite racer and aerobatics performer for today’s aviators. Between 1944–1945, our Impatient Virgin flew more than 700 hours for the 376th North American Fighter Squadron in England. That’s a more than exceptional record—in most cases, the P-51B flew only about 25 hours before sustaining irreparable damage. After a rather interesting crash, our plane lay scattered in a British beet field for more than a half-century, when it was rediscovered and “harvested” by extremely patient archaeologists.