View Full Version : Surviving WWII Aircraft Question

03-31-2007, 10:54 AM
Hello all,

I've been lurking around on these forums some time, and I've played IL-2 since the original. While the game is what sparked my initial interest, it is the overwhelming amount of information available here that has kept me enthralled with WWII era warbirds. I've never had the pleasure of witnessing any of these planes in action at an airshow as most of you have, although it's something I'd love to do. I get chills at the sound of those engines coming through my desktop speakers just watching airshow clips on Youtube!

Which brings me to what may seem a couple of unusual questions I pose to you. It is my understanding that many, if not the majority of restored flyable WWII planes have been updated with more modern engines, and at least in some cases are merely full size replicas. So how many actually still fly with their original engines? Are these planes more or less common at the shows? It seems to me that replacement parts for such aircraft would be hard to come by; it's a wonder they would even fly them at all.

Anyway, just something I though I would throw out there. Something to think about..

03-31-2007, 11:07 AM
In my opinion no WW2 warbird flying today is identical to the way it was when it flew during the war.

There are modern safety considerations and contemporary legal requirements that prevent this.

For example the radios in even the most faithful warbird restoration has been updated to enable the pilot to communicate with the atc. However, having said that - some are awfully close.

In life there is no such thing as perfection. Accept that and you will be a happier person. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

03-31-2007, 03:42 PM
The majority of WW2 warbirds still fly with the correct engine types and such, but many have been slightly modified with different naviagtional and communications equipment, to conform to more modern aeronautic standards.

Many are fitted with GPS recievers, modern radios, LCD screens for flight data, modern oxygen systems, saftey harnesses and other equipment.

The majority of currently flying warbirds have some or all of their armour removed (particularly bombers and early war types) and generally have their original armament removed, which may sometimes be replaced with appropriate balast or vis modded parts.

Many P-51s are very different from 'original' standard, having been modified as racers and then converted back to their vintage appearance. Many operate with lightened, modern ariframe material replacing older parts that wouldn't of survived the stresses of racing.

Similarly, quite a few Spitfires are operating with the incorrect mark of Merlin for their types. There are lots of Mk I/IIs and IX/VIIIs that operate with Merlin 20 or 45 serise engines, because they are the only engines available to them.

The new build 'Flugwerk' FW-190s use Shvetsov ASh-82 radials (itself a development of the R-1830 Cyclone) instead of the BMW 801 and the new build Me-262s use the J-85/CJ-610 instead of the Jumo 004 (much to the relief of the pilots and ground crew, i'll bet).

However, that said, most restorers go to AMAZING lengths to find original equipment and use it appropriately. There are plenty of warbirds out there that are as close as humanly possible to their original conditions.

03-31-2007, 03:55 PM
Are't some surviving warbirds also flying with slightly detuned engines - for noise reasons? The translated article I posted about the Junkers Ju-52/3 mentioned that about this particular plane. I imagine the same thing might apply to some vintage WW2 fighters...

03-31-2007, 04:10 PM
I believe there was a video posted here of a bf109 'rote 7' that said they never ran the engine at max power as the aircraft was lighter due to the removed weopons. So this made the performance more historically acurate.

Wouldn't surprise me if none of the warbirds got much time as max power for maintenance and reliability reasons as well. I am sure they make a very good show at high (but not max)power http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


03-31-2007, 05:16 PM
this is one of the best original restorations you'll find and the only P-38F remaining


03-31-2007, 05:25 PM
Previous answers are largely correct.
I have flown in several WWII aircraft.
Yes, the planes had original engine types with
original equipment.

You can up date your radios but to modify
the original engine (s) in the US you need
to get the engines re-certified!

There is some lee-way. I have seen in print where
a few P-51D's are flying with the superior and more reliable V-1650-9 in place of the original V-1650-7.

It's hard to find a more reliable engine than a Wright R-1820-97.
I am certain all airworthy B-17's still use them.

Early RR Merlin marks are nearly non airworthy.
Seems most Spits and Hurricanes are fitted with
later engines.

But for the most part, vintage aircraft have the original power plants.

Notable exceptions are the new manufactured Yaks.
They are powered by Allisons in place of the Kilmovs.
I-16s also don't have the original engines.
The recently manufactured Grumman F3F-3 Bi Planes
have late 1,200 hp Wright R-1820-97s.

But, few are re-engined with new engines.
But as with the exceptions mentioned previously
there are a few DC-3's powered by gas turbines.
A number of Grumman flying boats have gas turbines also.

There are simply no new engines that can give the power and reliability
in the same installation as the originals unless
you use a gas turbine/turbo prop.

The Soviets built Wright radial designs for
many decades after Wright stopped themselves!
Perhaps someone can fill us in, are R-1820
and R-3350 engines still built in Russia?


03-31-2007, 05:37 PM
I'd say the biggest difference is that no warbird (that I'm aware of) is still equipped with fully operational weapon systems. While it is legal in the USA to own machine guns and cannons, getting the proper paperwork to mount them in aircraft is a whole new level of red tape.

With enough money, it could be done. But the number of places where it would be safe to actually use an armed warbird are few and far between. The safety protocols of modern airshows all but preclude the demonstration of armed aircraft.

So we have a situation where nobody bothers to do it because it simply isn't worth the trouble.
Of course, if I ever strike it rich, this will change. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


PS: Fully operational bomb bays and bombsights require no paperwork. I'm not sure if any of the restored bombers have working systems, though. It does require paperwork to drop anything from a moving aircraft.

03-31-2007, 05:42 PM
Maybe not flyable, but they don't come more authentic than this one:


03-31-2007, 05:45 PM
I was thinking of "Glacier Girl" when I started reading this thread. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Mostly, I was thinking about how restorers are able to pull a heap of crushed junk from under several dozen feet of Arctic ice, or from the bottom of a lake, or out of an unmapped jungle and somehow turn it back into an airworthy plane. Or at least into a convincing static display.

It kind of reminds me of a comic in a guitar magazine I read many years ago. A guitar player picks up a vintage guitar at a pawn shop and is all the while thinking, "The frets are worn, the pick-ups need to be replaced ..." Then there is a panel of him in his workshop tinkering with it, and by the last frame the only 'original' part left is the volume knob.

Anyhow, many 'restored' warbirds fit that same scenario. They get new wiring, new aluminum skins, alternative engines, custom-made struts, etc., and pretty soon the only original part left is the manufacturer's serial plate. I recently saw an article about a restored Avenger or Devastator that was using wheel brakes from a Thunderbolt, as I recall.

That said, there are some very good 'impressions' touring the airshow circuit. The Collings Foundation B-17 (http://www.collingsfoundation.org/menu.htm), for example, allows ground tours and flies with passengers, and so has 'ammo boxes', waist machine guns, and a dummy bomb load in the bay to show visitors what it was like to fight and fly in a Fortress. I also read about a restored P-51D that was extremely detailed, even down to hand-woven wire harnesses. When an actual WWII Mustang pilot was offered a chance to sit in the cockpit, he was impressed when he reached under the seat and found there was even a relief tube tucked away.

03-31-2007, 05:57 PM
that WW2 Pilot was the Actual pilot that flew that plane during the war. if I remember the story correct the plane survived ww2 and was transfered to a South American Air force (Brazil?) and then made its way back the the U.S. where it was restored with original blueprints and is reportedly the most accurate WW2 vintage restoration in the world

03-31-2007, 06:03 PM
The new build 'Flugwerk' FW-190s use Shvetsov ASh-82 radials (itself a development of the R-1830 Cyclone) instead of the BMW 801

ASh-82 is a development from the Wright R-1820.
It is nearly identical to the Wright R-2600
as is the BMW 801.

Wright R-1820, R-2600 and R-3350 share many
internal components
as do the Soviet ASh series.

The Shvetsov M-62 or ASh-62 is an exact copy
of a Wright R-1820. Built under liscence before
WWII and pirated for many years after.


04-04-2007, 03:18 PM
I kinda figured that in order to be flyable the planes would have to be retrofitted with modern navigational and radio equipment, but I had no idea so many of them flew with their correct engines. I had previously thought that this was a rarity, rather than the norm. Shows what I know.

As for "Glacier Girl", I remember watching a documentary about her on Discovery or the History channel some time ago. Those guys went through hell trying to salvage that plane. The project was going overbudget, and if I remember correctly, one of the project leaders became ill and passed away before the restoration was complete. It's crazy just how much time, money and man-power actually went into it. Even I was tense when she prepared for take-off on her "first" flight.

Not to go off topic, but I worked as a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat when I was younger. The boat was an all wood New England dragger build in 1926, and was the oldest at our port (there was another built in 1928 as well!) She has a very colorful history, having worked for those entire 75 years or so, and even sank at the dock in the 70's and had to be salvaged. At that point, she was 80% rebuilt or replaced, but to this day some the heavier portions are still original, including the keel, and some of the wood in the hold and engine rooms. It was a blast to not only get to witness such a relic, but to go to work on one every day. Through that experience, I think I've gained an immense appreciation for things that survive throughout the test of time. To think if she hadn't been sunk, she might still be sailing with the engine she was built with!

Of course, restored wartime aircraft and civilian fishing vessels are two completely different things, I know.

Bottom line is, I'm dying to get up close to an old WWII warbird. It's something I've never had the chance to do, but hope to very soon. Last year, just by chance, I did see a C-47 painted up in D-Day stripes flying nice and low while I was on vacation. An unexpected and pleasant surprise. Apart from that, the only others I've seen were at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. That's all well and good, but I want to see those babies FLY!

In the meantime, I'll just have to live vicariously through those of you who post pictures and videos up on here. Thanks for the info everyone!

04-04-2007, 04:22 PM
In my opinion no WW2 warbird flying today is identical to the way it was when it flew during the war.

Well we have spent almost 20,000 USD to get the correct color red wire with authentic markings for the wiring harness.

I don't think you will find a more authentic flying restoration in existence when our bird takes off.

The Flugwerk 190's are the airborne equivalent to a kit car. It might look like a Ferrari but it has the heart of a VW Bug.

All the best,


04-04-2007, 07:09 PM
Originally posted by Kettenhunde:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">In my opinion no WW2 warbird flying today is identical to the way it was when it flew during the war.

Well we have spent almost 20,000 USD to get the correct color red wire with authentic markings for the wiring harness.

I don't think you will find a more authentic flying restoration in existence when our bird takes off.

The Flugwerk 190's are the airborne equivalent to a kit car. It might look like a Ferrari but it has the heart of a VW Bug.

All the best,

Crumpp </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The the Wright R-2600 is far more reliable than a
BMW 801. Similar in power, lighter in weight and
more reliable the The Flugwerk 190's should
be a better performer in all respects than the original.

ASh-82 is a development from the Wright R-1820.
It is nearly identical to the Wright R-2600
as is the BMW 801.


04-04-2007, 07:32 PM
Interesting to note...I recently was reading that the Allison engines that they made during the war are basically the same engine they still make parts for which are then used in some air racing events. There's a big enough market for a company to continue to build the basic design that they had in WWII but with ever increasing reliability. Whatever keeps them in the air I say. I'm also really pleased to hear about all of the projects to have new build, made for airshow, WWII warbird replicas that are virtually identical to their wartime counterparts as far as all the visual aspects go with concessions to make them safe and usable for 21st century air shows.

The Flug Werk FW190s, that team making Me-262's, and there's some other group making new build Ki-43's. Its really neat! Not to mention the hundreds of Mustangs flying!

04-04-2007, 07:35 PM
Similar in power, lighter in weight and
more reliable the The Flugwerk 190's should
be a better performer in all respects than the original.

Certainly! However a Flugwerk FW190 has little in common with a Luftwaffe service FW190.

ASh-82 is a development from the Wright R-1820.

Sure. However it is not a BMW801 motor.

Our aircraft will be representative of a service FW190F8 even to the point of being put back to FW190A8 standards as it flew in JG5 with Heinz at the controls.

We are even hooking up Erhöhte Notleistung on the engine and will run it if the fuel chemistry allows it.

All the best,


04-04-2007, 08:27 PM
Not knowing where you hail from, Intrepid95, if you have the chance, come up to Reading, PA for the WWII Weekend.

You will see many types on display and flying. A group of us from IL-2 manage to meet up and drool over the goings on http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif. A great event....

04-05-2007, 08:16 AM
What makes me puke, is seeing the pictures of hundreds, if not thousands of warbirds at Kingman and Walnut Ridge etc bulldozed and cut up. Same for German and Jap aircraft. Most were cut up, burned, or just puched into ditches and buried. To have been alive then....

04-05-2007, 09:57 AM
To have been alive then....
... you would have had completely different priorities than aircraft preservations.

At that time, the world was recovering from the economic and social devastation of World War II, and lived in the shadows of an even more deadly conflict, World War III between the US and USSR.

04-05-2007, 10:39 AM
BOBMF lanc has different undercarrage, think its off a lincon, but its very close to proper lanc undercarriage, and b25's have a different exhaust system, because its much better.

engine swaps of same basic type are really commen, but these things matter little unless your super anal

04-05-2007, 04:12 PM
Thanks for the tip wayno7777! I live in Boston, about 6 hours away, but I might just have to take a little road trip. I mentioned it to the wife and she actually got excited about the idea! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif Could be a fun weekend getaway.

Know of any other events in the New England area?

04-05-2007, 08:05 PM
Woofiedog lives in the Worcester area. He should be on top of the New England events....

04-05-2007, 10:14 PM
My old boss owns a Flugwerk 190A8. I was back home a couple of weekends ago and took a look. The wing assembly is complete and fully functional (ailerons, flaps, and landing gear) although it's not installed. The tail is fully functional (elevator, rudder, and elevator trim) and installed. The Russian engine is installed but has not been run since being overhauled. The cockpit is mostly disassembled but the upper part of the instrument panel is in place.

Since there is no seat I couldn't sit in it, but, whoever said that it has excellent visibility from the cockpit has a VERY different definition of "excellent" than I do. My old boss said he won't install the gun sight b/c the visibility is poor even without the gunsight. It was interesting to note that the seat is only a few inches off the bottom of the cockpit and your feet stick straight out in front almost like you were sitting on the floor. Now I understand the 109 pilot's quote about "...closing the lid of my coffin..." when he closed the canopy. I can't possibly imagine a tighter cockpit than the 190.


04-06-2007, 07:50 AM
I am currently working on a B-17 restoration. Actually, I was just there last night.

I have posted photos in this forum about how we use original parts where we can and how we make new ones using the old part as a template. See this thread for more info and photos.

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/678...491031245#3491031245 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/6781090245?r=3491031245#3491031245)

04-09-2007, 12:35 PM
From woofiedog....
There are a number of museums and such that might interest him during his stay in Boston... and I hope he has a pleasant visit.

One of the places for aviation... is the New England Air Museum...

Description: Located at Bradley Field International Airport, this is the largest aviation museum in the Northeast USA. Two warehouses and a yard outside house over 70 airplanes.
Location: Windsor Locks
(show on map)
Address: Windsor Locks CT, 6095
Contact Info: (860) 623-3305
Visitor Info: Open daily except Thanksgiving & Christmas.
Ages 12 and up $6.50, ages 6 - 11 $3, ages 60 and up $5.50, ages 5 & under, free.

here is a link for information: http://www.neam.org/

Also here is the museums calendar for April: http://www.neam.org/news/calendar.asp

There is also some great places right in Boston or in the vicinity...


Also... Battleship Cove: http://www.battleshipcove.org/

USS Cassin Young, Boston, Massachusetts
USS Constitution, Boston, Massachusetts
Tug Luna, Boston, Massachusetts
Demolition Boat, Fall River, Massachusetts
Hiddensee, Fall River, Massachusetts
USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr, Fall River, Massachusetts
LCM 56, Fall River, Massachusetts
USS Lionfish, Fall River, Massachusetts
USS Massachusetts, Fall River, Massachusetts
PT 617, Fall River, Massachusetts
PT 796, Fall River, Massachusetts
USS Salem, Quincy, Massachusetts
German Seehund, Quincy, Massachusetts

Hope this will help Intrepid95 out... Again hope he has a Great visit.

Thanks for the info, woofie....

04-09-2007, 11:27 PM
Many planes were modified from original the second their crew chief got his hands on them.Then when field repairs are considered,you open the door for more non-original parts.
The largest problem though IMO,when so many WW2 veterans(planes) were given/'sold' to small strife-ridden countries,who did who knows what to them.

Massachusetts Air show (http://www.massaeronautics.org/default.asp?pgid=AirShows&sid=level2)

[7-006] 2007 Great State of Main Airshow "” Airshow
NAS Brunswick, Brunswick
Cmdr. Darren Hamre "” (207) 921-2256/Alt: (207) 921-2257 [DoD Base]

And if you've really been bitten by the 'WW2 Aviation Bug' you might get a kick out of these:



Have fun,and don't forget your camera,and if you have a scanner (police radio) take it so you can listen to the tower,$$$ (there may be rides offered in a cool old bird),and a couple of chairs if you have a stroller to tie them to. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/partyhat.gif

04-13-2007, 03:19 PM
Wayno7777, please thank woofiedog on my behalf. I especially enjoyed the link to the Charlestown Navy Yard. It's very near to where I live and I go there a lot during the summer. In fact, one of my favorite fishing spots is a stone's throw away from the USS Constitution. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Looks like I'll have plenty to keep myself occupied with this summer. May still have to take a trip to PA, though.

04-13-2007, 03:29 PM
Possibly the closest to WWII vintage - http://www.flyingheritage.com/

At least the P-51 was restored to factory specs and as far as I know one of the few to have a documented war record.

04-13-2007, 08:23 PM
Roger Intrepid, you just did....