List of surviving Consolidated B-24 Liberators

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List of surviving Consolidated B-24 Liberators
Duxfordlib.jpg
B-24M 44-51228 painted as 450493 Dugan at the Imperial War Museum Duxford

Consolidated B-24 Survivors is a list of flying and static display B-24 Liberators and includes brief history, markings, owners, locations, and aircraft condition or status.

Background[edit]

By the time the last complete B-24M came off the Willow Run assembly line in July 1945, 18,482 Liberators had been built by the five B-24 manufacturers.

Post World War II[edit]

The B-24 was quickly declared obsolete by the USAAF and the remaining stateside aircraft were flown to desert storage in the US Southwest. In the Pacific theatre, many aircraft were simply parked, the oil drained from the engines and left for reclamation. By 1950, except for the one B-24D held for preservation, the vast fleet of Liberators were gone. The last flight of a B-24 by the USAF was on 12 May 1959 when Strawberry Bitch left Davis–Monthan Air Force Base for the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where it is now displayed.

Lend lease[edit]

While at the end of the war both the Royal Air Force as well as the Royal Australian Air Force were willing[citation needed] to continue operating the B-24, the terms of the Lend-Lease agreements stipulated that these aircraft had to be either paid for or returned to the US and vast graveyards of aircraft accumulated in India as well as Tarakan, and Australia.

Other countries' needs[edit]

When India gained independence in 1947, 37 Liberators were resurrected and gave service until their retirement in 1968. It is from the Indian Air Force that the majority of the remaining B-24s owe their existence.[1]

In 1948, when Israel was looking for aircraft, the Royal Australian Air Force was approached with the offer to purchase 25 aircraft, but since these aircraft had not been stored with long-term preservation in mind, they were neither airworthy nor economically feasible to restore to flyable condition.

In 1968 the Indian Air Force donated HE-771, stored at Poonah (Pune), to ex-RCAF pilot Lynn Garrison for inclusion in his aircraft collection. It was to be ferried back to the United States in company with the B-24 given to Strategic Air Command. Garrison was busy with Roger Corman's film Richthofen & Brown in 1970, so he turned it over to the RAF. Somehow it ended up in Kermit Weeks' museum in Florida. Weeks' goal is to resurrect the plane, now named Joe, to airworthy status.


Survivors[edit]

Australia[edit]

B-24M

Canada[edit]

B-24L

India[edit]

B-24J

Libya[edit]

B-24D

Papua New Guinea[edit]

B-24D
  • 42-40885 - Crashed on October 18, 1943. Wreckage is situated north of Gona at 8°35'55.42"S 148°14'58.60"E.[6]

Turkey[edit]

B-24D

United Kingdom[edit]

B-24L
B-24M

United States[edit]

LB-30A Diamond Lil from the Commemorative Air Force collection.[N 1]
Strawberry Bitch, formerly on outdoor display at US Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH
Airworthy
B-24A
  • 40-2366 Diamond Lil (formerly Ol' 927) - Commemorative Air Force (B-24/B-29 Squadron) in Addison, Texas This B-24 is number 18 off the assembly line, and is one of a handful of surviving early-war aircraft.[11][12] Most notable about this aircraft is that it is the only surviving "A" model of the B-24, as the "A" was critically under-armed and under-armored. From the Commemorative Air Force's page on Diamond Lil, "On a training flight from Eagles Nest Airport, N.M., prior to its delivery to England, AM-927 experienced a landing accident. The damage was major enough that the aircraft had to be returned to San Diego for repairs. The plane was deleted from the order to be shipped to England and was converted to a transport aircraft. This was to be the prototype for the C-87 transport and AM-927 served as a flying test bed for further development of important B-24 features, such as modifying the control surfaces to help with lighter control forces for the pilots. For this reason, Diamond Lil was spared from the slaughter in Europe. In 1971, she was painted in the colors of the 98th BG and given the name Diamond Lil. During 2006-2007 the aircraft was reconfigured back to her B-24A/LB-30B roots and was given the Ol 927 nose art. In April of 2012, she was renamed back to Diamond Lil. The aircraft was involved in a nose-gear collapse upon landing at Charlotte-Douglas Airport in North Carolina on 26 May, 2012. Damage was minimal and none of the 16 aboard were injured.[13] She was featured in the film Beautiful Dreamer (2006 film).
B-24J
  • 44-44052 Witchcraft - Collings Foundation in Stow, Massachusetts. This B-24 is the most widely recognized restored example worldwide. It is the only fully authentic B-24J model that still flies. It originally flew for the RAF as a bombing and resupply aircraft at the beginning of WWII. after an extensive service debut the B-24 was transferred to the Indian Air Force to fly a similar role, by 1968 the aircraft found itself scrapped and abandoned in a field after the IAF decommissioned and retired it. It remained in this location for over a decade before an extensive recovery team led by British aircraft collector Doug Arnold located the derelict airframe in 1981, Arnold had the wreckage airlifted to England where he advertised it in "as is" condition. Shortly afterwards in 1984 the wreck was purchased by the Collings Foundation, a non-profit organization known for restoring aircraft that is based in Stow, MA. the wrecked liberator was shipped across the Atlantic to Boston, MA that year before being trucked in three separate loads to Stow, MA. although originally intended to be restored exclusively as a static display in Stow, thousands of dollars of additional funding and restoration corporations and volunteers persuaded the foundation to return the unique aircraft to airworthy status. Since it flew again for the first time on September 10th, 1989 the B-24 has gone through three separate paint schemes each honoring a different squadron and theater of the war. It was first painted as "ALL AMERICAN" (1989-1998) a former 15th Air Force bomber that flew missions over Italy. it was then repainted as "the Dragon and His Tail" (1998-2005), thought to be the "most expansive" example of WW II Allied military aircraft nose art, as the original "dragon" artwork ran nearly the entire length of the fuselage sides. The third paint scheme had the B-24 repainted as "Witchcraft" (2005-Present) to honor the 8th Air Force of the European Theater in perhaps its most significant nose art of the three. Witchcraft still flies for the Collings Foundation and is currently based at New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport at the American Aero Services where it was restored, it has flown with the famous Wings of Freedom Tour since 1989 where it visits around 120 airports year round across the entire continental U.S alongside the Foundation's B-17G Flying Fortress and P-51C Mustang educating the public on the historical significance of the last airworthy B-24J [14][15]
On display (complete airframes)
B-24D
B-24J
B-24M
On display (partial airframes)
B-24D
Under restoration or in storage
LB-30
B-24J
  • 44-44272 Joe - (last flown in 1997) - to airworthiness by Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida. Another former Indian Air Force aircraft that after retirement was donated to the aircraft collection of Lynn Garrison and later purchased by David Tallichett in the 1980s, The aircraft was then bought by Kermit Weeks, owner of the Fantasy of Flight museum in Polk City, Florida and made air show appearances throughout The Southern U.S during the 1990s, Although reported to still be airworthy the aircraft has largely been a static display at the Museum having not flown since 1997. From then until the mid-2000s it remained open to the public in one of Fantasy of Flight's display hangars but in recent years it was towed to the Maintenance and Storage facilities behind the museum and is currently only visible to the public via tram tour. It will undergo a complete restoration before it flies again.[25][26]
Wrecks
B-24D
   Coordinates 52.030395, -175.136921 (for best image use Bing Maps)

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Quote: "One of the primary reasons we decided to go with the "A" model, vs the LB-30, was that this airplane was originally a B-24A."[10]
Citations
  1. ^ Bhargava. "India's Reclaimed B-24 Bombers". bharat- rakshak.com. 
  2. ^ "B-24M Liberator/44-41956" B-24 Liberator Australia Restoration Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  3. ^ "B-24L Liberator/44-50154" Canada Aviation and Space Museum Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  4. ^ "B-24J Liberator/44-44213" Indian Air Force Museum Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  5. ^ "B-24D Liberator/41-24301" John Weeks Retrieved: 13 June 2012.
  6. ^ "B-24 Liberator/42-40885" pacificwrecks.com Retrieved: 14 January 2015.
  7. ^ "B-24D Liberator/41-24311" John Weeks Retrieved: 24 August 2010.
  8. ^ "B-24L Liberator/44-50206" RAF Museum Hendon Retrieved: 16 July 2013.
  9. ^ "B-24M Liberator/44-51228" American Air Museum Duxford Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Ol 927: CAF's B-24A Liberator." Warbird Digest, Issue 15, July–August 2007, pp. 17–30.
  11. ^ "B-24A Liberator/40-2366" Commemorative Air Force Retrieved: 02 October 2013.
  12. ^ "FAA Registry: N24927" FAA.gov Retrieved: 13 May 2011.
  13. ^ [1]"World War II plane's landing gear fails, causes delays", Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  14. ^ "B-24J Liberator/44-44052" Collings Foundation Retrieved: 02 October 2013.
  15. ^ "FAA Registry: N224J" FAA.gov Retrieved: 13 May 2011.
  16. ^ "B-24D Liberator/41-23908" Hill Aerospace Museum Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  17. ^ "B-24D Liberator/42-72843" National Museum of the USAF Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  18. ^ "B-24J Liberator/44-44175" Pima Air & Space Museum. Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  19. ^ "B-24J Liberator/44-48781" Barksdale Global Power Museum Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  20. ^ "B-24M Liberator/44-41916" Castel Air Museum.' Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  21. ^ "B-24D Liberator/41-11825" John Weeks Retrieved: 24 August 2010.
  22. ^ "B-24D Liberator/42-40557 Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  23. ^ "B-24D Liberator/42-40461" Virginia Air and Space Center Retrieved: 6 June 2012.
  24. ^ "LB-30 Liberator/AL557" Vintage Aircraft Ltd. Retrieved: 13 June 2012.
  25. ^ "B-24J Liberator/44-44272" Fantasy of Flight Retrieved: 15 July 2013.
  26. ^ "FAA Registry: N94459" FAA.gov Retrieved: 26 August 2014.
  27. ^ "B-24D Liberator/40-2367" Pacific Wrecks Retrieved: 13 June 2012.

External links[edit]