Monday, May 5, 2008

Warbirds Alive - The World's Top 25 Flyable Historic Military Aircraft

Warbirds Alive claims to list the Top 25 flyable warbirds as voted by visitors to a vintage aviation website. While it does discuss those warbirds in detail, it is also is a great primer on the vintage warbird scene.

The introduction of the book is a great read on warbirds, recoveries, and the men who have dedicated their lives to saving these planes. Not only is this an interesting saga, but also it is well illustrated with many photos both in color and black and white. Some current, some vintage, but all interesting! The introduction was the highlight of the book for me, and the photos were amazing.

The next section of the book is a chapter each dedicated to the Top 25. They are as follows:

  • Messerschmitt BF-109E-7 “White 14”, now owned by Ed Russell of Canada
  • Bristol Blenheim G-BPIV, which was recently damaged in an accident in England
  • Kermit Week’s P-51C Mustang, resorted as “Ina the Macon Belle”
  • The Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 “FiFi”
  • B-24 Liberator N224J owned by the Collings Foundation
  • Gloster Gladiator flown by the Shuttleworth Collection of England
  • P-63 Kingcobra now owned by John Bagley of Idaho
  • The famous Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster
  • A Hawker Nimrod now owned by the Fighter Collection of Duxford, England
  • P-40E Kittyhawk NZ3009 operated by the Old Flying Machine Company
  • Bob Odegaard’s beautiful F2G-1 Super Corsair #57
  • The Alpine Fighter Collection’s Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIa
  • The Planes of Fame original Mitsubishi Zero
  • A Hawker Sea Hurricane under restoration for Tom Friedkin in California
  • A Hawker Sea Fury flown by the Royal Navy’s Historic Flight
  • The Shuttleworth Collection’s Bristol Fighter
  • Kermit Week’s rare B-26 Marauder
  • The Collings Foundation’s B-17 “Nine O Nine”
  • The Historic Aircraft Collection’s Spitfire Vb
  • Kermit Week’s P-51D Mustang “Cripes A’Mighty 3rd”
  • Ray Dieckman’s FG-1D Corsair “Marines Dream”
  • A Hawker Hind restored and flying in England
  • The Planes of Fame’s Northrop flying wing
  • A P-47D Thunderbolt flying with Neil Melton
  • A P-40C Tomahawk now with the Flying Heritage Collection

    Each chapter tells the history of the specific aircraft and is will illustrated with many photographs. Well I tend to disagree with some of the choices in the Top 25; where is the Canadian Warplane Heritage Lancaster, it is an interesting overview of the worldwide warbird population.

    Lastly, there is a short Appendix with a listing of some warbird recoveries and then a nice photo gallery with more warbird photos, both vintage and current.

    I loved this book. I highly recommend it to any warbird fan.

    Thanks to Specialty Press and John Noack for the review copy.

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