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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:29 pm 
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The P-38F 42-12652 "White 33" is nearing completion at Westpac Restorations, and is anticipated to be flying by the end of September.

This aircraft originally served with the 39th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, of the 5th Air Force, based at New Guinea, and it was part of one of the first groups of P-38's delivered to the Pacific. The aircraft became operational on September 17, 1942, assigned to pilot Kenneth Sparks, and given the nose number "33" in white. On December 31, 1942, Kenneth Sparks was flying the aircraft on an escort mission over Lae Airfield, when over the target Sparks engaged a Japanese Zero, shooting it down. During this action Sparks was involved in a mid-air collision with another Zero, which damaged the P-38's right aileron and wing tip, but tore off part of the Zero's wing, sending that Zero crashing into the ocean. Kenneth Sparks was able to get the damaged aircraft safely back to base where it was then repaired. Later the aircraft was assigned to the 431st and 433rd Fighter Squadrons of the 475th Fighter Group. (It is thought that a number of P-38 pilots, perhaps even some of the great P-38 aces, likely flew this P-38 at one point or another, due to it being one of the first in Theatre, and possibly used as a transitional aircraft). The aircraft continued to be operational, from New Guinea, until early 1944, when it suffered a nose wheel collapse and was written off.

The aircraft was stripped of usable parts and then abandoned at Finschafen Airfield (New Guinea). After the end of the war the aircraft was then buried in a pit along with a number of other abandoned aircraft on the airfield. In 1999, the pit was discovered and the aircraft were removed (the others included the P-38J "Jandina III" 42-103988 (also under restoration to fly), and three razorback P-47D's). "White 33" was shipped to Westpac Restorations around 2003/2004, and a restoration to airworthy began.

Today the aircraft is owned by Jim Slattery, who has an ever growing collection of WWII and vintage aircraft, which are already flying or are under restoration to fly (including two matching Tigercats, an F3F, a PBY, a Brewster-built Corsair, an SB2C-1A Helldiver, an SBD-4 Dauntless, a B-23 Dragon, and more). The restoration of this P-38 is phenomenal. It is the most comprehensive and most authentic P-38 restoration ever done (even more-so than "Glacier Girl"). It has functioning turbochargers, which will make it only the second P-38 flying with operational turbochargers (the other being the Fagen Fighter's P-38L).

Here are some recent images shared by Westpac Restorations on Facebook. Just a couple days ago the aircraft rolled on its landing gear for the first time in over 70-years. On-hand to witness it, was retired Col. Frank Royal, 100-years of age, who was the commanding officer of the 39th Fighter Squadron for which "White 33" was assigned to. Col. Royal actually flew this aircraft during the war. (The entire aircraft will be primed and painted soon, in the original markings it wore during WWII while assigned to the 39th FS, complete with shark mouths on each engine nacelle.)

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Here's a clear view of one of the operational turbochargers. As per original, there is actually a small section of armor plate that sticks up on the inward-facing side of the turbocharger, which is there to provide protection from the turbo fan if it were to disintegrate.

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Just a small indication of the complexity of a P-38 restoration. (Note that the yoke seen in this photo is not correct to the P-38F, and is/was only there temporarily.)

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And this photo just indicates the level of detail of the restoration, where in which all of the original factory stamps, markings, and graffiti were documented and reproduced wherever found during the restoration - most of which will never be seen.

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Last edited by Bomber_12th on Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:19 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:32 pm 
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This is an original wartime photo of the very same aircraft, taken after the damage to the right wing which occurred during combat action on December 31, 1942 (the aircraft's pilot, Kenneth Sparks, is the individual atop the wing). Note the sharks mouth on the engine nacelle - these markings, which will be applied again, will really make this aircraft a standout when the restoration is completed.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:14 pm 
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Very cool. Good to see another P38 coming together.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:34 pm 
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Thanks for the history, and the pictures of the restoration. I'm always very impressed by the level of detail these restoration teams strive to achieve. To document each nuance of the original airframe, and then manufacture all the missing bits and pieces to such exacting standards must be quite a long and tedious process. But the unbridled excitement and pride they must feel when its all done, that must be a feeling beyond words.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:45 pm 
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Here are some more Westpac photos from the last few years, months, and weeks, as the different sections were completed and finally came together.

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(Late-model P-38 control yoke fitted only temporally.)

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Col. Frank Royal on another visit to 'his' aircraft earlier this year.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:47 pm 
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Some even earlier photos of the restoration can be seen here (which also show a lot of the little authentic details): http://www.westpacrestorations.com/inde ... g-white-33

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:57 pm 
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Wonderful pictures. Maybe even some inspiration for an A2A Accusim version to join the project list??? :wink:


Cheers,
Mike

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:20 pm 
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As I also posted at Sim-Outhouse, here is a nice news piece on the restoration and Col. Frank Royal, published yesterday: http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-man ... le/1557425

The first reunion that Col. Royal had with the aircraft was actually back in 2012 (and as the article states, all just by chance happening), and it has been great to see the project amp-up and push towards completion so that Col. Royal will hopefully be present to see the aircraft flying again as early as next month. Also in 2012 there was a reunion of some of the last members of the 39th FS, with Col. Royal, together with "White 33", from which these Westpac photos were taken (unfortunately I can't recall who the other 39th FS pilots were).

(Note that in this photo you can make out some writing on the original un-restored cockpit gondola - this being the name of Lt. Jerome A. Gettler, who ended up being the last pilot assigned to this aircraft during the war, when it was part of the 433rd FS, 475th FG. Jerome Gettler was still alive and well when the aircraft was recovered and the restoration began, but sadly he passed away in 2012.)

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This illustration shows pretty accurately how the aircraft will look when painted.

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Here is another neat shot from the roll-out this past week. As I recall reading a long time ago, Westpac got all of the jigs and left-over parts from the Glacier Girl restoration to aid in the restoration of this aircraft (there are some items that are in this aircraft that were left-out of the Glacier Girl restoration). Westpac has also been restoring a later-variant P-38 for the Flying Heritage Collection (one can only imagine how authentic/complete to original WWII-configuration that aircraft will be!), and they have an extensive amount of P-38 components and major airframe sections to restore a few more P-38's to flying condition in the future, which is their plan.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:22 pm 
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Thanks for the pictures and update.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:42 pm 
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The P-38 is one of my all time WWII fighters. I'm glad to see another old war bird being restored to flight and not just put away in a museum some place.

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Keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down!

Ret SMSgt Cliff Lord - C-130 Flight Engineer & Mechanic 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:09 am 
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For those that haven't kept up with this project on Facebook, it continues to rapidly near completion - first ground runs and taxi tests will be taking place very soon.

As I've stated before, the aircraft is being completed more authentically and more complete (WWII production original) than even "Glacier Girl" - all armor plating, armor glass, gunsight, radios, functioning turbos, etc.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:16 am 
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Is that a nice cockpit or what? I love this bird. Can't wait to see her fly!

Keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down!

Ret SMSgt Cliff Lord - C-130 Flight Engineer & Mechanic 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:40 am 
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As a kid growing up in mid Kansas.......one of the local pilots had a P-38 for a short period of time. I can still remember being in the house and hearing her tearing up the sky's.......which of course would draw me and about every other kid in town outside to watch the little airshow!!!

It's always nice to see beautiful aircraft restored!!!

Cheers,

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:33 am 
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BTW, for those who love the P-38, Hallmark has this Christmas ornament for sale this year: http://shop.hallmark.com/ornaments/keep ... I2557.html


Attached to Westpac Restorations (the company restoring the P-38F "White 33"), is the National Museum of WWII Aviation - located at the Colorado Springs airport. When completed, "White 33" will be remaining as part of the National Museum of WWII Aviation's flying collection of warbirds. As I stated earlier in this thread, the P-38 is owned by Jim Slattery, and his collection of flying warbirds, which has been based in California, are progressively being moved to Colorado Springs to become a part of/foundation of the National Museum of WWII Aviation. At least one of his two Tigercats, his Skyraider, and his F3F (as seen in one of the above photos), have already moved to Colorado Springs - these joining the Westpac-owned/flown B-25 and P-47. These aircraft will remain flown, and will be displayed/flown at select airshows. As I mentioned previously as well, Slattery also has some other very rare warbirds under restoration to fly, including a Brewster-built Corsair, an original SBD-4 Dauntless, and an original SB2C-1A Helldiver (all former Navy aircraft) - and like "White 33", all being restored to absolute original WWII authentic condition. Westpac has also been restoring a P-38J for the Flying Heritage Collection, and has plans for at least a few more P-38 restorations in the future.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:48 am 
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cflord wrote:
Is that a nice cockpit or what?


It's really cool, as it will be the first/only restored flying P-38 to-date to have the armor glass and gunsight installed, as illustrated in this photo.

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