The Lone Star Flight Museum is the largest aviation collection housed in a single facility in the south central United States, and features one of the largest collections of flying vintage aircraft in the world. Mr Larry Gregory is actually the LSFM President. The Museum began as a private aircraft collection in June 1985 by Robert Waltrip. The tremendous interest in the vintage aircraft inspired the founder to build a facility to house and display the collection. In May 1986, the Lone Star Flight Museum was chartered, and earned its not-for-profit tax status. With new acquisitions, the Museum soon outgrew its first facility. The search for a new home led to Scholes Field, Galveston, Texas, a long-term lease was signed, and construction of the 40,000 sq. ft. Phase I facility was begun in March, 1990 and completed in November. During the years the Museum continued to improve its collections, acquiring aircraft and aviation memorabilia, developed an educational outreach program, and instituted a membership program. This facts requested a constant expansion that lead 1991 to complete the actual hangar and building. Also, the 74th Texas Legislature, by Concurrent Resolution, designated the Museum to be the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. The Texas Aviation Hall of Fame houses more than 30 aircraft, many of which are among the last few surviving examples of the type as the B 58 Hustler and the A 20 Havoc. Most of the aircraft collection is flyable, including P 47D, F6F Hellcat, B 17G Flying Fortress, Spitfire Mk XVI, F 4U-5 Corsair, F3F-2 Flying Barrel, T 6 Texan, F 8F Bearcat. The LSFM has two major restoration projects in process, including to display from the summer of 2007 the flyable Hurricane MkIIB, CCF-96, N68RW, that will be delivered from the paint shop before end june and the restoration to flight conditions of a PB4Y-2 PRIVATEER, #59819, N3739 former operated by US NAVY during WWII".
The Museum collection also includes over 2500 reference works, 1000 historic photographs, many original paintings and aviation art prints, over 400 videos and oral histories, and over 3000 aviation related artefacts. The Museum also have a impressive aircraft static display, including a PV Harpoon, a British Tiger Moth, a Catalina and one of the fewest remaining B 58 Hustler SAC Bomber. The Museum's flying collection of award winning aircraft annually logs more than 40,000 cross-country air miles to participate in flying displays and air shows and the P-47 Thunderbolt and the F 6 Hellcat participates in the United States Air Force "Heritage Flight" and the US NAVY Legacy flight.
Aircraft History Background
During the air show, LSFM this year gave the opportunity to selected photographers to participate in a photo session with some of the warbirds that displayed at the show.
Cavanauch P 40N and Mr Steward Dawson Sea Fury were also present, and thanks to the good weather we had the opportunity to made some excellent photo flights, one on the T-6 and the other flying B-25.
The B-25 Mitchell the bomber was built in 1944 with the serial 44-86734 but it was never used in combat as was assigned to training units in USA until 1959 when it was declared as surplus. After been used by some civilian aerial company as transport it was bought as relict by a former university student for only $ 500, that few month later sold again the bomber to warbirds collector Dough Hazel After few month the warbird collector Dean martin bought the bomber and restored it to fly condition as US NAVY PBJ-1J, displaying it to several air show in USA. In 1984 Robert Waltrip bought the B 25 that was the first "aircraft" of the new born Lone Star Flight Museum. It was displayed until last year with the former US NAVY colours before to be painted with the Doolittle Raider livery April this year.
F4U-5 CORSAIR LSFM's Corsair, BuNo 121881, was first flown in the United States after refurbishing on 19 May 1957 and after arrival in Argentina, was assigned to the Daylight Squadron at Punta Indio as 0389/3-C-17 on 13 August 1957. By 23 December 1958, the craft was redesignated 0389/2-A-217 and was assigned to the Segunda Escuadrilla de Ataque (Second Attack Squadron). This particular aircraft received damage to the landing gear and had the propeller destroyed during an unspecified landing accident in September 1960. After being repaired, it became 0389/3-A-217. During 1964, it became 0389/3-A-202. On 21 January 1965, it was assigned to Aeronavale Arsenal Nr. 1 for change of powerplant and stabilizer due to severe vibrations encountered in flight and after was struck off charge was placed as a monument at the Naval Air Base Almirante Zar in Trelew until 1989 when it was sold in the United States. The LSFM aircraft is now painted as the former Korean War night aces Guy Bordelon. The tail code of the aircraft instead the real bordelon's code " NP" is " RW" in honour of the former founder's Museum Robert Waltrip.
This aircraft was product from the Bethpage "Iron Works" as Bureau Number 94204 and was accepted by the US Navy on 27 July 1945. With the war virtually over, the aircraft was initially assigned to NAS San Diego but was soon sent into temporary storage at NAS Santa Ana, also in southern California. Removed from storage in October 1947, the Hellcat was made airworthy and taken to NAS Alameda for unspecified modifications before, just 13 days later, being flown back to NAS Santa Ana for further storage. The fighter remained in storage until December 1951 when it was once again made flyable, heading crosscountry for NAS Willow Grove in Pennsylvania. It was a short stay and in January 1952, the Hellcat was once again back at NAS Alameda The plane stayed at Alameda for a year before being flown to nearby NAS Oakland and then back to NAS Willow Grove. During May 1953, the plane went to Virginia and NAS Norfolk before once again heading back to NAS Oakland. In August 1954, '204 flew to NAS San Diego and back into storage. At this time, the aircraft's logs showed 603 flight hours and indicated that the R-2800 had been overhauled at 300 hours. On 9 July 1957, '204 and all remaining US Navy service Hellcats were declared surplus to government needs. The Hellcat remained in storage until 1959 when it was offered for sale as surplus and BuNo 94204 was purchased by the Normandie Iron and Metal Company, probably for scrap metal value. However, at this point the warbird collector Ed Maloney purchased 94204 and another Hellcat from Normandie. The aircraft, still in its original US Navy paint, received the civil registration N4998V. Ed Maloney made contact with Eddie Fisher in Kansas City who had an ex-Luftwaffe Heinkel He 162 jet fighter. Fisher was looking to trade the aircraft and he and Maloney concluded a deal that saw N4998V transferred to Fisher while the Heinkel headed to California. The Heinkel today form
an important part of The Air Museum's extensive collection of captured enemy aircraft from the Second World War. Fisher hoped to restore the fighter and make it a regular flier but this did not come to fruition and the Hellcat was sold to Mike Coutches in May 1970. Coutches, based at Hayward, California, had owned several Hellcats and a variety of other Warbirds and he traveled to Kansas City to get N4998V in ferryable condition. Once that task was completed, the Hellcat was finally flown to California. From that point, the plane went to the Wagons to Wings Museum at the Flying Lady Restaurant in Morgan Hill, California, during October 1974 where it stayed on display until it was purchased by the new Lone Star Flight Museum. During last major rework of the aircraft was added a second place ( however was used rarely ) and some more windows were installed along the fuselage. The Hellcatt is actually finished in the markings of US Navy ace Commander Alex Vraciu (the Navy's fourth ranking WWII ace).
The LSFM' s Thunderbolt was built as P-47D-40RA at Republic Aviation's Evansville, Indiana plant and accepted by the USAF as s/n 44-90368 on 7 May 1945 as a P-47D-40-RA. It served many stateside assignments over the next 2 years and was stricken from the Air Force inventory in August 1947. In late 1948, the US transferred 22 P-47D Thunderbolts to Venezuela to serve with the Fuerza Aerea Venezolana and the P 47D was in charge with VAF on 10 October 1947, assigned to Escuadron de Caza C-36 "Los diablos ". Only 8 of the 22 would survive and were put up for sale in 1956. The Thunderbolt served as an outdoor display until 1975 when it was traded to a French collector. No major restoration work was completed before the aircraft was sold to Charles Osborne, Jr. of Louisville, KY in 1987. Osborne completed a fabulous restoration in the colours of Big Ass Bird II flown by Lt Howard Park of the 513th Fighter Squadron. The P-47 won Reserve Grand Champion at Oshkosh in 1991. Osborne performed more restoration work in 1995 and selected its present colours of Tarheel Hal, a P-47 flown by Lt Ike Davis of the 366th Fighter Squadron. The aircraft won Reserve Grand Champion honours at the 1996 Sun-N-Fun air show. The Lone Star Flight Museum acquired the airplane in 1998 and continues to fly the Thunderbolt about 75 hours a year. The majority of its flying schedule revolves around the USAF Heritage Flight Demonstration Team. Museum pilot Tom " Gumby" Gregory, performs the popular Heritage Flight at 15 air shows each year.
The LSFM has strong connection with some of the major air museum in Texas, and particularly with Cavanaugh collection Dallas based. This year for the air show the Cavanugh sent his P 40N to Galveston in order to display during the show. The Cavanaugh Flight Museum's P-40N (serial number 44-7396) was constructed at the Curtiss-Wright plant in Buffalo, New York and was delivered to the Army Air Force (AAF.) on May 26,1944. The plane was sent in June 1944 to Peterson Army Air Field, Colorado Springs, Colorado and served with the 268th AAF Base Unit (Combat Crew Training Station-Fighter, Second Air Force). In March 1945, the aircraft was transferred to the 232nd AAF Base Unit (2nd A.F.), stationed at the Dalhart Army Air Field (Texas). In June 1945, the plane was disposed as surplus. The P-40N was purchased by the Cavanaugh Museum in 1995 from Joseph Mabee, who had owned the aircraft since 1978. Today, the aircraft is painted in the scheme of Major General Charles R. Bond, Jr.'s No. 5 and is representative of P-40Bs and P-40Es flown by the Flying Tigers in the early days of World War II.
Sea Fury Reno Racer
Mr Steward Dawson, a former Soutwest airline pilot and now a warbird operator and a FAA aircraft evaluator, bring this year his Sea Fury " Spirit of Texas " to the LSFM air show. He also participate to the photo flights managed by the LSFM pilots during the day's air show. His SEA FURY N24SF, construction serial number 37517, was delivered to the Iraqi air force in July 1953, with the code " 313". After having been bought by a Florida warbird collector in 1979, it remained stored for some years before to be airworthy again by a Texan's factory. In 1996 was bought by Stuart Dawson that after some modifications flew the Sea Fury several years at Reno Air Races Stuart Dawson, with the colour scheme of the Australian Navy, before to paint it few years ago with a scheme that closely recall the " Lone Star flag" renaming the Sea Fury as " Spirit of Texas.