What happened to all the WW2 aircraft after the war?

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Jul 1, 2005
Most of them were manufactured in the thousands, and yet somehow only a few remain flyable today. What exactly happened? Did people really care so little about these machines after the war that they were scrapped :?:
You also have to remember that after years of war, alot of people wanted to get on with their lives. I have pictures of B-17s and B-24s at Kingman Arizona that were left to rot for a number of years before being melted down for scrap metal. Some of those aircraft had as little as 10 hours on them. Others had 50+ missions under them. Sadly, very few people had the foresight to preserve them for the sake of history.

Fortunately today there are organizations like the Collings Foundation, Planes of Fame and the CAF that preserve these old birds in flyable condition. The question is how long it can continue. Insurance for these old planes get higher and higher every year and 100 octane avgas may be a thing of the past soon as well.

To see static displays in a museum is a nice treat, but to see them fly and hear the roar of the engines is almost orgasmic, if you love old planes.
It is sad. Champions back then are now rotting like they were useless. But Flyboy15 you have to understand that when the cold war arrived, jets began to replace the regular planes. The P51D was replaced by the F-80 Sabre in the Korean war while the B-29 was replaced by the B-52 Stratobomber in Vietnam. But there was a Aircraft that i was proud to see carry on.

When WWII was over, the C-47 still remained the basic paratrooper mobility aircraft. But when Korea was over we had thousands of these birds in our military yards ready to be scrapped. But some how the idea for a "Flying Platform" came about and the C47 became the AC-47 Flying Platform, with nicknames like, "Puff the Magic Dragon"or Ghosty. Because the AC-47 became the best night aircraft during the Vietnam War.

When things get outdated they are simply scraped. But in the hearts of WWII avition lovers, they still remain our heroes.

Like Macarther said when he was being decommisioned in Korea, "Old soldiers dont die, they just fade away..."


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The F-80 was the shooting star, the sabre was the F-86. The B-29 led to other developments like the B-50 before they got to the B-52, which was the stratofortress, not Stratobomber.

The C-47s were used in a variety of roles in Vietnam, not just the AC-47. There was also an EC-47 electronic reconnaissance platform and they were still being used for transports. A number of DC-3s are still in service in a number of countries laboring on to deliver cargo to remote locations in severe weather.

There were also some special built B-25s used in Vietnam, although not in significant numbers.
When you see the pictures of perfectly good P-38's piled into heaps its such a shame. It would have at least been worth selling them off to other countries to make a few bucks.
I wish we could keep them but when the war was over we were so desperate for money to pay for all the aircraft and other material that we put these beautiful birds into the heaps! :cry:


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There is a problem going around with WWII aircraft. When i went to a airshow in Auburn there was a beautiful C-45. It had the British insignia and camo on it! The pilot of the plane said he could give anyone who paid 45$ a ride. The sad thing is that he told me they are getting so desperate for money right now that she is hard to keep alive. The plane was rescued in a boneyard. They had to put in there own parts but some of the plane was still from the regular plane. Id show you what she looked like but i cant find the pictures.... :(


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Unless you're very rich, a foundation is the only way you're going to keep a warbird flying. When I worked for Al Hansen his F-86 sucked about 300 gallons of jet fuel per flight. Right now Jet A in the States costs anywhere from $2.10 to 3.85 a gallon. Do the math!
Even some of the large organizations are having a tough time keeping afloat these days. The fuels costs are up but the insurance rates are getting worse and worse every year, especially on the old warbirds.
The Fleet Air Arm dump their Corsairs into bottom of the sea of Pacific since FAA asked USA If they want have it back again, but turn out USA doesn't need them anymore and so Royal Navy finally dump the Corsairs into the sea or burn them.

Also, RNZAF burn their Corsairs in 2-3 years later after the War ended.

A friend of mine told me that he believe there is some WWII birds (Scrap) are still around in Marianas Island (boneyards for Bell B-29 Superfortress, B-24 Liberators, Gumman Avengers, and others during aftermath WWII), Wonder If the boneyard ever exist there today?
evangilder said:
Even some of the large organizations are having a tough time keeping afloat these days. The fuels costs are up but the insurance rates are getting worse and worse every year, especially on the old warbirds.

Evan, B-25s in Vietnam? Do you have any info? I've heard of B-26s.

I am trying to gather some info. I have been talking with a former Spec Ops guy who was in Vietnam. We have been talking about some of the old days and airplanes, etc. He mentioned that there were B-25s in small numbers there for Spec Ops, but wouldn't say what their mission was. He don't offer, I don't ask. I'll see what I can find out while keeping the stuff that needs to be kept under wraps where it belongs.

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