WWII-era Tuskegee Army Airfield PT-19A to be restored – May have WASP connection
PEACHTREE CITY, GA. (April 7, 2022) – Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Georgia soon will restore a Fairchild PT-19A Cornell trainer (N52151) once assigned to Tuskegee Army Airfield during World War II. Constructed of a steel tubing frame and plywood-covered wing and tail surfaces, the PT-19A will be re-covered and repainted to resemble as closely as possible the way it was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943.
More than 8,000 PT-19s and associated variants were constructed for the military during World War II. The aircraft were assigned to training bases throughout the United States and Canada. This aircraft’s connection to Tuskegee Army Airfield was established after detailed research and discussions with aviation history experts. The restoration project will take up to nine months, during which time the Airbase will collaborate with education partners and other units in the CAF in support of community outreach. Approximately 100 PT-19s remain airworthy today. This aircraft has been assigned to Airbase Georgia since 2006, and was modified at some point with a canopy for weather protection.
As a result of additional research, Airbase Georgia has learned that a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) or the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), the unit that preceded the WASP, likely ferried this PT-19A from Hagerstown, Maryland to Atlanta and then to its destination at Tuskegee Army Airfield.
"Given the date of this delivery in November 1943, it is quite possible that a member of WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) delivered this PT-19 primary trainer aircraft to Tuskegee,” said Sarah Byrn Rickman, author of 12 WAFS/WASP books. “At that time, approximately 80 women pilots were stationed with the 2nd Ferrying Group, New Castle Army Air Base in Wilmington, Delaware. The WAFS (Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) was recruited specifically to ferry these badly needed PT-19s from the Fairchild Aircraft factory in Hagerstown, Maryland to Army Air Force’s training bases in the South. Hopefully we will find the military flight records that will tell us for sure."
CAF Airbase Georgia volunteers have a track record of restoring rare vintage aircraft to award-winning condition. Past accomplishments include a rare Douglas SBD dive-bomber, Bell P-63 Kingcobra, and North American LT-6 Mosquito. The group is currently restoring a Boeing N-2S Kaydet biplane dedicated to Rosie the Riveter and will soon receive a P-47 Thunderbolt for restoration.
“The mission of the Commemorative Air Force is to Educate, Inspire, and Honor. Our group restores World War II aircraft to fly them as a tribute to America and her veterans,” said Airbase Georgia Leader Joel Perkins. “Our members take immense pride in our restorations with the goal to help inspire the next generation of pilots, mechanics, and citizens.”
Once the project is completed, the PT-19A will rejoin CAF Airbase Georgia’s fleet of vintage aircraft and participate in aviation and education events at the World War II flying museum, and throughout Georgia and neighboring states.
About the CAF Airbase Georgia Warbird Museum CAF Airbase Georgia, based in Peachtree City, Ga., was founded in 1987. The Airbase is one of the largest unit locations of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The group maintains and flies seven vintage military aircraft including a P-51 Mustang, an FG-1D Corsair, an SBD Dauntless, and a P-63A Kingcobra. The Airbase, which is composed of more than 400 volunteers, has hosted WWII Heritage Days since 2003. The organization is also a founding partner of the Georgia WWII Heritage Trail launched in 2021. The Airbase is part of the CAF, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that relies on contributions of time and funds to carry out its mission. For more information, go to https://airbasegeorgia.org/.
About the Commemorative Air Force The Commemorative Air Force is the world’s largest flying museum, with a fleet of more than 180 World War II-era airplanes that are assigned to unit locations across the United States. Nearly all the aircraft are kept in flying condition, enabling people to experience firsthand the sights and sounds of vintage military aircraft in flight. Supported by 12,000 volunteer members, the CAF is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition, education, and remembrance.
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