Rare A-36A to Invade Oshkosh


    July 19, 2012 - EAA confirmed Monday that the recently restored North American A-36A Invader fighter bomber owned by the Collings Foundation will be at AirVenture 2012, according to Gary Norville of American Aero Services, who did the restoration. It's one of only three known existing A-36s in the world, and one of only two flying. A static display model is at the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, while Chino Warbirds Inc. in Houston, Texas, also has a flying example.

    The A-36 - also called an Apache - is a derivative of the P-51A Mustang or Mustang I as it was known in RAF service. The Collings Foundation airplane (serial No. 42-83738) rolled off North American's assembly line in 1943 but never made it overseas. A total of 500 A-36s were built at a cost of $49,000 each before they were replaced by the P-51.

    It's powered by the low-altitude optimized 1,325-hp Allison V-1710-87 V12 engine and has a top speed of 365 mph. Norville claims the airplane is "the most authentic A-36 out there," from the wing-mounted dive brakes right down to the original scoop and radiator - which needed to be rebuilt after it had been modified by a previous owner to accept a P-51D radiator. It carries the paint scheme of the 86th Fighter-Bomber Group based in Italy, which fought in Operation Torch, and is nicknamed Baby Carmen. "It's painted just the way it would have been," Norville said.

    The visit comes a year after plans fell through to bring the airplane to Oshkosh last year. The restoration took seven years to complete, Norville said.

    "Oshkosh was always our goal," he added. Plans are to arrive at AirVenture on Sunday or Monday from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and be on display throughout the week in the Warbirds area. This will be one aircraft you won't want to miss.



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