Branson Veterans Task Force & Branson Airport
Hosts Air Power History Tour

When: Labor Day Weekend. Sept 2-4, 2016
Where: Branson Airport Jet Center (FBO) Bring the Family Experience History

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                        THE PLANES

About the B-24 Diamond Lil:
Diamond Lil, built in 1941, was the 25th B-24 produced by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. It is the oldest remaining B-24. Out of the over 18,000 produced, this airplane is one of only two still flying today. The CAFpurchased this B-24A in 1967 and she has performed majestically before thousands of people for over 40 years. Originally configured as Diamond Lil, a transport aircraft, with markings of the 98th Bomb Group, she underwent a major restoration in 2006 with the intent of returning her back to the original bomber configuration and renamed 927. In the winter of 2011-2012 the Squadron voted to return the name Diamond Lil to the aircraft with newly updated nose art. The airplane is maintained and operated by the volunteers of the Commemorative Air Force B-29/B-24 Squadron based at the CAF Dallas Air Base in Dallas, Texas.

About the TBM Avenger:
The Grumman TBF Avenger (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured by General Motors) was an American torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and eventually used by several air and naval aviation services around the world.
The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway. Despite the loss of five of the six Avengers on its combat debut, it survived in service to become one of the outstanding torpedo bombers of World War II. Greatly modified after the war, it remained in use until the 1960s.

About the B-25:
The North American B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engine medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. It was used by many Allied air forces in every theater of WWII, and remained in service for years after the war concluded. The B-25 first gained fame as the bomber used in the 18 April 1942 Doolittle Raid, in which 16 B-25Bs led by the legendary Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, attacked mainland Japan four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The mission gave a much-needed lift in spirits to the Americans, and alarmed the Japanese who had believed their home islands were inviolable by enemy troops. While the amount of actual damage done was relatively minor, it forced the Japanese to divert troops for the home defense for the remainder of the war. The raiders took off from the carrier USS Hornet and successfully bombed Tokyo and four other Japanese cities without loss.

However, 15 subsequently crash-landed en route to recovery fields in Eastern China. These losses were the result of the task force being spotted by Japanese fishing vessels forcing the bombers to take off 170 miles early, fuel exhaustion, stormy nighttime conditions with zero visibility, and lack of electronic homing aids at the recovery bases. Only one landed intact; it came down in the Soviet Union, where its five-man crew was interned and the aircraft confiscated. Of the 80 aircrew, 69 survived their historic mission and eventually made it back to American lines.

The North American B-25J Mitchell Show Me is one of the over 11,000 B-25s built during World War II. There are only twenty-seven restored and flying in the United States at this time.

About the P-51 Mustang:
One of the most famous and effective fighter aircraft of World War II, the P-51 was originally designed to fulfill a British requirement submitted in April 1940. The North American Aircraft Corporation was contracted to design and build the new fighter. Early versions were powered by 1,100-hp Allison engines, but later models, starting in 1943, used the more powerful Packard-built Merlin V-1650. The Merlin-powered Mustangs were exactly what the Allied bombers in Europe desperately needed, and they became famous for their long range and potent high-altitude escort capability. The most significant variant, the P-51D, featured a 360-degree-view bubble canopy, a modified rear fuselage, and six 12.77-mm machine guns. Along with the fighter role, Mustangs were used for ground attack and reconnaissance. After 1945, over 50 air forces around the world acquired and used the Mustang for many more years, some as recently as the early 1980s.

About the North American T-6 (Navy SNJ):
The North American T-6 Texan two-place advanced trainer was the classroom for most of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II. Called the SNJ by the Navy and the Harvard by the British Royal Air Force, the AT-6 (advanced trainer) was designed as a transition trainer between basic trainers and first-line tactical aircraft. It was re-designated T-6 in 1948.

In all, the T-6 trained several hundred thousand pilots in 34 different countries over a period of 25 years. A total of 15,495 of the planes were made. Though most famous as a trainer, the T-6 Texan also won honors in World War II and in the early days of the Korean War.

Although not as fast as a fighter, it was easy to maintain and repair, had more maneuverability and was easier to handle. A pilot's airplane, it could roll, Immelmann, loop, spin, snap and vertical roll. It was designed to give the best possible training in all types of tactics, from ground strafing to bombardment and aerial dog-fighting.

About the PT-17/13 Stearman:
Officially named the Boeing Model 75, this plane is almost universally known as the "Stearman." The Army designated it the "PT," the Navy the "N2S" and the Canadians called it the "Kaydet." By any name it is recognized as the quintessential primary trainer for American aviators in World War II.

The U.S. Army Air Corps first ordered the Model 75 in 1935, one year after the Stearman Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas was acquired by Boeing. This two-seat biplane incorporates wood-framed wings with fabric covering and a fuselage with welded steel framework, also fabric covered.

In 1940, with war on the horizon, production ballooned with 3520 aircraft delivered in that year alone. Other than engines, there is little difference between the PT-13/N2S-2 (Lycoming R-680), the PT-17/N2S-1 (Continental R-670) and PT-18 (Jacobs R-755) models. Production ceased in February 1945 for an airplane considered rugged, relatively forgiving, and overall an excellent trainer.

About the PT-19:
The PT-19 design began in 1939 as a primary trainer, the first step in the process of training military pilots for the USAAF. The PT-19 is a low, cantilievered, single wing aircraft with a similar wing loading and flight characteristics of the advanced trainers and fighters of the day, like the P-40 Warhawk. The PT-19 was used to replace/supplement the older Boeing PT-13 and 17 Stearman. A pilot would progress from these primary trainers to a basic trainer, the Vultee BT-13, and then to either a North American AT-6 for fighter training or to a Beech AT-9, 10, or 11 multi-engine trainer for transport and bomber training. Ours is a nearly original 1943 PT-19A Cornell, powered by a 200HP Ranger L-440, inline inverted six cylinder engine.

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