A release button used to drop a successful bouncing bomb during the famous Dambusters raid in 1943 will reportedly hit the auction block on July 1.

The simple Bakelite switch was used by John Fort aboard 617 Squadron Avro Lancaster ED 906 AJ-J when it attacked and destroyed the Mohne Dam near Germany’s Ruhr industrial area on May 17, 1943. The raid, known as Operation Chastise, was said to have crippled the Nazi war effort by destroying power stations, factories and mines – thus changing the course of WW2.

The aircraft’s pilot, David Maltby, presented the switch to the Hydneye House Preparatory School in Hastings, East Sussex, where his father served as headmaster. The current owner, referred to as “a close family friend of the pilot,” has decided to sell the item, which was acquired as part of a collection when the school closed in the 1960s.

The button “is thought to be the only surviving example of those retro-fitted and used for and during the ‘Dambusters’ bomb raids” and will be sold publicly for the first time by JP Humbert Auctioneers of Whittlebury, Northants. It is expected to draw between £25,000 and £40,000.

The complete listing for the switch can be found here.

(via LincolnshireLive)

The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia has acquired a full-scale Sopwith Triplane from an Alabama museum.

The news was announced by the museum’s Fighter Factory maintenance facility, which recently began the process of disassembling the aircraft for transport. The Lycoming-powered Triplane (N543A) was reportedly built by Chad Wille in the early 1990s and was recognized as an “Outstanding Aircraft” at SUN ‘n FUN 1993. It became part of the Guntersville, Alabama-based Replica Fighter Museum owned by the late Frank Ryder before moving on to the Homer B. Wilson Vintage Museum at the Guntersville Municipal Airport.

It has not yet been reported when the aircraft will arrive in Virginia or if it will be participating in the museum’s 2017 Biplanes and Triplanes air show, which is currently scheduled for October 7th and 8th.

Click below to check out additional photos.

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Airfix has announced the development of a new tool 1/72 Vickers Wellington medium bomber model kit with a series of CAD screenshots and 3D images.

Described as one of the most successful and crucial British aircraft of WW2, the Wellington served throughout the conflict and was produced in greater numbers than any other British-built bomber. The new Airfix kit will represent the Mk.IC, which improved on the previous Mk.IA by employing an updated hydraulic system, 24 volt electrical system and “Lorenz beam” blind landing equipment. The Mk.IC also dispensed with the previous retractable ventral turret in favor of .303 Browning machine guns mounted mid-fuselage on each side of the aircraft.

The Airfix team is designing the model with the aid of original engineering drawings and other rare Wellington information to provide historical accuracy and “impressive levels of detail.” It is currently slated for release in May 2018.

Click below to check out additional renderings.

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On Friday, the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum’s (FHCAM) newly restored de Havilland Mosquito performed its first US flight from Paine Field in Washington State.

As previously reported, the aircraft (previously TV959) is a TIII trainer previously held by the Imperial War Museum. It arrived at the FHCAM’s Everett, Washington facility in December after being fully restored by Avspecs Ltd. of Ardmore, New Zealand.

The machine performed its first post restoration flight from Ardmore last September wearing the temporary markings of NZ2337/TE757, a Standard Motors-built Mossie that was destroyed in a hangar fire at Ohakea in 1950. It was then disassembled and shipped to its new home in the US, where it was repainted to represent NS838, “Wag’s War-Wagon”, the machine in which Flight Officer Alan Wagner of No. 605 Squadron became an ace in March 1944.

Friday’s test flight went smoothly and was captured in the video below. The public will reportedly have a chance to see it in action at FHCAM’s SkyFair on July 22.

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Ezell Aviation of Breckenridge, Texas has reported the first post-restoration flight of The ‎Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum’s (FHCAM) Goodyear FG-1D Corsair.

As previously reported, the aircraft (88303) was built by Goodyear in April 1945 and delivered to Marine Squadron VMF-115 in the southern Philippines, seeing combat in July and August. Following the war, it passed through the hands of a number of owners (including Flying W and the Champlin Fighter Museum) and, in 1995, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2 by launching off the deck USS Carl Vinson. It was acquired by FHCAM in September 1998.

The aircraft is currently scheduled to make its flying debut with FHCAM at the museum’s Pacific Theater Day event at Paine Field in Everett, WA on June 24th.

Click below to check out video of the flight.

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Nearly three years after performing an emergency landing at RNAS Culdrose Air Day, Hawker Sea Fury T20 VX281/G-RNHF started up for the first time on Friday with a newly acquired, completely overhauled Bristol Centaurus XVIII engine.

The work is being carried out by Weald Aviation Services of Essex, who described the event as “a wonderful milestone” for those who have “put so much blood sweat and tears into repairing this lovely aircraft.”

In 2014, the Sea Fury suffered an engine failure during RNAS Culdrose Air Day which resulted in an emergency landing. In the process the machine’s undercarriage collapsed, causing it to skid off the runway.

Weald has already completed repairs to the Sea Fury’s airframe and reports that “if all goes well, she won’t have to wait too long before seeing air under her wings.”

Click below to check out video of Friday’s test.

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Aero Legends’ newly restored Spitfire T9 “Elizabeth” is already on the mend following a landing incident on June 16th.

As previously reported, the aircraft (NH341), which is used for passenger flight experiences from Sywell Airfield in Northamptonshire and Headcorn Airfield in Kent, experienced a landing “where the undercarriage was not fully locked down.” Both the pilot and passenger escaped unharmed.

Today, Aero Legends reports that Martin Overall and his team of Historic Flying Ltd and Aircraft Restoration Company engineers have assessed the damage and performed engine runs that were captured in the video below.

The machine returned to the air in March following a full restoration and conversion from an LF Mk. IXb to a dual cockpit T9. During WW2, it served with 411 Squadron RCAF, claiming two enemy aircraft before being forced down near Caen, France during combat with FW190s. Its remains were subsequently displayed at the Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie and the Juno Beach Museum before being acquired by Aero Legends in 2011.

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On Father’s Day, newly restored PBY-5A Canso C-FNJE returned to the air in front of “a huge crowd of supporters” that included two of the machine’s WW2 pilots.

The aircraft departed from Fairview Airport in Alberta, Canada at 11 am, making it the 13th airworthy example of the type currently in existence.

As previously reported, the Canadian-built aircraft performed its first flight in 1943 and operated as RCAF11094 during WW2. After the war, it was repurposed for use as a water bomber and served in this capacity until 2001, when it began taking on water while loading in Sitidgi Lake near Inuvik in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
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Earlier today, Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 (P2902/G-ROBT) returned to the air for the first time in over 75 years in a successful flight that lasted about 20 minutes.

As previously reported, the aircraft was built by Gloster Aircraft and served with 245 Squadron performing shipping protection patrols. In May 1940, Pilot Officer Kenneth McGlashan crash landed the machine on a beach at Dunkirk following an engagement with two Messerschmitt 109s. McGlashan survived, and attempted to set fire to the aircraft to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

Over the years, the airframe was washed out to sea and became a menace for French fishermen, whose nets were continually being torn on the submerged wreckage. Following its discovery, the Hurricane was recovered by French enthusiasts and acquired by warbird operator Rick Roberts, who brought it to Hawker Restorations in Suffolk for restoration to airworthy condition.

Today’s test was conducted by noted warbird pilot Stuart Goldspink at Hawker Restorations’ new facility at Elmsett, near Hadleigh.

Click below to watch the historic warbird return to the air.

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Vintage Wings of Canada in Quebec has released the first official video of its newly restored, Merlin-powered Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX performing its maiden flight following over a decade of work.

As previously reported, the aircraft was built using the remains of TE294, which were salvaged from a South African scrapyard in the 1980s. Restoration began at the Comox Air Force Museum in British Columbia before the project was acquired by Vintage Wings of Canada. The aircraft has been dubbed “Roseland Spitfire” in honor of Flight Lieutenant Arnold Roseland of 442 Squadron, who was “one of only a handful of Canadian fighter pilots who fought both the Japanese and the Germans during the war.” The machine wears the colors of Y2-K, in which Roseland flew 65 sorties, and is considered “the very first true Canadian Spitfire — built from the spars up in Canada by Canadians for Canadians.”

The first flight was carried out on June 7th with pilot John Aitken at the controls. This initial test was conducted at low speed with extended landing gear and Aitken was reportedly “very satisfied” with the Spitfire’s performance. It has since performed two additional flights.

Click below to watch the aircraft return to the air.

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