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PT-19 Takes to the Skies Again After Six-Year Restoration

Houston, TX June 27, 2024- After seven years of restoration and an additional fourteen months to replace the engine, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Houston Wing's Fairchild PT-19 took to the air on June 25, 2024. Thanks to the dedication of several Houston Wing members and volunteers, the aircraft is now flying in support of the CAF’s mission to Educate, Inspire, and Honor. The restoration project team, led by Ed Vesley, Stan Turner, Tom Calpouzos, and Lisa Sanford, took around 5,000 hours of work to complete.

The restoration began with stripping the aircraft down to its bare airframe. For the project, the center section needed a complete rebuild. The aircraft’s wings and horizontal stabilizer required only minor repairs. The team installed new electrical systems and hoses, rebuilt the main landing gear and tail wheel, and recovered and painted the fuselage, wings, and flight surfaces to make them look new.

The Houston Wing especially thanks Skip Harrison of Harco Aviation for his inspection expertise and Mark Denest of MD Aero for his knowledge of PT-19s.

Houston Wing posted, “Test pilot Ed Vesley reported no significant issues throughout the one-hour flight. We'll now continue to fly the PT-19 for a few more hours to break in the engine, and then it will be put back on the flight line, hopefully in time to offer rides at our July 13 event at Houston Executive Airport.”

As the PT-19 returns to the rides program, people will once again be able to experience this amazing aircraft through flight. This project not only showcases the team's skills and dedication but also highlights the importance of preserving historical aircraft. The PT-19's return to airworthy status celebrates heritage, craftsmanship, and the passion of those who work to keep aviation history alive. The Houston Wing members have brought history back to life, ensuring the PT-19's legacy continues to inspire and educate.

About the CAF Houston Wing The Commemorative Air Force honors the men and women who built, maintained, and flew in military aircraft during World War II. The organization believes that this is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition, taking the airplanes to the people, and allowing them to experience the sights and sounds of the aircraft in flight. As a Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Unit, the Houston Wing is dedicated to preserving and honoring American military history with the rallying cry “Keep ’Em Flying!” The Houston Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is an organization that Educates, Inspires, and Honors our Veterans using vintage aircraft and a collection of artifacts to tell the story of the brave men and women who have served their country in times of war.

Check out opportunities to ride on the Houston Wing’s historical aircraft here

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