And "replicas" brings up another point. Some more "reasonably priced" replicas in homebuilt or kit form are not bad in some aspects. The old WAR Aircraft Replica half scale line of wood, foam & fiberglass kits from the '70s was not a bad idea, except they are small. My dad & a friend & I started on a Corsair but sold it unfinished a few years later. A couple of other friends finished their P-47 but sold it. With composites having come as far as they have now, I think most any single engine & many twin engine reproduction warbirds would be feasible, tho you're probably looking at at least a half mil in one. But make something unique, like a Typhoon or Tempest or Jap. George, Val, Kate (hey, even the Tora birds are getting tired). IIRC, the WAR kits' plans were essentially enlarged from balsa & tissue kits & modified. So enlarge 'em again to get to 75% - to 100%. Since they're lighter, you don't need a 2,000+ HP engine dragging them around. After all, it's for looks now. Strap a 600 HP R-1340 in it. Yeah, I'm sure screaming along at 300+ Kts. is cool, but you really can't get away with it anyway. As for inline a/c, there are a number of modified automotive based V-8s that would work fine. Or even the newer built Russian radials. Or follow the lead of that outfit making an all-composite P-51 with a turboprop, a T53 IIRC. I'm quite sure it really doesn't NEED that much. I bet a 550 or so HP PT-6 would be just fine for "touring" purposes. Composites technology now-a-days can make just about any shape. Or, sort of like the Tora birds, use existing airframes to make a "passable" replica. I remember back in the '70s a guy converted the airframe of a PT-19/26 to a 7/10 scale Stuka. I've heard of, but not seen, some replica app. 3/4 scale FW-190s being built from Globe Swift airframes. I remember seeing a Westland Whirlwind app. 3/4 scale replica built using most of a Grumman-American Trainer airframe. About 25 years ago, I recall hearing about a guy who was building an FW-190 from a P-51D airframe. How about the replica Martin-Baker MB-5 currently being made from a P-51D? Besides, even today, P-51s are still out in numbers. ISTR reading about someone in England converting a Sea Fury to a Tempest look-a-like, using a composite nose & a RR Merlin. I've also heard of some guys building a3/4 scale Corsair around a Grumman AgCat fuselage, to be powered by a 450HP R-985, IIRC. Whatever the case, there'll always be someone who wants the real thing. I like to see the old birds fly, but, they're old now. They were old 25-30 years ago, but now, most are older than the guys flying them! There will come a time when a replica/reproduction is all we can have, especially to fly.
20 years ago