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> Pentagon Orders USAF, Navy To Buy Vintage Warbirds, APRIL 1 REPORT
Brendan Cowan
  Posted: Apr 2 2012, 08:07 AM
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A SPECIAL APRIL 1 REPORT FROM THE AERO NEWS NETWORK

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Pentagon Orders USAF, Navy To Buy Vintage Warbirds

Lower Operating Costs, Plenty Of Firepower Make For Significant Savings
ANN April 1st Special Edition

The Pentagon on April 1st announced that it has initiated a program to buy up vintage warbirds as part of its effort to comply with mandatory budget cuts imposed by the Obama administration.

The military has set aside an undisclosed sum for the purchase of as many P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightnings, and F4-U Corsairs as it can find, and bring them back to military standards. "Even with the cost of purchasing and upgrading the aircraft, the cost is significantly lower than the development of a new airplane," said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. "We can operate squadrons of these airplanes for the cost of a single F-35. In most places in the world, they still would be the most capable fighters in the air, and the reduction in maintenance costs will save the U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars."

The move has sparked a surge of applicants to both the Air Force and Navy's aviation program, as pilots line up to get a chance to fly the airplanes they've always dreamed about. "Fly a P-51 or a P-38! Where do I sign up?" said one potential pilot waiting in a line at an Air Force recruiting office that extended around the block. The 50-year-old pilot candidate did admit that he might be a little long in the tooth to be considered, but "I just have to try."

But the applicants also include younger pilots whose fathers and grandfathers flew the airplanes during their time in the service. Pentagon officials said they hoped that the private owners of the aircraft would be willing to sell them back to the government as a patriotic gesture, but they were willing to take them by eminent domain. "This is a matter of national security, as well as a way to get our fiscal house in order," Panetta said. "We'll buy what we can, and take what we have to."

Some owners have reportedly begun quietly moving their vintage warbirds offshore as a way to protect them from the re-acquisition program. Other aircraft targeted for purchase include P-40 Warhawks and UH-1 Huey helicopters.

FMI: www.dod.gov
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Rod Farquhar
Posted: Apr 2 2012, 10:43 AM
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Nice one BC, I almost read right through it before the penny dropped
Rod ;)
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Brendan Cowan
Posted: Apr 2 2012, 04:26 PM
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Glad you liked it!

Here's another:

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EAA To Purchase Retired Air Force Laser Test Bed

Will Add Spectacular Laser Lights To AirVenture Night Air Show
ANN April 1st Special Edition

Seizing on what he calls a "golden opportunity," EAA president and CEO Rod Hightower announced April 1st that the organization would be purchasing the airborne laser test bed recently retired by the U.S. Air Force. The Boeing 747 has already been added to the lineup for the very popular Night Air Show at AirVenture 2012.

"Laser light shows are very well received in planetariums all over the country," Hightower told ANN. "We saw this as a golden opportunity to add something really unique to what is already a spectacular night air show which wraps up AirVenture. And don't tell anybody, but we've actually got the money to do this."

Since the laser used on the test bed was powerful to destroy a missile in the boost stage, Hightower said it would certainly be adequate for igniting the pyrotechnics at the end of the show. "Imagine a Boeing 747, and this one looks like it's right out of Star Wars, making a low pass across 18-36 blasting laser beams out of its nose and igniting all those barrels of fuel used for the finale of the show. It'll become the 'can't miss' spectacular everyone will be talking about."

EAA has already begun the process of working with KOSH officials to apply for AIP grants for Wittman Field to extend the runway to accommodate the big Boeing, and a new hangar will have to be built as well. Until those improvements can be completed, the 747 will be based at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. "It's just one more way we can make AirVenture truly the worlds' greatest aviation celebration," Hightower said.

Terms of the purchase from the U.S. Government were not disclosed.

FMI: www.airventure.org
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