the most flown warbird in WW2 European operations, Flak Bait, is getting some long overdue attention


Flak-Bait came to the Smithsonian in 1960 after being meticulously dismantled and sent home from Europe following the conclusion of the war. Surviving 207 bombing runs during its war service, it flew more missions than any other American plane in the conflict. The service life of a typical B-26 Marauder was between 15 and 20 missions, on average.




Stored for nearly two decades after its return, the forward section of the plane with its iconic nose art went on display in the museum in 1976. The rest of the plane—dents, patches, grease and all—stayed in storage. The plane was so well packaged for storage that the conservation team found bright red hydraulic fluid still inside one of the plane’s brake lines.


Imagine having to discern the accumulated dirt of storage from the historically valuable mud from European airfields still splattered on the plane’s belly and wheel wells. Or cleaning away grimy dust yet preserving the oil-spattered patina ejected from the plane’s notoriously thirsty engines. One effort consisted of extracting a series of artifacts–Wrigley’s gum wrappers, cigarette butts, chaff shavings and bomb tags–from entrenched dirt built up in the seam between two bomb bay doors.

Because the work is so painstaking and happens alongside other long-term museum work, conservators don’t expect the plane to be ready for display until 2021.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/military-vehicle-news/restoring-the-iconic-b-26-flak-bait.html

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the most flown warbird in WW2 European operations, Flak Bait, is getting some long overdue attention
the most flown warbird in WW2 European operations, Flak Bait, is getting some long overdue attention
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