Mike’s Makers: Building and restoring World War 2 fighter planes

Mike’s Makers: Building and restoring World War 2 fighter planes


it takes a special group of people to
dedicate their lives to restoring old World War two warbirds and that’s what
they do here at Pacific Fighter I’m Mike Price and this is Mike’s Makers my name is John Muszala from Idaho
Falls Idaho and we here at Pacific Fighters restore World War two fighter
planes we specialize in the fighter aircraft from World War two
we’ve done some bomber stuff over the years but the fighters is really what we
specialize in and we don’t only specialize anything from just America
but we’ve done British German small amount of Japanese stuff so we’re kind
of all the countries except for Italy their fighters are really rare and
nobody’s restored one in a long time so these airplanes come to us in all
conditions and sometimes they fly in and you know we restore the airplane you
know yeah flew in but it was a little rough until we go in and change this and that
and sheet metal systems engine prop paint everything sometimes they come to
us in wreckage conditions sometimes they come in relic condition there are just
various states of disrepair and come in and we get started John can you tell
me a little bit about what we have right here and what your ultimate goal is this is a p-51 C as you can see we’re in the beginning of the restoration and
this airplane is the only known RAF Mustang that’s got extensive history
with the RAF and even more significant isit was a Polish squadron airplane so
Polish fighter pilots that escaped through occupied Europe to get to the UK
flew this airplane in combat so what are you working on right now
this is the fuselage this is a fuselage right now we’re getting the structure in place making
sure everything is exactly how it should be we don’t cut corners or anything like
that this is exactly how North American made it if there’s a small L bracket or
whatever weird it goes back in that’s how it’s done but as you can see it’s a
lot of new the airplane was heavily damaged in its accident in 44 so then if I understand right you’ve only got
a piece of the wing we’ve got a lot of
wreckage for it the cool part the the thing that really shows off what it
was is yeah the piece of wing on the wall this is part of
of the RAF Mustang mark 3 it’s known as FB 206 like I said every
airplane has its own past and ike everything its checkered and as strange
as this is it was one of the first production C model Mustangs to come out
of the factory in Texas it was meant to go to the 8th Air Force in in European
theater of war for whatever reason we haven’t been able to find out
the Americans gave it to the RAF the RAF painted their insignia over top of
the American star which is something that you don’t see in the history books
you know you see pictures of mustangs and Spitfires and all these airplanes
but you don’t see markings overlap markings unless it’s a captured airplane
or some special circumstance but for two Allied countries to have the same
airplane and have their markings overlap is strange so it’s kind of one of the
unique pieces to FB 206 and something we’re gonna replicate so you’re using
the same things that they would have used in in the 40s during World War 2 yeah same exact metallurgies metal materials everything is is the way it is
even down to each one of these holes is a rivet and each trivet takes two guys by
hand it’s an absolute joy to fly the Mustang and some of these others are a
joy to fly and to you know get in the airplane and buckle up and look through
a gun sight and know that that what you’re sitting into is what kids went
into combat is you know it’s humbling to know you know these kids and what they
did and just how technologically advanced all nations were in world war
ii for us it’s similar to an archaeology dig you know you get into the airplane
and you look through old photos and old parts and and all of these things that
come with it you know you’ll pull the skin off a wing and it’ll have some lady
wrote her name or somebody wrote a message or you know somebody drew a Japanese
flag in an engine mount we found really strange things that you know for us is
fun instead of just like here’s an airplane paint it green send it out the
door and you come in and there’s all these different colors and all these
different notes games Tic Tac Toe box games how many
sides to the box there’s all these things that go into these airplanes and
and so for us to get into a project and and see what made it personal you know
this specific airplane it’s a lot of fun for us and it’s a lot of fun for us to
replicate this is that archaeological dig that’s original stamping metal
stamping and it’s blue so you’ll start into restoration then know we’re kind of used to like red or green this one’s blue blatantly blue
in the wreckage and so you go okay this is on this piece
document it here it is so when we rebuild that piece then we’ll put that
stenciling back on in that color this was made during World War Two this is a
German aircraft swhitch brand-new in-the-box
yeah just a switch but it’s stuff like this this is what makes what
we do fun cuz I mean you know this is a box from the 40s and it survived personally I really enjoy cockpits as a mechanic you know I love getting into
the airplane making it work seeing what works seeing what doesn’t you know all
these different things but as a pilot you know you sit in a cockpit and this
is it’s very personal it’s very intimate when you’re alone in the airplane you
know going 300 miles an hour you know it’s just it’s a you’re alone that’s you
that’s it there’s you know something was wrong nobody’s gonna save you and if
everything goes right nobody’s gonna be there to enjoy it with you and so from a
restoration side I really enjoy cockpits and I also enjoy painting and a lot of
the detail me and my brother have really gotten involved in that off the
authentic detail that goes into the airplane and that’s something that I
really enjoy I enjoy seeing that final product what is this one right here this is a P-51 Mustang it’s a later version and this airplane has a lot of
history in America this airplane sat on a pole for 40 years was never
touched by civilians and the owner bought it and we restored it from the
ground back to its original status okay so I guess what are some of the things that you were able to do specifically for
this one well because no civilian had been into this airplane you know it was
all original the way it was in the military
it came off factory line and went to something called NACA
which is what came NASA and the airplane did aerodynamic and supersonic testing it was a
basically a flying Windtunnel and so because it wasn’t raced or any of those
things that had all that original NACA stuff on it we were able to restore it
to exactly what it was have you flown in this
I have flown this airplane quite a lot and it’s a joy to fly I love history I’ve loved it since I
was a kid and it not just the airplanes and not just machinery but you know the
infantry and the politics and and the weather that those guys had to fight in
just everything about history in World War two especially you know I I’m
really love it you know from everything from daggers and guns to gun
sights and parts and pieces and engines and Pistons and just I just love
everything about World War two history it’s it’s very interesting it was it was
a it was a period of time in recent human history where technology was
through the roof I mean at the rate that they were doing things were changing
every week wasn’t just every year every month every it was every week things
were changing you know this guy went oh this is cool design and the next week it
was obsolete you know the technological advances that came from World War two is
stunning I think it’s very important for for us in any restoration including FB
206 to bring that personal side back from those people that are no longer
with us you know from the guy that looked and had subcomponents and stamped
them and to the Rosie the riveters that riveted the wings together and and the
notes and names and games that they put in the wings when they were on break or
whatever like it’s important for us to preserve history and bring it back for
future generations to see

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