"You should have seen it before we started," said Taigh Ramey of Vintage Aircraft and Stockton Field Aviation Museum in Stockton, California. He was talking about the ultra-rare Lockheed PV-2D long-range patrol bomber restored at the museum over the past three years. And with the series of before-and-after photos on the museum website, you can.
Only 35 of the -2D variants of the airplane were built, designed for the invasion of Japan that never happened because the atomic bomb ended the war. This particular airplane left Lockheed’s Burbank assembly line in 1944, and has remarkably low time. After the war it was mustered out of service and worked as a firebomber, but not for long. It only has 800 hours’ total time on the airframe, and only 40 hours each on the Pratt & Whitney R2800 engines.
Ramey said, “Our goal has always been to have a veteran who flew them say, ‘It’s just like it was back then.” So the museum has painstakingly recreated the interior with original colors, configuration, radios, seats and instruments.
The airplane is scheduled to arrive in Oshkosh on July 28 and fly in the Warbirds in Review on August 1. From there, the museum will fly the big twin to Topeka, Kansas, for the Warbirds and Legends show. Ramey hopes the restored airplane will get the chance to join a formation flight with the other two airworthy PV-2s – the only three in the world.