9 Mar 2016

Old parts of WWII aircraft were recycled & reused for all kinds of purposes

Drive around rural North America, and you’ll come across the fuselages of WWII bombers being used as chicken coops. At the end of the war, a farmer could buy a war-surplus Lancaster bomber for around $500, and drain nearly that much worth of gas and oil and anti-freeze out of it, leaving behind a ready source of wires and nuts and bolts and stuff, and a quite serviceable chicken coop. The government didn’t want anybody flying these things because they didn’t want to be responsible if there was hidden battle damage, and so when one guy bought a couple and tried to make an airline using them, the authorities arrived and sawed his wing spars in half making them un-flyable.

After the war a  member of the ground crew of the 94th Fighter Squadron in Italy began with the belly tank of a Lockheed P-38 and added a Plexiglas shield and wheels. When airmen and Navy pilots returned to the States, they bought surplus tanks for $35 and hauled their “lakesters” to dry lake beds in southern California and to the Bonneville Flats in Utah. In 1946, the 165-gallon belly tank from a North American P-51 reached 131 mph with the help of a Mercury V-8 engine.  Lets have a look at how servicemen re-used kit and equipment during the war to make their lives just a little bit more comfortable….


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