A rare bird for sale

What probably is the only Douglas A-20 capable of flight is for sale.

It’s a rare bird — so rare that the asking price is $1,150,000.

The A-20 Havoc was forerunner to the better-known A-26, later designated B-26 and often confused with the Martin B-26 bomber which, by the time of the renaming, was out of service.

Smaller than the A-26, which it resembles closely, the A-20 is a fast, sleek, single-pilot airplane designed by the famous Ed Heinemann. It was a Northrop project until that company became a Douglas subsidiary.

Douglas built a total of 7,478 of them, ranging from the first production A-20A through the K model. Some were converted for night fighter, photo reconnaissance, observation and utility roles, receiving other designations. They saw service with eight other air forces, aside from the USAF.

Heinemann had designed the A-20 to be versatile, and versatile it was. Some had glass noses, others solid; some were armed with canon, some with up to nine machine guns, some with a combination. The gun-nose configuration had a crew of two, but otherwise it was a single-pilot airplane.

The A-20G that’s for sale has a fascinating history. It served with three different Air Force units as a trainer, but never saw combat. After World War II it was among 474 military planes sold to Paul Mantz for a grand total of $55,425.68. Mantz and partner Frank Tallman used their private air armada in dozens of war movies and some as camera planes for many more.

Eventually, Mantz sold the airplane and it went through several owners before crash landing near Vicksburg, Miss., in 1956. It lay there, abandoned, until 1970 when it was bought and impeccably restored by William J. Farah. At that time it had logged only 880 hours.

Farah loaned it to the National Air & Space Museum which, in turn, loaned it to the Liberal Flight Museum at Liberal, Kans. Farah sold it to Waltrip Aviation of Houston, in the late 1980s. Robert Waltrip then loaned it to the Lone Star Flight Museum at Galveston, but – contrary to some reports – it never was owned by the museum.

Beautifully restored, it was a star attraction at the museum but Waltrip now has put it up for sale through Courtesy Aircraft Sales, along with a pristine F8F-2 Bearcat and FM-2 Wildcat.

For more information, call Mark Clark at 800-426-8783 or see the listing at CourtesyAircraft.com, where there is an interesting history of this particular A-20G and of A-20s in general.

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