The Commemorative Air Force’s B-24 was recently unveiled during the Gathering of Twin Tails at the American Airpower Heritage Museum at CAF Headquarters in Midland, Texas.
For the past six months, Crew Chief Gary Austin has been returning the airplane formerly known as “Diamond Lil” to its original B-24A configuration, complete with a new paint scheme and nose art. The airplane is now known as “Ol’ 927,” which is in reference to her serial number, AM-927, when she came off the assembly line.
“We have documentation that shows in her early days she was referred to as ‘Old 927,’ so they adopted that as the name in an effort to return to her original authenticity,” explained Kay Crites, a spokesman for the Commemorative Air Force.
The oldest B-24 in existence, the airplane was put in the paint scheme and markings of the 98th Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force in 1971. But extensive research by squadron members discovered that it was originally part of an order for B-24As for the United States Army Air Corps. However, the British desperately needed a long-range bomber for use in coastal patrols and for defense, so Consolidated Aircraft Corp., which built more than 18,000 B-24s, received permission to divert 20 planes from the Army Air Corps order for the British.
The plane was damaged in a training accident and never saw battle. Consolidated rebuilt it to a transport configuration and it was used as a company aircraft throughout World War II.
The decision to reconfigure the bomber was made last October. Work began at the front of the airplane and crews worked their way to the back, according to Austin.
See the “new and improved” B-24 for yourself at AirVenture in Oshkosh this summer, as well as at the CAF AirSho in September in Midland and the Wings Over Houston Air Show in October.
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