AirCorps Aviation has acquired a collection of original North American Aviation engineering drawings, which it plans to make available to the vintage and legacy aviation community for the first time.
The drawings, part of the newly named “Ken Jungeberg Collection,” were stored in the archives of North American’s Columbus, Ohio, factory until 1988. Each drawing is hand-drawn in pencil on tracing vellum, and was used to develop and build the iconic World War II aircraft we know and love today, company officials say.
Ken Jungeberg was the head of the Master Dimensions department at Columbus in 1988 when the factory closed its doors. When he heard that the company was planning to burn all the World War II era drawings in the archive, he decided that he had to do something, and began writing letters and making calls.
Through a twist of fate involving a burst pipe in the archives, Ken was able to take ownership of approximately 15,000 of these drawings, including information on the P-51, B-25, T-6, P-82, and more, and stored them in his basement and hangar for the next 30 years.
While copies of aircraft drawings from this era are not uncommon, few individuals have ever seen a hand-drawn original, company official note.
The drawings in Ken’s collection represent both the production drawings and the experimental work that North American’s draftsmen created while developing parts and assemblies that would later be finalized. A perfect example are the drawings distinguished as 73X. These drawings were used to develop the flagship P-51 Mustang in just 120 days in 1940, and have never been seen by the general public, according to company officials.
AirCorps Aviation officials learned of Ken’s collection in early 2019, and in December of that year Ken agreed to transfer ownership to AirCorps.
As the new custodian of this important collection of drawings, AirCorps plans to catalog and organize the drawings so they can be utilized by the vintage and legacy aviation industry for the first time in history.
“These drawings are going to change what we know about the amazing aircraft that North American manufactured during World War II,” says Erik Hokuf, general manager of AirCorps Aviation.
AirCorps unveiled examples from Ken’s collection Feb. 14, 2020, at the National Warbird Operators Conference in Mobile, Alabama.
Company officials say they hope that others will share their feeling of excitement at viewing these “technical works of art.”
AirCorps Aviation is an aircraft restoration facility that focuses on returning World War II era aircraft to flight. The aircraft restored by AirCorps Aviation have won numerous awards and received international acclaim.