The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's P-61 'Black Widow' Recovery and Restoration Project - The Widow's Web - The Recovery
MAY 3, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MID ATLANTIC AIR MUSEUM
The Mid Atlantic Air Museum has reached yet another milestone on the road to fully restoring and returning its now famous Northrop P-61 “Black Widow” restoration project to airworthy condition.
During the last weekend in April, Museum crews successfully mated the left and right inner wing or engine nacelles with the fuselage, after which the two main and nose landing gears were lowered.
The P-61 is now situated in MAAM’s display hangar, where visitors will get a whole new perspective of the airplane resting unassisted on its own landing gear for the first time since January 10,1945, when this rare night fighter crashed.
The Mid Atlantic Air Museum recovered the P-61B-1-NO Army Air Forces s/n 42-39445 from high atop Mt. Cyclops near the old Hollandia airfield on the Pacific island of New Guinea in 1988, and transported the aircraft to the Museum in 1991. Restoration began in earnest in 1994 and has continued steadily ever since. MAAM has invested some $850,000 in the project to date. It is estimated that an additional 1 million dollars will be required to complete the restoration.
Thoughts of recovering and restoring a P-61 began in 1979 when Museum co-founder, Gene Strine learned of the existence of this particular aircraft. Recognizing its rarity he and son Russ, also a co-founder and President of MAAM set out together to acquire the airplane for the Museum in1980. In the meantime, MAAM’s collection has grown to include some 70 historically significant aircraft.
Three other P-61’s are known to exist today. Two are P-61C models which were delivered after the end of World War II and are owned by the Smithsonian Institution and Air Force Museum respectively. The third, a late ”B” model exists in Beijing, Peoples Republic of China where it is an outdoor display at an engineering institute. Of the surviving examples, MAAM’s P-61B-1 will be the only “Black Widow” to ever fly again!
photo credits: MAAM and Jack Cutler
Click here to download a MS Word version of this press release and photos.
THE MID-ATLANTIC AIR
MUSEUM'S P-61 'BLACK WIDOW' RECOVERY AND RESTORATION PROJECT HAS COME A LONG WAY
FROM MOUNT CYCLOPS. BUT THERE IS A LONG WAY YET TO GO.
APPROXIMATELY A MILLION DOLLARS MORE WILL BE REQUIRED TO FINISH THE JOB.
GIVEN THE MONEY TO COMPLETE THE RESTORATION, THE 'BLACK WIDOW' COULD BE FLYING
WITHIN THREE YEARS. WE DESPERATELY NEED YOUR HELP!
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