Douglas A/B-26 Invader

Lil Twister, ( formerly Daisy Mae )

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Above, a photo rendition of how she may look when restoration is complete

Serial #: 44-35643
Construction #: 28922
Civil Registration:
  Monarch 26
Name: Lil Twister, ( formerly Daisy Mae )
Status: Restoration
Last info: 2003


Delivered to French AF as 44-35643.
- BOC: Apr. 10 1954.
- Based Indochina.
- Returned to USAF, Oct. 22, 1955.
Open Storage, Clark AFB, Philipines, 1955-1958.
Rock Island Oil & Refining Co, Wichita, KS, 1959-1969.
- Registered as N6841D.
- Converted to Monarch 26, Hutchinson, KS.
Hodge Laboratories Inc, Wichita, KS, 1970.
- Landed with gear up, Hutchinson, KS, Oct. 20, 1971.
William K. Mayfield, Halstead, KS, 1972.
Robert Diemet, Carmen, Manitoba, Oct. 14, 1973-1979.
- Registered as C-GCES, Oct. 1974.
Confederate Air Force, Harlingen, TX, June 1979-1984.
- Registered as N8015H.
Confederate Air Force, Pine Bluff, AR, Feb. 1984-1991.
- Registered as N226RW.
CAF/Commemorative Air Force, Midland, TX, Sept. 1991-2003.
- Flew as 4435643/Daisy Mae/A.
- Registered as N626SH, Jan. 1999.
- Currently undergoing complete rebuild to be re named "Lil Twister"

"LIL TWISTER" is what 44-35643 will be named as the newly restored aircraft.

In her last assignment at Pine Bluff, Arkansas they called her DAISY MAE. We renamed her to more readily identify her with OKLAHOMA, where she was built, and where she has returned to continue a proud heritage as
a flying remembrance of the people who built, maintained, and flew all the wonderful aircraft of WWII.
She came from the Douglas Aircraft factory in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1945. Because of her Oklahoma beginnings, the sponsor group is especially proud of bringing her home. We intend to display her on the ground and in the air as a piece of American Airpower history that came from, and is back in Oklahoma.
44-35643 is a lady in dire need. She has a damaged right wing. A break in a spar cap is the problem. An inspector found the break five years ago, and she has been on the ground ever since.
Five years of neglect have taken their toll. The plane looks like you might expect after years of neglect. In addition to repair of the wing, she will need lots of TLC to engines, propellers, airframe, electronics, instruments, radios, fuel and hydraulics systems, etc. She needs a good going over from nose to tail, and from wing tip to wing tip. This old bird is very restorable. We will put her back into show condition.

She is also in need of a new home. The only hangars in Oklahoma City large enough to accommodate a warbird with 70 feet wide wings and 19 feet high tail feathers are occupied by established businesses. Our bird will need a new hangar. We are designing an Education and Display Center in which we will concentrate our lecture and exhibit program for schools, scout groups, and civic organizations.
Thus, our fund raising efforts! Repair and renovation of the aircraft may run to $300,000.00 and a suitable hangar could be another $800,000.00.

See her web site here



NTSB Identification: MKC72DCQ35
14 CFR Part 91 General Aviation
Event occurred Wednesday, October 20, 1971 in HUTCHINSON, KS
Aircraft: DOUGLAS A-26C, registration: N6841D

 FILE    DATE          LOCATION          AIRCRAFT DATA       INJURIES       FLIGHT                        PILOT DATA
                                                               F  S M/N     PURPOSE
3-4458  71/10/20   HUTCHINSON,KANS     DOUGLAS A-26C       CR-  0  0  2  INSTRUCTIONAL             AIRLINE TRANSPORT, AGE
        TIME - 1027                    N6841D              PX-  0  0  0  DUAL                      44, 9931 TOTAL HOURS,
                                       DAMAGE-SUBSTANTIAL  OT-  0  0  0                            1058 IN TYPE, INSTRUMENT
          WICHITA,KANS                HUTCHINSON,KANS
        TYPE OF ACCIDENT                                         PHASE OF OPERATION
           WHEELS-UP                                                LANDING: LEVEL OFF/TOUCHDOWN

A long life and many adventures, including war, left her damaged and ignored. But "Lil' Twister,” as they're calling her these days, could rise again.
The vintage twin-engine A-26 Invader aircraft has had a decade of attention from members of the Sierra-Hotel A-26 Commemorative Air Force group. They have put in 20,000 man-hours trying to get the World War II-era medium bomber back into the sky. Another year or so, they figure, and the proud warbird should fly again.

"Depends on how many surprises we find,” said group spokesman John Holbird as he stood beside the plane, its innards exposed and other parts spread in a hangar.

The Oklahoma group got the plane 11 years ago from a Commemorative Air Force wing in Pine Bluff, Ark.

"They had flown it to death,” Holbird said.

But what really killed the old girl was a bum right wing. A spar, a main support beam, broke when the Arkansas CAF members tried to tow the plane from a muddy spot. For more than five years, the plane sat neglected.

"It was basically ready for the scrap heap,” Holbird said — until the Oklahoma group decided to try to resurrect it. The group removed the wings and towed it to Oklahoma City

As volunteers — who include aircraft mechanics, artists, veterans and others — dug deeper into the craft, they kept finding "surprises,” such as worn or broken parts or the most widespread problem, corrosion, particularly in the four fuel tanks.

"Over the years, as we initiated those repairs, we started finding more and more things,” said Mike Rangel, a certified aircraft mechanic. "The repair job evolved into a restoration job.”

"Had we known what we know now, there might have been some second thoughts.”

Airplane No. 44-35643 first came to life in 1945, after the war ended, at the Douglas Aircraft plant in Tulsa. Sporting "laminar” wings that sliced through the air with more speed and efficiency than most predecessors, the A-26 could cruise faster and farther.

This particular plane was outfitted as a reconnaissance version of the attack bomber airframe. Instead of featuring operating bomb-bay doors and gun turrets, this plane had only high-resolution cameras. However, at some point it could have had guns mounted in her nose or on her wings, since it has ports and mounts for them.

"They modified these things all the time,” Holbird said.

The plane's first duty was in the U.S. as a training aircraft. However, it entered combat in the Korean War, and in 1954, it was loaned to France for use in the war in Indochina. It was returned to the U.S. Air Force in 1955, according to the Warbirds Resource Group.

After sitting in storage in the Philippines for three years, it was sold to an oil company in Wichita, Kan., beginning a new life as an executive transport. In 1970, Monarch Aircraft gave it a makeover, adding windows and a door in the rear of the fuselage and a posh interior. "It looks a little bit like a bar and a lavatory in the back,” Rangel said, holding a Monarch brochure about the refurbished plane.

It spent six years in Manitoba, Canada, before going to a Commemorative Air Force wing in Texas, and then to the CAF in Pine Bluff in 1984, somewhere along the way taking the name "Daisy Mae.”

Bringing the plane back to life under her new name, "Lil' Twister,” is taking a village. Rebuilding just one of the massive 2,000-horsepower, 18-cylinder Pratt & Whitney radial engines cost about $50,000, and the entire restoration will top $300,000, all financed by donations. CAF members are thankful the Boeing Co. agreed to dig into the airframe's certification that it now owns, to reproduce a new wing spar, which it did for free.

Despite the scarcity of parts, the expense and the "surprises,” members of Sierra-Hotel A-26 will keep focused on their goal. And one day, Lil' Twister can reawaken, roar down the runway and return to where it was meant to be.

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