I had a
mail and nine photos ( Below ) from Ted Schwarz.
I am really enjoying your website as a friend just connected me to it. In regards to N2852G / N576JB I have personal experience
to share. I can vouch for some of Carl's information ( See N2852G Civil registrations - Page 2 ), but need to clear some of it up. I was hired by US Customs to work on their aircraft in Sept
1979 and this aircraft was sitting on their ramp in NAS New Orleans. It had been there already for a year or two before I
was hired. The story I heard about it was that the enforcement agencies knew it was flying out of the US and there were pictures
of it in Columbia. They had nothing that would catch the aircraft so it was seized by the fact that a Neutrality Act was violated (working
armament on an aircraft that leaves the US borders). I understand it was seized at it's home base in Mississippi and flown
back to NAS for safekeeping. It originally had drop tanks under the wings, these were ripped from the wings during a requested
high speed pass before landing! It just had the fuel pumps hanging down when I saw it. We would periodically run the engines
to keep them operational. For about three years it sat on our ramp until the courts gave it back to the owner. He or his agent
(not sure who it was) came out to look over the aircraft and then sold it to an outfit in Oklahoma who intended to restore
it as a Korean Night Fighter. We did some repair work to get the aircraft flyable, I worked on the wings to patch up the torn
skins. The outfit hired renowned P-51 racer John Crocker to fly the aircraft and after some runups and taxi tests, he blasted
off. He had to do the complimentary low level high speed pass for all of us before heading out of our lives.
Some things I noted; the
wings were sealed in additional areas to create much larger fuel tanks, the engines were in very good shape and the "putt-putt"
APU ran quite well. The instrument panel was real nice with a great King Gold Crown package installed (better equipment than
we had in our aircraft by far). The interior was very clean, the top turret was gone with a sheet metal panel screwed down
in its place. The bomb bay was functional with a drop system set up for quick unloading of contents, it was pallets supported
by chains. I was really impressed by the flap system, what a work of engineering! All so beautiful, and the entire airframe
flush riveted for the slick surface. I was also impressed with the engine QEC setup, where the forward section of cowl was
an integral engine mount with a dozen or more bolts about its circumference.
I have a number of pictures,
I will try to round some up that will be good enough to scan and get them to you soon.
Regards, Ted Schwarz
Martin, I am sending 9 photos. In these three, you see us doing
a runup on our ramp, then you see another run being accomplished about two years later. Note my son who is now 30 years old!
Third shows the instrument panel.
Here we have moved
the A26 over to the Navy's ramp for wrap up work. It is now owned by Oklahoma Aircraft Corporation and we borrowed Jacks from
the Navy to run the gear up and down. OAC hired famed race pilot John Crocker to fly the A26 to their facility, you can see
the crew standing by the aircraft as John goes over his cockpit checks. Once satisfied, he taxied out to the runway.
Here is the takeoff, and then the obligatory low altitude high
speed pass. The aircraft made the trip to Oklahoma without any issues, the rest is history. I meant to point out in the first
set of pictures that you can clearly see the fuel pump dangling from the left wing where the drop tank did as its name implies.
Right wing was identical.
the best, Ted