Rare WWII Aircraft Due At Blaine Aviation Weekend

May 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

The most recent addition to the schedule for the Blaine Aviation Weekend has antique aircraft fans abuzz. Two incredibly rare warbirds are scheduled to take part in the festivities on Saturday morning when they will be making a stop at the aircraft fair. The Lockheed P-38L Lightning and Curtiss P-40K Warhawk have been recently restored and are more than up to the task of wowing crowds at the event.

Both aircraft are owned and maintained by Ron Fagen, a businessman who lives in Granite Falls in Minnesota. The passion of this man has certainly taken him on a long and incredible journey, and today he owns Warhawks Inc, a company dedicated to the restoration of World War II aircraft, based in Granite Falls. His decision to bring two of his own antique aircraft over to participate in the weekend’s events is only natural and will likely make for a delightful addition to the weekend’s festivities. The planes are scheduled to land at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport on Saturday morning, following which they will participate in a flyover of the state capitol.

So what makes these particular aircraft so rare and amazing? History books tell us that approximately 10 000 Lockheed P-38L Lightnings were manufactured during World War II. However, there are only four of these planes that are still capable of flying. The one that will be flying in on Saturday morning in Blaine is affectionately known as ‘Ruff Stuff’, after Norb Ruff of Bloomer who completed fifty combat missions in the plane. The plane was faster and had more firepower than previous fighter aircraft and foreshadowed modern U.S. fighter jets.

The P-40K is just as rare. After 15 years of restoration, the plane is now one of the few of its kind that has actually been used in combat. The plane was abandoned in Murmansk, Russia, where it was later recovered. The restored aircraft has won the Best World War II Fighter Rolls-Royce/Smithsonian Award at the Reno Air Races and the Grand Champion Award at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

If you want to catch a glimpse of these grand old airplanes, you simply have to make sure that you get down to 26th annual Blaine Aviation Weekend on Saturday, May 17 and 18. The event will take place at the Anoka County airport on Janes Field and will see one of the largest groups of World War II planes at one site. Make sure that you don’t miss out!

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