High-Flying Cub Returns Stateside
A 1943 Piper Cub reportedly flown by General George Patton will
soon be restored to her former glory at its new, temporary home in
Making her entrance on a New Jersey rental truck, the Liberty
Girl arrived in Hampden on Tuesday. So begins what is expected to
be a yearlong restoration of the historic aircraft, believed to
have been flown by the infamous WWII general.
The current owner of the Liberty Girl, retired British
veterinarian Maurice Kirk, told the Bangor Daily News
that French authorities claim Patton flew the aircraft
over France after D-Day in 1944.
"General Patton used it to look around the battlefield," added
Jeff Russell, owner of the Center for Classic Aircraft Skills in
Hampden. "He had a tendency to hop into the smaller airplanes to
quickly cover short distances."
Kirk flew the plane around three-quarters of the world in 2005,
in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Alas, that trip ended
when the aircraft crashed in Kanazawa, Japan in October 2005, as reported by ANN.
Kirk said Japanese authorities impounded the aircraft after the
wreck. He worked tirelessly with Russell to retrieve his plane from
Japan. They shared dreams of not only restoring the authentic
aircraft, but of flying it again.
The Japanese government released the aircraft in December 2006.
It was then shipped, disassembled, from Yokohama, Japan, to
Elizabeth, NJ where the trip to Hampden began.
"Everyone said there is no way we're going to get it back (from
the Japanese). Then they said we would never get it to the US, and
now they are saying we'll never get it restored and flying again,"
Russell said. "So far we're two for three, and we're soon to be
three for three."
The fuselage will be rebuilt in Milo, ME while the wings will be
the focus in Hampden. The total restoration is expected to cost
around $25,000. Russell said people already have offered to donate
time and money.
"I have an open workshop policy," Russell said. "If a veteran
wants to see the wings that flew over him or her during the
invasion of Europe or the invasion of Germany, I'll have those
wings and they can watch the restoration. Those wings meant freedom
to so many people."
Kirk and Russell plan to stay true to the Liberty Girl's
original configuration. The single-engine plane will have five
instruments and use a stick, rudder and throttle for operation,
After the restoration is complete, Kirk said he intends to fly
to Argentina and, eventually, to the North Pole.
"That airplane will be flying 100 years from now," said