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Tue, Apr 16, 2024

CAF's Diamond Lil Needs Some Down Time

Maintenance Waits for No One, as Warbird Pilots Know

The Commemorative Air Force's Jeremy Lashbrook, Squadron Leader for the B-29 and B-24, broke some bad news to fans looking forward to the upcoming Air Power History Tour: The B-24 Liberator, Diamond Lil', will need a lot of unanticipated maintenance.

"During the annual inspection of the B-24 “Diamond Lil” this off season, we made the determination that “Lil” needs some new feathers. Due to weathering, the cloth covered rudders, ailerons, and elevators, required new paint which also meant replacing the underlying fabric. During this process, we also felt that now would be a good time to replace the flight control cables that connect the control surfaces to the pilot’s yokes and rudder pedals."

"Unfortunately, this is an extensive project which will preclude our beautiful B-24 from being able to travel the country with the Air Power History Tour this summer as there have been unexpected delays in completing this project. Our maintenance team takes the utmost care of all our squadron aircraft and we feel the need to take these steps now in order to ensure that the world’s only flying B-24 is in tip top shape so that it can continue to fly for generations to come. We are currently anticipating this project to take an extensive amount of time to complete - possibly up to 5 months."

Lashbrook says the team can use every little bit of help it can get, with Lil down for the count. "As always, we could use additional volunteer assistance in the hangar to help with this large undertaking. If you are unable to support us with your time, any financial help would also be greatly appreciated. The unexpected loss of revenue from “Lil” not being out on tour is going to hit the squadron hard," he added. Running vintage, irreplaceable pieces of history at the kind of tempo air shows require is very expensive work.

"All of the income made while touring goes directly to the operation, support, and maintenance of our Squadron aircraft so that we can continue to share them with the American public, he finished. The wing can be supported at the aircraft's home site at the link below, with options like direct one-time gifts or the Diamond Lil Century Club.

"The show must go on!" Lashbrook promised. "We will continue to tour this summer and you can still see the world’s most famous flying B-29 Superfortress “Fifi”, P-51 Mustang “Gunfighter”, WASP T-6 Texan “Nella”, RC-45J Expeditor “Bob”, the PT-13 Stearman and others during our scheduled stops."



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