Royal Navy Staggerwing FT478
- In stock
Royal Navy Staggerwing FT478 by Celia Vanderpool
In 1944, an American biplane known as a Beechcraft Staggerwing went directly from the Beechcraft factory assembly line in Wichita, Kansas, across the Atlantic by ship and was delivered to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm in England. It was given the identification of a Fleet Transport number 478, or FT478. The biplane served in two squadrons as a coastal duty transport aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm. This begins as a brief history of Beech Aircraft Company, and continues as a biography of FT478. From assembly line to Royal Navy service, and then return from war to United States Navy, the aircraft was to be scrapped or sold as war surplus. The Staggerwing’s history was traced through several different General Aviation owners in America and Europe. In 2006 there was a landing accident, which required difficult and expensive repairs. Since it belonged to a museum at the time, the airplane sat for years as fund raising for the repairs was attempted. One of the previous owners took on the challenge and began a dedicated four-year restoration to include reworking every piece of the aged warbird. The process and difficulty of restoration is detailed in photo and text. The award winning restoration was complete in 2018 and today FT478 flies again in the Royal Navy livery as it flew in World War II.