For the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover happening in Washington, DC on 25 September will see 2 aircraft from the state of Florida. And best of all, they are veterans of World War 2. This is the last article on these amazing aircraft.
The Tunison Foundation will be flying its C-47 “Placid Lassie” as part of this flyover. This aircraft flew as part of D-Day in June 1945 dropping troops on St Mere-Eglise and other missions during the invasion. Other missions included Operation Market-Garden (Airborne invasion of Holland) and the Relief of Bastogne (the Battle of the Bulge).
After her wartime service, she flew passengers or cargo, with West Coast Airlines, Saber Cargo Airlines and Express Air Cargo. The aircraft was abandoned but in 2010, she made airworthy again.
For the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover happening in Washington, DC on 25 September will see 2 aircraft from the state of Florida. And best of all, they are veterans of World War 2. This is the first of two articles on these amazing aircraft.
As mentioned before, Thom Richards will be flying his P-40 “American Dream” as the lead aircraft of the P-40 flight. This aircraft flew the 8th Fighter Squadron’s in the 49th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force out of New Guinea and is credited with 3 kills. 1st Lt. Joel Dixon Thorvaldson was shot down on 13 September 1943 by Japanese fighters.
Joel D. Thorvaldson recalls via Pacific Wrecks: “When I got on the ground, the kunai grass was so high, I fired a flare to burn the grass. They knew i was out there. A friendly plane spotted me on a river bank and dropped me a raft that I used to go down the nearby Ramu River. It took me nine days to get back. At the mouth of the River, the Australians picked me up. They had only taken Lae two days before they picked me up. I had gotten credited for one kill before I even got back, because everyone had seen me shoot this plane down over the strip. I was the first rescue for the squadron too, they did a victory roll for me when I got back. I claimed 2 and a bomber. I was supposed to get a purple heart for my wounds but they said my plane crashed from mechanical failure, not enemy fire, so I didn’t get it. Now, from your photos of the wreck, it looks like it will finally get my purple heart! I did see a piece go by in the air, but had no idea they even hit me”.
This aircraft was recovered in 2005 and in 2008, this aircraft took to the air after being restored by Precision Aerospace in Australia. After a landing gear accident, the aircraft was converted into a dual-control one. Aircraft was sold and shipped to the USA in 2015. Thom bought the aircraft in 2018 and proudly flies it out of Warbirds Adventure in Kissimmee, Florida.
“We are excited to announce Phase 1 of our reopening as we invite Active Duty military personnel and their dependent family members to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum beginning on Tuesday, 15 September 2020. Operating hours will be Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Masks will be required at all times while inside the museum and sanitizing stations are available throughout the museum for the safety of our visitors. The Giant Screen Theater and refreshment counter will be open at reduced capacity. At this time the popular Cubi Bare Café will remain closed. Blue Angels practice flight demonstrations are currently closed to the public. We look forward to seeing you soon“.
The P-40 “American Dream”, which is based in Kissimmee, FL, has been selected to lead the P-40 flight during the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover in September. Flyover will happen over Washington, DC.
“Please continue to support the aircraft by donating to support the warbirds at https://ww2flyover.org/donate/ like this P-40 Warhawk “American Dream”, a very special aircraft as it has actual pedigree.
It has two confirmed kills and one probable. Lt. Joel Thorvaldsen shot down a Zero fighter and Betty bomber in this aircraft. After which he took some enemy fire and did a forced landing in a field next to a river in New Guinea. One of his buddies dropped a life raft and he floated down stream, evading enemy capture for 5 days. He was picked up by the Australians and went on to a long career in the USAF. He passed away in 2014.
The airplane sat in the jungle in to the 90’s, known only to the locals and was eventually recovered for restoration. It took over 10+ years and flew again in 2009. It’s now one of only 7 two-seat TP-40’s in the world and is used full-time by my operation for dual instruction and airshow work.
Thom Richard is the current pilot of this P-40 and has been teaching in and wrenching on airplanes for over 30 years, with over 12,700 hours of flight time of which more than half is in Warbirds and a quarter in helicopters, he’s very active on the airshow circuit performing aerobatic displays in P-40’s, P-51’s and Corsairs. World Cup winner in the Airrace 1 series and known for racing Unlimiteds, Jets and Formula 1 aircraft. He’s an avid aircraft restorer and operates a small air museum in central Florida along with his WWII vintage flight school, Warbird Adventures, Inc., primarily teaching in the P-40 Warhawk, T-6’s, and the mighty Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.”