We have just received an update from Anna McCosh at the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum regarding some of the activities occurring at their marvelous museum in Granite Falls, Minnesota over the past couple of months. These details include a brief restoration update on Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver BuNo.83393 which is steadily marching towards its first flight in nearly eight decades. We hope our readers will enjoy learning more, so we will let Anna take it from here…
A highlight at the museum this summer has been having a number of WWII Veterans visiting with us – we had really missed seeing them during 2020. We captured some delightful video footage when 98 year-old, former US Navy pilot Vincent Neuman of Eugene, Oregon visited with his family; we filmed in front of the museum’s SNJ-4 Texan BuNo.27234 [the complete restoration of this gem is covered in Warbird Digest #74].
It has been wonderful getting to see people like Vincent Neuman and their families again, not to mention hosting other visitors from all over the country.
An unexpected highlight towards the end of August featured the opportunity to fly one of our fighters in formation with a brace of Air National Guard F-16s which we learned were due to fly past our museum. Of course we were going to make this work – no matter the time of day nor how many meetings were going on at the time! Evan Fagen pulled out our P-40K Warhawk Aleutian Tiger (42-10083), filled the tanks up with gas and took off just in time to form up with the jets as they approached Granite Falls. Seeing a formation of such legendary aircraft types together – both modern and ancient – never gets old.
On the restoration and parts side, the month of September has involved a lot of inventory-taking – both the parts cache we purchased from Jay Wisler in 2017 and our own supply out at the restoration shop. For anyone who has worked inventory, you know that it’s a bear to do, and can easily end up neglected as a result. It requires a lot of upkeep, maintenance, and attention. Our aim this summer (and continuing into fall) is to get an all-encompassing grip on everything we have, so we can better serve the warbird community. Moving thousands of warbird parts from Jay’s warehouse in Tampa, Florida to Minnesota is no small task, but make no mistake – we are committed to doing it right! Every day we make progress and get more organized, but there are moments which seem a little more daunting than others! While we work the inventory, we are simultaneously providing parts to projects all over the world. And it is our honor to check through our stock for any parts which others might need, so please do make your requests known to us at email@example.com or call +1 (320) 435-0514.
The team is also making good headway on our Helldiver project! The flaps are undergoing final assembly (see pictures), and the main electrical harnesses are now installed. We are beginning to paint the cowling and canopy parts in their final colors and getting ready to test the landing gear hydraulic system. Lastly, we are also starting to install the bomb bay doors. This plane is a magnificent beast – it is marvelous to see more and more progress each day!
And that’s all for this update. The museum is still open and will remain so for the remainder of fall during normal hours: Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. Please come to check us out!
Please visit Fagen Fighters Restoration’s website for more information about our restorations and available warbird parts.
And, of course, please click HERE to learn more about the museum and upcoming events.