2023 In Review Through Vintage Aviation News’ Articles

2023 has been another great year for vintage aviation, with many significant events and first flights taking place.

Bernie Vasquez flying "Bonnie" at the 2023 AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. Photo by Nigel Hitchman
Bernie Vasquez flying "Bonnie" at the 2023 AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. Photo by Nigel Hitchman


2023 has been another great year for vintage aviation, with many significant events and first flights taking place. We at Vintage Aviation News have endeavored to keep our readers informed of as many developments as possible, with exclusive reports of major milestones in the warbird, vintage, and aviation museum community. Although we couldn’t cover everything, it has been a remarkable year of growth for us here too culminating with a record 3 million unique visitors to our website from all over the world. We are always looking for new leads, as well as writers/photographers who can provide coverage. With your help, we can have an even better 2024, and be sure not to miss any important first flight this year! Below are some of the highlights from 2023…

January

Historic Aussie Mustang Flies Again!

Mustang A68-104 lifts into the air for the first time in fifteen years. (photo by David Jones)

Appropriately on Australia Day, January 26th, 2023, an Australian-built and restored Mustang Mk.21 took to the skies again after a long-term rebuild. The former Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter, serial number A68-104, made its first post-restoration flight from Essendon Fields Airport in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in January 2023.

February

Kermit Weeks’ A-26 Invader Flies

Kermit Weeks’ Douglas A-26B Invader as she appeared in early February 2023 while sitting outside Aero Trader’s workshop in Chino, California. The aircraft made its first post-restoration flight on February 20th. (photo by Adam Estes)

Kermit Weeks’ Douglas A-26B Invader (41-39401) made its first successful post-restoration flight on February 20th, 2023, making a thirty-minute hop from Chino Airport in Chino, California. Aero Trader performed the comprehensive restoration of this aircraft, which saw the aircraft return to its original, single-pilot configuration along with the installation of much-period military hardware. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in February 2023.

MARCH

Cierva C.4 Autogiro Replica Flies in Spain

The replica of the Cierva C.4 lifts off. (photo by Jose Manuel Gil García)

Just two months past the centenary marking the first successful autogyro flight, a modern replica of that same aircraft, a Cierva C.4 Autogiro*, flew on March 29th, 2023, in Ocaña about forty miles east of Toledo, Spain. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in March 2023.

April

Operation M.C.72 – Recreating a World Speed Record Holding Seaplane

 


The construction of this full-scale, static replica is due to a partnership between the Comitato Idroscalo Desenzano del Garda (Desenza del Garda Seaplane Base Committee), the Desenzano Air Force Association, and the Desenzano Town Council. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in April 2023.

MAY

Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47D Flies!

The Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47D Thunderbolt is flying once more following a nearly decade-long restoration effort at AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota. (Photo courtesy of AirCorps Aviation)

On a beautiful, sunny day in Bemidji, Minnesota, the Dakota Territory Air Museum’s Republic P-47D-23 Thunderbolt 42-27609 roared into the skies for the first time since its wartime accident at Dobodura airstrip in New Guinea on September 18th, 1944. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in MAY 2023.

JUNE

C-121A “Bataan” Airborne

Photo via Lewis Air Legends

On June 20th, Air Legends Foundation’s Lockheed C-121A Constellation took off on its first post-restoration flight from Chino Airport around 7:30 pm. The Connie’s crew was composed of experienced warbird pilots and restorers, Captain Stewart Dawson, first officer Steve Hinton, flight engineer Jeff Whitesell, safety overseer Jim “JD” Dale, and safety observer John Hinton made sure that the test flight was a success. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in JUNE 2023.

JULY

Flying Legends North – “Like Duxford, Only Better”

 

Following a four-year hiatus the Flying Legends Air Show took place again on July 15th and 16th, 2023, albeit at a new location, the former RAF Church Fenton airfield now known as Leeds East Airport near Tadcaster in Yorkshire, England. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in JULY 2023.

AUGUST

100 Year-Old Fokker Takes Flight

Photo via Owls Head Transportation Museum

On August 1, the Owls Head Transportation Museum‘s 1923 Fokker C.IVa took to the skies above Owls Head with the help of aircraft volunteers, pilot Brad Carter, and aircraft conservator Dave Carter. This special moment celebrates a century of transportation history in motion. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in AUGUST 2023.

SEPTEMBER

Savoia Marchetti Historical Group Unveils S.55 Replica

On Saturday, September 23, at the Volandia Museum, Milan, Italy, the Savoia Marchetti Historical Group unveiled the full-size reproduction of the S.55X seaplane used by Italo Balbo in his famous cruise. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in SEPTEMBER 2023.

OCTOBER

Rare ‘Tommy Morse’ Flies

A rare Great War era American fighter, the Thomas Morse S4C Scout 38898, N3307T, has taken to the air once again in the hands of Andrew King at the 2023 Ala Doble fly-in, on 28 September 2023. Our reporter, Nigel Hitchman, was there and brought us the full story. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in OCTOBER 2023.

NOVEMBER

Kiwi Mustang Flies Again After 66 Years

With Sean Perrett at the controls NZ2423 flies again, the culmination of a three-year restoration program. The Biggin Hill Trust

Sixty-six years, five months, and twelve days after making the final flight of the type in Royal New Zealand Air Force service, P-51D NZ2423/ZK-BHT made her first post-restoration flight at RNZAF Base Ohakea, landing after a trouble-free 24 minutes. Read more…

Click HERE to read about other events in NOVEMBER 2023.

DECEMBER

Fokker F VIIb ‘Southern Cross’ Replica Flies in Australia

Photo by Clinton J Down Photography

After over 20 years on the ground, the Fokker F.VIIb Replica VH-USU ‘Southern Cross’, operated by the HARS Aviation Museum, of New South Wales, flew again in Australia on Tuesday 5 December 2023, departing off Shellharbour Airport‘s runway 34. Read more…

As 2023 comes to a close, we want to take the opportunity to say thank you, to our readers. We would also like to thank our loyal sponsors for their constant support: AirCorps Aviation, Platinum Fighter Sales, GossHawk Unlimited, United Fuel Cells, Barnstormer USA, Django Studios, and Warbird Adventures. As always…KEEP ‘EM FLYING!

Array

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