Now that’s a piece of aviation history!

I was surprised – and, of course, very pleased – to learn that an Airco DH.9 bomber from World War I had been discovered in – of all places! – an elephant stable in India, and is being restored.  The video tells the story.

I’m familiar with the aircraft’s history, and was able to see one of the very few surviving examples at the South African National Museum of Military History when I was still resident in that country.  (The museum has an extensive collection of aircraft and vehicles operated or captured by South African forces over the years, including the only surviving example of the night fighter version of the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter from World War II.)

It’s fascinating to see the restoration under way.  Those aircraft were almost all hand-built, with many individual variations, so it’s not like World War II aircraft, built on production jigs with machine assistance.  I’m sure almost all the essential parts had to be fabricated by hand.  That’s dedication!



  1. You would be surprised at how much of today's aircraft are hand-built because the jigs are so inaccurate or out-of-date the only way to get a good part is to get the mylar out and hand-build the part. As one of our engineers would say we have 1.2 million parts flying in close formation.

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