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Bring 'em back alive

Posted by Indiana Tony on Thu Sep 06, 2001 06:55:30 AM

In reply top P-40s posted by Graham Orphan on Wed Sep 05, 2001 11:15:33 AM

Dear Graham,

Thanks for your comments. I feel exactly the same way. People who have followed my postings, know how I feel about trying to recover Warbirds from Russia, especially since the late 90's.

One answer, don't!

I have never, in all my puff, met such an extraorinairily, stupid , greedy, misleading bunch of cretins, as some of the idiots , it has been my extreme displeasure to meet.

I use the term mafioso lossly, to describe some of the characters that inhabit the Russian Aviation archaeology world.

I started trying to recover airframes, from the former soviet union, in 1989. In those days, the only difficulty, was language, and the incredulity of the local population, as to why this mad englishman was trying to get these samaloty out, what was the point? In the early days, you were dealing with students, and aviation enthusiasts, who shared your love of aircraft, but that very soon changed. I'm sorry, but part of the reason, was certain American collectors, who made no bones about how much money they could make, and telling the locals. The net result was, that very soon, in that typical, brutish, greedy way , that some of them have, airframes were very soon approaching their post-rebuild value, and the "Big Moscow Business" a.k.a. Mafia was definitely getting involved...

see http://www.danford.net/found.htm

An interesting tale, of skullduggery, greed, and a whole lot more.

I decided, a long time ago, to deal with Poland. My best friend, was instrumental in this. His father was a Polish "VC" winner, from his activities as a 15 year old partisan, his mother was also an award winner, as a partisan nurse. We next enrolled the great Stanislaw Skalski, wow, what a man. With this team, negotiations with the Polish Ministry of Defence was considerably easier, I'll tell you about the F5 Tiger another time! -lol

We had several meetings, and ended with the agreement, that if we could find any World War or 50's birds, (We were after Yak-9's) as long as a copy of the aircraft was already in Polish hands, then we could export the aeroplane. Unfortunately, we weren't able to. We ended up, getting Iskara's, at an extremely reasonable price. So reasonable in fact, we ended up with 6! All aircraft were airworthy, and all based at one location. We broke the aircraft down, and had them out in very short order, with the help of the Polish Air Force and PZL aircraft. Lots of Vodka and Johnnie Walker Black label got drunk, and everything went swimmingly.

In the middle of all this, Marek Wiensoski (name altered), the then General manager for PZL aircraft, revealed that when he was working as the PZL aircraft representative, for the russian fisheries protection fleet, (they use PZL104 Wilgas) that there were still crated western aircraft in the Murmansk Base area. He definitely identified P40's and P-39's, and they were well known. Now, I have dealt with this man, and found him, to be full of honour and integrity, so I have no reason to doubt him. The separate deal we negotiated (more scotch) was that the aircraft would be recovered to PZL, and rebuilt to airworthy condition there. PZL, build their own propellors and other parts, for them, it was no problem to replicate, as long as the drawings were to hand. and of course, considerably cheaper than any western counterpart.

But, the Russians fcuked it up again. We wanted the aircraft clear, at an agreed price, they wanted a profit sharing deal + a hefty lump for the aircraft.Guess who got most of the profit? Have you ever heard a Polish guy swearing? The reason, was because a very stupid, and naive and just plain dumb American warbird collector (If you read this, you know what I think of you, we have already talked) offered a very large sum of money, to be the "sole" representative for the aircraft. So, with all that money swimming about, we had no chance, and ironically, as far as I know, the aircrat are still there, because I haven't seen any crated P40's arriving from arctic parts.

So now, this is my credo. If it is there, I will get it out for you. I've loved P40's since Tora Tora Tora. There is no need whatsoever, to be stupid and greedy. Yes, i have identified several P40 locations, ranging from safety pins, to possible flyers. I want the aircraft out as much as you do. Now, I can either recover them under my own steam, get them back and sell them, or someone gives me moderate expenses, to go verify, photograph, report on them.... and negotiate with the locals. Sometimes, it's not down to money. School or farming equipment have been mentioned in the past. I have always found, if you treat the locals with respect, and LISTEN to them, you will get what you want. A suitcase full of dollars can offend. Yes . I am referring to the same warbird collector again.

So, anyone want to take me up? Oh, and remember, not all restorable P40's in the Frozen North, are in Russia :0)

Just my $100.00 worth....

Tony :0)
Just the facts ma'am..

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