Northrop P-61 Black Widow
 
WARBIRD REGISTRY > P-61 BLACK WIDOW REGISTRY > 42-39445 >

Resurrecting a Widow:
A visit to the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Museum.
By Chuck Gardner


I traveled to Reading, Pennsylvania to the Mid Atlantic Air Museum to see one of the rarest of all warbirds, the P-61 Black Widow. The museum has 25 aircraft on display with many in flying condition. Walking out onto the ramp, I saw two Convair 414ís, a DC-3, P2-V, and a Vickers Viscount. Then I went into the hangar and noticed their B-25 standing tall above the T-6, BT-13, PT-19, Stearman, and a twin Beech. It is a very nice collection of World War Two aircraft. Sitting in the middle of the floor was a large group children getting a tour from the docent about the airplanes in the museum. I started looking for the restoration shop where I knew a Black Widow is being rebuilt. Behind the rear hangar wall is a workshop where a labor of love is in process- the return to flying condition one of the last remaining Black Widows left in the world.

In the workshop lies the P-61 in a jig. It is stunningly beautiful in shape and form and I could not keep from staring at it. I met two very friendly gentlemen working on it and they explained the some of the details involved in the restoration process. I was amazed to see the quality of the workmanship being done. They have come a long way with the recovered wreck and the projects enormity is very apparent. The restoration of the P-61 is very meticulous and every detail is painstakingly covered. Approximately sixty percent of the original airframe components are being used in the restoration. Many parts are custom made and fabricated from blueprints and the quality of the craftsmanship is first rate. I took a few pictures of the Widow and concluded my visit.

This is a fantastic restoration project and an important part of history being brought back to life. I look forward to see this magnificent machine fly one day. The Mid Atlantic Air Museum is a must see for airplane enthusiasts and warbird fanatics.

Chuck Gardner is a staff photographer for the Warbirds Resource Group.

Additional Images:
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Gunners Station.
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Left wing in jig.
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Old throttle assembly.
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New throttle assembly.
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Plumbing.
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Right wing.
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Radar Assembly.
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Wing assembly.
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Cockpit.
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Engine Mount.
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Forward Fuselage.
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Rear fuselage.
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Main Gear.
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Observers station.

Special thanks to the Mid Atlantic Air Museum for allowing access to this project.
- Editor

WARBIRD REGISTRY > P-61 BLACK WIDOW REGISTRY > 42-39445 >