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  9 Votes (4.56 Average) and 3,112 Views  

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Consolidated B-24 Liberator (N224J)

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Mark Thomas
Nice timing Dave, awesome shot!
Dave SheehyPhoto Uploader
Thank you, Mark.
jthyland
Little Consolidated built Catalina's for the USN in San Diego, the day after Pearl Harbor the Navy placed an order for 400 Cats. "Sorry, unable, just got an order from the Army for 2000 Liberators."
sam kuminecz
Jthyland. Consolidated was the largest employer in San Diego in the 1940s. They built cats in SD and B-24s in yipsilanti Mi
cliff731
Sam... that Ypsilanti MI location would be Ford's Willow Run aircraft factory, which produced at its peak, "one B-24 per hour and 650 B-24s per month", according to Wiki.

It would be remiss not to mention Consolidated's facility in Forth Worth TX... in addition to those Liberators made by Consolidated in San Diego CA. Add in those B-24 bombers assembled by Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa OK and North American Aviation in Grand Prairie TX.

We may never see such wartime production of a single aircraft on such a massive scale ever again. It is reported that a total of 19,256 B-24 types were built.
Dave SheehyPhoto Uploader
Gents, there is a movie in the works about the Liberator, link here;

http://www.thelastliberator.com/
sam kuminecz
Cliff consolidated started in buffalo NY in the 1930s, then moved. The seaplane ramp is still here
cliff731
Sam... thanks for that information on Consolidated Aircraft's early days!
Greg Byington
This is a great shot of "Witchcraft, Dave!" And you have some really nice shots in your gallery. But I happened to notice that the serial number you have posted for this aircraft is incorrect. The SN for this bird is actually 44-44052, with an FAA registration number of N224J. See the following from Joe Baugher's website:

"44-44052 Accepted by the USAAF in August 1944, but it was transferred to the RAF in October 1944 as Liberator GR.VI s/n KH191. The plane flew many combat missions in the Pacific Theater of Operations until late 1945 when it was abandoned in Khanpur, India. In 1948 the Indian Air Force took over the plane with s/n T-18 and operated it until 1968. Then it ended up being given to the Indian Air Force Technical College in Jalahali, most likely to be used for mechanic training. In 1981 the plane was acquired by Doug Arnold/Warbirds of Great Britain and on May 6, 1982 he had it airfreighted disassembled by a Belfast transport plane to Blackbushe Airport, England. While stored there it was purchased in 1984 by Doctor Robert F. Collings and he had it transported by ship to the USA, and in the following year began restoration. In June 1989 the plane was registered to the Collings Foundation as N224J, and the plane made its first post-restoration flight in September that year. It flew as “All American” with a map of the USA on both sides of the nose until 1995 when the starboard side said “Golden Girl” with a Schlitz beer pin-up. By 2003 the “Golden Girl” was replaced by “The Dragon and His Tail” commemorating a B-24 from WWII. In 2005 it was completely repainted as “Witchcraft,” honoring B-24 42-52534 from WWII which flew 130 combat missions."

So, the tail number you see painted on the aircraft represents the original Witchcraft, and the complete serial number for it was: 42-52534. The serial numbers as painted on the aircraft usually do not show the first digit. Anyway, I don't mean to "nit pick," but I thought you might want to know. Thanks for all your great pics!

And if anyone is interested, here is more info from Joe Baugher regarding the original Witchcraft:

"42-52534 (467th BG, 790th BS, "Witchcraft") completed 130 combat missions between Apr 10, 1944 and Apr 21, 1945, the most missions flown by a B-24 in the ETO. The 130 sorties were flown without a single abort due to mechanical problems and without injury to any crew member. 'Witchcraft' returned to the USA Jun 12, 1945 and was sold for scrap Oct 3, 1945. This aircraft is now represented by the Collings Foundation 44-44052. In addition, an anonymous B-24 was painted as ‘Witchcraft’ and displayed in the USSTAF [United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe] Military Equipment Exhibition under the Eiffel Tower, Paris Aug-Sep 1945."

It had quite an impressive record!
Dave SheehyPhoto Uploader
Greg, TYVM for the correction and further info. I revised them to the FAA N number. I have a picture of this one with the Dragon paint job that I will send you for your efforts! I have to scan it first but I will e/m it soon.
Greg Byington
You're welcome, and I would like to see it in the Dragon paint. I don't think I've seen a picture of it painted that way. Keep up the great work!
ACTIVITY LOG
Want a full history search for N224J dating back to 1998? Buy now. Get it within one hour.
Date Aircraft Origin Destination Departure Arrival Duration
16-Sep-2019 UnknownBeverly Rgnl ()Martha's Vineyard () 10:58AM EDT 11:34AM EDT 0:35
15-Sep-2019 UnknownBeverly Rgnl ()Beverly Rgnl () 04:28PM EDT 04:59PM EDT 0:30
13-Sep-2019 UnknownNear North Kingstown, RIQuonset State () 12:36PM EDT 01:04PM EDT 0:28
11-Sep-2019 UnknownGroton-New London ()Quonset State () 01:11PM EDT 01:34PM EDT 0:22
10-Sep-2019 UnknownGroton-New London ()Groton-New London () 05:03PM EDT 05:22PM EDT 0:19
08-Sep-2019 UnknownWaterbury-Oxford ()Waterbury-Oxford () 05:07PM EDT 05:35PM EDT 0:27
07-Sep-2019 UnknownWaterbury-Oxford ()Waterbury-Oxford () 04:47PM EDT 05:23PM EDT 0:36
07-Sep-2019 UnknownWaterbury-Oxford ()Waterbury-Oxford () 09:44AM EDT 10:04AM EDT 0:19
06-Sep-2019 UnknownTrenton Mercer ()Waterbury-Oxford () 12:43PM EDT 01:46PM EDT 1:02
04-Sep-2019 UnknownTrenton Mercer ()Trenton Mercer () 05:35PM EDT 06:04PM EDT 0:29
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