What is a Warbird Airplane?
is an airplane that was once used by the armed forces of any country, and is now
privately owned. Many hundreds of ex-military aircraft from around the the
world have been saved from destruction and given new life by devoted men and
women who enjoy preserving history. These brave people involve themselves with
these historic aircraft not only for the love of flying and the look, sound,
feel and smell of the aircraft themselves, but also for the historical
significance these aircraft played in the shaping of their respective nations.
Whether a docile training
airplane, a large cargo transport, a low-and-slow observation plane, a
four-engine bomber, a nimble World War II fighter, a supersonic jet or a rescue
helicopter, warbirds helped make history. They served over the jungles of
Vietnam, in the deserts of North Africa, over the bloody battlefields of Europe,
and at countless training bases at home and abroad. They provided food and
supplies to soldiers and civilians alike, transported Presidents and Generals,
and saved countless lives, both in war and peacetime. They have been a major
part of some of the most significant events of the 20th Century.
But most of all, they have
provided the "brute force" that nations needed when diplomacy failed. Almost
every nation on earth has at least a small air force which serves as an
important instrument of their national security. The use of the airplane as a
weapon of war was developed almost concurrently with its use as a mode of
Every once in a while, someone
attends a home-town airshow, notices a couple of old warplanes flying around,
and gets the idea that by putting them on public display, their owners and
pilots are somehow "idolizing" war and war machines. Nothing could be further
from the truth. No soldier has ever wanted war. An effective fighting force is
one whose very strength and fighting capability deters the enemy from fighting
in the first place. However, conflicts are not always resolved so easily, and
when a nation commits its air forces to combat, it does it with the knowledge
that human lives (on both sides) are at stake.
The men and women who fight for
their country are, and have always been, the finest people a society has to
offer. No other endeavor requires its participants to confront their own
mortality in such blunt terms, and no other career field expects its members to
sacrifice so much.
Regardless of your personal
opinions about war and its role in modern society, the fact is that we are all
here because of the sacrifices made by past generations. A "Warbird" aircraft is
a living tribute to those men and women who long ago sacrificed everything for
the defense of their nation. It is a "living, breathing," visible link to those
earlier times of conflict, and it reminds us all how very precious our peace is.