Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon: A Flying Piece of History

Speaking of pin ups, pinups were used as nose art and nose art was used on WWII vintage planes, and this was in my local dead tree paper this AM:

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Dateline Stockton, CA:
In 1945, as American military strategists laid plans to invade Japan, the U.S. Navy ordered a new patrol bomber airplane: the Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon.

Lockheed manufactured only 35 of the final version, the PV-2D, before the atomic bomb abruptly ended the war. Only one still flies. Preservationists based at Stockton's airport recently acquired this rare bird.

"It's kind of like getting the keys to the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument and taking it out for a spin," said Ken Terpstra. "That's how much a part of our history this airplane actually is."

Terpstra is vice president of Stockton Field Aviation Museum, a surprising private collection of large and small WWII artifacts in the process of becoming a public museum.

An amazing aircraft built towards the end of the war, the Harpoon could carry 4,000 pounds of bombs in the belly, and two more 1,000-pound bombs or eight rockets under the wings. Add to that, eight .50 caliber machine guns in the nose and two in a turret on the top.

Read the entire article. The journey that this plane took to be rescued from obscurity is amazing. And, if you're so inspired, there's something you can do:

The next stage is to restore the U.S. Navy's WWII paint job of "Non-Specular Sea Blue" (flat blue) an estimated $10,000 task.

The museum is seeking veterans' groups, service clubs or private citizens willing to make a tax-deductible donation.

It also welcomes donations of WWII aviation artifacts. Donate by calling (209) 982-0273 or emailing Terpstra at

"We want it to be a time capsule people can step into and see what their fathers and grandfathers did," Terpstra said of the plane. "We want this to be a flying tribute not only to our WWII vets but all vets. Without them, we wouldn't have the freedoms we have today."

Thanks to Michael Fitzgerald for the great write up and to the labors of the Stockton Field Aviation Museum for preserving this bit of history.


  1. The PV2 was the first plane I started my gunnery training in, back in WW2. I ended up as a tail gunner in a Navy version of the B24. Our crew
    did 30 missions from Dunkeswell, England.

    1. First of all, thank you for your service. Glad you made it through to tell the tale! And thanks for stopping by!


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