We are slowly making progress on a very rare Seversky P-35a, which I acquired it in a trade many years ago with the USAF Museum. The P-35 was a mid-thirties fighter that saw limited combat at the beginning of WWII in the Pacific.
There are only three of these single-seat aircraft left in the world and this will be the only one that will fly! The two others are on display at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio and the Swedish Air Force Museum in Stockholm.
I am very fortunate to have on my restoration crew sheet-metal magician Ricky Reeves. He has been the main person doing the work. Once the Stinson L-1 is completed and flying, which is getting close, Paul Stecewycz will join him on the project.
Since we knew this would be a long-term project, we made the decision early on to reverse the normal process of restoration. Normally, everything would be taken apart, documented, the basic frame restored, and then parts added as they are completed. Instead, we have taken one part off, restored it, and then taken off another! Once we finally get down to the basic fuselage and it’s restored, all we have to do is put all the parts together!
The airplane came from the Swedish Air Force and has a significant amount of pitting and surface corrosion from being stored in underground bunkers during WWII. The plane received additional damage in 1992 during Hurricane Andrew, mostly to the skins we will be replacing. It is our intent to replace all external skins, shine them up, and use as much of the internal structure as possible.
We have some wing jigs made and will begin on them at some time in the future. We recently assembled some of the parts to show off what has been accomplished so far.
If you want to follow the progress, come by Fantasy of Flight and check it out, as it’s part of the Daily Restoration Tour. It will surely be a piece of art when we get it done and I’m looking forward to not only flying it, but being able to use it as a mirror to shave!