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B-24 "Liberator"

 The Most Produced Multi-Engine Aircraft in Aviation History

Diamond Lil

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TYPE

Heavy Bomber

MAX SPEED

297 MPH

CREW

10-11

BOMB LOAD

8,000 LBS

RANGE

3,700 miles

WINGSPAN

110 ft

SERVICE DATES

1941-1945

NUMBER BUILT

18,500+

LENGTH

67 ft

The Only Flying B-24 Liberator In The World

About The B-24

The B-24 "Liberator" is an American four-engine heavy bomber that was flown by the United States armed forces and several of its allies during World War II. The B-24 was developed by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of San Diego, California. With over 18,500 units manufactured, the B-24 continues to hold the all-time records as the most produced heavy bomber, bomber, multi-engine aircraft, and American military aircraft in history. No other single aircraft has ever been manufactured in such numbers. Half of all B-24's built were produced at Ford Motor Company's Willow Run Plant, located near Detroit, Michigan.

 

The Arsenal Of Democracy - Production Power:

At the height of B-24 production, one B-24 rolled off an assembly line every hour!

 

After receiving a request by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) in 1938 to build Boeing, B-17 "Flying Fortress" bombers under license, Consolidated instead submitted a design of their own. Utilizing the high aspect ratio "Davis Wing" named for designer David Davis - the high-efficiency airfoil design and the B-24's twin tail were taken from Consolidated's existing Model 31 flying boat. The efficient wing design allowed for high airspeed and longer range. The B-24's unusual, but spacious, slab sided fuselage earned it the nickname "the flying boxcar". The B-24 was also the first American bomber to feature a tricycle landing gear which is standard on most aircraft today.

The B-24's long range made it instrumental in anti-submarine actions against U-Boats in the Atlantic. With dozens of variants produced with differing armaments and uses and staggering production numbers, the B-24 saw service around the world in Europe, Asia, and in the Pacific.

Operation TidalWave:

B-24s participated in several raids against oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania as part of "Operation Tidal Wave" in an effort to halt gasoline and oil production to the Axis powers. The operation was the most costly major Allied air raid of World War II resulting in heavy losses of personnel and aircraft.

Operators

B-24 Liberators and variants were utilized by various countries during and after World War II. Some of the Axis powers operated captured B-24s for various missions. The Indian Air Force operated B-24s as late as 1968 to which a large number of surviving B-24 examples owe their existence.

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(1943) B-24 Assembly Line - Consolidated, Fort Worth, TX

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(1944) B24's in the 446th Bomb Group (US Army Air Force)

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(1943) B24 over oil refinery at Ploesti, Romania

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British B-24 (RAF Liberator B - Mk. I)

Variants

​Dozens of B-24 variants were produced for various roles including bombing, anti-submarine warfare, photo reconnaissance, fuel tankers, and personnel/cargo transport. A maritime patrol version (PB4Y-2) used by the US Navy, saw service into the Korean War.

The C-87 "Liberator Express" was a modified B-24 used for both VIP transport and cargo airlift roles.

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C-109 Fuel Tanker Variant

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From Then To Now

Wartime History (1940s)

The CAF B29/B24 Squadron's B-24, Model A, Liberator was the 25th B-24 Liberator (Serial Number: 18) built by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. Destined for France in 1940, delivery was made impossible due to its invasion. The aircraft was redirected and accepted by the British in May 1941 and then handed to Trans World Airlines (TWA) which conducted training for British RAF pilots out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The following month in June, 1941 as instructor pilots were practicing landings, the right main brake locked up during a landing attempt. The right gear collapsed, followed by the nose gear, causing significant damage to the lower fuselage and bomb bay. Consolidated initiated a recovery and repair effort over the next 6 months. In December, 1941, the aircraft was flown back to Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego, California.

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AM927 - In Wartime Configuration

Due to the extent of the damage, the aircraft would not be returned to service as a bomber. An arrangement was made between the British Defense Ministry and Consolidated for the company to keep position of "AM927" for logistic support and further B-24 development purposes.

AM927 was immediately converted and utilized as a C-87 "Liberator Express" prototype and returned to service in July 1942. Throughout World War II, the aircraft was utilized to transport personnel and equipment between the five B-24 production plants in the United States and several vendors.

AM927 was also extensively utilized for flight testing and was instrumental in the development of improved flight characteristics of later B-24 models. Numerous modifications were made between 1945 and 1947 to improve performance and sustainability that included the long RY-3 nose and PBY nacelle assemblies

PostWar - Corporate Transport - 1948 to 1968

After World War II, AM927 was sold to the Continental Can Company. The aircraft was repainted and outfitted with a luxury interior. AM927, now registered 'N1503' flew as an executive transport between Continental Can's North American Plants for the next 10 years.

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Photos of N1503 in its Continental Can Livery

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In April, 1959, Continental Can sold the aircraft to Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the Mexican State owned petroleum company. N1503's registration changed again becoming XC-CAY and it was used to transport personnel throughout Latin America and the United States.

XC-CAY in PEMEX Livery

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1968 To Present

In May 1968, the Commemorative Airforce purchased the aircraft from PEMEX. The transaction to purchase AM927 was complicated by the fact that PEMEX wanted to retain the aircraft's engines for use on their existing fleet of Douglas DC-3 aircraft. The eventual deal included a set of DC-6 engines and a sum of $60,000 dollars. The aircraft's registration changed again to N12905. Later in 1990, the registration was changed to the current N24927.

In 1971, AM927 was painted in the colors of the 98th Bomb Group, which participated in the Ploesti Oil Field Raid "Operation Tidalwave" and given the name "Diamond Lil". During the next 20 years, Diamond Lil traveled extensively throughout the United States.

In 1992, Diamond Lil made an Atlantic crossing from the United States to the United Kingdom to participate in World War II anniversary and memorial events.

 

During 2006-2007 the aircraft was reconfigured back to her B-24A/RLB-30 roots and was given the nose art of Ol' 927.

In April 2012, the Liberator was reconfigured and the original Diamond Lil nose art was returned. Since 2013, Diamond Lil has toured the country providing the public the opportunity to experience this unique, rare aircraft through aircraft tours and ride flight experiences.

"Diamond Lil" Livery from the 1970s

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"Diamond Lil" Present Day

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