Although she is not as recognizable as the iconic B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator arguably had a larger impact on WWII. A testament to the impact is the large number constructed, more than 18,400, making the Liberator the most produced four-engine bomber in history. The Liberator was flown by all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as the British Commonwealth and WASP. The aircraft was operated around the globe and was instrumental in turning the tide in favor of the Allies in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Of all the Liberators built, only two remained airworthy until an engine issue grounded the Commemorative Air Force B-24 Diamond Lil. Your support during this critical period can get Diamond Lil back in the air!
Featured as one of last year's 12 Planes of Christmas, contributors were able to learn about some of the work that it takes to keep a Liberator flying. Removed from flying status in July 2015, the CAF B-29/B-24 Squadron's plan was to spend one year performing maintenance and restoration that included rewiring the airplane, wing spar X-ray and inspection and a historic restoration in the aft fuselage to replace the "radio room." Almost 14 months later, the airplane was deemed ready to return to the sky.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2016
At 6:30 p.m., while in a pattern over Meacham Field, Diamond Lil suffered an engine malfunction. Skillful handling by the flight crew provided for a safe landing. After completing a detailed inspection, the team created an ambitious plan that will not only return Diamond Lil to the air, but also ensure that the world’s oldest four-engine bomber will fly far into the foreseeable future. A pillar of the plan is the purchase of three engines.
WHEN WILL DIAMOND LIL FLY AGAIN?
The B-29/B-24 Squadron is planning to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in 2019 by showcasing Diamond Lil. Proceeds raised from 12 Planes of Christmas will help Diamond Lil get back in the air in before this historic event.
Diamond Lil is more than an airplane. She is a symbol tangibly connected to The Greatest Generation and the World War II era; she is a time machine. As an integral part of the CAF AirPower History Tour, she travels across America, providing Americans of all ages and from all walks of life the opportunity to experience history. She provides a rare glimpse into the meaning of freedom, service and sacrifice every time she visits a new community.