THE B-23 DRAGON PROJECT -

"DRAGGIN' THE DRAGON HOME"

 

A little history . . .

HAG’s involvement with the Dragon started last fall with an innocent perusal of Trade-A-Plane. There it was for $50,000 – not a B-17 for sure, but a Bomber for sure and a fairly rare one at that. The price seemed, well, possible, at least if enough interest could be generated in the project. A call to the broker Mark Clark seemed like the place to start. No, the airplane had not been sold. Yes, we could go down to Midland and look at it. Yes, there was some corrosion. Yes, Mark would see if the price was negotiable.

Internet information started to pour into the office. It was derived from the Douglas DC-3. A total of 38 examples were built, eleven accounted for as of today. It was outclassed by other medium bombers so it was relegated to training and patrol duties. It was the first U.S. bomber to have a tail gunner position with a swivel-mounted .30-caliber machine gun mounted in a unique clamshell type glass enclosure. The tail wheel is offset to allow the tail gunner to access his position from the fuselage. The waist gun swivels to aim left, right, or out the top of the aircraft. A belly gunner scrambles about shooting through the floor. The copilot/avigator (that’s not a typo, the aircraft manual calls him an AVIGATOR) seat is moved aft so that the crew can duck under the right panel and have access to the nose.

Comments started coming in from members, some pro, some con. Dave Andruczyk, Don Wilson, and Austin Wadsworth go to C.A.F. Midland to look at the aircraft. There we meet with Gary Austin, head of maintenance, who is super cooperative showing us around, telling us all he knows about the B-23, and even rounding up (that’s Texas talk, tenderfoot) some of the crew who worked on the airplane way back when. We walk around, poke into inspection hatches, take pictures and measure components for shipping. Is it a static display or could it fly? We're not sure.

Back in Geneseo the pros and cons are discussed at two dinner meetings and many coffee sessions. Many have worried that the Dragon project will sap our energy and money. Most of us see it as a self-financing cell within our museum which will draw new interest and energy into our group. The rarity and the price win. We close the deal with funds from an anonymous benefactor, and start talking to truckers. It looks as if about $16,000 will be needed to “Drag the Dragon home.” Any thoughts anyone?

On March 13 a group of seven volunteers will leave for Texas to disassemble and prepare the Dragon for trucking. Any and all are invited to participate regardless of age or skill level. The trip will have to be on your own dime but is guaranteed to produce enough stories for a lifetime. If you cannot join us on the trip to Texas, be sure to stop at the Museum to see our latest acquisition. We hope to take delivery in April.

Austin Wadsworth

IMAGINE IF:

  • You could help save and restore a rare 1940s bomber
  • You could help bring a major tourist attraction to Western New York.

YOU CAN:

  • Become a sponsor of the "Draggin' The Dragon Home" Project
  • Become a volunteer on the "Draggin' The Dragon Home" Project
  • Help us with our Western New York Community projects.

Click this link for a form you can use to donate to the fund.


B-23 DRAGON PROJECT

SPONSOR LEVELS

PILOT LEVEL - $40,000 and above

  • Naming Rights for the B-23 display
  • Lifetime Geneseo Airshow Top Gun Membership
  • Lifetime 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum Membership
  • Douglas B-23 Dragon Flight Suit
  • Announcements at 1941 Historical Aircraft Museum Airshow

BOMBARDIER LEVEL - $10,000 to $39,999

  • Name on Sponsor Display Board
  • 5 year Geneseo Airshow Top Gun Membership
  • 10 Year 1941 Historical Aircraft Museum Membership

NAVIGATOR LEVEL - $1,000 to $9,999

  • Name on sponsor Display Board
  • 1 Year Geneseo Airshow Top Gun Membership
  • 5 Year 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum Membership

GUNNER LEVEL - $100 - $999

  • Name on Sponsor Display Board
  • 1 Year 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum membership

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