Hidden Warbirds II: More Epic Stories of Finding, Recovering, and Rebuilding WWH's Lost Aircraft. By Nicholas A. Veronico. Minneapolis, Minn.: Zenith, 2014. Tables. Photographs. Biblio graphy. Index. Pp. 256. $30.00 ISBN: 9780-7603-4601-3
Hidden Warbirds II relates what it takes to find, finance, recover, and restore World War II planes: time, money, a willingness to bargain with landowners and authorities, the perseverance to freeze, bake, wade through hip-deep mud and fend off crocodiles, and the occasional lawsuit. A refinement and development of Volume I (reviewed in APH summer 2014), the book is packed with full-color, original photos of warbirds submerged underwater; mired in a swamp; dangling perilously from a helicopter; more reassuringly in the shop under restoration; and, finally, gleaming on the ramp alongside a proud owner. Veronico has extensively documented this field, and his website Wreckchasing.com is a nexus for warbird news. Here the aspiring warbird owner will learn, through accounts of actual recoveries, which information sources to research, who to contact, how to raise funds, and what resources are needed to restore a warbird.
The warbird field is not as easy as it looks. Would-be wreck rebuilders often shy off when they realize that aircraft retrieval and restoration--especially bombers--can be a major undertaking. Although driveway projects are possible, the warbird enthusiast often is an organizer of specialists with the industrial capability--cranes, barges, machine shops, and heavy transportation via land, sea, and air--to locate, acquire the rights to, reach, extract, haul, rebuild and restore, and maintain a warbird. The emphasis is on networking for funds, parts, skills, and facilities. Patience and persistence are prime characteristics of the successful warbird hunter. This is an active industry whose raw material is wrecks.
In the volume, Veronico sharpens and emphasizes the definitions of the World War II warbird field introduced in Volume 1. Although "hidden" warbirds can be those that are physically inaccessible due to their remote location, they also can be planes that may be visible but that people and circumstances prevent from being made publicly available as part of the aviation heritage community. A Hawker Fury in Iraq, pole-mounted gate guards that we pass every day, or even private collections an owner does not display count as "hidden."
"Finding" warbirds is a deliberate and systematic process...