Rare Privateer P4Y-2 an Early COPPERSTATE Arrival
October 20, 2010 — The world’s only currently flying example of a Consolidated Vultee P4Y-2 Privateer, the United States Navy’s version of the B-24 Liberator World War II bomber, was an early bird arrival Saturday afternoon at the Casa Grande Airport in Arizona, October 16 for this week’s COPPERSTATE Fly-In. The event opens Thursday, October 21, and runs through Saturday, October 23, and the Privateer will be there throughout the show.
This particular aircraft, N2871G, is owned by 4Y-2 LLC, of Phoenix, Arizona, which obtained it at an auction in 2006. It had been previously used as a firefighting platform based at Greybull - South Big Horn County Airport, Wyoming.
Unlike a Liberator’s distinctive double tail, Privateers have a single vertical tail since Navy patrol missions were flown at lower altitudes, rendering the high altitudes capability of the B-24 unnecessary.
This airplane had not flown since 2006, according to Bruce Brockhagen, member of 4Y-2 LLC. It had been scheduled to appear at both this year’s AirVenture and Reno Air Races this year but it was not ready in time, he said.
History: Built in 1945, it was one of nine P4-Ys the Navy transferred to the Coast Guard as P4Y-2G models. It was scheduled to be disposed of in August 1958 at NAS Elizabeth City, North Carolina, but the airplane was instead purchased by Ace Smelting Inc, Phoenix. In 1959 the airplane was placed into aerial tanker service as N2871G with Avery Aviation, Greybull.
The original powerplants - 1,350-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 radials - were replaced with 1,700 hp Curtiss-Wright R-2600-35 Cyclones when modified for fire bomber service. It remained in service fighting fires until 2006.
Bomber “121” will be joined this week by the Commemorative Air Force’s B-17 Sentimental Journey; B-25 Maid in the Shade; an SNJ Harvard; and several other warbirds including a P-51 Mustang, TBM Avenger, and T-34 Mentor. Also slated to appear are a Boeing AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopter from the Arizona Army Air National Guard; and a rare British de Havilland DH-114 Heron, one of two flying in the U.S. and the very airplane once used as personal transport by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
For more information, visit the COPPERSTATE website.