After seven years of restoration and an additional fourteen months to replace the engine, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Houston Wing’s Fairchild PT-19 took to the skies on June 25, 2024. Thanks to the dedication of several Houston Wing members and volunteers, the aircraft is now flying in support of the CAF’s mission to educate, inspire, and honor. The restoration project team, led by Ed Vesley, Stan Turner, Tom Calpouzos, and Lisa Sanford, invested approximately 5,000 hours of work to complete the project.

PT 19 Takes to The Skies Again After Six Year Restoration ed Vesely

The restoration began with stripping the aircraft down to its bare airframe, including a complete rebuild of the center section. The aircraft’s wings and horizontal stabilizer required only minor repairs. The team installed new electrical systems and hoses, rebuilt the main landing gear and tail wheel, and recovered and painted the fuselage, wings, and flight surfaces to restore the aircraft’s original appearance.

The Houston Wing extends special thanks to Skip Harrison of Harco Aviation for his inspection expertise and Mark Denest of MD Aero for his knowledge of PT-19s.

The Houston Wing posted, “Test pilot Ed Vesley reported no significant issues throughout the one-hour flight. We’ll now continue to fly the PT-19 for a few more hours to break in the engine, and then it will be put back on the flight line, hopefully in time to offer rides at our July 13 event at Houston Executive Airport.”

As the PT-19 returns to the rides program, people will once again have the opportunity to experience this amazing aircraft through flight. This project not only showcases the team’s skills and dedication but also highlights the importance of preserving historical aircraft. The PT-19’s return to airworthy status celebrates heritage, craftsmanship, and the passion of those who work to keep aviation history alive. The Houston Wing members have brought history back to life, ensuring the PT-19’s legacy continues to inspire and educate. For more information about the CAF Houston Wing, visit www.houstonwing.org