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Home Base: Fort Worth, TX
Operation: Western, Central and Eastern USA
Model: A-26B
Wing Span:
70' 0"
Length: 50' 9"
Height: 18' 6"
Max Speed: 365 mph
Gross Weight: 35,000 lbs
Power Plant: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-79
Horsepower: 2 x 2,000
Fuel Capacity: 800 gallons
Armament: 6 x 12.7mm (0.5 in.) machine guns in nose, 2 x 12.7mm (0.5 in.) machine guns each in ventral and dorsal turrets, 6,000 lbs of bombs, Eight 127mm (5-inch) rockets.

CAF Invader Squadron's Douglas A-26B Invader "Texas Special"



The Commemorative Air Force Invader Squadron is the owner and operator of this Douglas A-26B Invader "Texas Special" (S/N 43-7140), which is available for airshows, flybys and film throughout the USA
.

A-26B was built in 1943 it was the 328th A26B built at the Douglas plant in Long Beach, Calif. It was delivered to the USAAF on December 8, 1944 and given the USAAF serial number of 41-39427. It served with the following military units listed below:

127th base unit at Florence S.C. - January 4, 1944 through November 13, 1945.

4160th base unit Air Material Command at Hobbs Field N.M. - November 13, 1945 through September 1948.

4127th base unit Air Material Command at McLellan AFB in CA - September 1948 to March 13, 1950.

The aircraft went through major modifications in April of 1953 when the aircraft was completely disassembled and all systems inspected and repaired or overhauled. It was at this time the aircraft was converted to an executive transport with many luxuries and modifications being done to the aircraft by Grand Central Aircraft Co. of Glendale, California.

Barnwell Drilling Company of Shreveport, LA bought the A-26 on December 30, 1961 and made further modifications to enhance the executive transport role. During this time period, 1952-1967, the A-26 received best of care and maintenance from Barnwell and Texas Railway Equip Co. It is said that former Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson had flown on the aircraft as well as Jack Kennedy. John Barnwell traded the A-26 on February 7, 1967 for a larger Convair 240 with Omni Investments. The registration N-numbers were also swapped in the trade and Invader N75Y became Invader N240P.

Flight Test Research, Inc. of Long Beach, California purchased the aircraft on April 19, 1967 for $15,000.00 and the aircraft went home to where it was built 25 years earlier.

Ownership history and uses are a little sketchy from 1972 to 1977. But they must have been interesting since the aircraft was seized from drug-runners by T. L. Baker of the Potter Co. Sheriffs Dept in Amarillo on January 10, 1977. This occurred after a pilot had landed the aircraft on one engine and walked away from the airplane. This clearly made the authorities suspicious. A testament to this story is that at a particular air show a few years ago, two gentlemen in dark sunglasses seemed rather intrigued by the airplane; finally one of the gentlemen approached a crew member and asked what color the aircraft had been before Ranger Wing acquired it. When told it was white with grey trim he exclaimed:

"My God it's the "Grey Ghost! We chased that sucker up and down the Gulf Coast! Never could catch him. He'd drop down on the deck and throttle the engines up and leave us standing there!"

The two gentlemen were DEA agents.

The A-26 was purchased by the Commemorative Air Force on December 21, 1977from the Amarillo Sheriffs Dept. After numerous weekend trips to Amarillo to prepare her for the flight to her new home, the A-26 was ferried to Waco on September 11, 1980. Quite a feat since the Ranger Squadron had only held its first meeting as a CAF unit on June 23, 1980 and only had 15 very dedicated members when assigned the A-26 by the Commemorative Air Force.

Initial restoration was completed in August of 1982 and soon after the airplane headed for Redbird Airport near Dallas for a new paint job, that's after members had removed four coats of paint. When the aircraft emerged from the paint shop, it sported the colors of the Grim Reapers of the 13th Bomb Squadron - Korea. The aircraft was jet black, with red wingtips and cowlings. Ranger Member Col. Gene Deveney painted the nose art of a Hauco Indian Princess on the nose and the members voted and finally named the airplane the "Spirit of Waco" narrowly defeating the name "Tee-Pee Time Gal".

The aircraft remained on the ground for a two year period when it lost it's number one engine due to a master rod failed on takeoff at Las Vegas McCarran Airport in 1986 after a CAF "Gathering of Eagles" show. Col Wayne Shookman, who was at the controls at the time, managed to get the aircraft back safely on the ground. The Ranger Squadron found many eager volunteer CAF Colonels in the Las Vegas area to help get "Spirit of Waco" back in the air. It was from these volunteers that the Nevada Wing was born. The CAF honored these volunteers by assigning them the "Vegas Vixen" an A-26C model (glass nose) to also don in the 13th Bomb Squadrons colors. Thanks to their help, "Spirit of Waco" and "Vegas Vixen" continue to spark the imagination and thrill air show spectators with their low level strafing attacks and bomb runs.

The Invader Squadron was formed in February 2009 to restore this Douglas A-26B Invader, registration number N240P, back to flying condition and it will be in the color scheme of the 3rd Bomb Group, 8th Bomb Squadron during the Korean War and named "Texas Special".

The aircraft is based at Meacham Airport in the hangar of the Vintage Flying Museum and has 75+ members devoted to maintain and safeguard this A-26B, a graceful and beautiful example of the aircraft that defended our nation and other allied countries in such a desperate and dramatic period in our nation's history.

Photo Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact

Commemorative Air Force
CAF Invader Squadron
C/O Vintage Flying Museum
505 NW 38th Street #33S
Fort Worth, TX 76106


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