AirCorps Aviation is a multi-faceted organization that continues to branch out into new and exciting endeavors. Frequent and first time visitors to the main AirCorps Aviation website can see some of the larger and flashier projects that we have going on in the shop on any given day. However, there is a newer, and lesser known addition to the AirCorps scope of services that benefits subscribers around the world. AirCorps Library was founded in December of 2015, and is fast growing into the primary resource for World War II manuals, technical drawings, and other rare WWII resources. AirCorps Library, or “Library” for short, is a digitized collection of thousands of pages of drawings and manuals for over 50 models of WWII aircraft and legacy aircraft, engines, propellers, and thousands of WWII era aircraft components/accessories!
Library is used by hobbyists, collectors, historians, and restorers alike to quickly and easily find extremely specific information on a multitude of projects. AirCorps has been extremely fortunate to be involved in several projects that directly utilized Library and received international media attention. The family of 1st Lieutenant Loren Hintz used Library to gather information on their grandfather’s P-47 Thunderbolt that was shot down over Italy on April 21, 1945. The story culminated on July 23, 2016 when Hans Wronka (Hintz’s grandson) and his family, along with AirCorps employees, excavated the remains of Hintz’s plane. To read the full story of “Finding Loren” click here.
While stories like Finding Loren that receive media attention are good for business, Library is about more than high profile successes. Many of our subscribers simply love to look at the craftsmanship that was put into the hand-drawn schematics. Simply browsing through a file of drawings on the lower aileron assemblies of a P-51 Mustang, or the instrument panels of a PT-17 Stearman make it easy to appreciate the many men who painstakingly worked at the drafting board. Looking at these drawings in an era where achieving this level of detail requires the use of a computer, their work is even more exciting and awe-inspiring.
These drawings are not only fun to look at, but also contain a wealth of technical and historical information. For example, in addition to the ever important part number in the lower right hand corner, each drawing is dated and signed by the draftsman. In the drawing below we can see that this Complete Aileron Assembly was drawn by L.R. Reed on December 28, 1942. On this same day in the Bismarck Archipelago, B-24s bombed Lae in New Guinea, and Rabaul on New Britain Island. (To read more about day by day activities and events on the front click here.) While it is likely these draftsmen never saw active duty, the drawings they left behind are nonetheless a valuable piece of history that we can still appreciate and utilize today.
One of the goals of AirCorps Library is to bring useful, accurate, and interesting World War II information to the public. Because of this drive, Library has added a new facet to our available resources. A new tab titled “Historic Books” had been added to the home screen. This tab will hold books and ephemera of a non-technical nature, like the book “Pacific Sweep” generously donated by the daughter of legendary P-47 Ace General William D. Dunham. Pacific Sweep is our first addition to the Historical Books tab, but we have several more books of interest that we will be uploading in the near future. We are lucky to have the equipment on-site to scan and upload books so that we can quickly return these valuable items to their owners. In the future, we hope to receive more contributions such as this to add to our ever-growing list of resources.
While the information in the Historic Books tab will likely not help to restore any aircraft, the handwritten notes, and pictures of life on the front help to bring us a little closer to the heroes who fought for everything we have today. Below are several images taken from Pacific Sweep.
Here at Library, we believe that by providing our users with technical and ephemeral information, we can create a community of interest and collaboration that will build itself into one of the leading World War II sites available. If you have information that you believe would benefit Library feel free to contact us by clicking here. We look forward to bringing our users new information, and continuing to grow. If you are not a Library subscriber, Click here to be routed to our signup page, and see examples of what our database has to offer.