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Old Sep 16, 2014, 06:03 AM
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What is a Warbird?

Wikipedia defines "Warbird" as: "A warbird is any vintage military aircraft now operated by civilian organizations and individuals or, in some instances, by historic arms of military forces, such as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the RAAF Museum Historic Flight and the South African Air Force Museum Historic Flight. Restored warbirds are a frequent attraction at airshows. Highly modified as well as "stock" warbirds can also frequently be seen at air races, since World War II-era fighters are among the fastest propeller-driven airplanes ever built. Some of the most popular warbirds for races are the North American P-51 Mustang, the Hawker Sea Fury, the Grumman F8F Bearcat and the North American T-6 Texan. Although the term originally implied piston-driven aircraft from the World War II era, it is now often extended to include all airworthy former military aircraft, including jet-powered aircraft."

What do YOU think? Are warbirds strictly piston driven planes that served in WWII? Or should WWI planes be included? And what about jets? Korean war planes? Vietnam war planes? Is it only fighters or are bombers included?

Let's see if we can come up with a general consensus. (OK, so I'm being delusional.)

To me, a warbird is any plane that served in the military, whether in actual combat or in preparedness for combat. However, the plane had to be capable of lethal strikes. Spy planes, surveillance planes, transports, are not warbirds in my book.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 06:25 AM
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Any WWI or WWII fixed wing airplane in my opnion.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 06:46 AM
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While military combat jets are definitely warbirds, the general rc classification is piston driven military combat aircraft. The jets fall under the their own classification due to the very different nature of how they operate--greater speed, different power-plants and (subjectively) how they perform.

I was flying with a friend last night and he took up his F-16. It's a completely different animal than the "traditional" label of (rc) warbird.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 06:57 AM
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The mental image that comes to mind when I hear the term warbird is of a WWII era fighter, but I tend to agree with the at least the first part of Leo's definition: "... any plane that served in the military, whether in actual combat or in preparedness for combat ..."

I would not exempt reconnaissance planes (esp WWII era reconnaissance planes) from the list. For example, while I would not call a J-3 a warbird, I would say that an L-4 should feel at home in any warbird meet.

I get BlueSky's point about jets, but I would tend to be more inclusive, especially with vintage jets. As another example, I'd say that the label warbird would fit on an F-86 or an F-9.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by aymodeler View Post
The mental image that comes to mind when I hear the term warbird is of a WWII era fighter, but I tend to agree with the at least the first part of Leo's definition: "... any plane that served in the military, whether in actual combat or in preparedness for combat ..."

I would not exempt reconnaissance planes (esp WWII era reconnaissance planes) from the list. For example, while I would not call a J-3 a warbird, I would say that an L-4 should feel at home in any warbird meet.

I get BlueSky's point about jets, but I would tend to be more inclusive, especially with vintage jets. As another example, I'd say that the label warbird would fit on an F-86 or an F-9.
Pretty much exactly what I think. I was even planning to use the Cub example as well!

For me there is really only one area that's a bit "grey": Reno air racers. To me they definitely have "warbird" roots, but they've been so heavily modified that they are no longer "warbirds". To top it off, they are not wearing military schemes.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 08:16 AM
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I largely agree with the op's idea of a warbird.... but I have to say just because a plane had guns/rockets/missiles attached to it doesn't necessarily make it a warbird....

To me it's pretty lame to call the purpose built trainers and cessnas warbirds.... for their time they weren't exactly high performance aircraft. I think the AC-130 is ridiculously awesome but I wouldn't call it a warbird either.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 08:46 AM
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Typically the term "Warbird" has been reserved for military aircraft ( not usually trainers ) of the WWII and Korean War era's. The term has been expanded to include all aircraft built for military purposes. The AT-6 was used in combat against the Japanese by the Australians. It was called the Wirraray (I hope I got the name right ) and saw limited success. Would that be considered a Warbird? It certainly qualifies. Reconnaisance versions of aircraft had all offensive armament removed to carry cameras or had none at to begin with. Are they no longer warbirds? Mosquito, Mustang, P-38, Ki-46 Dinah, Ki-15 Babs, lysander just to name a few. When I hear the term "Warbird" I usually think of WWII and Korean War aircraft. Civilian use in my opinion is not a qualifying factor for a warbird.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 09:49 AM
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WWII prop "fighters" (P-51). No high altitude bombers (B-17). No Jets (Me 262). No trainers (T-6).
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregertman View Post
Any WWI or WWII fixed wing airplane in my opnion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCAV8R1964 View Post
Typically the term "Warbird" has been reserved for military aircraft ( not usually trainers ) of the WWII and Korean War era's. The term has been expanded to include all aircraft built for military purposes.
It seems the term Warbird has been given to just about anything that flew with military markings from WW I to present......and there are plenty that will argue the fact.
Over the last 70 years as the WWII era aircraft became more desirable to see at airshows and probably own for that matter...it was a term of endearment for that particular era aircraft that fought on such a large scale and were known buy those who build, maintained, flew and received the devastation from them.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 10:28 AM
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http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us...nglish/warbird - not the real Oxford English Dictionary so i'll disregard their definition. would be nice if someone has a subscription to www.oed.com.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warbird - defines it as "a military plane".

so regardless of whether they were spotters, transports, even planes that just carried mail, they're all warbirds. and regardless of what propulsion system they used or what theater or era they were used in, they're all warbirds. our opinions are irrelevant.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 10:49 AM
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IMHO...

Was it ever used in a military conflict? (War)
Does it fly? (Bird)

Would you tell the veteran that flew a spotter Cub over North Vietnam, that he wasn't a real military pilot? I sure wouldn't.

I'm not trying to be snarky, but if it flew in a war, it's a warbird in my book...
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 10:59 AM
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I'd say a warbird could be any aircraft that fired its guns in anger (or dropped bombs) during whatever conflict. My 2 cents.
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 11:19 AM
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There's the opposites and everything in between...
"WW2 fighters only"
"Anything that was ever used by a military organization"
My pretty inclusive definition is "Anything that was ever used by a military organization, but is no longer in widespread military use".
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Old Sep 16, 2014, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLTRI View Post
IMHO...

Was it ever used in a military conflict? (War)
Does it fly? (Bird)

Would you tell the veteran that flew a spotter Cub over North Vietnam, that he wasn't a real military pilot? I sure wouldn't.

I'm not trying to be snarky, but if it flew in a war, it's a warbird in my book...
And I definitely agree.

My definition above is admittedly a contextual one, that being rc flying and I believe that's what (most) rc model manufacturers use as a template. Is it correct? Not in a literal sense. However, it does keep categories more narrow and (to me) easier to navigate.

So in a literal sense, all military aircraft could be labeled "warbird", especially those who saw front-line service. In the rc world, that category seems to have been narrowed by type of power plant and in many cases, multi-engine.

I haven't seen a post in this thread that I would consider flat out wrong...

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Old Sep 16, 2014, 11:40 AM
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Egg beaters

The Huey gunships reeked havoc on the NVA during the Viet-Nam conflict so for sure I would put them in the Warbird category . Also the little Loachs I flew in the Mini-Cav were effective Warbirds as well. donnie
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