A 1944 Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso ended up upside down and destroyed

The sad footprint of a sandstorm at the Buckeye aviation museum, Arizona

There are many aeronautical museums in the world. The largest are state-owned, but there are also many museums that are private.

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Maintaining one of these museums is neither an easy nor a cheap task. The restoration and maintenance of aircraft consumes many economic and technical resources and also many hours of hard work, often done by volunteers who collaborate with these institutions. Sometimes, all that work can come undone due to inclement weather, even in desert places, which in theory are the most suitable for preserving an airplane due to their low ambient humidity. This is the case of the Lauridsen Aviation Museum, located next to the Buckeye Airport, a city of 50,000 inhabitants in Arizona, United States.

The Canadian Vickers PBV-1 of the Lauridsen Aviation Museum Canso in a photo published a few days after the sand storm (Photo: Scramble.nl).

On August 8, 2022, a large sand storm hit this museum, causing serious damage to it. The worst affected was a Canadian Vickers PBV-1 Canso seaplane from World War II, N413PB (cn CV-343, serial number 11073). The aircraft, built in 1944, was a Canadian variant of the famous Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina.

The Canadian Vickers PBV-1 at the Lauridsen Aviation Museum Canso, four months after the sandstorm that destroyed this World War II aircraft (Photo: Peter Wolf).

It served in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Newfoundland during the war. he had an accident in 1955. After being repaired, the aircraft was sold to a civilian operator in 1957, serving with various companies in Canada until 1996, when it was sold to Buffalo Airways Ltd, who used it as a company airliner. firefighting until 2007. That same year it ended up at the Lauridsen Aviation Museum.

The plane was in the process of being restored when the sandstorm destroyed it. A few days later the Dutch website Scramble.nl published these words from the plane's restorer, Matt Gunsch: "it would even take a lot to get it to a static display, the wing spars are broken in several places, both nacelles have been pulled from the wing, the vertical fin is flattened and the fuselage has had its back broken, the only thing holding the fuselage up is the control cables."

Four months after the sandstorm, Peter Wolf visited the museum and commented: "I was at Buckeye Airport today, the place looks abandoned and the PBY is upside down. It's quite disheartening to see it in this state." Three weeks ago, Greg Cardone was there and mistook the place with an airplane graveyard, as mentioned in this video:

You can see some screenshots from the video here. This image shows the current status of the PBV-1A Canso. The wings have been disassembled and the engines removed.

One of the wings of the PBV-1A Canso. It has a cement block on top so that it doesn't get blown away by another sand storm.

A Grumman HU-16 Albatross that belonged to the US Coast Guard. The military serial number of the plane was 131904 (cn G-333), today it has civil registration N216HU. It seems the least affected by the sandstorm, but has cement blocks strapped to its landing gear to immobilize it.

A Douglas DC-3C (N243DC, cn 9247). It was initially a C-47A, 42-23385, and was later converted into a civilian DC-3C, dedicated to cargo transport duties. Brought to this museum in 2004. It also has the landing gear tied to cement blocks to immobilize it.

A Grumman C-1A Trader (136752), used by the United States Navy to transport personnel and cargo to aircraft carriers. Today it has civil registration N71456. It arrived at the museum in July 2005.

In addition to planes, the museum also has vehicles. Here we see a few old fire trucks. Military vehicles also appear in the video.

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