In hangars and machine shops the length and breadth of Britain a brave bunch of engineers and aviators are battling to keep the UK’s most historic warplanes in the air. From Spitfires to C47 paratroop planes, Cold War jets to helicopters, the skies of 2020 are home to a growing fleet of antique warbirds – 20th century military aircraft rebuilt or even recreated from scratch.
Now Warbird Workshop is climbing into the cockpit with the pilots and professional engineers committed to returning planes that fought and won wars to the skies.
We’ll watch as vintage engines are coaxed back into life and restorers puzzle out the problems presented by aircraft designed before their grand dads were born.
And we’ll capture the nostalgia and the drama of first test flights as iconic fighters like the Spitfire soar into the sky again after rebuilds that can take decades.
In this series:
Episode 1 – Spitfire – 5th March 2020
On the legendary Battle of Britain airfield at Biggin Hill, a dedicated team of young engineers fight to restore a Spitfire that fought over Europe in 1944 to flight.
Episode 2 – Douglas C47 – 12 March 2020
A US Army Air Force C47 that dropped paratroopers on D Day is at the centre of one of the UK’s most ambitious warbird rebuilds…but will it be ready to carry the engineering team and its pilot owner to the 75th anniversary celebrations?
Episode 3 – Westland Wessex – 19th March 2020
A team of engineers fight to return a veteran Westland Wessex helicopter to the skies – 30 years after its last flight – in time for a star appearance at one of the UK’s biggest air shows.
Episode 4 – Piper Cub – 26th March 2020
A group of amateur pilots find their light plane has a glorious war record – and launch an ambitious project to rebuild the Piper Cub and restore its military markings in time for an epic flight to France to take part in the 75th anniversary of D Day.
Episode 5 – Aeronca Defender – 2nd April 2020
Aircraft restoration expert Mark Masters and his son James rebuild a 1943 US Army Aeronca Defender liaison plane for its German owner. What starts out as a simple repair turns into a major rebuild as work exposes the toll time has taken on its wooden wins.
Episode 6 – L39 Albatros – 9th April 2020
Following businessman and racing driver Steve Hartley’s quest for speed on board his own warplane. His L39 Cold War era jet was rescued from a hangar in the Baltic States but a team of ex-RAF and Navy engineers must now work out how it works…