COUNTER INVADER FLIES IN TEXAS

The world’s only flying Douglas B-26K gets airborne in the hands of Steve Swift at Meacham Field, Fort Worth on 8 July.
JOSEPH FISCHER

THE world’s only airworthy example of the Douglas B-26K Counter Invader, 64-17679 Special Kay, flew for the first time following a seven-year restoration undertaken by the A-26 Legacy Foundation at Meacham Airport, Fort Worth, Texas, on 8 July. Steve Swift was at the controls.

By late July preparations were under way to paint the machine in the markings of the 609th Special Operations Squadron. This US Air Force unit flew night attack missions from Nakhon Phanom in Thailand during the secret war over Laos, disrupting North Vietnamese supply lines to South Vietnam on the Ho Chí Minh trail.

The airframe originally came off the Douglas production line in March 1945 as an A-26B, 44-34198. The USAF selected it for modification to B-26K standard in 1964. It was the last of 39 Counter Invaders to be built by the On Mark Engineering company at Van Nuys Airport, Los Angeles, and was restored to the USAF inventory in April 1965.