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This WACO Bi-Plane Survived Being Shot by a Zero at Pearl Harbor, Now It’s for Sale

Sellers of vintage airplanes can often be as full of hyperbole as their land fairing car dealer counterparts. But when we tell you this 1933 WACO bi-plane is a genuine survivor of Pearl Harbor, it's no line of bull-you-know-what. Eight decades after that infamous day, this old bird is for sale.
Waco Bi-Plane 10 photos
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Firstly, for those unfamiliar with WACO, the Troy, Ohio-based aircraft company was one of the premier manufacturers of civilian bi-Planes from the early 1920s until just after the Second World War. The company almost exclusively built twin wing bi-planes, apart from a few monoplane assault gliders during the war.

As for the 1933 WACO UIC Cabin Class in question, it left the factory floor on June 9th, 1933, and was purchased by the wealthy business owner George Willis of Great Neck in Long Island, New York. It served with a number of different flight schools after Willis sold the plane to the KT Flight Training School of Honolulu, Hawaii.

It was while there that the plane flew a routine flight between the Hawaiian Islands on December 7th, 1941. At approximately 7:55 am that morning, the WACO was battered by an unseen stream of bullets slamming the crew inside from the rear. It was the machine gun and cannon fire of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Likely from a Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter on its way to attack Pearl Harbor.

The resulting gunfire exited the throat of the pilot, Bob Tyce, killing him. It's believed that Tyce was the first American casualty of what would be the nation's entry into the Second World War. Bob's wife, unhurt by the barrage, managed to land the plane safely. All civilian air travel was halted by the American government the next day.

Since that fateful day, the WACO bi-plane has been painstakingly restored. Its engine was replaced by a Continental W-670-6A unit. Modern avionics like a King KT76A Transponder and Encoder replace the antiquated radio system the plane came with. The interior and exterior have also seen a complete refresh. It makes for a package as historically significant as it is beautiful to behold. At $139,000 before taxes and fees through the Platinum Fighter Sales firm in Florida, that's a deal unlike any we've seen before

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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