Surviving WWII pilot, 101, raises $1 million to restore his bomber so he can fly it one last time: ‘I haven’t forgotten how’
- 101-year-old World War II vet wants to fly again
- Wally Dalitz raises $1 million to repair a bomber
- He will be 103 when the plane is repaired
A surviving World War II veteran has vowed to take off again after launching a crowdfunded restoration of his old bomber.
Wally Dalitz, 101, is trying to raise $1 million to get one of his old Wirraway military jets back in flying shape so it can take to the skies over Brisbane.
Mr Dalitz is one of the few surviving pilots to have flown a World War II Beaufort bomber in combat and when the job is done he will pilot the only operational model in the world.
The project has been in the works for 40 years and is currently located in a hangar in Caboolture in northern Brisbane.
He relies on the generosity of others and volunteers to complete the job, which is expected to take at least another two years.
Wally Dalitz, 101, (pictured) is trying to raise $1 million to restore an old World War II fighter plane
The World War II Beaufort bomber is being restored in Brisbane (pictured) and will be the only operational model in the world when completed
Mr. Dalitz still has pictures of the plane he flew combat missions on the walls in his bedroom.
“I’d like to fly it,” Mr. Dalitz said A current situation on Anzac day.
“It was a very nice plane too, I loved the Beaufort,” Dalitz said.
“I haven’t forgotten how — if it flies, I’ll fly it.
The project is currently in the hands of restorer Ralph Cussack, who is supported by a team of volunteers.
The team slowly worked on the project in the hangar outside Brisbane, which will now receive a lot of public pressure.
“I thought it would be easy, but I soon found out it wasn’t,” said Mr. Cusack.
“It’s proud of what you do, it’s proud of what has been done for us.
“It’s just an inner feeling you get.”
Mr Dalitz served in the Royal Australian Air Force during the Second World War
He is such a fan of the bomber (photo operational) that he still hangs pictures of the plane in his bedroom
Dalitz saw the end of the war in Papua New Guinea, where he served from 1942 to 1945.
He enlisted on 31 January 1942 and became a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Air Force before being discharged on 29 May 1946.
During his active service he was an instructor for several RAAF aircraft, including the military aircraft Wirraway.
There were 700 of the bombers made by a workforce of 30,000 Australians, of which more than 10,000 were women.
The Beaufort bomber turned into one of the most reliable aircraft the country used during the war.
Mr. Dalitz works with the Australian Aviation Heritage Centreorganizing the fundraiser to get the plane back in the air.
Mr Dalitz ended his wartime service in Papua New Guinea (pictured), where he served from 1942 to 1945