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Hidden Warriors: The Epic Stories of Finding, Recovering and Rebuilding WWII’s Lost Aircraft

by Nicholas A. Veronico, Zenith Press, Minneapolis, Minn., 2013, $30

While the rest of us savor static displays and airshow performances, Nick Veronico is getting his hands dirty, digging and scratching. The author of Hidden Warbirds is the nation’s authority on aviation archeology, excavating crash sites to find and retrieve lost aircraft—popularly called wreckchasing. He has explored more than 100 crash sites in the United States. Veronico’s website,, is the go-to source for guidance on how to retrieve vintage airplane wrecks.

Hidden Warbirds takes us on an illustrated tour of World War II aircraft rescued from remote locations in recent years—an SB2U-2 Vindicator dive bomber raised from the bottom of Lake Michigan, the B-17E Flying Fortress Swamp Ghost found in the New Guinea rain forest and of course the P-38F Lightning Glacier Girl recovered from beneath the ice in Greenland. The material here isn’t merely anecdotal. This is a comprehensive reference work that begins with an insightful history of how interest in war surplus aircraft evolved into today’s warbird movement. It covers many dozens of aircraft recoveries in complete detail. Especially valuable are lists of surviving examples of all the major aircraft types from WWII.

Hidden Warbirds is a beautiful book, published on high-quality paper with plenty of color. A companion volume by Veronico, Hidden Warbirds II: More Epic Stories of Finding, Recovering and Re – building WWII’s Lost Aircraft, has also just been released.


Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.