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    Restoring Warbirds

    By Kaysi Adams/3M Storyteller

    Hanger banner - Military planes in a hangar
    Restoring Warbirds

    Nelson Ezell has found love in the strangest of places – even at the bottom of a swamp. Nelson pours his energy into restoring old war planes. Most planes were built during World War II.

    “I love this era of aviation, for what these aircrafts represent to this country. It’s just fun to be involved and see the guys that come into the shop that actually flew these things in the war,” says Nelson, owner of Ezell Aviation. “It’s heartwarming to see them come in, tears in their eyes. When they see this kind of stuff, they appreciate it.”

    Nelson was recently inducted into the Warbird Hall of Fame, which recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions to the Warbird movement over the years.

    Ezell Aviation Hangar, P-51 Mustangs

    p-51 mustang - Nelson Ezell in the cockpit of a P-51 Mustang
    Noteworthy restorations

    Ezell Aviation’s most recent labor of love is a plane most would have thought was lost to history. They’ve spent the past four years working on a total rebuild of a Brewster Corsair that crashed in 1945, right before the end of World War II. It was in a swamp until about 1998. “What is so rare about this aircraft,” Nelson says, “is that it is the only Brewster manufactured aircraft from the war that’s known to exist.”

    Ezell restores its planes to look and run exactly as they did when they left the factory line during World War II – original radios, guns and all. Ezell does have spare parts for these rebuilds, but also specializes in manufacturing parts and pieces for other restoration shops, using a variety of 3M products from abrasive discs to painters tape.

    Nelson Ezell, P-51 Mustang

    mustang cockpit - Nelson Ezell in the cockpit of a P-51 Mustang6

    “If you go back in history, the advancements made in aviation from 1939 to 1945 were just phenomenal. America was at the point of war – we had to make things happen. The Corsair was the first U.S. single-engine fighter aircraft to go over 400 miles per hour, level flight, so history states. It exceeded everyone’s expectations.”


    Nelson Ezell, P-38 Lightning