Middletown brewery to help non-profit restore WWII-era plane relic

Butler County Warbirds, a non-profit based out of Middletown, is working to restore a civilian 1939 Fairchild 24 and was brought into military service after Pearl Harbor. Shortly thereafter it was converted into an experimental testbed under the XUC-86A designation. FigLeaf brewing is partnering with BCW to help it restore the World War II relic via funds raised at a Feb. 27 event. CONTRIBUTED
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Butler County Warbirds, a non-profit based out of Middletown, is working to restore a civilian 1939 Fairchild 24 and was brought into military service after Pearl Harbor. Shortly thereafter it was converted into an experimental testbed under the XUC-86A designation. FigLeaf brewing is partnering with BCW to help it restore the World War II relic via funds raised at a Feb. 27 event. CONTRIBUTED

A Butler County brewery will sport red, white and blue next week as it helps a local not-for-profit military aviation group restore a World War II relic.

FigLeaf Brewing at 3387 Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Middletown will welcome the Butler County Warbirds into its taproom from 3 to 10 p.m. Thursday for a 1940s-themed fundraiser and history night.

The Warbirds will bring a selection of their extensive WWII propaganda poster collection for display and will wear uniforms from the era. Attendees will also be able to buy tickets for a chance to ride in one of their WWII-era airplanes based out of the Middletown Regional Airport.

“We’re always looking at ways to give back and be a part of the community” said FigLeaf Brewing spokesman Josh Engel. “I reached out to the Warbirds in hopes to put together a fundraising event with them and it just kept growing in scope every time we spoke.”

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The Warbirds will be at the fundraiser from 5 p.m. until near the event’s end.

Engel said during planning, the event quickly turned from a simple fundraiser night to a night of history and education.

“More people should know about what the Butler County Warbirds are doing here in Middletown and we want to help be their megaphone,” he said.

Tim Epperhart, who handles pilot/aircraft ride scheduling for the Butler County Warbirds, said the organization's members appreciate partnerships like the one they have forged with FigLeaf Brewing Company.

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“It’s community-conscious businesses with programs like Pints for a Purpose that help small charities get the word out,” Epperhart said. “We hope to turn this new partnership into a long-term friendship with many more joint events to come.”

BCW recently acquired a unique airplane to add to their fleet. It started its life out as a civilian 1939 Fairchild 24 and was brought into military service after Pearl Harbor. Shortly thereafter it was converted into an experimental testbed under the XUC-86A designation.

Funds raised from the special pint night will help BCW restore this beautiful and historic aircraft.

“This is a one-of-a-kind aircraft that now calls Middletown home,” Epperhart said. “It has been completely disassembled and will be restored to its military paint scheme and configuration. It will take approximately $35,000 to $40,0000 and thousands of man hours to bring it back to flying status.”

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The Butler County Warbirds is a not-for-profit corporation formed for the purpose of acquiring and maintaining historic aircraft and establishing a series of mobile and permanent historical displays for use in educating, and entertaining the public. It owns a museum and operate flights of its 1943 PT-19 out of the Middletown Regional Airport.

The museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

FigLeaf distributes throughout 18 counties in Southwest Ohio and the Miami Valley as well as six counties in Northern Kentucky.

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