Century Aviation

1919 DeHavilland DH-4B


National Park Service
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

From 2014 to 2016 we contracted with the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to restore a 1919 DeHavilland DH-4B “Liberty” biplane for exhibit at Pearson Air Museum and Jack Murdock Aviation Center. The contract between the National Park Service and Century Aviation provided for the purchase and restoration of a DH-4B airframe from our collection. We restored the fuselage, wings and tail surfaces to a static condition, using original and replacement parts, along with original construction techniques.

The original parts consisted of the forward fuselage, a set of wheels and tires, the upper wing center section and all of the wing struts. We were also able to incorporate an original rudder, vertical stabilizer, a horizontal stabilizer and both elevators. We also provided all of the brass castings for the flight controls

To this we added the following new parts: the rear half of the fuselage, the landing gear and the engine cowlings.

This project was supported by over 2,000 DH-4/DH-9 factory drawings that are part of our documentation archives.

The Pearson Air Museum staff chose the paint scheme. It was painted to look like the one flown from Pearson Field by Lt. Oakley Kelly. Kelly was commander of the Army’s 321st Observation Squadron from 1924 to 1928.

They stayed true to a 1925 photograph of the plane. The wings have obviously just had new fabric put on and have not been painted yet. Visitors will note that the typical US Army stars are nowhere to be seen on the aircraft for that reason.