Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy
Owned by: Captain Eddie Kurdziel of Del Mar, California
Restored by: Q.G. Aviation of America, Fort Collins, Colorado
Purchased as a project in 1994, the Firefly was fully restored by Q.G. Aviation of America, Fort Collins, Colorado, which dedicated over 40,000 hours to its completion. The aircraft's Rolls-Royce Griffon 74 engine boasts 2,500hp and was overhauled by Vintage V-12s, which incorporated Mk 58 engine heads and cylinder banks.
The Firefly was configured and painted to represent an aircraft of 817 Squadron of the Royal Australian Navy aboard HMAS Sydney as operated during the Korean conflict. It was authentic from interior equipment to external stenciling. The Firefly is a carrier borne, two-seat, low-wing monoplane originally designed for fighter reconnaissance and radio interception duties for the Royal Navy. Designed and first flown in 1941, the Firefly's combat debut was in 1944 against the German battleship Tirpitz. In all over 1,700 Fireflies were produced, with the last finishing military service in 1956.