I had to get my vehicle repaired the other day and while I was sitting in the waiting area for the truck to be done, picked up and read the Snap-On Tech magazine sitting on the table next to me. In it I found a really interesting article with incredible photos of the Lockheed P2Vs operated by Neptune Aviation in Missoula Montana (https://www.neptuneaviation.com). Now I'll make no bones about it, when it comes to aircraft with props, the Neptune has always been one of my top favorites. These leftovers from the Korean war have to be some of the most beautiful and one of the toughest aircraft ever built.
Too late for service in World War II, it was first accepted into service in 1947 by the U.S. Navy in primary role of Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare. The Neptune was designed to be a long-range land-based aircraft and in 1946, partly for publicity and to prove its ability for long range flight and navigation, was flown non-stop from Perth Australia to Columbus Ohio in 2-1/2 days setting the world unrefueled distance record of 11,236.6 mi (18,083.6 km). This was 4,000 mi (6,400 km) longer than the USAF record set by the B-29 and stood as the absolute unrefueled distance record until 1962 when it was beaten by a USAF B5-2 Stratofortress! It would remain as a piston-engined record until 1986 when Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager would break it while circumnavigating the globe in the Voyager.
Part of the Neptune's great success is due to being designed for ease of manufacturing and maintenance. I would say that durability was a by-product of their 1944-45 engineering as many are still operational and have seen more service both miliatary and civilian than probably any other aircraft in the world. They were our first hurricane hunters long before the Lockheed Orion and Neptune Aviation can surely attest to the fact that these aircraft were built with the right stuff!