Antique Airplanes being restored here in the Panhandle - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

11.23.06

Antique Airplanes being restored here in the Panhandle

  To chronicle our nation's aviation history, several local pilots are restoring antique airplanes.     
    

Newschannel10's Tina Berasley brings us the stories of these preservers of our past.   
  

Don Johnson flies private corporate jets for a living, but his real passion is restoring and flying antique planes.  He said "This is a lot more fun. In a jet you're a systems operator it's a lot faster obviously but your operating systems within the airspace system and operating on instrument flight plans. This is literally seat of the pants flying".
  

He flies a 1942 Stearman biplane painted in the style of the Royal Canadian Air Force of that era.
Johnson added "We don't look at ourselves as owners, we look at ourselves as caretakers of a piece of history. We like to keep them running and operating as a museum piece that people look at but actually ride in and see how aviation was done in the 20's, 30's, 40's".

A fully restored Beech C-45 aircraft belongs to the Commemorative Air Force, a group dedicated to rebuilding military planes from World War II. Before it could get back in the air it had to be fully restored and repaired, like their sixty year-old Beech 18.  
    

The Beech 18 will have state of the art technology and a lush interior, the Commemorative Air Force hopes it will be ready to fly in the air show circuit next spring. 
     

The CAFs West Texas wing is repairing it in Guymon. Wing member Greg Kinnan is a pilot who hopes to pass along his fervor for flying to future generations. "By keeping them restored and maintained, showing them at air shows, doing the tours at our local hangars we're able to see a real piece of history, and in this case they fly, they can hear them, touch em, smell em. We get excited with these old radials because when you start them they belch and roar and blow smoke and its pretty unique and neat for the kids to see that".       
   

The West Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is made up of 6 squadrons that own two airplanes...members participate in air shows across the country.   
   

These aircraft are just a few of the many being restored here in the panhandle. 
   

Newschannel10  teamed up with The Amarillo Independent, and in this week's edition you can find even more information on some other airplanes that will soon fly in our skies.
   

The article will also give you more insight into the history behind these antique airplanes. It is available on newsstands right now at Hastings, Roasters Cafe and Market Street supermarket on Georgia, and on the web at http://www.amarilloindy.com/cgi-bin/index.php

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