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Be Right Back! Ferry Pilot Returning to AirVenture After Sending Classic to Germany
By Frederick A. Johnsen
July 20, 2015 - Early birds caught a glimpse of a gleaming red Beech 18 in the Vintage area before it departed Saturday for Canada. But the pilot, German Thomas Schuettoff, promised to return the next day to resume his volunteer duties helping to park Vintage aircraft throughout AirVenture 2015.
Thomas saw the Beech for sale in Trade-A-Plane. Its pedigree includes time spent with Boeing as a slower-speed photo chase plane dating back to the Dash-80 707 prototype. Later this Beech, along with a wind tunnel model donated to the University of Washington by the maker, helped aeronautics majors understand the nuances of flight test and data quantification.
Now the glossy twin is off to a new owner in Hamburg, Germany.
Thomas has enjoyed getting to know this Beech in preparation for its Atlantic hop to Europe. He says it has always been in a business configuration, with soundproofing and upholstery harking back to an earlier era in luxurious business air travel. A lifelong student of trans-Atlantic fliers, Thomas said he took it as an omen when he discovered a photo of this same Beech in Berlin in 1946—evidence of its trans-Atlantic past. He told the prospective owner in Germany, “We must buy this airplane.”
When Thomas first saw this elegant crimson Beech in person, he explained, “You see the red and I think the only thing is to fall in love with this airplane.” Its new German owner already has two Stearman taildragger biplanes. “I think the airplane will be in very good hands in the future.”
Thomas operates his own Stearman and a Cub at his German flight school. He comes to AirVenture at Oshkosh to mingle with like-minded Vintage aircraft enthusiasts. “You can feel the spirit here more than any place in the world,” he explained.