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1940s Culver Cadet Helps Celebrate 50 years

June 20, 2019 - Alton Akers, EAA 54153, was shocked and excited to learn that his 1940 Culver Cadet was here for the first EAA Oshkosh in 1970.

"When I got a letter from [EAA] informing me that my airplane had been here in 1970, it was really neat to find that out and kind of exciting," Alton said. "My wife opened the mail and saw the letter, and she came down to the shop I was working in and she said, 'You're going to need to start planning your summer!' It's going to be fun to bring it back to Oshkosh; there’s a lot of history involved there."

Alton said that he has always been an airplane nut, thanks to his dad. He learned to fly in 1969 in his father's Bellanca Cruisair and helped him to do a full restoration on it.

"We sold that and bought another Bellanca in 1958, so I really liked low-wing, retractable gear airplanes," Alton said. "When we saw the Culver, it’s a lot smaller but similar and less expensive and more economical to operate."

Alton came across the Culver Cadet when he and his wife were walking around at the Arlington Fly-In in Washington in 2002. They met a man who had flown in from Eugene, Oregon, in a Culver Cadet that just so happened to be for sale.

"It was in really good shape, it had been restored in '92 in Florida and it had been repainted just before I bought it by a very talented guy. So, the plane pretty much looked like new," Alton said.

After he bought it, Alton did a lot of internal work. Alton rebuilt the landing gear, and performed a major overhaul on the engine. All-in-all, it took Alton about three years to finish the internal work and it has been flying ever since.

"Mine is completely stock except for the brake system I put in," Alton said. "It has the original engine, the panel is just like it was when it was new. It's a very basic panel, no starter, no electrical system, no lights."

Alton's Culver Cadet along with several other aircraft that will be returning to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh since their first appearance in 1970, will be parked in front of the Brown Arch for viewing throughout the week.

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