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Stay InspiredEAA is your guide to getting the most out of the world of flight and giving your passion room to grow.
Interesting Stories Airplanes Past
By Jack Neima, EAA Canadian Council, EAA 413636
January 2021 – If you're like me you enjoy reading articles in the various aviation publications about airplanes that reveal their interesting histories through stories of their construction, preservation, restoration, or recovery. The most notable examples are unique or particularly historic aircraft that are brought back from oblivion, sometimes starting from not much more than a data plate. These are most often stories of remarkable perseverance and resourcefulness that result in the re-emergence of aircraft that will educate and inspire us to appreciate more fully our rich aviation heritage. But there are perhaps a few less spectacular stories that can and should be told. Our airplanes are unique vehicles because many of them have long and often interesting histories that sometimes go way back and are well documented due to the requirement to keep detailed logbook records.
One group in the Maritimes has launched a new initiative to share some of these stories and unlock secrets from the past to tell where their beloved airplanes have come from and some of the interesting things that have happened over the years — whether the airplane came from a box kit, emerged from a set of plans, or from a factory in some far-off place. The idea is to include a short write-up in club newsletters and online discussion groups over the winter, each one focusing on one of the group's aircraft that sheds light on what in many cases is a rich heritage. It will give group members something interesting to focus on during the cold gray days of the approaching winter before the return to better times next year and what we all hope will be an active flying season. Two stories have been published so far and here's a couple of examples of interesting previously unknown tidbits that have been gleaned from the documented history of these local aircraft:
- One member shared some of the history of his rare Antonov An-2 that he brought from Poland by flying across the Atlantic via Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Goose Bay, to Trenton, Nova Scotia. After hauling skydivers in Nova Scotia, it went on to star in the last Jumanji movie.
Antonov AN-2 owned by Brad MacKay, Pictou County, Nova Scotia.
- Another member related how his Piper Cub had been "conscripted" in Iowa during World War II by the US military to train pilots for the war effort. While in uniform the aircraft was badly damaged in an accident and returned to the owner who had to request permission from the US government to repair it. It went on to enjoy a somewhat colourful history before finding its way to Canada in 1968 and is still going strong 81 years after rolling out of Piper's factory in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.
J3 Cub owned by Jack Neima, Porters Lake, Nova Scotia.
These are just a couple of examples and the readers are looking forward to more stories about these great aviation artifacts. We suspect every little airport and flying club across the country is populated by aircraft that are just waiting to have parts of their rich histories made public. It's an idea that may be of interest to the newsletter editors out there and it would be great to share some of the best stories through Bits and Pieces.