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Indiana’s Marsha Fulton Wins EAA Aircraft Sweepstakes Grand Prize Fairchild 24H

  • John and Marsha Fulton pictured beside John’s Fly Baby, parked in the homebuilt aircraft area at a recent EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
    John and Marsha Fulton pictured beside John’s Fly Baby, parked in the homebuilt aircraft area at a recent EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
  • Fairchild

September 30, 2014 - On Monday, September 29, EAA staff called Marsha and John Fulton, EAA Lifetime 32139/Warbirds 594364/Vintage 21420, of Covington, Indiana, to inform them of some very good news: Marsha is winner of the 2014 EAA Aircraft Sweepstakes grand prize 1937 Fairchild 24H Deluxe!

John was outside cutting the couple’s 1,700-foot grass airstrip when the call came in, and Marsha was also away from the phone. So she called EAA back and when EAA’s Manager of Donor Development Robin Kasel told her she’d won the grand prize, she couldn’t even remember the type of airplane it was! Marsha got in the car and drove to the couple’s suddenly more crowded hangar to inform her husband of their good fortune.

“I have something to tell you,” she said. “But from now on you have to be really nice to me.” When she spilled the beans, John’s response was, “You’re kidding!”

“Didn’t sleep much last night,” John confessed Tuesday morning. “We’re just thrilled. I’ve never missed an Oshkosh convention, and she always puts $100 into both the aircraft sweepstakes and the Young Eagles raffle. This year we got lucky.”

“I was in shock – still am, actually,” Marsha added.

While Marsha has taken flight training, she’s not a pilot, preferring rather to perform navigator duties when the two fly together. She’s also mostly responsible for encouraging her husband to keep flying after he was severely injured a plane crash many years ago.

During his lengthy hospital stay, John had decided to turn in his wings, but when he was discharged Marsha took him straight to the airport where an instructor friend took him up on a flight and had John perform the landing. He’s been flying ever since.

The Fultons, who recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary, are eager to take delivery of their new airplane in the next month. They’ll keep it in their large hangar next to the grass strip, which he says is perfect for the Fairchild. The hangar has heated floors and living quarters – with better appliances than their main house located just a stone’s throw north, John added. “Sometimes we just stay there.”

The Fultons have several other planes including a Cessna 310B (hangared in nearby Danville, Illinois), a Cherokee 235 Pathfinder, Cherokee 140, Mooney Cadet, and a Fly Baby that he purchased in 1974 and completely rebuilt from the ground up. John usually flies the Fly Baby to Oshkosh but it’s being restored. That very airplane graced the cover of the January 2002 issue of EAA’s Experimenter magazine. He’s also restoring a J-3 Cub.

John, who learned to fly in a 7AC Champ, recalls seeing his dad fly in a Cub on skis and said in the January 2002 Experimenter, “There was never a single doubt in my mind or in the minds of those around me that I was going to fly. I was too struck by the concept not to fly.”

John began attending EAA conventions in Rockford in 1964 and has missed only one convention since – 1968 – when their daughter was born. He volunteers in the Homebuilt Headquarters aircraft registration, and this year fellow volunteers presented John with a special plaque honoring his 50th fly-in.

Marsha began attending for about 20 years and they’ve always stayed in Fond du Lac, where they’ve made some close friends.

In the 1970s, John founded EAA Chapter 622 in Danville, for which he served as chapter president for several years. He and Marsha now serve as chapter co-treasurers.

 “We just love EAA,” she said. “It’s a great organization with lots of wonderful people.”

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