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Chapter Restoring Jimmy Stewart’s Twin Cessna
May 21, 2015 - A Cessna 310 that once belonged to actor Jimmy Stewart is being restored so it can be displayed at the actor’s hometown airport that bears his name. EAA Chapter 993 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, is performing the restoration at Indiana County/Jimmy Stewart Airport (IDI), and Chapter Secretary Harold Wood, EAA 357929, is helping to lead the project.
Stewart purchased the airplane, N6775X, new in 1961 and owned it for several years. It remained airworthy through 1995 but was abandoned in Texas at the Dallas Executive Airport (RBD) after the owner passed away and no heirs could be located. After the engines and props were scavenged by a local training school, the plane was deregistered by the FAA and airport management ultimately planned to send it off to the salvage yard.
That didn’t sit well with John Hurn, EAA 682758, a longtime fixture at RBD and retired U.S. Navy helicopter pilot who served in Vietnam. He didn’t want to see Stewart’s airplane relegated to the scrap heap and decided to help save the vintage twin.
When information linking N6775X to the actor was discovered by the Twin Cessna Owners Group, the type club contacted IDI manager Tom Robertson to see if Stewart’s hometown airport wanted it. But the airport lacked the resources to restore the aircraft, prompting Robertson to contact Wood. The chapter had the skills and resources to restore the plane but no space to work on it.
So IDI provided hangar space and chapter members pledged to volunteer 4,000 hours for the effort, which could take two years to complete. Also planned are fundraisers to raise the money needed for the restoration, which includes repainting the plane in its original colors.
In mid-April, Wood, Keith Rearick, EAA 604120, Tip Ruffner, EAA 1019298, Ivan Stefanik, EAA 450516, and others drove two pickups with trailers to Dallas, disassembled the plane, and hauled it back to Pennsylvania.
The goal is to restore the airplane for static display and erect it on a pedestal near the airport terminal. Wood also said they hope to track down N6775X’s logbook and provide details about where it flew with its world-famous owner and pilot.
Donations to help buy missing parts and materials for the restoration are appreciated and can be sent to EAA Chapter 993, P.O. Box 202, Indiana, PA 15701.