December 15, 2014 - John and Marsha Fulton rolled into Oshkosh this foggy Monday morning, eager to get their first look at and lay official claim to their “new” 1937 Fairchild 24H Deluxe, the grand prize in the 2014 EAA Aircraft Sweepstakes. Marsha held the winning ticket that was drawn in late September.
“Sure is beautiful,” John said as he walked around the airplane parked in the Weeks Hangar in Oshkosh. “This airplane is going to get pampered, I tell you.”
Nearby, Marsha shot a stern look to her husband of 54 years, and he replied quickly, “If she lets me,” and everyone had a big laugh.
The couple from Covington, Indiana, recalled the day they were informed by EAA headquarters of their good fortune.
“She came down to the hangar and had just been there 20 or 30 minutes earlier,” said John, who was on the mower at the time. “I knew something had to be up, so I shut off the mower...”
“…and I said he was going to have to be really nice to me,” Marsha interjected.
“But I’m always nice to you, aren’t I?”
“Yeah, well you gotta step it up a couple of notches!”
After telling John the great news, she asked how much it was worth. “I thought about selling it!”
“That about gave me a cardiac arrest,” John chuckled.
No, they are keeping the classic Fairchild – “I have a place all ready for it,” John said - in a heated hangar located on their grass strip. And it will be there soon. The Fultons have arranged for it to be ferried down by former EAA vice president Jeff Skiles, hopefully within the coming week.
“You can bet it’s going to be back up here next year, I tell you that,” John said. He began attending EAA conventions in Rockford in 1964 and has missed only one the year their daughter was born. John volunteers in the Homebuilt Headquarters aircraft registration.
He kept walking around the airplane, marveling at its beauty and craftsmanship, especially the covering. “Whoever did this knew what he was doing,” John said, pointing out the meticulous work around the windows. “The sure did a good job.
“I walked past this airplane two or three times this year (in Oshkosh), and I never dreamed my wife was going to win it. Little did I know.” Maybe it was meant to be. Coincidentally the Fultons’ mailing address contains “10692” and the Fairchild’s registration is N16902.
While John will hangar the airplane at the farm, it will occasionally find its way to the airport in Danville – just across the Illinois state line. The Fultons have several other planes hangared there.
“Sure, I’ll take it to Danville every once in a while – that’s where I fuel up,” he explained.
“If she lets me.”