Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Antique Airplane Association Annual Fly-In - Blakesburg 2012 Part 1

What better place to show off your old airplane than at the Antique Airplane Association Fly-In near Ottumwa, Iowa? This year the oldest flying Boeing airplane in the world, the 1928 Boeing 40C airplane made the stop at the grass strip near Blakesburg, Iowa just southwest of Ottumwa.

Airplane's owner, Addison Pemberton explained that the Boeing 40C was the first passenger aircraft used commercially in the U.S. before the more famous Ford Tri-motor. Boeing's 40C can accommodate four passengers, 749 pounds of cargo (mail) and a pilot. Spokane, Washington is the home of this restored aircraft.

This planes history is a story in itself. According to its information panel the plane started transporting mail between Spokane and San Diego in July 1928. Three months later on October 28 the plane crashed in Canyonville, Oregon and killed its sole passenger, a diamond dealer. The pilot was badly burned but lived. Some of the loose diamonds were recovered at the crash site in 1928. Others were reportedly found by explorers years later. In the late 1980s the plane was discovered, later sold to a restorer.

The restored plane flew again in 2008 after eight years of rebuilding with thehelp of over 60 volunteers. Its designation of the oldest flying Boeing plane is remarkable considering the plane's age, crash history, exposure to harsh elementsand scarcity of original parts.

The Antique Airplane Fly-In is officially reserved for members of the Antique Aircraft Association; however, plane enthusiasts may join (about $40 per person) at the gate during the Antique Fly-In held every Labor Day weekend at the Antique Airfield.

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