15:09 PM

Ohio Cadets Help Restore Vintage Craft

Four cadets from the Ohio Wing’s Dayton Aero Cadet Squadron 706 recently devoted up to 250-plus volunteer hours helping restore a 1929 Travel Air 6000 airplane for the 2021 EAA Vintage Aircraft Association competition at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The plane is owned by Mid America Flight Museum in Mount Pleasant, Texas. Two museum employees and more than 60 volunteers, including the cadets, worked on restoring the aircraft at Grimes Field Airport in Urbana, Ohio.

The Travel Air flew from its restoration hangar at Grimes Field to Oshkosh on July 25. After arriving, it was cleaned and prepared for judging.

The aircraft and its team won the Grand Champion Golden Lindy Trophy, named for legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh. It awards the effort involved in creating an aircraft that’s truly “best of the best,” and it’s recognized worldwide as the ultimate recognition for aircraft craftsmanship.

The aircraft originally arrived at Grimes Field in March 2018, with restoration beginning shortly after that.

The cadets involved in the project were:

  • Cadet Chief Master Sgts. Adrienne and Adrienne Detwiler
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Zach Aboulkassim
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Adkins
Best of the best

Each spent a minimum of 60 hours, with some exceeding 250 hours, learning how to restore fabric covering on a vintage aircraft. They handled Ceconite fabric, rib stitching, glue, tape and jewel material for the cabin and spent hours wet sanding and working with mixed paint.

"Working on an aircraft is a rare opportunity. To be able to work on a vintage aircraft headed to Oshkosh, that's amazing," said 2nd Lt. Christine Detwiler, a Dayton squadron senior member who also helped with the restoration project along with her husband, 2nd Lt. Chad Detwiler.

"Cadets learned and worked on the aircraft in a way that is not typically used in modern-day aircraft-building." She said.

“Mentoring youth is one of the four pillars of the Mid America Flight Museum. We want to pique aviation interest and introduce students to different aviation opportunities, industry professionals, pilots, A&P (airframe and powerplant) mechanics and engineers,” said Doug Smith, project manager. “They work side-by-side with these people.

“The cadets that were involved are an outstanding example of our future in aviation,” Smith said.

All the volunteers signed their names on the airplane’s wood frame during the fabric covering and painting process.