The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 30, 2013

Pilots coming from far and wide for fly-in

BLAKESBURG — Late Thursday afternoon, more than 200 airplanes were tied down in long rows with another one landing every few minutes at Antique Airfield located on Bluegrass Road midway between Ottumwa and Blakesburg.

According to Cynthia Hallinger, who was keeping count of Luscombe airplanes, 45 of this year’s featured aircraft were already on the ground with more coming.

Don Luscombe of Iowa, founder and designer of the Luscombe airplane, is buried in Iowa City. The Luscombe line began with the Phantom model in 1938 after he had developed the Monocoupe. It was the first all-metal civilian airplane and quite innovative for the times, explained Harold, Cynthia’s husband. He built them to last; in fact, he advertised “built to last forever.” Manufacturing discontinued in the 1950s, he said.

First-timers Ben Cox and his girlfriend, Ann Marie Liszczyk, of Coventry, England, probably came the farthest to attend the Antique Airplane Association/Airpower Museum (AAA/APM) fly-in. They flew from Spokane, Wash., in the red and blue 1931 DeHavillan DH Puss Moth tied down in front of the main hangar. The two-place, single-wing, tail dragger is one of the biggest attention-grabbers at the fly-in. An interesting feature is the fold-up wings, which allow more compact, easier storage.

Produced in Edgware, England, the airplane was finally sold in 1934 to an air service in Ontario, Canada, said Cox. One of the airplane’s many admirers related a bit wistfully, “It was sitting in a barn in Ontario many years ago when I tried to buy it, but I couldn’t, so finally gave it up,” he shrugged. The airplane was “pretty much in this condition,” said Cox, who found it sitting in a barn in Spokane a couple of years ago but had not flown it until this summer.

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