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Rare O-46 To Be Restored To Flying Condition

Has Languished In A Hangar For The Past 20 Years

For two decades, a Douglas O-46 observation aircraft has been hangared at the Combat Air Museum in Topeka, KS. The plane was recently sold to a private individual in Michigan, who plans to have the plane restored to flying condition.

The airplane is currently in a hangar belonging to the America Flight Museum, also in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that American Flight Museum director of sponsorship Dan Stephens said that to find an aircraft in as good a condition as the O-46 is "just unheard of. This looks almost like the day they landed it," he told the paper.

The plane will be disassembled later this month and shipped to its new owner in Michigan. When it is restored, Stephens says it will be one of only four flying examples of the WWII observation aircraft in airworthy condition. He said the new owner plans to fly it in air shows around the country.

While much of the airplane is in "terrific shape," according to Stephens, its 1,000-horsepower radial engine will have to be rebuilt, a process that is likely to take two to three years, he said.

The plane has all of its original instruments, and Stephens said getting into the cockpit is a bit like stepping back in time.

After its restoration, the O-46 will be named "Banjo" after a mule that was the mascot of the Missouri National Guard to which it was attached. Appropriate nose art will adorn the airplane, Stephens said.

(Public domain image via Wikipedia)

FMI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_O-46

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