Biplane replica: 'You can't relax, you've got to fly it all the time'

Biplane replica: 'You can't relax, you've got to fly it all the time'
Dean Wilson of Clarkston, Wash. and Jim Otey of Lewiston, Idaho, stand in front of a replica of the Herring-Curtiss Pusher pm Aug. 26, 2010 in Lewiston, Idaho. With help from their friends, they built a replica of the Herring-Curtiss Pusher that was the first airplane to fly over Idaho in 1910. The airplane has been sold to a museum in Florida. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Barry Kough)

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — A flight-worthy replica of a biplane built to commemorate Idaho's first powered flight in 1910 has been sold and is headed to Florida.

The replica 1909 Herring-Curtiss Pusher Model D is going to the Fantasy of Flight at Polk City in central Florida after the attraction's founder, Kermit Weeks, purchased it for $60,000.

"Most of his planes are maintained in airworthy condition and every day they fly for people who come to the theme park," James Otey of Lewiston told the Lewiston Tribune.

"We were hoping it would stay in Lewiston, obviously," Otey said, adding the offer made by Weeks was too good to turn down. "It was considerably more than anything we had been able to find locally."

He said it took more than two years for local airplane enthusiasts to build the replica of the aircraft that gave Idaho its first powered flight on Oct. 13, 1910, at the fairgrounds in Lewiston in northern Idaho.

One of those enthusiasts is Dean Wilson of Clarkston, Wash., who said Fantasy of Flight has another version of the Curtiss Pusher from England that was flown by Weeks.

"He has a fantastic museum and is a good pilot, a world acrobatic champion," Wilson said.

Otey said the Idaho plane will likely remain at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport for six months before being shipped south.

He said hundreds of thousands of people will likely view the plane at its new home.

Otey said they had hoped to give rides in the biplane but the Federal Aviation Administration won't allow passengers until 40 hours of flight is logged. Wilson said that wasn't possible with the northern Idaho weather.

Wilson said it's a safe, but not pleasurable, craft to fly.

"You can't relax, you've got to fly it all the time," he said. "The problem is you can't turn the air conditioner off and you freeze up there. We'd like to have taken everybody who worked on it up, but it had to have 40 hours on it, and we couldn't with the weather."

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

 

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.