Airplane Restoration To Be Part Of PBS Special


“I researched for six or seven months, located materials and went through the whole process,” he said. “I started working on it in the basement. I have a large basement.”

For about 15 years, Balcer and his wife worked on the plane, starting with the fuselage. They put the airplane skin on together.

“The airplane I put together was experimental. I built it from scratch,” he said.

Even experimental aircraft need certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, and that’s what eluded Balcer.

“It got expensive. I couldn’t afford it anymore,” he said.

At the same time, Walker was looking for the number of Jennys still in the world.

“I found 26 in museums or exhibits worldwide. I found six that are flying worldwide,” he said.

Walker found two active rebuilding projects in the U.S. One was an airplane pilot in Atlanta who has been working on his Jenny for seven years. The other was Balcer’s project.

“In the fall, I went up there with my cameras. Harry looked at me and said, ‘I don’t have it in me. I want to pass the torch,’ ” he said. “I agreed to try.”

Balcer thought it would be a good educational tool.

“I was selective in letting someone get it,” he said.

Walker isn’t an airplane builder, so he has been gathering people in the southcentral Kentucky area to help. He has volunteers but needs more so the film can be ready by fall. His goal with the production is not only to make an interesting film, but to also make it educational.

“It shows people who set examples of what you can aspire to be,” he said. “Glenn Curtiss showed American ingenuity and entrepreneurship.”

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Posted by on Sep 1st, 2012 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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