HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - It has become a bit of a selfie magnet, and for good reason. It’s not easy to catch an authentic World War II aircraft in the air behind you as you snap a picture. But there’s one poised at the Marshall-Harrison County Airport that’s just waiting for a close-up.
It sits in the air with the greatest of ease, but according to Lone Star Wing Commemorative Air Force Wing Leader Travis Keeney, that’s because they did the hard stuff years ago. But first they had to get the plane.
“Some of our long-tenured members for this wing went up to pick it up in Atlanta Texas. It was a freighter organization that was going out of business but the airframe was actually a C-45 Expeditor,” Keeley relayed.
But they didn’t fly it in. It was hooked up to a pickup.
“They actually towed it down the highway, 59 all the way to Marshall, Texas,” Keeney said.
Travis says the C-45 is based off of a Beech 18 which:
“They produced it for 32 years starting in 1939, finishing up in the sixties,” Keeney said.
And it was used for several things by the military.
“It was a VIP transport, it was a light bomber in China in that theater. They utilized it for some cargo and some special transport in the Pacific and the European theaters,” Keeney said.
Keeney says it took two years to re assemble it and that pole is not just any old pole. It was designed by a CAF member who:
“Put a unique mount under the belly so that it could be put at an angle and looking like it was actually flying,” Keeley said.
The pole was designed so it looks like the plane is banking to turn.
“A pretty significant amount of back and forth, trial and error went into that,” Keeley said.
He said it was put up in 2013 and the winds of many East Texas storms have not forced it to land. And when the wind does blow, well they make sure that old plane still has a little life left, and those propellers spin.
You might want to take your selfie in video mode.
The propellers are original and took some doing to make them load bearing so they would spin freely in the wind. It doesn’t really have a name but some call it the Beech on a Stick, and others call it The Spirit of Marshall.