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Spokane plane wins big at meet

Mon., Aug. 4, 2008

Boeing 40C gets top prize for vintage aircraft

An airplane restored in Spokane has taken top prize for vintage aircraft at the country’s biggest gathering of aviation buffs.

Addison Pemberton’s Boeing 40C – the oldest Boeing airplane still flying – won the Antique Grand Champion “Gold Lindy” award at AirVenture OshKosh.

The weeklong annual event attracts more than 750,000 visitors and draws big-name speakers – this year they included the head of NASA. The Wisconsin event features about 2,500 planes – but 10,000 when all the visitors’ planes are taken into account, according to the event’s Web site.

Built in 1928 and crashed six months later, Pemberton’s biplane spent nearly 70 years on a southern Oregon hillside until it was discovered and salvaged by members of an aviation historical society. Unable to restore the plane, the club sold it to Pemberton, a Spokane resident who owns an aviation business.

Pemberton told The Spokesman-Review in March that the 40C was restored at Felts Field over the course of nine years. He was helped by 61 volunteers.

Boeing made 82 of the open-cockpit biplanes in the 1920s and 1930s.

Featuring a wood-paneled passenger compartment, they were Boeing’s first commercial plane.


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