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Fairchild 'family' prepares to reunite with 60-year-old plane

October 09, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - An airplane built in Hagerstown more than 60 years ago might be returning this weekend.

Hagerstown Aviation Museum President Kurtis Meyers said the Fairchild-produced C-82 aircraft is one of only three or four left in the country and the only one still able to fly.

The plane, which was used by the United States military for years, is in Wyoming. It was being repaired for the flight after the museum purchased it in August, Meyers said.

Once back in Hagerstown, the plane will remain at the Hagerstown Regional Airport until a dedicated space for it is available, he said.

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Meyers announced Sunday during the 8th annual Hagerstown Fly-In and Fairchild Aircraft Family Reunion that the plane would be returning. After talking about the return of the C-82, Meyers also said the museum would be collecting the names and stories of everyone who worked in the aviation industry in Hagerstown and Washington County.

The information would be included in a database that could be searched and referenced by historians and descendants of the workers, he said.

The museum also is planning a memorial to honor the contributions of those aviation industry workers, Meyers said. He was unsure how many people would be included in the database, but said it was "tens of thousands."

The database is part of the Hagerstown Aircraft Workers Heritage Project.

"In factories, backyard machine shops and in the blue skies above us, ordinary people worked together to create the extraordinary," Meyers said. "These people are leaving us every day before they can tell their stories, but through this project descendants can preserve this vital part of their families' history."

Dick McNeal of Hagerstown said he worked for Fairchild Industries for 45 years. When he began working there, the sixth C-82 aircraft was being built.

He said he was excited the C-82 would be returning to Hagerstown, possibly as soon as this weekend.

The C-82 was used to transport a large amount of cargo that could be loaded at ground level. The plane that is returning to Hagerstown was at first used as a military aircraft, and then was used to transport replacement engines to other aircraft.

The C-82 eventually will be housed in a museum that Meyers said is planned to be built near the airport in the next few years.




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For details about the plane or information on the museum, go online to www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org or call Meyers at 717-377-3030. Meyers said a hotline has been set up for details about the C-82's return, 301-733-8717.

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