Classic Boeings being returned to flight in Nevada

Willow Aircraft is heading up a long-term project in Gardnerville, Nevada, to restore several historic Boeing aircraft, a mix of reproductions and originals. The latter include a pair of civilianised P-12s, built with some modifications and without armament.

One of the machines now close to completion is a Boeing 100A, a reproduction of N247K, the two-seater once owned by legendary entrepreneur and adventurer Howard Hughes. This aircraft is destined to join Kermit Weeks’ Fantasy Of Flight stable in Florida. Kermit also a P-12C and an F4B-2 on order from Willow, along with a second Boeing 100 that was severely damaged during 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. One of two formerly used by TallMantz Aviation for aerial filming, the latter is expected to fly again in 2022 after almost 30 years on the ground.

Boeing 100a
Pictured late last year, Kermit Week’s Boeing 100A is now almost finished. BOTH Ø M ELLINGSEN

The 100A was a two-seat version of the ‘basic’ Model 100, and made its first flight on July 25, 1929. In order to carry a passenger it had a much smaller fuel tank in the fuselage, plus two in the centre wings. After further modifications by Hughes, it was used for racing until sold in 1935 to Arthur Goebel. The unique machine passed through the hands of several further owners before it was sadly destroyed in fatal 1956 crash.

Another of the aircraft currently being restored by Willow’s Roy Rehm and his team is a P-12 owned by Øyvind Munch Ellingsen, distinctively painted in Olive Drab. Øyvind reports that it is “more than 95% complete, with outstanding craftsmanship.”

Boeing P12
Øyvind’s P-12 is also taking shape in Nevada