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High school students help restore Jenny biplane

The restored Curtiss JN-4D Jenny aircraft flew Oct. 2.

Students from Kentucky’s Tompkinsville High School aviation class were among those who volunteered to help Bowling Green-based filmmaker Dorian Walker fulfill his dream to rebuild and restore a Curtiss JN-4D Jenny aircraft. The restored aircraft flew for the first time on Oct. 2.

Walker began the project by poring over more than 500 original Curtiss drawings of the Jenny. After discovering there were not enough parts available to reconstruct the aircraft, he spent a year searching for the proper materials to create the replica. The Tompkinsville High School students helped cover, assemble and rig the World War I biplane.

AOPA Southern Region Manager Bob Minter serves on the board of Kentucky’s Institute for Aerospace Education, which oversees STEM-based aviation education 23 school districts, the program in Tompkinsville. “The Jenny restoration project offered the students at Tompkinsville great hands-on experience in aviation restoration and maintenance,” he said. “It also serves as a great way to attract more young people into aviation careers.”

After it completes flight testing, Jenny 38262 will be made available to groups across the country for educational exhibition and join six other flying Jenny biplanes across the country.  

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