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Travel Airs fly 1,000 miles to homecomingTravel Airs fly 1,000 miles to homecoming

This Travel Air 6000 flew from Montana to Kansas to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary. Photo by Eric Berens.

Five Travel Airs built from 1927 to 1929, nearly all of them open-cockpit design, flew to a reunion and homecoming in Wichita, Kansas, in mid-September. At least three flew more than 1,100 miles to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of the Travel Air company.

Jerry Impellezzeri, president of the Travel Air Restorers Association, said 12 had planned to make the trip but weather, a family emergency, and mechanical troubles whittled the number down to five. While based in the Wichita area, the owners flew their aircraft to Colonel James Jabara Airport on the city’s northeast side for public display. Impellezzeri said Mary Lynn Beech Oliver, daughter of Beechcraft founders Walter and Olive Ann Beech, dropped by the Jabara event.

The aircraft drawing the most public attention was the Travel Air 6000 built at the end of 1928 and now owned by Hank Galpin of Kalispell, Montana. The enclosed, six-seat aircraft had flown for a Montana flying service until 1969. It was flown on the National Air Tour in 2003. The design was meant as an airliner but became obsolete only a few years after production began when metal airplanes took over. It had a maximum speed of 130 mph.

The original factory building is still present on the grounds of the former Beechcraft factory.

Travel Airs gather at Colonel James Jabara Airport in Kansas. Photo by Eric Berens.
Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.
Topics: Vintage, Taildragger, Travel

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