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The cream-and-white twin-engine’s nose and rotating wind-driven propellers help pilots choose between Runway 11 and 29 as the aircraft swings on a weathervane pedestal outside the public airport terminal.
A giant photo of Stewart receiving delivery of another Cessna 310 graces an entire wall in a reproduction of his office at the nearby Jimmy Stewart Museum on Philadelphia Street. The straight-tail 1955 airplane registered as N2695C is still on the FAA’s record books—but it’s Stewart’s other Cessna twin—badged as N6775X—that points the way for pilots overflying the airport.
In 2015 the faded, swept-tail “tuna tank” model was located in Texas, minus its engines.
Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 993 members Ivan Stefanik, Harold Wood, Tip Ruffner, Keith Rearick, Sean Feullner, and Bob Neese relocated the airplane to Pennsylvania. A volunteer EAA crew put 6,500 hours into an extensive exterior restoration and shored up spars for the display monument and weathervane idea. The restoration crew watched carefully as the 1961 Cessna 310F was towed on its own gear past the Jimmy Stewart Museum. It was hoisted onto the airport display pedestal September 2.
“He bought this airplane brand new. Even Stewart being who he was, he bought it on payments,” said instrument-rated private pilot Tom Kitchen, a volunteer restorer. Kitchen said residents remember Stewart as “just a very personable guy” and when the whereabouts of the long-lost airplane became known, local aviators jumped at the chance to preserve its history.
“We decided to make it weathervane into the wind, and let the propellers spin in the wind,” Kitchen explained. “Part of my task was making it pivot. An engineer helped design it so it would meet the 100-mph wind criteria” common to other airport structures. “The airplane is tilted 15 degrees in a slight bank for aesthetics and the nav lights come on at night.”
The group had difficulty separating pieces of the aircraft for restoration because of extensive corrosion. “It took five years to take it apart, restore it, paint it, and put it up. But we had a lot of volunteers and a lot of help. Our airport is extremely proactive. It’s a very conscientious group,” Kitchen added.
The airplane is the first thing people see when they drive by the airfield, so it attracts pilots and nonpilots alike. “It’s not uncommon to see a half a dozen people a day stop, take photos, and look around,” said Kitchen. “It
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