Plane makes cross-country journey to join Smithsonian
A little plane with big historical significance landing in D.C. Wednesday, ending a cross-country journey that began last month in California.
The Stearman bi-plane named "Spirit of Tuskegee" will be donated to the Museum of African American History and Culture by pilot and owner, Capt. Matt Quy, according to the plane's tumblr.
The plane is significant to African American history because it was used as a training plane for the Tuskegee Airmen in Moton, Alabama.
Nearly 1,000 airmen used the plane to train and carry out bombing missions over Italy during WWII in the 1940s.
Quy and his wife Tina bought the plane on eBay. After learning the plane's true historical significance, they decided to donate it to the Smithsonian.
It took three years to repair and refurbish the antique.
Lt. Col. Leo Gray, a Tuskegee Airman, met Quy at the Andrews Air Force Base Wednesday.
"We had to fly through the Brenner Pass [...] where we had a lot of dog fights and see if they'd shoot at us," Gray said. "They didn't."
Over the years, the plane has been piloted by as many as 150 different airmen. Many of their signatures can be seen written on the inside of the hatch. Some date back as far as 1944.
The plane will be exhibited in the museum which is slated to open in 2015.
You can follow the journey of "Spirit" here: spiritoftuskegee.tumblr.com
Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.