- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Aviation Museum now houses the world’s newest restored Stearman Model 4D airplane.

The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/1SwIKw1 ) reports that the “Texaco 11” was scheduled to be dedicated to the museum Tuesday night. Volunteers who helped restore the plane, and donors who funded the restoration project, were also set to be recognized.

The museum’s historian, Walt House, says it took nine years to restore the plane. Officials say 40 of the planes were built in Wichita from 1929 through 1931, and only 14 still exist.

The plane first served as a fleet plane for Texaco, then as a crop duster in Mississippi before being sold to the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1941. Records show it was dismantled and salvaged in 1965.

The museum acquired the plane’s remnants, which included the fuselage in 1998, donated by Bruce Bissonette, a retired aviation writer from El Paso. The Women of Wichita foundation donated $20,000 for the plane’s restoration.

House said, “It took a lot of painstaking work. Restoring an old airplane like this, we went back to the original type of cotton fabric.”

Stearman Aircraft Co. was moved to Wichita in 1927 by Kansas native Lloyd Stearman. It was nearly a victim of the stock market crash in 1929, but was saved when it and Boeing Airplane Co. in Seattle became part of United Aircraft and Transport Co.

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