TASM Lands A Spartan NP-1 Biplane

Tuesday, April 22nd 2008, 9:55 pm
By: News On 6

After 67 years, the last flyable Spartan NP-1 biplane is now in Green Country.  Built by the Spartan Aircraft Company during World War II, this type of plane was used by the Navy as a basic training aircraft.

Spartan built the NP-1 aircraft from 1941 to 1943.

The plane, worth over $100,000, is very fragile. The transportation and unloading of the NP-1 was not easy.

"It is a wood structure wing with cotton covering. It's hard to believe, but it has a cloth surface on it. The fuselage is welded steel tubing but it too is covered with fabric," said Curator Kim Jones of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

The Tulsa Air and Space Museum's aircraft was the 47th produced, coming off of the Spartan lines sometime in 1941.

"With the addition of this, we have access to three of the aircrafts that Spartan built and were the most famous. The one we're lacking and we will have one day is the Spartan Executive," said Curator Kim Jones of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

Former President George H.W. Bush had his first solo flight on an NP-1.

This particular plane was found in 1969 by the Wright family of Portland, Oregon. The plane was sitting in a hangar outside of Seattle, Washington.  The aircraft was restored over the next 15 years.  It had its first post-restoration flight in 1984.

This summer, the aircraft will be reassembled and test flown by Jeff Wright.  Wright is the only person to pilot an NP-1 in the last 60 years.

The aircraft will be flown one last time at a fundraising event this fall that will raise money to cover the costs of acquisition.

By Margaret Stokes, NewsOn6.com anchor/reporter and Kyle Dierking, Video Journalist. Find more of their stories in our Web Exclusives section.