Website of the Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum Last Update: Jun 21 2019

Raggedy-Ann: Resurrection of a Queen

by Glenn Smith, Jr. (Wiley)

Raggedy-Ann in the early 1970s at the Fly-In
Raggedy-Ann in the early 1970s at the Fly-In

Raggedy-Ann at the 1977 Fly-In
Raggedy-Ann at the 1977 Fly-In

Road Trip!

Spring of 1994, the usual hanger flying was going on when one of the group, said that long awaited, "I know where a Robin is"! Now there are times when you take these statements with a grain of salt. We've all heard of the "Old Airplane in a Barn" from non-fliers, and all to often the trip ends in a goose chase, however we all still go, hoping, that maybe, there's something to this one. This was different though, Mike Birdsell knows what a "Curtis Robin" is, and if he says he knows where one is, then we're already late! So with a phone call, we're on our way to Waco Texas. Did we hit pay dirt! Turns out there was a whole lot more than a "Robin" there. Upon our arrival to Waco, Mike introduced us to "Fleet Bob". Turns out, ole "Fleet Bob" is executor of the estate of the late Sid Hess. Sid owned several, very unique airplanes, and yes, there was a "Curtis Robin" in the bunch. This introduction was the beginning of a great friendship. You see, ole "Fleet Bob" is Robert Toliver. We did not buy the "Robin" that day, however, on that trip, I was captivated, by another "old timer", sitting in the back of the shop. A pair of "Wooden Wheels" caught my attention. Raggedy Ann's magnetism was at work! Several years would pass, and other airplane projects were completed, before Raggedy Ann would come to Ardmore. During that time, I made several trips thru Waco on business, and Robert was always gracious enough to let me "rub on her a little", whenever I ask. Hopefully, someday, she would be mine!
t_Mrs_Hess (32K)
Thank you, Mrs. Hess!

The long awaited day finally arrived. I was going to bring Raggedy Ann home. My son Justin, went with me, and helped with the loading on the trailer. The two of us got her all strapped down and headed toward Ardmore. The trip was full of "flights yet to be had". "Bubba, keep one eye on that trailer at all times"!
t_Raggedy-Ann_on_Trailer (35K)
Raggedy Ann in the hanger in Ardmore

Livelyhood, gets in the way of all kinds of things. This project would not be any different. Another 3 years passed before I finally started working on her. The tail feathers have now been cleaned and primed, and are ready for cover.
t_Primed_Feathers (28K)
Primed Feathers!

There is nothing like a little encouragement along the way, and, what better way to get it, than to see changes being made. The primed feathers on the airframe are, inspirational!
t_Long_Way_to_Go (27K)
Now this is what I call a "Project"

Many thanks to those who have helped me get this far, Mrs. Hess for believing enough in me, to trust such a big part of her life, into my care, Mike Birdsell, for without him I never would have even known about Raggedy Ann, Ole "Fleet Bob" , without his encouragement and faith, I may not have even tackled a project this big, Robert and Brent Taylor, for their help and first hand knowledge of Raggedy Ann's AAA fly-in presence and photos, Larry Smith, my partner in crime, without who's help, none of my projects would have ever been completed, and, whom I intend to rely on during this project also, and last, but surly not least, my wife Cookie, who, usually, doesn't squeal about the money I spend on my wild ideas, and, she understands what this project means to me.

This is the first, of what I hope to be several entries, as this project progresses. I still have to contend with the lively hood, so I am sure there will be set backs, but, the process has begun!