Raggedy-Ann: Resurrection of a Queenby Glenn Smith, Jr. (Wiley)
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!
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"!
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.
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!
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!