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Historic plane flies again

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Historic plane flies again

By Craig Smith. CREATED Dec 17, 2013

MARANA, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - The Wright Brothers flew the first successful powered airplane 110 years ago Tuesday.
But we can show you some aviation history as close as Marana.
It's a Lockheed Vega, a favorite of aviation pioneers, now restored and back in the air for the first time in 30 years.

80 years ago the Vega was one of the fastest planes in the air---the choice of pilots pushing the boundaries of aviation like Amelia Earhart, who flew a Vega solo across the Atlantic.

Other Vegas, including Earhart's are in the Smithsonian but after 30 years on the ground this one is back in the world it was built for.

Owner John Magoffin was at the controls, enjoying the payoff for a lot of hard work.
Shortly before the flight, we asked about reviving the old plane.

He said, "We've been working for about three and a half years.  We brought it in on a trailer from Oklahoma.  I was badly bent, everything was broken on it.  The tail was in splinters."
Making splinters air-worthy was Rick Barter's job at Arizona Airframe.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "What's it going to be like for you, when you see this roll out of the hangar, fire up and get in the air?

Barter says, "I'll probably faint."

Smith: "But that's a sign of success?"

Barter: "Yes."

After a quick test in the air it was time to bring the Vega back to earth.
As John Magoffin stood in the hatch and talked to well wishers on the ground, how he looked echoed this bit of history. Amelia Earhart talked to well wishers from the hatch of her Lockheed Vega, after it brought her across the Atlantic.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press