I recently added a new character to the list of real airplanes kids can see when they visit Fantasy of Flight. It’s a replica of the Benny Howard airplane “IKE” featured in my illustrated children’s book, “All of Life is a School.” I acquired it from Kim Kovach who faithfully built it up to original standards after having the opportunity to measure the real one, which still exists.
One deviation from the original is that it’s powered by a 4-cylinder Menasco engine instead of the very rare, and impossible to find, 6-cylinder version used on the original. The only other modification was to continue the width of the fuselage at the instrument panel (18″) back to the seat back. The original airplane was actually 15″ at the shoulders! I went up to see if I could even fit in it before I purchased it and just barely fit!
“Benny” is safely stored in a hangar in Michigan with plans are to truck it down and put it on display sometime this June! This will bring the number of on-site characters from the book to seven out of ten. Had I known I would be collecting them all in the long run, I would not have written so many into the book!