aircraft restoration

Museum Demoiselle Restoration Begins with Help From EAA Chapter 64 and Ultralight Club

The restoration of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum’s Demoiselle reproduction has begun anew with help from members of EAA Chapter 64 and the Gateway Area Ultralight Association (GAUA).  The bamboo and steel tube aircraft, designed by Alberto Santos-Dumont as his model 20 in 1908, featured a 30hp opposed V-engine and was flown in exhibitions in Europe and the U.S. in 1909-1910.  About 50 were produced and more were constructed by individuals using plans.  It was also sold in kit form by St. Louis aircraft maker Tom Benoist in 1910.

The museum’s aircraft, a flying replica made in 1970 by Mr. John Mirka from plans he found in a 1910 edition of Popular Mechanics, flew once just a few feet off the ground.  The aircraft was donated to the museum when it was called the St. Louis Aviation Museum and based at Creve Coeur Airport in St. Louis County.  Since then it has been on display at various times and has been in storage for years awaiting restoration.

A group of mechanically-inclined volunteers has formed to restore the Demoiselle replica for non-flying display at the museum.  The group is led by Travis Roberts, EAA 64 member, ultralight pilot and GAUA President.  Roberts and museum and EAA 64 member Dave Sneddon began the assessment process of the Demoiselle’s current condition, and made some preliminary plans for fabricating new attachment hardware for the empennage, the gimbaled horizontal and vertical tail assembly.  Work will continue through the summer, and updates will appear periodically as major milestones are completed.

The museum encourages anyone with an interest in participating in the restoration project to contact the museum through the website.  Donations for materials needed to complete the project are also appreciated.  

Museum Receives Stinson Reliant for Future Restoration and Display

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum has completed the acquisition of a 1943 Stinson V-77 Reliant (s/n 77-144) that will become a major restoration project in the coming months.  Museum members traveled to Calvin C. McDaniel Field (Pinckneyville-du Quoin Airport) today to retrieve the fuselage with the help of Ken Hartlage of Hartlage Truck Service (the wings, empennage and engine were delivered previously).  The aircraft was donated to the museum by the family of the Late John Johnson, and it will be restored in memory of him and in dedication by his loving family.  The museum will provide periodic updates on the restoration process as it develops.