Teenage Dream Comes True

OSHKOSH, WIS. – Seventeen-year-old, Dillon Barron of Perry, Missouri, restored a 1954 Cessna 170B over a two-year period and brought home “Reserve Grand Champion” from EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this past August (2012). He completed the restoration himself, “right down to the last screw,” said Barron, receiving only advice and counsel from friends. Barron commented: “I had to be taught how to do several things, but once I was educated on techniques, etc., I did all the rest on my own. All the sheet metalwork, painting, interior, engine, and all components including installing the gauges, and exterior components.”

Dillon’s father, Michael, purchased the aircraft with the understanding it would be a learning restoration project, and that it was. The plane had been sitting outside at Hannibal Regional Airport for 20 years and neglected to the point of being a first-class bird hotel. This was not very inviting to a 15-year-old, but liking challenges, Dillon accepted his dad’s offer.

The project soon turned from making the plane flyable, to an exercise in originality. Dillon built an exact duplication of how that plane would have looked in 1954 straight off the assembly line. Restoring the aircraft to its original state increased the amount of work, but the research and documentation sparked much enthusiasm, which carried Dillon through to the end.

The project began in late 2009 and was completed on July 23, 2012, with over 1500 hours of Dillon’s time. The deadline/date for Oshkosh AirVenture was also July 23, 2012.

While at Oshkosh the afternoon of July 24, Dillon was asked if he would move his plane to “show center” where much more attention would be received. That in itself was thrilling. Then on Friday, July 27, Dillon received notification that his project had won one of the awards, but no one knew which one. The excitement level was now rising rapidly and Dillon still had over 24 hours to wait! Dillon was presented the “Silver Lindy Award” on Saturday, July 28, at the awards ceremony.

To follow Dillon through the aircraft’s restoration process, go to www.cessna170restoration.blogspot.com.

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