HISTORIC AIRPLANES: Old 249
G. Boonstra crashed his de Havilland aircraft, #249, into
Porcupine Ridge southeast of Coalsville, Utah, the airplane was
badly damaged. Boonstra had smashed into the ground at flying
speed, the landing gear collapsed and de Havilland #249 slid
on its belly to a stop on the ridge.
Boonstra abandoned his airplane to seek help. The
mail was eventually retrieved, but the airplane was left on the
almost inaccessible mountain range 9,400' high and away
from civilization, considered a write-off by airmail officials.
Forty years later, an former U.S. postal mechanic
named J. W. "Bill" Hackbarth decided to track
the old airplane down and rebuild it in time for the 50th anniversary
of the airmail service, to be celebrated on May 15, 1968.
He found the airplane in three feet of grass and snow on top
of Porcupine Ridge. Tens of thousands of dollars and years
later, the reconstructed airplane was flown to Washington,
D.C., and presented to the new Smithsonian Institution Air
and Space Museum.
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