Travel Air 12W First Run (in a while)

Several weeks ago, we gathered the logbooks of all the Kelch Aviation Museum aircraft to determine which one would be the best candidate to get flying this year. The board of directors had decided that we fly at least one aircraft each year in order to keep everything in a state of good repair and to generate interest in the collection as a whole. There were several to choose from, but we settled on the Travel Air 12W. Its had flown not long before Al Kelch passed away in 2004, it had been started frequently over the years, and it’s just good looking.

One of the Kelch Museum directors is Greg Heckman of Polo, Ill., owner of GH Aviation. Greg also teaches Aviation Maintenance Technology at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill. and has completed a number of award winning antique airplane restorations himself. Greg completed a detailed condition inspection on the Travel Air and today, we were able to start it for the first time in several years. Check out the video below, with director Kent McMakin at the controls.


Greg plans to put a few hours on the tach over the coming weeks, and if all goes well, will fly it to Oshkosh for the big event in July. Look for us there!