April 28, 2010
Dennis Eggert, president of the Minnesota Air & Space Museum, is in desperate need of storage space for a 1911 Steco [Stephens Engineering Company] Aerohydroplane. “God forbid if it comes to calling a trash truck or Dumpster,” he says, “but it’s got to be moved.” The aircraft had been disassembled and stored in various sites since 1914; Eggert’s group was finally able to assemble and display it in an Owatonna museum in 1998. When the Heritage Halls Transportation Museum closed a few years later, the Steco moved to the American Wings Air Museum in Blaine, where it was on exhibit until that museum closed in 2009. Since then the Steco has been stored at a nearby hangar, but it must be moved by May 23. “Ideally we would like to keep it at Anoka County Airport in Blaine,” Eggert says, “so when it finds a home we have qualified people who know how to work on it. The aircraft is 99 years old and made of the original wood, fabric, and dozens of bay wires – it is a very delicate structure. Still, all options are open.”
The Steco had made a few flights from Lake Michigan before it was stored. It came with Burgess floats and tricycle landing gear. The movable empennage provided directional control; there were no rudders, ailerons, or warping wings. “We finally figured out that Stephens was trying to get around the Wright brothers’ wing warping,” says Eggert. “He wanted to compete for aeronautical patents.”
You can reach Dennis Eggert at 651 – 291- 7925 ; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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