A unique aircraft restoration project is underway at Fisher Ag Service on Township Road 126 south of Mount Gilead. A 1942 AT-6 plane is being reconditioned that was used for training pilots for the Army Air Corps in World War II.
Alan Hughes completed the painting on the body and brought the colors and insignia to their original luster. He is the owner of the new business at the airport. Hughes specializes in painting and repairing both antique and new aircraft, so it was a good fit for him to work on the plane at Fisher Ag’s business that is adjacent to the county airport.
Zach Haskins is working on restoring the airplane’s radial engine. He took it all apart and is piecing it back together while replacing some parts. Haskins said that the planes from that era were “manufactured by hand on the assembly lines.”
He marvels at the handiwork that went into making the aircraft.
“It’s remarkable how all those training planes were made,” Haskins said. “Thousands were put together for the war effort in World War II.”
Haskins said it had some maintenance, but had sat without being used for more than 20 years. “It needed some TLC.”
Butch Fisher of Fisher Ag Service is the owner of the AT-6 plane. He has had aerobatic planes before and plans to fly this one for recreation.
Fisher is pleased with Hughes and Haskins work. Fisher has been flying 54 years and he appreciates the history of the AT-6 airplane. He began his crop dusting business in 1975 and he’s seen a lot of change to aircraft and in his business.
Fisher Ag’s six crop-dusting planes can be seen around the county applying seed, fertilizer and insecticides from spring through the summer and into fall. Fisher said they worked in 16-18 counties this year.
“Business was affected by the weather this year,” Fisher said. “With the wet spring and dry fall most work was done in July and August this summer.”
Fisher was pleased to have Alan Hughes working on the AT-6 airplane this summer. He said he’s known him for many years.
“I finished my private license training here with Butch Fisher,” Hughes said with a smile.
Haskins anticipates that the restoration will be completed in the next few weeks and we can be seeing the airplane overhead in the next few months.