Auburn Aviator Flies to History's Rescue

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 19, 2010 at 4:26 PM EDT

AUBURN, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--Phil Allison’s wife never has to guess where her husband is. Phil’s a corporate pilot and if he’s not working he’s in his Auburn shop restoring his vintage Stearman biplane.

This was the primary trainer during World War Two,” Phil says, “there’s virtually no pilot in WWII that didn’t start out in a Stearman.”

For years Phil owned Allison Machine Sop and Auto Parts stores. When he sold the business he became a corporate pilot. He flies a Citation jet for Metal Technologies. But it’s the old airplanes Phil loves, like his Stearman PT 13. Designed in the 1930’S the Stearman trained thousands of American pilots in the Second World War. Reliable, forgiving and bulletproof, perhaps more than any other aircraft it helped win the war. Phil Allison’s been working on his Stearman for seven years.

“But the craftsmanship from the ‘30’s is just fascinating,” he says, “because you got to remember they did that with just a slide rule and pencil and paper there was no computers.”

Working from original Boeing blueprints Phil is restoring his Stearman to exact original specifications. And when it’s done he plans to hop in the cockpit, fire up the big Lycoming radial engine, and fly…just fly, for the pure pleasure of it.

“Pure enjoyment. It’s beyond my comprehension how anybody could not like flying. Unfortunately I happened to marry a lady who does not like flying…but she’s very understanding of my passion for flight.”

Eric Olson, out in ‘Your Country’.

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