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Crawford Auto Aviation Collection steering back into view in Cleveland

Posted November 15, 2012 in Articles

Author: James Ewinger

The Crawford Auto Aviation Collection is coming out of hibernation in the depths of winter.

The transportation arm of the Western Reserve Historical Society will reopen to the public Feb. 2, after a undergoing a year's worth of renovation. Walls have been knocked down to create better sight lines, allowing a better presentation of the society's collections.

Most of the vehicles that had been on display will return, said Derek Moore, curator of transportation.

The space is almost empty now. If you were to sneak in this week, the only thing you'd see is a dramatic tableau of Cleveland transportation history: Two 1930s air racers appear to be rounding a pylon much as they did during the Golden Age of that sport between the world wars.

In fact, it is a moment frozen in time.

The smaller plane, called "Pete" was built by Benjamin Howard in 1929 and it is believed to be one of the first purpose-built air racers. On the other side of the imaginary pylon is the model 44 Wedell-Williams racer built for the flamboyant Col. Roscoe Turner in 1932. It appears to be standing on one wingtip.

Specialists finished hanging Turner's aircraft just Wednesday.

Moore said they are among 10 aircraft in the Crawford collection. Returning for the reopening as well is a 1910 Curtis Model E hydroplane nicknamed "Bumble Bee." For a while it was based at the Lakewood Yacht Club.

The Crawford's P-51D Mustang called "Second Fiddle," also is coming out of mothballs. As of late last week, a team of specialists from Washington state was in the process of reassembling the Mustang.

Original Article: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/11/crawford_auto_aviation_collect.html

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