Wes Hillman of Roanoke said the Taylor E-2 Cub didn't have a propeller, wings or motor by the time he sold the fuselage 40 years ago. New owner Howard Miller, 86, a retired commercial pilot from Winston-Salem, N.C., restored the aircraft to its former glory and flew it to Roanoke June 20 on his way to a gathering in Pennsylvania, The Roanoke Times reported Monday.
Hillman said he sold much of the plane off part by part after he "cracked it up" in a minor crash in 1939. The engine went to a World War II scrap drive.
Hillman said when he saw the restored plane this month, he "just knelt down when I walked up and said, 'Where you been, buddy?'"
Hillman said the engine sounded "great" when he heard it rev up at the Roanoke Regional Airport before Miller departed.
Miller said he had spotted the plane's propeller during a visit to Hillman's home and it took a long time to convince Hillman to sell him what was left of the plane.
"I said, 'what does that prop fit?'" Miller recalled asking. "He said, 'a Taylor Cub.' I said I wanted to buy it, but he wouldn't sell it to me. It took nearly a year before I could talk him into selling it. It didn't have a motor. The wings were gone. No struts. The rotor was gone. It took me 10 years to find all the parts."
It took Miller about 10 years to restore the plane.