The Jefferson Iowa News®


  Volunteers Search for Old Civil War Planes

Several local citizens have joined in the search for old, civil-war era airplanes that may be recovered, restored, and donated to the National Aeronautics  Museum in Cleveport, South Carolina. Johann Starkey, of Scranton, has been a member of the Retired Pilots Guild for nearly 40 years. Their most recent project involves digging around old farmsteads and abandoned runway sites in an effort to locate some of these old, forgotten craft.

"We intend to do a grid search of the entire Greene County area," he says. "That's the only way we can be sure to cover all areas and leave no stone unturned." Or plane, we assume. Mr. Starkey hopes to eventually search every state in the union, and when and if these old civil-war area planes are found, recover and restore them. "Almost no one alive today has ever seen an aircraft that old," he stated. "Including myself."

The Retired Pilots Guild has previously gained attention for conducting similar searches for Korean-era, WWII-era, and WWI-era aircraft. Due in large part to their perseverance, many of these planes now grace  the National Aeronautics Museum. The public can visit and gain first-hand knowledge of the airplane's history and development throughout the years. Mr. Starkey admits that he and his fellow airplane-hunters have slowed down a step or two since they undertook their previous searches. However, even though their memory maybe isn't what it used to be, they still know what a plane looks like when they see one.

Anyone wanting to help in the cause or possessing knowledge as to the whereabouts of civil-war era aircraft, preferably those used in battle, should contact Johann Starkey of Scranton, Iowa.  

Deb Hoover, 04-25-2010