Tilton, Todd Rhode, and Todd’s wife Petra (whose grandfather flew with Manfred von Richthofen in World War I) worked together for two years, making parts, sanding, assembling, and covering the wings and fuselage with fabric. Early in 2007, the fully restored and painted Arrow was rolled out into the sun. The Rhodes watched Tilton settle into the cockpit. For the first time in his life, Todd swung the propeller. The little radial engine emitted puffs of white smoke and settled into a steady idle.
A month later, after minor adjustments had been made and the family had reunited for the occasion, the Arrow got airborne, for the first time in 70 years, powered by a 78-year-old engine and two generations of dreams.