Above and Beyond: Cornwell’s Folly
- By Lewis A. Bartlett
- Air & Space magazine, June 2010
(Page 2 of 4)
“An engine mount for Ed Cornwell’s airplane,” he said.
I looked at the six-cylinder behemoth sitting nearby on the concrete floor. “That’s a truck motor,” I said.
“I can tell you’re gonna go far, kid,” said Ralph.
“Well, Ed was an aviator in the war. He must know what he’s doing.”
Ralph reached for his welding hood. “A lot of folks thought he was, but he loaded bombs.”
“He was a pilot, Ralph! Everybody knows that!”
“He was in North Africa with Doolittle. I was in North Africa with Patton. I know what Ed Cornwell did during the war.”
Ralph pulled his helmet down—my cue to leave.
John Dugan, who knew everything about wood, ran the lumber yard. He was a dour old guy, but tolerant. I played baseball with his kid, Tommy, who had a big butt and could hit a half a mile. I found out from Tommy that his dad was helping Cornwell with his airplane. I had to get in on that.
We stood under the overhang, watching the construction. Old John and Ed were gluing the wing spars. It was a big operation.
“Where’s the propeller?” I asked.
Ed, a muscular blond who looked like Joe Palooka, glowered at me. “That’s none of your affair, Squee,” he snapped. Apparently he took me for one of his skeptics.
“Okay. I was just asking.”
Old John explained. “Ed’s whittling it out himself.”
“Out of what?” I asked.
“Hickory, goddammit!” Ed snarled. “You and Tommy be on your way!”