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A half-baked excuse for an airplane, cobbled together in 1948, spent its entire life eroding in a Colorado desert. (Norm Hill)

Above & Beyond: Cornwell’s Folly

Above & Beyond: Cornwell’s Folly

“Out of a salvaged L-19.”

“What’s that?”

“A spotter plane. Something like what he’s trying to put together,” Quine explained.

“I’ve always heard he was a pilot,” I said. “Ralph Lessy says he isn’t.”

“No, he’s not.”

“He’ll kill himself!” I said.

“I wouldn’t think so,” the Colonel replied.

“Why not?”

“He won’t get off the ground.”

To Ed’s credit, he picked the right spot for the attempt. The public land was grassy, smooth, and infinite. The day of the flight, all types came from miles around—ranchers, townspeople, farmers. John Arness, who owned the newspaper, was there to record the big event. Cars ringed the area, and they honked incessantly. Some spectators set up tables with lemonade; others with booze. The crowd clamored. Tufted, puffy cumulus clouds drifted in a clear sky.

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