Above & Beyond: Cornwell’s Folly

Above & Beyond: Cornwell’s Folly

A half-baked excuse for an airplane, cobbled together in 1948, spent its entire life eroding in a Colorado desert. (Norm Hill)
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“Out of what?” I asked.

“Hickory, goddammit!” Ed snarled. “You and Tommy be on your way!”

I knew Sherman Quine, a handsome dark-haired guy who had married my elementary school teacher and had made bomb runs over Germany in B-24s. I walked up to the porch of his sumptuous red brick home to find out what he knew about Cornwell’s airplane. The Colonel—that’s what we called him—hadn’t been in the war for God, country, and glory; the man was there to fight and win, so he could come back and get his farm equipment dealership established. He was an easygoing gentleman, receptive to questions.

“Did you know Ed Cornwell’s building an airplane?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, nodding.

“I just saw it,” I said. “It looks pretty raw. Doesn’t he need controls, plexiglass, hydraulics, and things like that?”

“He does,” Quine said.

“Where would he get that stuff?” I asked.

“I arranged for it.” The Colonel’s voice had a tone of resignation.

“Where? How?”

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