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Watkins Skylark SL To Be Dedicated By Kansas Aviation Museum

Courtesy of The Kansas Aviation Museum
The original plane, top, and after restoration.

A rare, fully restored 1931 Wichita airplane will be dedicated on Thursday at the Kansas Aviation Museum.

The yellow and green Watkins Skylark SL is the only fully restored airplane of its kind. The plane crashed in 1933; later, several parts of the aircraft, including the vertical fin and wings, were found on a farm in southeast Kansas.

Credit Courtesy Kansas Aviation Museum

Dana Steffee, executive director of the Kansas Aviation Museum, says the pieces were gathered and worked on for 10 years by the museum’s volunteer restoration team.

"So with those pieces that were found and given to the museum, they took those, and from photographs of the airplane recreated the blueprint drawings," Steffee says. "They started from scratch."

The two-seater plane was originally built in 1931 at the Watkins Aircraft Company on Douglas Street, across the street from East High School.

"It would be like stepping back in time because this would be exactly what that plane looked like then, and they're not going to see that anyplace else," Steffee says.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.