One of the rarest classic aircraft in the world, a fully-restored 1929 Hamilton Metalplane H-47 (serial No. 65), will be sold during the 39th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale on Jan. 18-24, 2010. The historic Metalplane was No. 22 of only 29 built and is the only airworthy example of its type in existence.
The Metalplane was originally sold in 1929 by the Hamilton Division of Boeing Aircraft to the Canadian Forestry Service. Following ownership by operators in Washington and Alaska, it was brought to St. Paul, Minn., in 1954 by Northwest Airlines pilot Harry McKee. There, Northwest Airlines’ “20 Year Club” began restoring the Metalplane, but stopped the job after only four months. The project was abandoned for several years until Jack Lysdale, an aviation expert at Fleming Field Airport in South St. Paul, purchased the aircraft and embarked on a full restoration of the rare Hamilton Metalplane in 1972.
During the restoration to original specifications, many parts had to be fabricated from scratch, including the seats, nose cowlings, firewall, fuel and oil tanks, controls and electrical systems. The Metalplane was reskinned with specially manufactured corrugated aluminum rolled from original dies by the Alcoa Company. The engine is a Pratt and Whitney Hornet R-1690 with 525 horsepower at 1900 rpm. The aircraft’s impeccable restoration, made possible by the talent and grit of Lysdale and his team, earned the Hamilton Metalplane the prestigious Grand Champion trophy at the Antique Airplane Association National Convention in 1975, as well as the Silver Age Champion award at Oshkosh in 1976.
“The rebirth of this Hamilton Metalplane is one of the most impressive restoration feats I’ve ever seen,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “From the rebuild of the Pratt and Whitney engine to the landing lights and handmade seats, Mr. Lysdale and his team spared no expense or attention to detail to return this aircraft to its original form.”
The Hamilton Metalplane will remain in St. Paul while it is being auctioned live in Scottsdale. A video highlighting its history and restoration will be shown to Barrett-Jackson attendees. Barrett-Jackson will host a preview of the Hamilton on Dec. 12-13 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fleming Field Airport. The preview will give potential buyers and aviation enthusiasts a chance to see the plane and ask questions before it is sold in January.
For more information: Barrett-Jackson.com or 480-421-6694.