The Thomas W. Wathen Foundation has received a grant from Wicks Aircraft Supply in Highland, Ill., to supply two aircraft restoration projects being worked on by high school students at Flabob Airport (RIR) in Riverside, Calif. Most of the students are from the Flabob Airport Preparatory School who are currently restoring a Stinson 108-3 and a Sky Coupe aircraft designed by Ray Stits.
Several years ago local students completed work on a 1940 Aeronca Super Chief that was then flown to EAA’s AirVenture, where it was displayed in front of the famous “Red Barn.” Students spend time working on the restorations and are rewarded with subsidized flying lessons.
“The restoration program tends to use up our list of superlatives,” said John Lyon, president of the Wathen Foundation. “We consider the restorations an extremely valuable program for introducing young people to aviation. A number of former students have taken up careers in aviation as a result of what they experienced in our restoration shops and through the flying lessons they received. It’s a great influence.”
Wicks Aircraft is a source for virtually all the types of materials needed for restorations. “It was a perfect fit,” said Scott Wick, president of Wicks Aircraft. “We believe in providing meaningful experiences for young aviators and that’s what the Wathen Foundation is committed to. It’s a joy to help out, especially with those kinds of aircraft projects.”