Jul 12, 2011 4:00 PM by Andy Koen
A World War Two era biplane that was flown by the Tuskegee Airmen and that will soon be displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. came from an Air Force pilot who found the craft on eBay.
Cpt. Matthew Quy says he and his wife began looking for a personal plane six years ago. Since they couldn't afford a working airplane, they limited their search to wrecked planes or those in serious need of repair.
He came across the wrecked Boeing Stearman PT-13D while searching on the internet auction site. It had been used as a crop duster for decades and was being sold by the insurance company.
An aviation maintenance apprentice, Quy spent 3 years researching and restoring the plane. As it turns out, the plane was used during the war to train the Tuskegee Airmen.
Quy gave the plane the moniker "The Spirit of Tuskegee" and has spent the past 3 years taking it to air shows and working with Tuskegee Airmen groups across the country to promote the history of America's first black military airmen.
The plane was recently acquired by the Smithsonian to be part of the permanent collection of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture which is expected to open in 2015.
Quy says he was encouraged to know that he and the museum had similar goals for the plane.
"It was exactly the same attitude that we had," Quy said. "That was to preserve the aircraft for the future and also educate the public about the Tuskegee Airmen."
Quy and members of a documentary film crew from the Smithsonian are traveling the country with the plane interviewing surviving Tuskegee Airmen. They stopped at the US Air Force Academy this morning to meet with local members of the Hubert L. "Hooks" Jones Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen and with current Academy cadets.