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In 1995, Pat Packard built a replica of Steve Wittman’s first airplane, the Hardly Abelson. Steve built the original in 1923, while he was still in high school. The airplane was powered by a 61 cu. in. Harley Davidson V-twin motorcycle engine with a 52-inch propeller that was driven through a chain drive reduction unit. The name “Hardly Abelson” was derived from the engine’s inability to do more than propel Steve on a few crow hops across a cow pasture.

Since the Hardly Abelson was hardly able to fly, Steve never produced any plans or took any photos of the airplane. When Pat got the idea to build the replica, he had to work with Steve over a period of four years in order to draw up his own set of plans.

Pat began building the reproduction in the fall of 1995, working in the EAA AirVenture Museum’s workshop in full view of museum visitors. When the Hardly Abelson replica was completed, it was moved to the Steve Wittman Hangar at Pioneer Airport for permanent display.

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