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Miss Champion Arrives At EAA’s Pioneer Airport

September 14, 2005 - At about 10:58 Wednesday morning (September 14), Steve Pitcairn fired up his 1931 Pitcairn PCA-2 autogiro, Miss Champion, taxied out to Wittman Regional Airport’s runway 27, aimed it into a moderate but steady breeze and in a matter of seconds (and about 30 feet) was airborne. It was a sight to behold as the historic aircraft, NC 11609, gently lifted off the runway, climbed and headed over to EAA's Pioneer Airport where it landed vertically in front of its eventual home, the Pitcairn Hangar at EAA’s Pioneer Airport.

Miss Champion takes off Wednesday in front of -  where else  -  the Pitcairn Aviation Hangar at Pioneer Airport. Photo by H.G. Frautschy

Pitcairn, a former EAA Board member, donated Miss Champion to be displayed beside two of his father Harold’s other creations at the museum: a Pitcairn PA-7S Sport Mailwing biplane and another, smaller Pitcairn autogiro, a PA 39.

This is the right place for it to go,” he said before the flight. “I wanted to donate it to a place where people will enjoy it.”

Pitcairn and his crew arrived in Oshkosh on Tuesday, September 13, to prepare his father’s historic creation for flight. It is the only flying example of the type and one of three known to exist. The only other in display condition resides at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn , Michigan .
Crew members include brothers Larry and Mike Posey, Ric Asplundh, Dan Devery, and Paul Tollini.

Miss Champion flew two more times Wednesday before being wheeled into the hangar. Earlier, when asked how he felt to be flying the autogiro for the last time, Pitcairn responded, “Not necessarily. I’d like to fly her at the EAA convention next year.”

EAA Board Member Emeritus Gene Chase enjoyed building model airplanes growing up in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. In 1934 at the age of 10 he assembled a Fly-A-Way Pitcairn PCA-2 autogiro set purchased at Woolworth’s for 10 cents. On September 14, 2005, when Steve Pitcairn flew Miss Champion at EAA’s Pioneer Airport, Gene came to watch - and show Steve the model he assembled 71 years earlier. How did the model survive all these years? “My mother,” Gene said. “I flew in the Navy during World War II and she saved my favorite models for me. This is one that she saved.” After Wednesday’s flights at Pioneer, Gene showed Steve the model, as well as the original assembly plans.

Miss Champion in flight over Oshkosh.

Steve Pitcairn flies Miss Champion on September 14 just outside Oshkosh.

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