Ask/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:
What’s the story behind the large vintage airplane parked at Carlisle Airport?
Two long-time friends flew the Grumman Albatross seaplane, known as “Dirty Girl,” into Carlisle in 2007.
After a nearly weeklong trip that began in Brazil and included an engine fire and malfunctioning landing gear, Jay Shettel and Mark Toigo flew “Dirty Girl” into Carlisle on June 29, 2007.
Toigo purchased the plane off eBay for $75,000 in 2003, with the intent to restore the seaplane to bring the old military aircraft back to life.
During the intervening years, Toigo and Shettle made trips to the Brazillian military base where the plane was stored to do repairs and restorations. The plane had been left to sit and stripped of many parts.
“It is not too often a plane this old gets a second chance at life,” Toigo told Sentinel reporter Joseph Cress in 2007. “It was our plan to get her out of Brazil, our dream to bring her back to the U.S. and our fantasy to park her in our backyard.”
During its previous life, “Dirty Girl” served as a search and rescue plane for downed pilots beginning during the Korean War until about 1958 when the U.S. military opted to use search and rescue helicopters rather than the large seaplanes.
“Dirty Girl” and many of the U.S. fleet of similar seaplanes were given to the Brazilian military, which used the planes for search and rescue, maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare until about 1980, according to Cress.
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