Plane owner Roy Harker and his crew have been working for a few months now on a project which will soon be attached to a huge pedestal at the north east corner of the airport property adjacent to Highway 5A. Dana Stevens from Hayes Canyon Road Maintenance dug the big hole for the pedestal base to sit on. “Master welder, Gord Walker did all the welding on the pedestal,” stated Harker, “and we will soon be ready for a concrete pour.”
Princeton Ready Mix is supplying the concrete. Harker and his crew have been able to enlist generosity from local businesses. FortisBC lifted the pedestal in place for them. “We probably won’t have the plane ready to go up on the pedestal until next spring,” Harker continued, “but it will be going up in 2012.”
The plane which is being used for the project is a Silverstar T-33. Before coming back to Canada where it was originally built, it went to Bolivia. “They were doing a foreign exchange training program there,” said Harker. “It was returned back to Canada to Flight Craft in Kelowna when the program was cancelled. The government had spent $100,000 on this particular plane by the time the program was mothballed.” Then, Dave Eccott got it.
Harker’s dream is to see the plane in place at the airport field working as a weather vane, lit up at night and giving the airport a unique landmark. “I have had this dream for 30 or 40 years,” said Harker. “Dave Eccott knew about my dream,” he said. “He gave me the plane.”
The plane came with many boxes of parts and slowly and meticulously, Harker and his crew plan to reassemble the mechanical bird enough to be able to get the lights all working, so a small solar panel unit can power it up at night. “I think it is really going to be something when it is done,” Harker stated. “It is going to take some time, but in the end it will be worth it.”