Two rare planes on display at Minot air museum

This Fleetwings Sea Bird, displayed in the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot is a 1930s-built plane. A rare plane, only five of them were built.

MINOT, N.D. — Rare planes Fleetwings Sea Bird and Avro Avian are on display at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot.

The Fleetwings Sea Bird and Avro Avian are owned by Walt Bowe and his wife, Dr. Carlene Mendieta, of California. Mendieta was the guest speaker for an air museum event, "Women, Wine & Wings," held last month. There she spoke about flying the Avro Avian when she retraced aviator Amelia Earhart's 1928 record-setting cross-country flight in a similar plane.

The Sea Bird is an American-built amphibious aircraft of the 1930s.

"It was built in '36 and it was a rare airplane because only five of them were built by Fleetwings," said Glenn Blackaby, air museum curator. "It is the only one that still survives and it was the prototype so it was the first one."

It is not known what happened to the Avro Avian plane that Earhart flew for her 1928 flight cross country but Blackaby said the Avro Avian displayed in the air museum rolled off the production line two weeks before Earhart's plane did.

He said Avro, a British company, is famous for making the Lancaster, "which was the great bomber of World War II." He said Avro later made the Vulcan. The Vulcan is a jet-powered high-altitude strategic bomber,

The Fleetwings Sea Bird and Avro Avian can be see at the air museum through Oct. 13, the last day of the facility's season.

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