PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the oldest artifacts at the Franklin Institute made its triumphant return to the building’s front lawn on Friday morning.
It wasn’t the first in flight, but it was the first all stainless steel, welded airplane to soar the skies.
Made here in Philadelphia, the Budd BB-1 Pioneer aircraft has been a fixture outside the Franklin Institute since 1935, making it the second oldest exhibit at the science museum.
After a crane lowered it into position, the aircraft was back in its old home on the corner of the Ben Franklin Parkway and 20th Street, greeting visitors to the museum once again.
Franklin President and CEO Larry Dubinski says the historic craft logged more than 1,700 air miles in the U.S. and Europe.
“It was test flown in the summer of 1932, proving that an all-welded steel airplane was in fact possible,” he said.
Renovations took just about one year, and they were done by Bensalem Company Hagan construction. Company President and CEO Fred Hagan, who is also an avid aviation enthusiast, describes some of the work that was done to the plane.
“Some structure repairs that were required to hold the wings in place, and to clean it out and to protect it by sealing it to a certain extent. It was never really sealed before,” he said.
In addition, Hagan says all of the wood work was redone, including the plane’s nose and underbelly, in addition to some trim around the cockpit.