A Maynard man says he might have had a little help from above when he won a raffle for a rare 1946 airplane similar to the one his late father had taught him to fly in.
Jack Mason, 56, drove to Minuteman Airfield in Stow on Monday to watch his new plane land — and pick up the keys from the president of the group that held the raffle.
“It was exciting watching it fly in,” Mason said. “I had about six or seven friends up there with me when he handed me the keys.”
Mason learned May 19 that he had won the Luscombe 8E airplane, seven years to the day that his father died. Mason’s father had loved flying so much he built a 1,000-foot grass runway in the backyard of his home in 1948.
Somewhere, his father must have been looking down during the raffle, Mason said. “I think he probably said, ‘Maybe I’ll help you win it.’ ”
‘I had about six or seven friends up there with me when he handed me the keys.’
Mason had purchased 10 raffle tickets for $300 last year. Only 3,000 tickets were available in the international raffle held by the Arizona-based Luscombe Endowment Inc.
The endowment is a nonprofit that provides historical information, technical support, and produces FAA-approved parts for owners and mechanics working on the old planes. To support the projects, the group restores and rebuilds donated planes and raffles them off, said Doug Combs, the endowment’s president, who flew the prize to Stow from Phoenix, after a stop in Virginia on Monday.
Luscombe airplanes were America’s first mass-produced, all-metal airplanes, Combs said. The aircraft company went bankrupt in 1950 and again in 1958, and the 6,000 planes it built went unsupported from 1961 until 1993, when the Luscombe Foundation was founded. It was reorganized as Luscombe Endowment in 2000.
Mason was particularly fond of this plane, the 1946 8E, because it is a model similar to the 1946 8A his father purchased with three friends in 1947 for $1,000. Mason spent his teen years learning to fly the 8A and obtained his license when he was 21.
Mason first saw the Luscombe 8E he won when he was attending an airshow last summer in Oshkosh, Wis. “I decided I’d like to have another plane like the one I learned on with my father,” he said. “It would keep his memory going.”
Mason, who bought his parents’ home in 2009, said he will also have to make a few modifications to the airstrip in his backyard. “It’ll probably take me about three days to clean it up and a few hours to relearn how to fly it,” said Mason.
Mason also owns a Cessna 180, which he keeps at the Minuteman Airfield.