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By Ralph Bennett, EAA 879656
In the summer of 2016, Bill Walker, owner of Golden Isles Aviation and project organizer, approached the membership of EAA Chapter 905, the Paul Redfern chapter, located in St. Simons Island, Georgia, to see if it would take on the restoration of Barney Oldfield’s historic Baby Lakes airplane. The airplane, serial No. 2, was first designed in 1950 and was built by Barney Oldfield himself in 1960. It is a scaled-down version of the Great Lakes Sport Trainer.
In the ’60s, Barney thrilled crowds with his aerobatic performances in this airplane throughout the Midwest. The airplane ended up as a static display in the Western North Carolina Air Museum.
Bill Walker was building a new FBO at McKinnon airport (KSSI) and wanted to display this airplane in the lobby of this new facility. The restoration, led by Steve Gray, EAA 9018530, was completed in about six months thanks to the team of 36 Chapter 905 EAA members who worked on the project.
The restored Baby Lakes now hangs proudly from the ceiling in the new Golden Isles Aviation facility at McKinnon airport. It is on loan from the Western North Carolina Aviation Museum.