The first Fairchild Cornells were delivered to Canada under the Lend Lease Program on July 9, 1942, and became the primary trainer aircraft for WW 11 pilots. They were manufactured at the Fairchild Factory in Hagerstown, MD, and flown to Canada. Later, they were manufactured in Canada under license. The Canadians made a few modifications to better suit the climate, including a canopy, cockpit heater, starter assist oil dilution system, fire extinguisher system, first aid kit, a large floor compass, signal lights, flare gun, and other enhancements. By war's end, over 1550 PT-26-S had been accepted into service by the RCAF, and continued in service as late as May 4th, 1948.
This PT 26 was found in a barn in original war time condition after sitting for nearly 50 years. The original owner, Mr. Art Dobias, purchased it for $893 at Fargo, ND, upon his return from WW 11 as a B-17 waist gunner on Sept. 17, 1946. After flying it a little, he put it in the barn where it stayed until Oct of 1996, when he finally agreed to sell it so that it could be restored to original condition and appreciated by many more viewers.
Since it was in totally original condition, it was a rare find and it has been preserved in that condition to this day it was restored by Joe and Mark Denest of West Chester, PA, and was once again ready to fly in July of 1998, after some 22 months of restoration, and now is one of the Golden Wings’ operational aircraft.