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Mechanical genius rebuilds a vintage Kittyhawk fighter plane in his backyard

CBC Docs CBC Docs

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Published 1 year ago

‘There was nothing he couldn’t fix.’ B.C.’s Granger Taylor’s passion was restoring old machines. #CBCdocsPOV

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Granger Taylor, featured in CBC Docs POV film Spaceman, built a spaceship in his backyard, left his family a note telling them he was going on a journey with aliens and then disappeared forever.

He was a skilled mechanic who made his living restoring and building machinery, including a single-cylinder car and an entire steam engine. “Most of the stuff Granger knew was self- taught, or God-given talent or he was a mechanical genius as far as...being able to look at something, figure out how it worked, take it apart and make it work again,” says Darren Manns, a friend of Taylor’s.

One of his most ambitious projects was restoring a vintage Kittyhawk fighter airplane, used by the Allies against the Japanese in the Second World War.

He had found a section of fuselage, some landing gear, a partial cockpit and an engine lying derelict in the woods. With only photographs as a guide, Taylor rebuilt the entire plane, using repurposed metal signs and hot water heaters. “Sitting beside the actual factory-built airplane, you’d never know the difference,” says Robert Keller, a childhood friend.

But what happened to Granger’s Kittyhawk? His family solves the mystery during a phone call with Glenn Blackaby from the Dakota Territory Air Museum.

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