My father,s 1934 Cessna Airmaster

In the background is the PA-12 N2666M. This photo was taken about 1952 at Greenville Miss.

This Airmaster, N17051, was the first aircraft my father owned. He purchased it damaged from Red Bagget of Vicksburg, Miss for $150. As the story goes, the Airmaster was flown down to Vicksburg by the previous owner. After Red paid for the aircraft, he gave the previous owner a ride back to Memphis. On the return flight to Vicksburg, Red ran out of gas near Clarkdale Miss. The forced landing took out the gears, as well as, causing some fuselage damage. The prop was useable; however, the salvage crew used it for a pry bar and cracked it. As it turns out, this was only the second flight for Red Bagget and his Airmaster. Originally, Ed had offered $450 for it; however, a useless prop decreased the purchase price significantly! My father still has the cracked prop.

After my father acquired the Airmaster, he moved it from the crash site to Greenville. He repaired the fuselage damage by removing the bent gear and taking it to a foundry to be straightened. The gear was welded in along with box gussets and a repaired lower longeron. He also recovered the fuselage and painted it blue with white trim and yellow pin stripes; the wings remained red. Before my father acquired this Airmaster, it had been modified; the fin and rudder had been replaced with larger ones from a later model. In addition, the landing gear had been replaced with a wider one from a C-36.

My father only flew it three or four times, as we had to move to Florida because Graham Air Force Base was relocated from Greenville to Marianna in 1953. Ed had to leave the Airmaster in Greenville; an instructor who made several trips back and forth ferried the Airmaster to Marianna. Eventually, Ed traded the Airmaster for a pickup truck to Grady Montgomery of Jackson, Tenn.

Airmaster N17051 1970

Airmaster N17051 1987

Airmaster N17051 1987

Sometime during 2007 I located the current owner, Ben Runyan, of Vancouver, WA. As it tuned out, Ben had known Red Bagget and knew he had wrecked a Airmaster, but he did not know it was the one he now owned.

In March 2009 I found this Airmaster for sale on Barnstormers. Asking price is $65,000.

Unfortunately, Ben Runyan and his son were killed in a YAK-52 crash on Aug 28, 2008.