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JOHN NORMAN

John has always had his eyes to the sky.  As a kid he built "toy" airplanes that he and his friends could play in. During High School he took an Aeronautics class and soloed at age 16.

 

In his Navy days he was trained as an aircraft mechanic, working primarily on the Lockheed Orion P-3 "Sub-Chasers".

 

John built his first airworthy plane in the early 80's (a 1933 Pietenpol Aircamper) and that was the beginning of his career building, restoring and re-creating aircraft of all shapes and sizes all around the world...

​During his tenure at United Airlines he performed modifications to the Boeing 747 and worked on countless other models in United's fleet (Boeing 737s, DC-10s, Lockheed L1011 TriStars...)

When John happened to acquire two Stearman biplane projects, it was inevitable that they'd spawn his first business--building Stearman wings. Upon leaving United, he built a shop and expanded the business to include maintenance and restoration of General Aviation aircraft.  He's worked on just about every make of small, single-engine aircraft made, but his favorites have always been the ones wrapped in fabric, dragging their tails behind them!

In 1994 during vacation in southern Arizona, he visited an Army Intelligence Base and "accidentally" got a job...

A civilian contracting company on the base made him responsible for maintaining a fleet of Blackhawk and Huey helicopters as well as their Skymaster 337 and O-2 fixed wing aircraft. 

A couple years later, John led a team of mechanics as they installed Satellite Communications systems in the newly acquired Boeing 767s for Al-Italia airlines in Rome and London.

 

After returning to the U.S. he took on the 'Director of Maintenance' title for a company headquartered in Everett, Washington where he gained even more experience on a variety of multi-engine aircraft including the Beech-18 and 99, C-46, DC-3 and the Swearingen Metroliner.


Through his close association with the FAA, John learned of another opportunity...

This time restoration of a private collection of vintage aircraft.  He became responsible for maintaining a variety of airworthy, historic aircraft including a: Curtiss Jenny, P-40 Tomahawk, Feiseler Storch, Hawker Hurricane, Illyushin II, Polykarpov Rata, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang and more.  He also oversaw the partial restoration of a Boeing B-17E.

 

John most recently retired (after a 12-year-stint) from the Boeing Company where he was a Pre-Flight and Delivery Inspector for the 787 Dreamliner.

 

Even though he was working for other employers through the years, he has continued to work in his own shop during his "off" hours.  In 2003 he purchased the partial wreckage of 3-Hawker Hurricanes salvaged in Russia.  After spending more than 9,000 hours over 9 years, restoring the Hawker Hurricane AM274, John sold the project in order to make room for the project he has always wanted to build:

the Definitive Reproduction Spirit of St. Louis.