In this video posted on YouTube, Fantasy of Flight founder Kermit Weeks spoke vaguely about the “visit” from Howard Hughes that led to his latest acquisition for his Fantasy of Flight attraction in Polk City, Florida. It’s Howard Hughes’ personal transport, a 1937 Sikorsky S-43 amphibian, the only one of 53 built that could possibly be made airworthy. Hughes’ passengers included Greta Garbo and Rita Hayworth, and the eccentric entrepreneur last flew the airplane in 1952, when he parked it at Houston Hobby Airport and placed it under armed guard.
Though Weeks had hoped to ferry the ultra-rare flying boat back from Houston, the video shows him discovering enough corrosion and weakened fabric that it just did not make sense to pour time and money into patching it up, only to later completely disassemble it for a full restoration. So it will make the trip to Florida by truck.
Standing in front of the late aviator’s former airplane, Weeks explained to news crews, “Howard came to me … let’s just say in a dream. He said he was going to help me get the airplane.”
Weeks also stood on camera and looked skyward, saying, “Thank you, Howard!”