Dardenne to unveil racing plane replica at Patterson museum

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will unveil an exact replica of the WW-22, a historic racing airplane built in 1932 by Louisiana aviation pioneers Jimmie Wedell and Harry P. Williams, and a newly restored Williams Air Service shop coat at a free, public reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Louisiana State Museum-Patterson.
The unveiling event caps a 35-year effort by Wedell-Williams Memorial Aviation Foundation volunteers and donors to replicate each air racer built by the Patterson-based Wedell-Williams Air Service Company between 1929 and 1933. The WW-22 goes on display with replicas of five other Wedell-Williams aircraft that dominated Depression-era competition flying, as well as photographs, artifacts and an animated film celebrating the Golden Age of Aviation.
“This is a real treat, not only for aviation buffs, but those interested in Louisiana’s role in history,” Dardenne said. “In a partnership with the Louisiana State Museum, the Patterson community has brought a fascinating chapter of Louisiana and world aviation history to life.”
The replica WW-22 was handcrafted by historic aircraft modeler Jim Clevenger of Kissimmee, Fla., who built four other models on exhibit at the Patterson museum — the WW-44, WW-45, WW-92 and WW-121.
The St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce and Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau partnered with the Wedell-Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Foundation to sponsor the reception. The Louisiana State Museum-Patterson is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free.
For more information about the exhibit or the museum, visit www.crt.state.la.us.

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