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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

I recently had the opportunity to see one of the rarest airplanes in the entire world. George Rice showed me an old Boeing FB-5 plane that he has spent the last 10 years restoring.

The airplane is the oldest Boeing product to be in flyable condition and was one of the first airplanes designed to take off of an aircraft carrier. It was built in 1927. Only 26 of the planes were ever built, and Riceís plane had 173 flight hours when the Navy decommissioned it.

George is doing something that has been a passion since he was a little boy. In the 1930s, during the Depression he couldnít afford model airplane kits that other kids used. He was one of 12 children, and so he had to buy pieces of balsa wood and designed and made his own models. He always loved and was fascinated by those flying machines.

He had additional opportunities to be around planes when he worked in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Stints in the Navy and then with North American Aviation helped him become skilled as a template layout expert. One day the company sent out a skill survey form that was to be completed by each employee. George told his wife that he didnít know what to put on the survey. He had no college education. He had no real experience other than his hobby work with airplanes. But his wife made him complete the form and emphasize his hobby and skills with airplanes. Soon he was contacted by some engineers in the company who told him he should be an engineer and they soon had him designing models. He has been designing and building airplanes ever since.

When George started the FB-5 he was given only the engine and an assortment of other parts, but it was enough to have it certified by the Smithsonian. So, after those few parts and lots of fabrication and hours and hours of creative labor, the plane is ready for a buyer. The cost?? $1.75 million.

For Zions Bank, Iím Fred Ball. Iím speaking on business.

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