YouTuber attempts to make 1920s Harley-Davidson powered airplane fly

Will it fly?
  • The Wheels Through Time museum had an old 1920s airplane with a Harley engine
  • They also have a YouTube channel, where they tried to take the plane for a spin
  • They put the plane back together and did some engine maintenance


Published on Apr 27, 2024 at 5:11PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 29, 2024 at 4:13PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Daksh Chaudhary

Would you fly a 1920s Harley-Davidson powered airplane if you found it in decent condition?

It might not sound like the most sensible thing ever, but the folks from Dale’s Wheels Through Time Museum in North Carolina weren’t worried about that.

Originally started by founder Dale Walksler, the museum is now run by his son, Matt, and houses relics dating back several decades.

READ MORE: Inside the groundbreaking Celera 500L aircraft surpassing SUVs in efficiency

They also have a YouTube channel and attempted to make a 1920s airplane with a Harley-Davidson engine fly.

That’s right – a plane from the 1920s, with a Harley-Davidson engine.

Some might say the plane should stay in a museum, but the YouTuber took it out of the garage for a spin.

You can get a mansion that comes with a Harley-Davidson, but not a classic plane with an HD engine – they’re much more rare.

The plane had been sitting on a table in a garage for quite a while, so Matt was skeptical if it would even work.

The age-old airplane has a wingspan of 26 feet, making it a compact and light single-engine aircraft.

When the crew finally managed to bring it out of the garage by disassembling the wings, they put it back together.

That’s when Matt said, “This thing is in incredible condition.”

Now, that’s a bold statement right there.

Explaining the custom-built airplane’s story, he mentioned that a 20-year-old man built the plane in 1927.

The young man entered a contest for airplane blueprints and won, receiving a $100 bonus.

Later, he proceeded to build the plane himself, and this 1927 HD-powered light plane is the result of that work.

The original builder chose a V-Twin Harley-Davidson engine to power the plane, which is still what resides in the core to this day.

When the YouTuber did routine engine maintenance, including changing the oil and checking the electricals, it was time to turn it on.

They began by putting the plane on ignition, and manually rotating the propellor to give it a jump-start when the key was flipped.

And – spoiler alert – it started, with the propellor rotating.

That’s a remarkable achievement, even if they don’t manage to fly it.

It would certainly beat this 747 sitting in a boneyard with no engines attempting to fly.

After a few more safety checks, they tried to ‘taxi it’ by moving it on their makeshift runway.

The plane succeeded in that, too.

However, the channel is called Wheels Through Time – not Wings Through Time.

The plane needs more work to be actually able to fly, and Matt believes that this 1927 custom plane with a Harley-Davidson engine can undoubtedly go in the air.

How long will it stay in the air? Guess we will have to wait to find out.

Hopefully it can do it all safely, though.

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