Swansea man builds biplane in tribute to father, grandfather

SWANSEA, Ill. - Hobbies come in all forms: golf, photography, or cooking. For an Illinois man, it's building an airplane. And the word "hobby" doesn't quite do it justice.

Tom Braun Jr. has spent anywhere from 15 to 20 years of painstaking work assembling a Steen Skybolt biplane. It's the same plane Tom's grandfather—a World War II pilot—built, and the same plane both Tom and his father (Tom Sr.) were riding in when it crashed in 1985.

Tom was seriously injured but would eventually recover; the crash claimed his father's life.

If you're wondering why it's taking Tom Braun so long, he works on the biplane in his spare time. And he's not using a kit. He's building the entire airplane, piece by piece.


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