May 12, 2021
PERU, Ill., April 30, 2021 – It’s a love story that spans nine decades and involves a one-of-its-kind 1929 Travel Air Model 10-D airplane.
Hermann Carus, Inga Carus’ great uncle, was an early adopter of aviation. His first plane was a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny biplane purchased in the mid-1920s. In August 1930, he purchased a new 1929 Travel Air Model 10-D for $5,500. At that time the Travel Air was considered to be a luxurious executive aircraft – the Cadillac of the Air. Hermann owned and flew the airplane out of the old Peru airport until he sold it in 1942.
Originally registered as NC418N, that very same Travel Air has now made it full circle by returning to the family hometown of Peru where the love for aviation- and for this specific aircraft – continues today.
“We were doing some research and discovered this plane was in a private air museum in Eagles Mere, Pa.,” said Peter Limberger, husband of Inga Carus. “We contacted George Jenkins, the owner of the museum and inquired about purchasing it. The Carver Aero team and I visited the museum in September 2020 to see and hear the stories of George’s large collection of very rare aircraft from the 1920s and 30s. NC418N is the only surviving Travel Air 10-D of the 11 which were produced in Kansas before the Great Depression took its toll on the aircraft industry.”
“I have never sold an airplane in my collection,” said Jenkins, “But Peter had a very compelling story of bringing the airplane back to its original home and to the Carus family.”
Although a deal was made in November 2020, Limberger had to wait until spring to fly the aircraft to Illinois. “It’s been fully restored to a high quality and is flyable; it has its original wicker chair pattern. It is a precious piece of aviation history and local history without the modern equipment of today. We wanted to have stable weather conditions to bring it home,” said Limberger.
The Travel Air company was founded 1925 by the 3 important aviation pioneers Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna and Lloyd Stearman and they build many types of airplanes; each of the founders later created their own companies. Despite its limited production, the Model 10-D had a niche in aviation history. Joseph Juptner wrote in U.S. Civil Aircraft, Vol. 3 that “from a casual comparison of the two, it is easy to see that the Model 10 laid the groundwork for the Model 15 Curtiss-Wright ‘Sedan’ that was developed a year or so later.”
The hunter green and beige vintage NC418N Travel Air, with a height of 8-feet 8-inches and a wingspan of 43-feet 6-inches stands out on the flight line is scheduled to arrive in Peru on May 1. While based at the Illinois Valley Regional Airport (KVYS) in Peru, it will be touring the Midwest to promote aviation.
“This is a beautiful airplane,” said Inga Carus. “It’s a great treasure to have back in Peru and in the family.”
The love of aviation continues in the Carus family. Inga Carus and Limberger are founders of CL Enterprises, the family holding company for the aviation company Carver Aero, operating several locations in the Midwest.
About Carver Aero
Owned by CL Enterprises, Carver Aero (www.carveraero.com) has fixed-base operations in Muscatine, Davenport and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Carver Aero provides corporate and general aviation services in Iowa, including charter flights, corporate pilot services, airplane maintenance, flight training, fuel services, and aircraft storage. An aviation leader in the Midwest, Carver Aero is positioned to capture growth and is presently expanding in more locations.
About CL Enterprises
Peru, Illinois-based CL Enterprises (www.cl-enterprises.com) is the family office for businesses owned by wife and husband Inga Carus and Peter Limberger. CLE invests in businesses in a variety of industries including farming, manufacturing, real estate development, hospitality and aviation, with a focus on economic development in smaller Midwestern towns. Both are avid pilots.