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Building full-scale model of Huff Daland Duster, 2013-14
Building full-scale model of Huff Daland Duster, 2013-14

Huff Daland Duster (Replica) 

Project

Delta Flight Museum Aircraft Manager Art Arace led the project to build a full-scale model of a Huff Daland Duster to add to the fleet of historic aircraft at the Delta Flight Museum. Within nine months, Art and his team of staff and volunteers built the Duster from concept drawings to final assembly, by hand.

Link with Delta's Beginnings

The Huff-Daland Duster, nicknamed the "Puffer," was the the first aircraft specifically designed for crop dusting in 1924.  The crop duster goes back to Delta's beginnings.  

A fleet of these aircraft were operated by a division of Huff Daland Airplanes, Inc., called Huff Daland Dusters, which was the world's first aerial crop-dusting company and the predecessor of Delta Air Lines. A group of investors purchased Huff Daland Dusters in 1928, renamed the company Delta Air Service and began passenger service in 1929. Delta continued to operate a crop-dusting division until 1966.

Inspiration

Today, there are two original Dusters remaining in museums. One was restored by Delta employees in honor of Delta's principal founder C.E. Woolman, and donated to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in 1968. It is currently on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The second Duster is on exhibit at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama.  

When an original wasn’t available, Art Arace, a retired Delta Aviation Maintenance Technician, decided he would construct a full-scale model of a Huff-Daland Duster to add to the fleet of historic aircraft at the newly-renovated Delta Flight Museum in 2014.

Art used a set of detailed drawings of the plane and original photos for reference. “The prop, the wheels and the engine were the only things I didn’t have to make by hand,” Art said, noting he purchased the rest of the materials at a local home improvement store near where he lives. 

Delta's Technical Graphics department replicated the original logo painted on the side of the fuselage. The Duster's logo features Thor, the Norse god of thunder, war and agriculture, symbolizing the fight against the boll weevil insect destroying the cotton field of the southern United States in the 1920s.

Art said he wanted to build the Duster model for the Delta Flight Museum because he believes it’s essential to Delta’s history. “I’ve often felt like I was stepping back into time to bring the Museum into the future,” said Art. “I want people to be able to see what really represents the plane that started Delta.”

Building full-scale model of Huff Daland Duster, 2013-14
Building full-scale model of Huff Daland Duster, 2013-14
Building full-scale model of Huff Daland Duster, 2013-14
Building full-scale model of Huff Daland Duster, 2013-14