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Odessans gathered to view the Pliska Aeroplane at a July 4, 1912, celebration . John W. Pliska, who built the plane, was a blacksmith in Midland, Texas. He and his assistant Gray Coggin, hauled the plane to Odessa in a wagon.

Glenn Justice; Author of "Odessa, An Illustrated History" added the following information.

In preparation for the exhibition, Odessans cleared mesquite from along the road leading to Andrews. Pliska taxied down this makeshift runway several times, but the roughness of the road surface and the low humidity made it impossible to fly more than a few feet off the ground in short hops. Seems the weather was quite warm this forth of July and the plane had difficulty getting off the ground. Hot weather and light air; go together you know. Well, the local folks that had paid hard cash to see their first airplane fly were very unhappy about all this and were very vocal about it. When Pliska ended the attempt, several cowboys who had paid admission to see the exhibition demanded their money back and a rather ugly crowd scene developed. What did Pliska do?

The story goes; he loaded the plane back in the wagon that night and return home, dismantled the craft and stored it in the rafters of his shop. Pliska's airplane remained in the shop until workers demolished the building in 1962, at which time the Pliska family donated it to the City of Midland. The old biplane is presently on exhibit at the Midland International Airport.

The airplane flew quite well under good conditions; but this was one of those days, when the hot light air wouldn't sustain a flight. The plane never reached any major altitude, but did quite well for it's self in its time. Courtesy, Permian Historical Society Archival Collection.

This same plane is on display at Midland, Odessa, International Airport today.

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Last Updated: Saturday, April 19, 1998