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Kip Powick

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Scrapped planes get new life

Handmade pens sell for about $70 each

Ken Davidson, CEO of Murfreesboro-based Science Flight, and Tom Bennington, president of Smyrna-based Max Power Aerospace, believe they have a product that will soar -- airplane pens.

They are taking stainless steel hydraulic lines from scrapped airliners and making ballpoint pens that sell for about $70.

Davidson markets the pens and Bennington scraps airliners and provides the tubing to a Smyrna machine shop, Tangent Industries, that assembles the pens.

They've sold about 100 since opening for business nearly two months ago. But they have their sights set high.

"By the end of 1999, I'd like to have at least 20,000 of them sold," says Davidson.

Each pen -- called Transponder One -- comes in a wooden box enscribed with the type of airliner the hydraulic tubing came from, how many air miles and hours the plane flew, when it was built and its purchase price. The pens typically are made of tubing from a Boeing 707, 727, 737 or 747, or a McDonnell Douglas DC-8.

They count among those sold an order for 25 pens from Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. They are trying to make them from one of the first Southwest Boeing 737s in service when the company started in 1971. The plane is still flying with Denver-based low-fare carrier Frontier Airlines. The parts will be available after the plane comes in for maintenance.

They also have an order for 20 pens from Nashville-based Corporate Express Airlines.

Davidson got the pens stocked in five Nashville-area jewelry stores: Batey's in Murfreesboro and Franklin; Mullins Jewelry and Appleton's in Murfreesboro; The Crown and The Rose in Lebanon; and Uptown's Smoke Shop in Nashville.

"We're always looking for unique gifts and items you really can't find anywhere else," says Uptown's Stacy Harmon.

Perhaps you could find a "trashed" DC10 and put a smile on our resident Appleton lovers face biggrin.gif

PS....find me the tubing from a CAI T-Rex with all the data , hours. etc and let me know. I'll look after getting one made for myself.

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Guest CabinDweller

Hi Kip,

a while ago Mitch was soliciting ideas - or just wondering out loud - what he might enjoy keeping from a retired DC10 (what was left of it). I've since seen someone from our IT department walking around with a funky looking circuit board from an older computer that he fitted with a spring loaded catch at the top and uses it as a clip board. Circuit boards from decades ago may not be as smooth or sleek with gold and the other alloys showing, but it's a neat idea.

My father still wears sandals made in Mexico 23 years ago out of tire.

Trader could use some of that leather from those old seats for logbook covers.

Young kids could wear hats and mitts made out of cockpit seat sheer their grandfather sat on years earlier.

What about a nightlight made out of a fire handle?

A business-card holder crafted out of skin with the original 'colors' showing is unique. wink.gif

Only limited by our imagination.


PS. If approaching an a/c, tin snips in hand and a glint in my eye, would I be stopped?

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Damn, we've being doing that for years, you get the right size line and a bic refill fits right in, had we only known there'd be money in it.

I'll see what I can do to find out when and who will be scrapping the next T-Rex, if I can find a contact I'll forward it to you.


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