Mysterious aircraft found on site of future Aviation Museum of SP

December 24, 2004
Santa Paula News

Federal Aviation Agency investigators are still trying to determine who left an antique – and highly unique - aircraft on land just east of the Santa Paula Airport.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesFederal Aviation Agency investigators are still trying to determine who left an antique – and highly unique - aircraft on land just east of the Santa Paula Airport. Found on property dedicated to the future Aviation Museum of Santa Paula, the aircraft is highly unusual, according to the FAA source, who asked that his identity not be revealed due to the “unusual nature” of the discovery.“It doesn’t have an engine but has an open cockpit, doesn’t have a propeller but at times just jumps up and hovers in the air, doesn’t have a radio but our inspectors kept hearing a faint ‘Ho, ho, ho!’ when they were examining it. It’s weird although we all have the feeling we’ve seen this type of aircraft before, but we just can’t think of when or how. It also has a strong smell – like animals of some sort - along what looks like a long harness. We did find the tip of an antler, at least one of the inspectors said he thought it was an antler, on the ground next to the aircraft.”Janice Dickenson said she discovered the aircraft when she visited the property to “dream about the new Aviation Museum. I like to visit the site and sit there a while thinking about what we’re trying to create and how supportive the community has been. Suddenly, there was this, this, well thing gently falling from the sky. No hard landing though…it just plopped down. I also heard a faint ‘Ho, ho, ho!’ followed by ‘Merry Christmas!’ It was a very happy tone of voice, jolly I’d say.”Other members of the airport community have been examining the aircraft, and plans have already been launched to restore it, said Doug Dullenkopf of Screaming Eagle Aircraft. “Since it just appeared out of nowhere the FAA said just to keep it. It needs some paint,” noted Dullenkopf. “Mike Dewey has already been tightening some of the wood screws…I’m not sure what the heck it is but it’s obviously very old.”
“It’s the hovering that makes me a little nervous, but it seems to be in fine shape, although hundreds, maybe thousands of years old,” noted Dewey. “It’s funny, although creepy to a certain degree – I mean things like this just don’t fall, float down actually, out of the sky – working on it and seeing it has given everyone great joy. It’s a real upper, but just why nobody can say.”“I have a theory, although it’s pretty wild,” said Dickenson. “I noticed a very, very similar aircraft in the sky right before this came down. In fact, it was identical but looked brand new, all shiny and bright. There was a portly man driving the thing and – now this part may sound unbelievable – it was fueled by what looked like seven reindeer. They were hauling this older one…”Under relentless questioning Dickenson did admit that the “portly man,” described by others as wearing a red velvet suit and hat with long white hair and a fur collar snuggled under his full white beard and fur cuffs above his black books, did “land, but only briefly” at the airport. “He ran into CP Aviation and bought a copy of the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula Cookbook and asked if he could reserve tickets to the 75th airport anniversary party this summer.”According to an anonymous source, the jolly man in red did more than that: “I was getting ready to take off in my Cessna and this guy stops by, says his name is Nick, and that the aircraft he dropped over on the museum property is a present. He knows all about the new museum and says that the aircraft is very old and would be a great attraction. It’s a present for Santa Paula, one of his very favorite places, this guy says to me. ‘Santa Paula, there’s just something about that name!’ Then he winks, chuckles and chuckles, goes ‘Ho, ho, ho!’, lays his finger along the side of his nose and disappears! The next thing I know he’s in the sky flying away in a similar aircraft… talk about a take-off!”

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