Many of those surprised to see such a low-flying aircraft at exit 189 along Interstate 90 at Sundance, Wyoming, at first fear it’s coming in for a crash landing. Then they notice the pole.
The beautifully restored early 1950s Beechcraft Twin Bonanza isn’t crashing or flying. It’s permanently affixed atop that 70-foot pole as a testament to vintage aircraft and Wyoming’s famous winds.
It’s the Quaal Windsock.
The twin-engine plane has a wingspan of 45 feet and is 31 feet long, and with its bright yellow fuselage, red accents and “Quaal” printed down the side, is more than an oddity. It’s engineered to swivel into the wind. If you look closely, you’ll even see its propellers spinning freely.
It’s the brainchild of Sundance residents Mick and Jean Quaal, who spent about $200,000 fixing up the plane, then having it put on the pole with an industrial crane in 2014.
How It Got There
A YouTube video posted nine years ago shows the process of erecting the Quaal Windsock. A group of onlooks watch as a construction crane hoists the plane into place on top of a reinforced 70-foot pole.
Multiple angles show the process from different perspectives, including from the top of the crane looking down on the plane. From underneath, workers bolt the undercarriage of the Beechcraft to the swivel mechanism.
‘It’s Pretty Neat’
“The only think I know about it is the rancher was a pilot and he likes planes, so he put it out there,” said Jeanett Wolff, supervisor at the Northeast Wyoming Welcome Center in Sundance. “It’s pretty neat twirling in the wind.”
She doesn’t remember exactly when it went up, but said that it’s been long enough for locals to not really notice it as an oddity anymore.
“We don’t even notice it there now right there along I-90,” she said.
Multiple calls to the Quaals weren’t answered, but Sundance locals say Mick has a reputation as former railroad man and pilot. Before the plane went up, he had a couple of railroad cabooses out for people to see, said Wolff.
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