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VIDEO: Rebuilding 90-year-old aircraft part of Bob Parr's passion

'If I was paid for it, it would be a job and I would hate it. It's a great hobby' - Bob Parr on his labour of love at the Bushplane Museum.

Model airplanes have been a lifelong passion for Bob Parr.

As a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Model Airplane Radio Control Club, Parr has honed his skills over the years, and is now applying that knowledge to actual flying aircraft. 

Currently, Parr is in the process of repairing and refinishing a KR-34 Fairchild.

The methods and materials used on the plane in the past have not quite withstood the test of time.

"Originally it was covered with cotton, which, over a period of five to 10 years, rots," Parr, who is now resurfacing the plane in a material similar to polyester, said. 

Although he expects the process to be complete in about a year, the plane will not be officially unveiled until 2024 during the 100th anniversary of what is now the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. 

Bushplane Museum executive director Dan Ingram provided some added history on the plane and its significance to the history of aviation-based firefighting. 

Built in 1929, the Ontario Provincial Air Service acquired it in 1931. Between 1938 and 1944, it was stationed in  Temagami and used as a survey craft to monitor the park.

In the mid-1940s it was used as one of the first water bombers.

Bomber pilots returning from the war used the skills they had acquired overseas, experimenting with putting out fires.

After some trial and error they came up with a design that was found to be very useful in the fight against forest fires.

This innovation in the field of firefighting eventually led manufacturing of modern water bombers around the world which utilize basically the same strategies they came up with in the 40s. 

Ingram called the Fairchild, "a piece were very proud of."

When the Fairchild was first in operation, the Provincial Air Services were operating out of the hangar that is currently home to the Bushplane Museum, making the return somewhat of a homecoming.

"This plane is exemplary of what kinds of innovations happened in this facility for the last almost 100 years," Ingram said.