Friday, February 13, 2015

Don Keeney: Retired Bettendorf High School history teacher shares his model airplane collection

BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) — A retired Bettendorf High School history teacher says World War I marks a great transition. The war brought about the birth of aerial warfare. Don Keeney enjoys building model airplanes, and has dozens of open cockpit planes on display at the Bettendorf Public Library.

The planes are replicas of those flown by fighter pilots in the First World War. Keeney buys the kits, assembles the models, and does his research. He is a wealth of knowledge about the planes, pilots and squadrons. The detail and decals are impressive.

Planes which changed the way war was fought. Guns mounted on open cockpit planes. Pilots, Keeney says, shooting at the enemy to gain control of the air.

In his collection, Keeney built a model of the plane Captain Eddie Rickenbacker flew during the First World War. As a fighter pilot, Rickenbacker shot down twenty six enemy planes.

Keeney also built a model of the fighter plane flown by the Red Baron. Germany’s ace pilot who shot down eighty enemy planes.

Included in the collection at the library is the helmet Don’s great uncle wore while serving in the war. The helmet is painted with the French and American Flags. Keeney also has his great uncle’s gas mask bag. Poison gas was used during the war.

Keeney builds other model planes and ships. Preserving part of American History. The collection is on display at the Bettendorf Public Library through the end of February.

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