Saturday, August 27, 2016

Torrance pilot’s airplane turns into prop for Long Beach Police Dive Team after his death

Torrance resident Malcolm Croxton was recently left with three aircraft hangars full of old plane parts at the Torrance Airport after the recent passing of his friend Willard “Andy” Anderson. He promised his friend of 35 years that he would see to the dispersal of the fuselages and wings plus miscellaneous parts acquired over many years of buying and flipping aircraft. 


Torrance resident Malcolm Croxton was recently left with three aircraft hangars full of old plane parts at the Torrance Airport after the recent passing of his friend Willard “Andy” Anderson. Croxton’s shelves are littered with old gauges. 



In a deathbed deal with his buddy, Malcolm Croxton promised to take care of the small airplanes and parts his friend would leave behind, and deal or donate them to whoever had the cash and desire for the pieces.

His good friend, Willard G. “Andy” Anderson, who kept much of his treasures in storage at the Torrance Municipal Airport, died Aug. 3. Already, Croxton has donated a small aircraft to the Long Beach Police Dive Team, which will be used for training exercises.

“For 30 years or more, he’s been collecting airplanes,” Croxton said. “He had three hangars-full. I cleared two. I’ve sold four or five airplanes.”

Croxton posted many of the items — about 15 aircraft projects and related pieces — on Craigslist. Buyers could pick up twin chainsaw engines, radios, landing gear and mangled wings. Anderson liked to tinker with aircraft, and collect parts from wrecks.

“We used to joke that if an airplane crashed in Southern California, Andy’s there the next day, buying it,” said Croxton, who was Anderson’s mechanic and knew him for about 35 years. “He was a hoarder and a collector, but he did love airplanes. He loved all of them.”

After the Craigslist post, the Long Beach Police Dive Team contacted Croxton and picked up a Parker Jeanie’s Teenie, a one-seat 1960s-era homebuilt aircraft.

“It’s kind of interesting,” Sgt. Steve Smock of the Long Beach Police Department said. “I wanted to get some training props for the dive team, and wanted to get a plane, so I just started clicking around on Craigslist and came across his ad. So we went over there to see what he had.”

Smock has several ideas about how to use the small aircraft for training.

“We could put it in water and have guys find it with sonars, have divers dive on it to lift it,” Smock said. “(We could) put training mannequins in it and pull the mannequins out.”

Croxton continues to deal and donate the airplanes and parts. Picking through some of the stuff at the airport hangars, he recalled the time Anderson, who ran a building supply business, tried to build another one of his aerial contraptions. Anderson was using a car axle to make a helicopter.

“It looked like something that would kill somebody,” said Croxton, a retired fighter jet mechanic.

Croxton said Anderson also had an obsession with electric cars. Anderson battled cancer, but that didn’t stop him from hitching a ride on Croxton’s motorcycle about a year ago.

“He was a real character,” Croxton said.

Source:  http://www.presstelegram.com

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