Eight years ago, NAAA established the Kenny Hirsch & Brandon Carter S-2A Airplane Restoration Memorial Fund after Air Tractor President Jim Hirsch lost his 20-year-old son, Kenny Hirsch, in an accident. Kenny and his best friend Brandon Carter both lost their lives in a four wheeler-motorbike accident. The memorial fund was created as a special way of honoring Kenny, a budding mechanic, and Brandon by fulfilling a dream project that Kenny, Brandon, Jim Hirsch and a friend, Ricky Ward, had in the works at the time of the accident. Jim had purchased a 1959 Snow Model S-2A Airplane Serial Number 1025 that the quartet was planning on restoring for the National Agricultural Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame in Jackson, Miss. The S-2A was the first production model of the Snow airplane line, designed by Leland Snow. Serial number 1025 was the 25th production Snow plane.
Thousands of dollars’ worth of donations poured in after the memorial fund was announced in memory of Kenny Hirsch and Brandon Carter. A significant amount of work has gone into the restoration project, which is now being overseen by Todd Rumsey, an aircraft restoration specialist in Michigan. Rumsey has repaired, primed and painted the S-2A’s fuselage and tail feathers and is in the process of overhauling all of the components within the fuselage. The tail feathers are recovered and in green. The landing gear, instrument panel and other components are being overhauled.
The finish line is in sight, but a lot more work remains and more funds are needed to finish the job. For example, the wings need repairing, and the S-2A needs a propeller. Once the wings are restored and painted, final assembly will begin. Rumsey will install the wings, begin to attach all of the spray equipment and rig all of the controls. Engine tests, final inspection and test flights are three of the final steps that must be accomplished before Hirsch’s short- and long-term goals can be realized for the S-2A restoration project. “The goal right now is to fly it to Savannah [for NAAA’s convention in 2017],” Hirsch said. “There absolutely is time, and all the pieces are coming together for this to happen. That’s a very, very doable goal.”
While Hirsh is heartened to have Kenny’s name attached to the project, he is committed to seeing it through for the good of the industry. “The important thing is that it gets finished and it gets in the museum,” he said. “The connection is that Kenny was very interested in ag aviation, having spent some time mixing and loading for a local operator, and he was very interested and exciting in working the project and learning more about the mechanisms of aviation and how to work on an airplane.”
Prior to Leland Snow’s death in 2011, Hirsch recalls discussing the restoration project with the founder of Air Tractor. “He thought it was a great idea. He wanted to see it go,” Hirsch said. “I remember that he was enthusiastic about getting it to the NAAA Convention. He thought that that would have been really, really cool. And of course, he won’t see that, but he did want to see it at an NAAA Convention.”
How to Donate
Hirsch estimates that the project will need at least $16,000 to finish the job. To contribute to the S-2A restoration project, please send donations to:
Kenny Hirsch/Brandon Carter S-2A Airplane Restoration Memorial Fund
c/o National Agricultural Aviation Association
1440 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314