Mechanic genius rebuilds a vintage Kittyhawk fighter plane in his backyard

‘There was nothing he couldn’t fix.’ B.C.’s Granger Taylor’s passion was restoring old machines.

Granger Taylor, featured in CBC Docs POV film Spaceman, built a spaceship in his backyard, left his family a note telling them he was going on a journey with aliens and then disappeared forever.

He was a skilled mechanic who made his living restoring and building machinery, including a single-cylinder car and an entire steam engine.  “Most of the stuff Granger knew was self- taught, or God-given talent or he was a mechanical genius as far as...being able to look at something, figure out how it worked, take it apart and make it work again,” says Darren Manns, a friend of Taylor’s.

One of his most ambitious projects was restoring a vintage Kittyhawk fighter airplane, used by the Allies against the Japanese in the Second World War.

He had found a section of fuselage, some landing gear, a partial cockpit and an engine lying derelict in the woods. With only photographs as a guide, Taylor rebuilt the entire plane, using repurposed metal signs and hot water heaters.  “Sitting beside the actual factory-built airplane, you’d never know the difference,” says Robert Keller, a childhood friend.

But what happened to Granger’s Kittyhawk? His family solves the mystery during a phone call with Glenn Blackaby from the Dakota Territory Air Museum.

Watch the clip above for the full story.

Watch Spaceman on CBC Docs POV.