Alliance Argo Airplane is a Rare Gem

One of only twenty ever built, the Alliance Argo was the first non-combat aircraft sturdy enough to perform an outside loop. If you don’t know, that is a vertical loop done with the pilot on the outside of the loop and the airplanes wheel on the inside.

King-Keeley Argo

King-Keeley Argo

The Argo was built by the Alliance Aircraft Corporation in Alliance, Ohio. The company was started by brothers Adrian and Aubrey Hess in 1928. The Argo we have on display at the Ohio History Center is being used as a blueprint to restore another Argo that’s been in storage since shortly after World War II.

Mary and George, along with their friend David made the long trip from Massachusetts to Columbus to examine OHS’s Argo. Mary and David are both certified Federal Aviation Administration airplane mechanics and Mary’s husband, George, is a pilot. Mary explained to me that her Argo was originally purchased by Roy Keeley who worked as a pilot in Taunton, Massachusetts. He was living as a boarder with the King Family and ended up in a partnership with Henry King forming the King-Keeley Aircraft Corporation. They are listed as airplane manufacturers, but it is unclear whether they actually produced an airplane of their own, or what was the Argo’s purpose.

In 1935 the King-Keeley Corporation was dissolved, probably a casualty of the Great Depression. The Argo became the property of Mr. King and the plaything of his children Everett, 18, and Ora, 19. Everett and Ora flew the Argo regularly until after World War II when they were in a serious crash and their Argo was badly damaged.

Our visitors measuring the Argo on the museum floor.

Our visitors measuring the Argo on the museum floor.

Mary made contact with Everett years ago to view his Argo with the intention of creating a copy of the plane. Very generously he gave the remains of his Argo to Mary and her project turned from reproducing an airplane to restoring one. She, David, and George carefully photographed the Society’s Argo and took detailed measurements of many parts in order to facilitate reconstructing their own. Mary said that once the Argo is finished she would love to fly it back to Alliance, Ohio. After that she and George will take it to as many shows as possible so lots of people can enjoy the Argo. We here at OHS wish her luck good and clear skies.

Cameron Wood, History Curator

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