Historic biplane landing at Fort Vancouver NHS in 2016

A rare 1919 DeHavilland DH-4B “Liberty” biplane is a few years away from becoming a prized possession of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, according to a statement posted Wednesday on the National Park Service website.

A contract between the NPS and Century Aviation of Wenatchee for the purchase and restoration of the plane was signed in September. The plane will be on exhibit at the park’s Pearson Air Museum and Jack Murdock Aviation Center, but isn’t likely to be restored and delivered until 2016.

NPS funds and donations were used to purchase the plane, according the statement.

The statement says, “The airplane’s paint scheme will replicate that of the Liberty flown by Lt. Oakley Kelly, the first commanding officer of the Army Air Service’s 321st Observation Squadron, which was based at Pearson Field from 1923 to 1941. Kelly famously flew his Liberty aircraft in an impromptu race at Pearson Field against a Ryan M-1 single wing mail plane in 1926, and also used it to pilot Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker back over his migration route to Dayton, Ohio, in 1924.”