Wild Blue Adventure Company
When pilot Christian Kappler launched his business, he didn’t need to advertise. His World War II-era biplane, looping and rolling over the New River Gorge, drew enough interest. But the 1940 Stearman seated only the pilot and one paying passenger – and couples and parent-child pairs wanted to fly together. He and his wife, Cynthia, realized they were missing the chance to wow twice as many customers. Christian found a beautifully rebuilt 1929 Travel Air 4000 for sale, with room for two plus the pilot. An aviation lender, though, rejected their loan application. “Because of the age of the collateral, they would be unable to finance it,” says Christian.
Other West Virginia entrepreneurs recommended The Progress Fund to the Kapplers. The Progress Fund fast-tracked the approval process on a $120,000 loan so the Kapplers could get the Travel Air in service before the tourist season ended.
People traveling Route 19 might not notice Fayetteville, but few can ignore the airborne symbol of Americana that is The City of Fayetteville, as the Travel Air is now named. “They end up taking an airplane ride,” says Christian. “And they see this unfold:” people rafting, climbing, enjoying history, sampling one of America’s coolest towns. “Subsequent to that, they end up planning a trip or an adventure weekend in West Virginia.”View Story as PDF »