Walt built his first airplane in 1949, a Knight Twister from Vernon W. Payne's plans. It was one of only ten at that time. Walt built 15 aircraft before his death in 1996. Five of these were the Fokker DR1, a favourite with many and still one of the most requested set of plans sold. His first triplane (white) can be found in the EAA museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin donated by Robert Fergus. Walt was able to build and test fly all his aircraft except for the last one, a Fokker DVI. Walt's good friend, Steve Wolf, flew this aircraft for the family in September, 1996. This aircraft will be displayed in a museum in the Pittsburgh area.
His great love was WWI aircraft but he had many problems locating plans. His greatest find was Reinhold Platz, who would go on to be his most valued mentor. Reinhold's knowledge of the DRI, as one of the original designers, was a wealth of information that Walt relied on until his death. Plus he sent the original DRI plans, in German, to Walt to ensure his dream of building the DRI would come true. They continued to correspond with the help of a local high school teacher who spoke German until Reinhold's death.
During Walt's life he was able to build 13 additional aircraft and founded Redfern & Son's Custom Aircraft, Inc. He constructed four additional DRI's, two Great Lakes (for family fun), a French Nieuport 24 BIS, Starduster 2, de Havilland DH2, Sopwith Camel, Bucher Jungmeister, Albatros DVa, and a Fokker DVI (only aircraft that Walt was not able to test fly).
Per Walt's request, the family continues to provide two sets of blueprints to the public. Walt also was a great supporter of the EAA. His membership number was 143, showing his early interest in the organization.
1980: Redfern & Sons, Inc., Route 1, Athol, ID 83801, USA.
1995: S-211 Spencer, Post Falls, ID 83854, USA.