There will be a little bit of Effingham County in Paris.
FedEx has retired an airplane bearing the name of an Ebenezer Elementary School student, Chad “Bud” McDaniel, and the delivery giant has donated the Boeing 727 to the Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget Airport outside of Paris.
Dating back to its inception in 1973, FedEx has drawn names submitted by its employees for its aircraft. McDaniel’s name was chosen in 1996.
His parents were working for FedEx at the time. His mother Aimee McDaniel no longer works for FedEx, and her former boss told her Bud’s plane was being retired.
The younger McDaniel has never seen the plane named after him.
“He knew there was one,” Aimee McDaniel said. “He knew about it growing up. He was so young, he didn’t know much about it.”
Even the McDaniels, when they worked for FedEx, didn’t get to see the plane named for Bud.
“The one and only time it brought freight to Savannah, we were on vacation in the Florida Keys,” Aimee McDaniel said.
The McDaniels did get a picture of “Bud” at the Savannah airport, 10 minutes before it was to take off, getting a Polaroid from a camera to take pictures for employee identification badges.
But his grandmother and grandfather, also FedEx employees based in Memphis, saw the plane on a regular basis.
The McDaniels looked up the plane on a Fed Ex Web site.
“He said, ‘Does that make me famous?’” Aimee McDaniel said her son asked at that time.
The plane was in service for 18 years and will become a part of the exhibition on the history of express transport. It was donated to the French Air and Space Museum. The donation of “Bud” ends FedEx’s airplane retirement plans.
Thirty-five planes have been given to aviation museums and other institutions, and “Bud” is FedEx’s first international donation.
Le Bourget also is home to two retired Concordes, the supersonic passenger jets, and was where Charles Lindbergh landed on his solo transAtlantic flight in 1927. The airports is used primarily for business jets and air shows.
“At least we have a reason to go to Paris now,” Aimee McDaniel said.