WWII veteran collects, restores, sells artifacts
January 30, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Karl Lau was 19 years old when he flew missions in the South Pacific off the aircraft carrier Lexington during World War II.
He pays tribute to that memory with his store On Final Approach, located in Glenview, Ill., which is full of artifacts from the war.
"This is a place where you can see old artifacts, pictures and everything. It's a collection of old prints that pilots have signed. We have books... everything," Lau said.
Lau, 86, flew 12 missions in the U.S. Navy's Corsair fighter. Now that plane's cockpit, about four-fifths actual size, lives again thanks to Lau.
"This is a mockup of a Corsair fighter. All the instruments here were taken out of a real Corsair. And everything is operational here. The gun works... the compass works," he said.
Lau's collection is more than 60 years old. At first, he picked up artifacts for his own satisfaction. But as the years went by, he turned it into a business. Now he collects to buy, fix up and sell.
"It comes out of garages, old plants that used to manufacture parts for airplanes, the junkyards out west in Arizona," Lau said.
The most unusual item at On Final Approach is a B-17 Flying Fortress mint-condition prop.
"The B-17 had four of these," Lau said. He said he'd sell it for about $7,000.
Lau is in good health but admits he's also on his own final approach.
"My flaps are down. My wheels are down, and I'm back on idle," Lau said. "When I land I will taxi over to the hangar and cut the engine and say, 'Mission accomplished.'"
On Final Approach
2032 Lehigh Road
Glenview, Illinois 60025
mathie, frank mathie
- Teenager sexually assaulted in Logan Square
- Wrong-way driver collides with semi on Skyway
- Potholes prompt revamped street paving plan 12 min ago
- ABC7 First Alert Weather Forecast 9 min ago
- Pfleger wants 'American' billboard with assault weapon removed
- Girl, 3, ID'd after fatal Rogers Park mattress fire
- Tinley Park HS teacher resigns after sex assault charges
- Man shot to death in Hammond
- Man charged with murder for South Side bar shooting
- Chicago-Portland flight allegedly disrupted by man who wanted 4...
- Sign of Spring: Original Rainbow Cone now open
- NJ judge rules moms don't have to let dads in delivery room
- Photos: 'Modern Family' house on market for $2.35M
- abcnews: Amazon Accused of Cheating on Free Shipping
- ABC7 First Alert Weather Forecast
9 min ago
- Potholes prompt revamped street paving plan
12 min ago