A local family considered their missing model plane to be as good as gone for forever until recently.

In the late nineties, Signal Mountain resident David Kerley was flying his home-made model plane along the foot of Signal Mountain by the Tennessee River. Something went wrong with the plane and its radio contact. The plane flew away and Kerley considered it gone forever.

The retired man told his wife and daughter the plane was lost and never really elaborated on the circumstances. Kerley died in 2008.

But just six weeks ago, the model plane turned up in a St. Louis man’s yard. The Tennessee plane was stuck in a Missouri man’s tree. He took it to a Ballwin, MO Hobby Town USA where workers cleaned the dirty plane and discovered contact information for Kerley at the bottom. The Missouri workers contacted Kerley’s wife Joanne.

“I don’t know. It’s a mystery how it got all the way to St. Louis with such little damage,” said Joanne Kerley.

Joanne and her daughter drove to Missouri and transported the model plane back home where it now sits in Joanne’s living room.

“We forgot all about it,” she said. “You almost want to stroke it. You can’t believe it. It’s like he’s saying hello to us again.”

Joanne’s daughter plans to restore the plane to mint condition. While it’s in good condition, all things considered, some repairs need to be made.

But where has the plane been for 15 years and how did it end up in Missouri? The Kerley family has their theories but say they’ll never know.