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Posted by Calypso6858 | Nov 01, 2021 @ 08:21 PM | 14,295 Views
Call-Air Model A: As weird as they may look and as uncommon as they may be, the Call-Air A series airplanes were a fairly successful little design. Evolved from the Kinner series of airplanes which the Call family purchased the rights to, the Call-Air was prototyped as a simple update which first flew in 1940.

With the war ramping up, there was very little room for new civil designs in the market and Call-Air delayed the production of the airplane until 1945 after acquiring a type certificate for it in 1944. The finalized design was an uncommon strut braced low wing configuration. They replaced the Kinner’s radial engines with much lighter opposed engines starting with an 80hp Continental but eventually settling on the 125hp Lycoming O-290.

The early production airplanes, dubbed A-2s, were two seat side-by-side and used the O-290 power plant. But the design quickly began evolving. The A-3 had a 125hp Continental and the A-4 added the option of a third seat with a 135hp O-290. The A-4 was the last of the cabin Call-Airs as the company began to focus towards agricultural airplanes.

The Cabin Call-Airs didn’t see a huge production run however the almost 100 of them that they did build was a fairly impressive feat for a company of only 10 employees. The Call-Airs were beloved by the few people who had the luck to own them and were reported to be a lovely flying design. According to some, the airplane was so stable that it could be flown around the pattern without ever...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Oct 22, 2021 @ 01:12 AM | 12,924 Views
Convair XC-99: Pretty much the opposite end of the spektrum from the Monsted-Vincent MV-1 Starflight, the XC-99 was an example of adapting bomber designs for cargo use. This time well after the war.

The XC-99 was developed in 1947 using the parts bin of the B-36 Peacemaker. The XC-99 was actually the largest piston landplane ever built. The 230ft long wing and tail feathers were directly borrowed from the B-36 and were bolted to an all new fuselage. It was designed to carry 100,000lbs of cargo or up to 400 troops on it’s two decks.The 135,000lb (empty) airplane was powered by six 3,500hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360s in pusher configuration.

The XC-99 had one of the wildest landing gears of any airplane ever. It’s single main tires were almost 10 feet tall. They proved to be problematic and were eventually replaced with the same truck style system that the later B-36s had.

The one and only XC-99 was actually drawn up long before the B-36 even flew. With delays in the B-36 project the XC-99 got pushed back several years and didn’t fly until the end of 1947. The military decided that they didn’t have any use for such a big airplane but they continued to use the prototype for moving pieces of the B-36. It flew until 1957 mostly inside the US.

Amazingly, the XC-99 actually still exists. It was flown to Kelly AFB in 1957 and parked for display. It stayed there until the base was closed and in 2008 it was moved in pieces to the Air Force museum. Currently it is in...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Oct 20, 2021 @ 11:43 PM | 13,689 Views
Monsted-Vincent MV-1 Starflight: Speaking of strange looking light transport airplanes, nothing is a lighter transport than the Monsted-Vincent.

In 1948 two WWII Veterans, Robert Monsted and H. Farley Vincent, gave birth to a strange brain child named the Starflight. Built in New Orleans, the Monsted-Vincent was the only four-engined airplane to ever be built in Louisiana. It had four mighty 85hp Continental C-85s in pusher configuration and had seats for six whole people!

The Monsted-Vincent was a very peculiar little airplane. It’s construction could be described as almost barbaric, however it did have some strangely nice features. Firstly, it used 2 position Sensenich “Skyblade” Propellers. It had a retractable gear, although they left gaping holes in the side of the fuselage when they were up. And it had 8 hours of range!!! And I suppose it needed it at 150mph.

The airplane shockingly didn’t seem to attract a swarm of buyers even with the upgrade to Continental O-200s of 100hp. The one and only Monsted-Vincent did seem to fly a lot, but it never amounted to much of anything. The Vincent family owned the aircraft all the way until 1982 when they donated it to the Wedell-Williams museum in Patterson, Louisiana. Sadly, the airplane was badly damaged in two hurricanes in 1992 and 2005 and I don’t know if the remains are still around but I sure hope they are....Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Oct 20, 2021 @ 01:01 AM | 14,970 Views
Consolidated Liberator Liner: Lately I’ve been concentrating on airplanes that have a surviving example, but the Liberator Liner is part of a cool genre that doesn’t get much attention these days.

At the beginning of the War, companies were trying to adapt their civilian designs for military use. But near the end of the war, the reverse was happening. Companies knew that when the war ended their military production contracts would be up and they would have to find a civilian market again.

The Liberator Liner was a great example of a company trying to adapt a military design for civilian sales. They took the wings of the B-24 “Liberator” and the tail of the PB4Y and added a rounded fuselage which seated 48 passengers. The first prototype was flown in 1944 before the war was even over and initially they got a contract to build them as a military transport but it was canceled before any production started. A second prototype was built with a different model of Pratt & Whitney 1830s but neither airplane brought any sales in.

One of the airplanes was leased to American Airlines as a freighter and that was the only commercial use the design saw. Unfortunately the concept of using military designs for civilian use was mostly dominated by surplus sales so designs like this didn’t succeed too much. The surplus market sent many of the major aviation names reeling in the post-war era....Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Sep 30, 2021 @ 06:44 AM | 17,869 Views
Aero 45: Where do you go to get top quality twin engine performance in 1950? Czechoslovakia of course!

While Czechoslovakia might not be all that famous for their flying machines, they have definitely made a few contributions. Aero Vodochody was actually started in 1919 but they were best known for building L-29s and L-39. But long before their jet era, Aero Vodochody was building a lot of airplanes.

The Aero 45 started life in 1947 and was a 4 to 5 seat light twin with two inline four cylinder engines. Unlike most of the twins in this size category, the Aero 45 retained a conventional landing gear and what really set it apart visually was the glass nose. The windshield was possibly copied from some of the bombers that Czechoslovakia built on contract during the war. So the windshields wrapped down almost all the way to the tip of the nose.

Aero 45s were used to set a number of Czechoslovakian records and they found a pretty strong market. The original Aero 45 model sold nearly 200 airplanes before getting an update in 1952 to the Aero 45S. The 45S was manufactured under license by Let Kunovice, another Czechoslovakian aircraft manufacturer. The 45S only incorporated minor updates like instrumentation but it continued to sell well until 1959.

In 1959 the Airplane got another revamp with new engines. The Aero 145 received two Avia 332M supercharged four cylinder inlines. The Avia 332 is now known as an LOM and the Aero 145 was the highest production airplane to...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Sep 28, 2021 @ 10:14 PM | 24,030 Views
Wittman Tailwind: Sylvester Wittman (Steve to most, but Sylvester just sounds so much cooler) was an icon of racing for longer than almost anybody. He raced his first race in 1926 in a Standard J-1 and continued to race until he was in his 70s.

Wittman was all about efficiency. (if you overlook his first airplane, the Harley powered Hardley Abelson) Through his career Wittman designed a whole array of super efficient airplanes. A lot of them won Formula One races or Formula V races. (a racing class he started) But he also designed a handful of airplanes that weren’t intended for racing.

Before WWII Wittman decided to build a design that would be more efficient and outperform all the other light two sweat airplanes like Cubs and Champs. The “Buttercup” was born and it was a two seat, side by side, little ship with a C-85 up front. The little “Buttercup” cruised at 125mph and if properly used could operate out of shorter runways.

After the war, Wittman went for a redesign. The new airplane did away with the leading edge slats that the buttercup had, had a new fuselage and incorporated a number of other minor updates. Simply put, the “Tailwind” (originally named the “Flying Carpet”) hauled ass. The Tailwind was the recipient of increasingly large engines until it was cruising near 200mph.

The airframe also received several updates. The Initial W-8 Tailwind was updated into the W-9 which used different engines, props, incorporated larger fuel tanks and had an option...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Sep 28, 2021 @ 10:03 PM | 23,711 Views
Piel Diamant: Claude Piel’s Emeraude had proven to be very successful by the 1960s and the time was ripe for a larger version. Piel used his proven formula and just enlarged the design of the Emeraude.

The Diamant followed the lines of all of Piel’s other designs with it’s elliptical wing and bubble canopy. The tail feathers re-used the old shape and were just suited to the larger design. As usual with Piel’s prototypes, the first Diamant was extremely lightweight and powered by a tiny C-90 Continental.

The big bubble canopy accommodates the front two seats like the Emeraude with each having a set of controls. But the Diamant added a rear bench seat which could theoretically accommodate two more people. In practical use it was used more for one adult or two children, but it gave the airplane a more usable cabin either way.

The Diamant never reached the major success of the Emeraude but it was probably Piel’s second most popular design and had its fair share of builders. By the time the plans really hit the market the vertical fin and rudder had been exchanged for a swept design similar to the late Super Emeraudes. The vast majority of the Diamants and Super Diamants airworthy today have the swept tail. They also are almost all powered with larger engines up to 180 and 200hp Lycoming O-360s.

While the Diamant is a rare sight in the US today, it is not as infrequently spotted in Europe. The prototype is still in airworthy condition in France with a little...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Sep 24, 2021 @ 03:34 AM | 17,256 Views
Piel CP.30 Emeraude: After flying and building a few Pinocchios, Claude Piel had started Avions Claude Piel to sell aircraft plans. The first set of plans that really attracted customers was the CP.30 Emeraude.

The Emeraude was an enlarged version of the CP.20 Pinocchio. Scaled up large enough to fit two people seated side-by-side. The original Emeraude was built to be extremely lightweight and had just a 65hp Continental to power it. It still had the beautiful elliptical wing under it (with full elliptical tips) and was constructed entirely of wood. Unfortunately with revisions to the plans those pretty elliptical tips got clipped almost immediately.

The Emeraude was clearly garnering interest, so Piel decided to license it for production. At least 11 producers manufactured Emeraudes or airplanes based off of it. They were produced in France, England and South Africa. Most production versions housed a larger engine of some sort. Emeraudes have been flown with almost every major production 4 cylinder Continental and Lycoming. (A-65, C-85, C-90, O-200, O-235, O-320, O-360)

While manufacturers continued to evolve the design, so did Piel. The Emeraude evolved through at least 22 variations. The variations included mostly different engines and small structural changes. The first major update of the airplane was the Super Emeraude which looked very similar but was strengthened and certified for aerobatics.

The Super Emeraude was adapted by Mudry into the CAP 10. The...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Sep 24, 2021 @ 12:31 AM | 17,628 Views
Piel Pinocchio: The history of the Pinocchio, not unlike many other vintage airplanes, is incredibly hard to follow. The CP.10, CP.20, CP.90, CP.210, CP.211, CP.212 and CP. 215 were all named the Pinnochio and some were vastly different airplanes.

Technically the story of the Pinocchio starts with the CP.10. In 1948 Claude Piel, in his ambition to begin designing airplanes, built the CP.10. The airplane was significantly based (okay you could say copied off of) the Mignet Pou du Ciel “Flying Flea” and was powered with a Ppinsard 25 hp two cylinder opposed engine. While the first Pinocchio was successfully flown, it was a short lived success. 5 hours and 30 minutes to be exact. The Pinocchio didn’t quite make it to six hours of flying time before it crashed with Piel at the controls.

Abandoning the strange design of the Pou du Ciel, Piel started a new design from scratch. The CP.20 bore the same name but the similarities stopped there. The new design was now influenced by the Spitfire. But scaled down to tiny proportions. It had an intricate wooden elliptical cantilever wing which would turn out to be Piel’s signature design. Up front was a whopping 25 Volkswagen produced horsepower. The tiny cockpit seated only one with a handsome bubble canopy overhead.

The new CP.20 turned out to be quite a successful design and Piel immediately published plans for it. The CP. 210/211/212/215 were all variations of the original design with different engines. Salmson AD9s and...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Sep 23, 2021 @ 02:59 AM | 23,565 Views
Piel Homebuilts: Today Richard VanGrunsven has made homebuilding aircraft a very reachable goal with Vans aircraft. Of course Vans has a single seat version, two seat versions in both side-by-side and tandem variants and a four seat version. While that seems like a neat modern idea, a little french company actually had a very similar lineup a long time before Vans.

Claude Piel’s first particularly successful airplane was the CP.20 Pinocchio. Even being the first airplane in the Piel lineup, it carried the signature design feature. All of the Piel airplanes feature a complex elliptical wing not unlike that of a spitfire. The little single seat Pinocchio had a tiny VW engine up front which made it a nice flier. About 20 CP.20s were built with a handful of engines including one powered by a Salmson AD9 9 cylinder 40hp radial. (I can’t find any pictures but it must have looked awesome)

With the success of his first design egging him one, Piel designed a series of aircraft which may be the most popular french homebuilts. The Pinocchio was the single seat version. Next up was the Emeraude which was an enlarged Pinocchio with two side-by-side seats. Then came the Diamant which was increased in size yet again allowing for four seats. And finally came the Beryl which was the same size as the Emeraude but seated two in tandem. His plans also included nosewheel options in some cases just like RV does today.

It’s impossible to add up how many of Piel’s designs have been built,...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Sep 22, 2021 @ 01:39 AM | 22,143 Views
Grumman Guardian: The Guardian may be one of the most aptly named airplanes in history. Built for anti-submarine patrols, the Guardian was built to be the coastal guardian of the US.

In 1945 Grumman had just completed a new torpedo bomber called the XTB3F-1S. (I know, catchy name right?) The XTB3F-1S had initially been designed to have a big radial up front and a jet engine in the fuselage. But when it became obvious that the jet engines would never be delivered on time, they scrapped the jet portion of the project without ever having used it. The resulting airplane was a two seat, side by side, R-2800 powered torpedo bomber that could carry 4000lbs of explosives.

Just as Grumman completed the testing, the Navy changed its mind and decided they didn’t need a new torpedo bomber, they needed a new anti-submarine aircraft. Since the Guardian couldn’t carry all of the equipment for this task, the “Hunter/Killer” pair was born. In one of the coolest adaptations of a military airplane ever, the Guardian was adapted into two very different airplanes. The AF-2W “Guppy” was the “Hunter” and carried an immense radome underneath it with sub-detecting equipment. And the AF-2S “Scrapper” was the “Killer” which maintained the original bomb bay for carrying anti-sub explosives.

As the “Hunter/Killer” name implies, the two airplanes would operate together in a team. The “Hunter” would fly along with a “Killer” in tow and search for subs. If one was found, the “Killer” would move in...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Sep 01, 2021 @ 12:38 PM | 23,236 Views
Keith-Rider R5 Jackrabbit: The golden age of air racing is littered with stars. With Gee Bees, Howards, De Havillands and Monocoupes taking the limelight, racing did get a lot of attention during the era. However there were also lots of underdogs in the racing game that never got the attention of the big dogs.

My favorite of the little racers that could (or maybe couldn’t) was the Keith-Rider R-5 Jackrabbit. Keith Rider made a series of racers through the 1930s which had varying levels of success. The R-5 Jackrabbit was built at the same time as another of his racers, the R-4 Firecracker. The two airplanes were very similar with the most major difference being the shorter wing on the R-4.

When they both entered the racing game in 1936 the R-4 far outshined the R-5. The R-4 took home a few trophies in its career whereas the R-5 never really won anything. I think this is attributed more to bad luck than anything. The Jackrabbit certainly had the recipe to win.

The Jackrabbit had a diminutive wingspan of only 20 feet. It also boasted a retractable gear and sleek canopy. (I think the airplane looks a bit funky on the ground with the gear down but it must have looked fantastic with it retracted.) But the biggest part of the Jackrabbit’s racing arsenal was its engine. The Jackrabbit was pulled along by a modified 330hp supercharged Menasco C-65 Super Buccaneer. An engine that is as rare as hen’s teeth today.

While the Jackrabbit was raced by a couple of big names...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Aug 31, 2021 @ 11:46 PM | 25,163 Views
Curtiss Fledgling: In 1927 the US Navy put out a contract for a new trainer. FIFTEEN airplanes were submitted for trials to this contract. Unbelievable that there were so many eager applicants in 1927.

The winner of that contract was the Curtiss Model 48 Fledgling. The Fledgling was specifically designed for the contract. It had a standard tailskid landing gear but could very easily be outfitted with a single center float for water training. The Navy ultimately bought 51 Fledglings with a couple different Wright power plants.

However Curtiss wound up operating more Fledglings themselves than the Navy did. A total of 109 of them were built and operated by Curtiss with Curtiss Challenger engines. These civilian versions were used by the Curtiss Flying Service in the 1930s for instruction or taxi service.

The Fledgling may seem like a pretty typical looking biplane but it does have some unique features to it. Firstly, it’s huge for a two seat biplane. For size comparison, the Fleet Model 1 and 2, which were also two seat navy trainers, had a 28 foot wingspan. Whereas the Fledgling was nearly 40 feet. So it has two full sets of interplane struts and flying wires on each side like a Curtiss Jenny. Secondly, unlike most biplanes, when solo it was flown from the front seat.

Today there are a small handful of Fledglings left. I believe Old Rhinebeck still has a Fledgling that was converted to a 220 Continental. The Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville Oregon and the...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Aug 30, 2021 @ 02:26 PM | 23,745 Views
The Faust 301: Ever since barnstormers started hacking pieces of one airplane onto another, people have been building airplanes out of bits and pieces. In some cases people just buy several projects of the same airplane and build one good one out of the pile. But Elmer Faust took a slightly different tactic.

Elmer Faust was early in the aviation game in Wyoming. In the 1920s Faust learned to fly in a Curtiss Jenny. Faust was a mechanical man who in his young years, when he wasn’t working as an auto mechanic, was busy building a Corben Junior Ace. Faust and some colleagues cleared a strip in a local field and built some hangars on what later became the Cody airport. Faust eventually started an aircraft maintenance shop at the airport in 1949 and was the only major aircraft mechanics shop for quite a distance.

In 1954 Faust test flew his latest creation. The Faust 301 was created out of wreckage of two unlikely airplanes. A PA-12 and a Fairchild 24. Fusing the Warner radial from the fairchild onto the front of the PA-12, the airplane got a whole new look. Beyond the engine swap, the PA-12 also got the outrigger landing gear of the fairchild with the long stroke shock struts. The wing struts and original PA-12 gear legs were rearranged to accommodate the outrigger configuration.

The Faust 301 was a great airplane for the Cody Wyoming area. With a good power to weight ratio and a long wing the airplane would handle the high altitude well. And with the outrigger gear the...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Aug 29, 2021 @ 11:10 PM | 21,537 Views
Corben Baby Ace: One of the very first homebuilts marketed in the US, the Corben Baby has been around for a long time. And subsequently it has evolved quite a few times.

Orland Corben’s first “Baby Ace” looked suspiciously like a Heath Parasol and was pulled along with the same Henderson B-4 engine. However Corben’s goal was to provide the lightest, cheapest and safest airplane possible. Finding that the Henderson engine didn’t check all the boxes, he enlarged the design for bigger engines.

The first production models were powered with Salmson radial engines and were proven to be a much better airplane. They could be purchased as either an open cockpit or a closed cabin version and they could be ordered complete or in kit form. In the effort of making the airplane as cheap as possible, the relatively expensive French Salmson was replaced on many airplanes with cheaper alternatives such as Zsekelys or A-40 Continentals.

When it became illegal to build and fly homebuilt aircraft in the US in 1938 (except in Oregon) the Baby Ace found itself floundering a bit. However when the laws restricting homebuilt aircraft were abandoned in 1948, the Baby Ace got its second chance. Paul Poberezny purchased the rights to the aircraft and republished the plans.

Poberezny updated the design a bit and built a Baby Ace for less than $800. With the help of an article about that particular Baby Ace in Mechanics Illustrated magazine, Poberezny managed to get the Baby Ace back in...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Aug 28, 2021 @ 02:26 AM | 21,617 Views
Alliance Argo: I actually wrote up the Argo quite some time ago but never posted it. However today I heard the great news that it made its first flight so I figured it was appropriate.

The Argo’s main claim to fame was that it was the first airplane to successfully perform an outside loop. If only Waldo Pepper and Ezra Stiles had one, Stiles might still be alive.

The Alliance Aircraft Corp. was founded in, you guessed it, Alliance. In Alliance Ohio in 1929 the Alliance Aircraft Corp. was founded to produce the Alliance Bluebird biplane. The name Bluebird was replaced with Argo when the airplane got its final update before production. Alliance was one of very few companies to build an airplane and the engine which powered it.

The Argo was powered with an engine called the Hess Warrior. The Warrior was a 125hp seven cylinder radial that was designed by Aubrey Hess and was produced for a short time by Alliance. The Hess Warrior also made it onto the Mutual Blackbird (a small biplane that looked a lot like the argo, there is a post on it further down my page) and onto the Nemeth Umbrellaplane. (An airplane which used the fuselage of an Argo and had a perfectly circular wing mounted parasol styler over it.

The Argo boasted exceptionally strong construction, and given it’s reasonably high power (for an airplane of such small stature) and four ailerons, It likely performed and flew quite well. However, It never made it to be a household name and was crushed by the...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Aug 27, 2021 @ 02:09 AM | 19,320 Views
De Havilland DH.75 Hawk Moth: I normally try to concentrate on airplanes that have at least one surviving example. To the best of my knowledge there isn’t even a project Hawk Moth out there (although if one of you knows more than I do, I’d love to hear that there is one) but I was browsing through A.J. Jackson’s book series and bumped into one of my favorites so I thought I’d write it up.

Compared to all of the Later Moths, I think the Hawk Moth should have been called the Giant Moth but that name was already taken. The Hawk Moth was a huge four seat ship that was the first in the series of DH high wing monoplanes. With nearly a 50 foot wingspan, the Hawk Moth dwarfed everything that came after it. Luckily, it’s giant wings were designed to fold for small hangars.

The prototype Hawk Moth was powered by the De Havilland Ghost 200hp geared V8 which was made out of two Gipsy inlines. (the only known application of the engine) However when 200hp proved not enough for the 2400lb airplane, the search was on for a larger power plant. The chosen replacement was the 240hp Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial.

Counting the prototype, there were 8 Hawk Moths produced in total. Some were built in Canada and equipped with skis and floats. The final Hawk Moth was built with the intention of selling to the American commercial market and the english Lynx radial was replaced with an American 300hp Wright Whirlwind engine.

While the Hawk Moth never got produced in large numbers, it...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Aug 27, 2021 @ 02:06 AM | 19,249 Views
Loving-Wayne WR-1 “Loving’s Love”: The diminutive little post war racer, nicknamed the “Loving’s Love” was a historic little airplane but mostly because of the gentleman who designed it.

Neal Vernon Loving was a strong willed African American who was pretty determined to make a mark on aviation. When he was denied the ability to be an instructor at all the local Civil Air Patrol squadrons during the war, Loving and a friend started an all black CAP squadron and started training pilots for the war. Post-war, Lovings was injured in a glider accident and lost both of his legs but that didn’t seem to slow him down very much.

After 18 months in the hospital, and with two shiny new prosthetics, Loving’s quickly got back into an airplane. A few years later, after starting an aeronautical school, Loving began work on his first airplane design. The Loving’s Love.

Loving’s little airplane was designed and built for midget racing. Pulled along only by an 85hp Continental, the slippery little airplane still pulled out 266mph at one point. The airplane was entered into the 1951 National Air Races and Loving became the first ever double amputee racer and the first African American certified racer. The Love never took home any major race trophies but it did win the Most Outstanding Design award at one National Air Race.

Loving went on to design a few more airplanes into his later years and he became an engineer at Wright-Pat Air Force Base for some time as well. The Loving’s...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Aug 27, 2021 @ 02:04 AM | 16,009 Views
De Havilland DH.71 Tiger Moth: I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, busy time of year for me. But today has a bit of historical value so I figured I could take the time to make a post. This may not be the Tiger Moth that you would think of when someone says the name, but it’s actually the original use of it.

In 1927 the De Havilland DH.71 Tiger Moth made its first flight. Powered by an upright Cirrus inline, the racey looking Tiger Moth shares it’s configuration with the Howard Pete. They had the same goal as well, go fast.

Only two DH.71s were built and they both were used for racing. In 1927 they were entered into the King’s Cup air race but neither completed the race. However on this date in 1927 one of them was raced alone on a closed course and set a new speed record for it’s class at just over 186mph. A few days later he made an attempt to break the altitude record for the same class but without oxygen only made it to a little over 19K feet, not enough to break the record. Sadly, neither airplane survived the war. One was destroyed in an accident in 1930, the other was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1940.

Today however, there is a beautiful replica out there. It belongs to Mike Maniatis who faithfully recreated the Tiger Moth in his New York City apartment. Including test running the engine in his living room. When it was time to bring the airplane to the airport for assembly, Mike had to remove the windows from the side of his apartment, lift the DH.71...Continue Reading
Posted by Calypso6858 | Aug 27, 2021 @ 02:03 AM | 15,173 Views
Pheasant H-10: It’s easy to walk past the Pheasant at Oshkosh if you’ve been there more than once because it looks fairly generic in the class of OX-5 biplanes. But if you take the time to read the sign you’ll find out there is a reason it is stored in the Wittman Display hangar at Wittman Airport.

In August of 1927, “veteran pilot” (keeping in mind that’s veteran less than 20 years after the first powered flight ever) Lee Briggs’ first airplane made its first flight. Lee Briggs had been doing flight instruction for a few years and decided to build his own airplane for it. The Pheasant Aircraft Company was started and Orville Hickman designed their new biplane.

The biplane was a no frills OX-5 powered design that didn’t really seem to stand out from the crowd. It looked somewhat modern when it was first conceived thanks to having different length wings top and bottom but it’s only really unique design piece at the time was having four ailerons.

The Pheasant was built in Memphis Missouri and within a short time Memphis had a bonafide factory on its hands with 25 employees building airplanes as fast as they could. Briggs was touring around selling airplanes and the business seemed to be working. The Pheasant got it’s type certificate and they were off to the races. Unfortunately, in December of that same year, Briggs was killed. A local newspaper reported that he and a student fell out of their airplane and both died.

With Briggs being the main driving force...Continue Reading