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Feb 24, 2021, 10:03 PM
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Obscure Airplane Highlight of the Day : Rearwin Cloudster

An alphabetical stroll through the history of aviation. Day 18

Rearwin Cloudster:

Now a lesser known classic lightplane, the Rearwin Cloudster was once a popular high performer. In the late 1930s, Rearwin was already enjoying two successful designs, the Speedster and the Sportster. With side by side seating seeming to be a more popular seating arrangement, Rearwin wanted to develop a new airplane to accommodate the demand.

The Cloudster first flew in 1939 powered by a 90hp Ken-Royce radial by the name “Rearwin Coupe.” The Coupe was modified to have a 120hp Ken-Royce and was launched into production under the new Cloudster name. The 120hp Cloudster was a typical high wing tail-dragger with control sticks rather than the somewhat typical control wheels in most side by side designs. It sat two in the front row and in the later models featured a very unusual sideways facing rear seat for a third person to tag along.

The Cloudster was a fairly good performer with 120hp and took well in the market. It had a nice total production run of 125 airplanes. It found service in a few different markets as well. Pan American Airlines purchased 25 of them with a modified tandem seating arrangement. The rear seat featured a removable instrument panel and blackout curtains so that the student could fly on instruments while the instructor maintained forward visibility. Iran also used a few Cloudsters in their military with a single 30 caliber machine gun mounted to the right hand wing struts.

Today surviving Cloudsters are seen occasionally throughout the US and Europe. They suffer from a small snafu of bad Ken-Royce parts being introduced to the market making Ken-Royce engines somewhat difficult to restore. Despite this they seem to still be a fairly popular lightplane.
Last edited by Calypso6858; Jan 10, 2022 at 04:31 AM.
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