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FEBRUARY 2011

STRAIGHT & LEVEL
GEOFF ROBISON
PRESIDENT, VINTAGE AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION

Col. Joe Kittinger
I took the opportunity to attend
the 2010 Wright Brothers Memorial
Dinner on December 17 at the EAA
AirVenture Museum. This year’s
guest speaker was Col. Joe Kittinger, who set the still-standing altitude record for a parachute jump
of 102,800 feet. Joe accomplished
this record-setting jump way back
in 1960 from a balloon while testing various pieces of equipment for
the U.S. Air Force. This testing was
conducted for the purpose of developing equipment and procedures
so that our pilots could survive
high-altitude, high-speed emergency egress from a fighter aircraft.
The technology developed out of
these experiments is still in use today in front-line fighters all over
the world.
Joe Kittinger is a remarkable individual whom I am proud to have
met. He has survived life’s challenges on many fronts. He was a
squadron commander in the Air
Force, flying more than 480 missions during three tours in Southeast Asia, all in the F-4 Phantom
over Vietnam. During his last
combat tour as commander of the
555th Fighter Squadron, his aircraft was shot down, and he was
imprisoned for 11 months in a
notorious North Vietnamese POW
camp known as the Hanoi Hilton.
Joe received the Distinguished Flying Cross five times throughout his
career. Two were for his balloon experiments, and three were for his
combat tours in South Vietnam. He
is an absolutely captivating speaker.

Joe also wrote a book that chronicles a lifetime of aviation experiences, including his fascination for
barnstorming around the United
States for several years in a D-25
New Standard. His book is titled
Come Up and Get Me, and I heartily
recommend it as a great read.
Harold Neumann’s Monocoupe
is now back in Oshkosh, and we
recently reinstalled the 90AW Warner engine. “Dr. Phil” Riter, the mechanic/project team coordinator,
and I installed the engine, bump
cowl, and prop, and the aircraft
is looking great. We will soon be
moving on to painting and installing the tail feathers and then the
monster one-piece wing sometime
this coming spring. It’s really nice
seeing this project coming to a
close. It’s been a great experience
for numerous members of EAA Vintage Chapter 37 as well.
It’s not too early to begin planning for the 2011 flying season. I
have to tell you that the upcoming
flying season holds a unique level
of excitement for me. I endured a
couple of eye surgeries late last fall
to correct cataracts in both of my
eyes. I also learned through this
experience that if I threw enough
money at the problem, I could potentially regain the eyesight that I
enjoyed for the first 40 years of my
life. After signing on to having new
lenses implanted in each of my
eyes during the cataract procedure,
I had a good chance of coming out
of this experience with uncorrected
near and far vision of 20/20.

After having endured this experience I have described this simple
procedure to many of my friends as
a ”complete non-event.” I am very
fortunate to now enjoy 20/20 vision
in both eyes without ever having
to wear eyeglasses again. The best
news it that it is an approved FAA
procedure!
I started my 2011 flying season
with a good friend by flying to the
annual New Year’s Day “hangarover” fly-in at EAA Chapter 938 in
Nappanee, Indiana. This was my
first flight since the surgeries, and
my pilot-in-command friend in my
Cessna 120 was laughing at me full
time when I would comment, “Hey,
I can see and read the water tower
on that little town down there,”
or “Wow, I can see the destination
runway 11 miles out.” You have no
idea how that made me feel! So, as
you can imagine, I am really looking forward to getting back in the
saddle with my new eyes.
The planning for EAA AirVenture 2011 continues at a brisk rate.
I am particularly excited about the
planned celebration of the 100-year
anniversary of air mail. The display
will reside in the Vintage area, and
we already have commitments for
some awesome aircraft representing this era of aviation. You will be
amazed with what you see! It’s a lock!
See you at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh—July 25-July 31, 2011.

A I R P L A N E
Vol. 39, No. 2

2011

FEBRUARY

CONTENTS
IFC Straight & Level
Col. Joe Kittinger
by Geoff Robison

2

News

4

A Family Burger Bomber
The Colvins’ Consolidated Vultee L-13
by Budd Davisson

10

Vintage Chapters Across the USA
VAA Chapter 15, Hampton Airfield (7B3)
by John Maloney

14

My Friend Frank Rezich, Part V
After the war
by Robert G. Lock

20

The Antiques in Winter, Part III
If airplanes could talk . . .
by Roger Thiel

22

Light Plane Heritage
The Hild Marshonet
by Owen S. Billman

26

4

The Vintage Mechanic
Bendix 30x5 wheels
by Robert G. Lock

32

The Vintage Instructor
Taking the fear out of crosswind takeoffs
by Steve Krog, CFI

34

Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy

38

Classified Ads

40

But It’s Cold Outside

14

Hangar time—a finer time
by S. Michelle Souder

COVERS

FRONT COVER: Congratulations are due to EAA’s Chief Photographer Jim Koepnick as he sur-

passes his 500th magazine cover photograph with this shot of the rare Consolidated L-13, a military
liaison airplane now serving as the “family truckster” for Clu Colvin and his brood. Read about it in
Budd Davisson’s article starting on page 4.
BACK COVER: Air Trails was one of the most popular aviation pulp magazines in the years prior to
World War II. Their annual Light Plane Survey issues often had colorful artwork depicting the great
airplanes of that decade. Can you name them all? The answers are on page 38.

STAFF

EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Director/Editor
Production/Special Project
Photography
Copy Editor
Senior Art Director
EAA Chairman of the Board

Rod Hightower
Mary Jones
H.G. Frautschy
Kathleen Witman
Jim Koepnick
Colleen Walsh
Olivia P. Trabbold
Tom Poberezny

Publication Advertising:
Manager/Domestic, Sue Anderson
Tel: 920-426-6127
Email: sanderson@eaa.org
Fax: 920-426-4828
Senior Business Relations Mgr, Trevor Janz
Tel: 920-426-6809
Email: tjanz@eaa.org
Manager/European-Asian, Willi Tacke
Phone: +49(0)1716980871 Email: willi@flying-pages.com
Fax: +49(0)8841 / 496012

Interim Coordinator/Classified, Alicia Canziani
Tel: 920-426-6860
Email: classads@eaa.org

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 1

VAA NEWS
FCC Pulls Order to
Prohibit 121.5 MHz ELTs
Citing a request by the FAA, the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a final rule
on Tuesday, January 11, removing its earlier prohibition of 121.5
MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) in the United States.
Last June the FCC published a
change to 47 CFR Part 87 calling
for “prohibiting the certifi cation,
manufacture, importation, sale, or
use of 121.5 MHz ELTs other
than the Breitling Emergency
Watch ELT,” due to the fact
that satellite monitoring of
121.5 MHz units terminated
in 2009.
After protests by EAA and
other organizations, the
FAA soon requested that the
FCC not implement the rule
amendment because it created a confl ict in federal regulations; general-aviation aircraft
are required to be equipped with
ELTs—the overwhelming majority
of which are 121.5 MHz. Since the
current supply of 406 MHz ELTs is
not suffi cient to replace all existing 121.5 MHz ELTs in the short
term, such a law would essentially
ground most general-aviation
(GA) aircraft, the FAA said.
EAA brought forth that very issue when the FCC rule was published in the Federal Register and
worked with other aviation associations to explore all avenues of
action to address the rule before it
went into effect.
EAA contended the regulatory
change would impose a substantial and unwarranted cost on
GA and also would create a burden for the GA community and
those ground-based rescue units
that continue to use the 121.5 frequency to perform searches and
save lives.
At the very least, EAA con-

2 FEBRUARY 2011

t e n d e d , t h e F C C ’s a c t i o n w a s
conducted without properly communicating with the industry or
understanding the implications of
its action.
This week’s FCC final rule states
that no action will be taken regarding 121.5 MHz ELTs until
further notice, following an additional opportunity for interested
parties to comment.

Pilot Certificate Changes
This month, EAA will submit
comments to an FAA notice of
proposed rulemaking entitled
“Photo Requirements for Pilot Certificates.” The proposal,
which is in response to a congressional mandate resulting from
the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA),
would require a pilot, when flying, to carry a pilot certificate
that includes a photo.
The proposal, as written, could
cause unnecessary financial hardship for EAA members, would
not increase the current level of
security (now, pilots must present their pilot certificate along
with a government-issued photo
ID), and may not meet all of the
IRTPA requirements.
EAA recommends members
submit their comments to the
docket, FAA-2010-1127. (See www.
SportAviation.org for a direct link.)

NTSB Recommends
Mandating Shoulder
Harnesses
In a letter issued last month, the
National Transportation Safety
Board (NTSB) recommended that
the FAA require aircraft without
shoulder harnesses be retrofitted to include them. Aircraft currently equipped with shoulder
harnesses would be required to
be modified if the seat restraint
system
is incorrectly installed.
sy
The
Th NTSB made the recommendations after a three-year
m
study
concluded that correctly
stu
installed
shoulder harness/
in
lap
la belt combinations provide
significantly
greater protecsi
tion
in GA accidents than a
t
lap
la belt alone. The NTSB adopted
six recommendations,
o
which
also included a reviw
sion
of restraint systems cers
tification
standards.
ca
The NTSB based its conclusion
on an analysis of more than 37,000
GA accidents, finding that the risk
of fatal or serious injury was 50
percent higher when an occupant
was restrained only by a lap belt as
compared to the combination lap
belt and shoulder harness.
The NTSB recommended that
the FAA further study the feasibility of requiring airbag-equipped
aircraft. Currently, more than 30
aircraft manufacturers offer airbags as standard or optional
equipment. Airbags were fi rst approved for use in the pilot and
copilot seats in GA aircraft in
2003. Today nearly 18,000 airbagequipped seats are installed in
more than 7,000 of the 224,000
GA aircraft in the United States,
according to the NTSB.
NTSB recommendations are
non-binding; only the FAA has
the authority to mandate such action through the federal rulemaking process.

Upcoming Major Fly-Ins
Sun ’n Fun Fly-In
Lakeland Linder Regional Airpor t (LAL)
Lakeland, Florida
March 29-April 3, 2011
www.Sun-N-Fun.org
AERO Friedrichshafen
Messe Friedrichshafen, Friedrichshafen, Germany
April 13-16, 2011
www.AERO-Friedrichshafen.com/html/en
Virginia Regional Festival of Flight
Suf folk Executive Airpor t (SFQ)
Suf folk, Virginia
April 30-May 1, 2011
www.VirginiaFlyIn.org
Golden West Regional Fly-In
and Air Show
Yuba County Airpor t (MYV)
Mar ysville, California
June 10-12, 2011
www.GoldenWestFlyIn.org
Arlington Fly-In
Arlington Municipal Airpor t (AWO)
Arlington, Washington
July 6-10, 2011
www.ArlingtonFlyIn.org
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
Wittman Regional Airpor t (OSH),
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
July 25-31, 2011
www.AirVenture.org
Colorado Sport International Air Show
and Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-In
Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airpor t (BJC)
Denver, Colorado
August 27-28, 2011
www.COSpor tAviation.org
Mid-Eastern Regional Fly-In
Grimes Field Airpor t (I74)
Urbana, Ohio
September 10-11, 2011
http://MERFI.com
Copperstate Fly-In
Casa Grande Municipal Airpor t (CGZ),
Casa Grande, Arizona
October 20-22, 2011
www.Copperstate.org
Southeast Regional Fly-In
Middleton Field Airpor t (GZH),
Evergreen, Alabama
October 21-23, 2011
www.SERFI.org

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 3

A Family

Burger
Bomber

The Colvins’ Consolidated Vultee L-13
BY

4 FEBRUARY 2011

BUDD DAVISSON

JIM KOEPNICK

Actually, they could be considered bigger
than we need, since they were originally set
up for six seats or two litters. But whoever
has too much room in an airplane?

M

eet me by that
b i g , y e l l o w,
round-nosed
t h i n g . Yo u
can’t miss it,
because it towers over all the other
‘planes.’”
“Did you see the inside? You
could roller-skate in it!”
“What happened to the tail? It
looks as if someone stood up too fast
in the tent under it and broke it.”
“It has a nurse painted on the
nose. Maybe it’s an ambulance of
some sort.”
And so it went for the entire
week of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh:
The Colvin clan’s colossus towered
above the Vintage aircraft area,
prompting all manner of comments and guesses. Some about its
identity. Some about its mission in
life. Some about how short it could
land. There were no guesses about
its speed—that was obviously measured in various degrees of “slow.”
What few could know was that
the airplane was the direct result
of 2-year-old Baron Colvin’s birth.
His father, Clu (who’s part Cherokee, and Clu means “Little Bird.”
Fitting, eh?), explains, “We were
doing pretty good with our ’54 Bonanza. But we already had two kids,
so Baron definitely put us over the
limit. We needed more seats.”
Incidentally, the degree of the
Colvin family’s dedication to aviation can be seen in their kids’
names: The eldest daughter (8 years
old) is Piper; number one son is Lear
(6); and Baron brings up the rear.
The need for space was just one
of several factors behind Clu’s decision to find an L-13. “When we
knew Baron was on the way and
we were going to rapidly outgrow
our Bonanza,” says Clu, “I initially

thought I’d be buying
something like an old
C-310. But then I started
looking at how we used
airplanes. The majority
of the time we were just
going out to lunch and
didn’t need 180 knots.
What we needed was a
solid 90 knots and lots of room. Besides, I knew the L-13 fairly well because my dad had a couple projects
and one flying at one time.”
Actually, his father had practically
everything at one time or the other.
“I’m third-generation aviation,”
Clu says. “Granddad was a generalaviation pilot, and my dad went to
Spartan School of Aeronautics right
out of high school. He was an IA [a
mechanic with inspection authorization], but buying, selling, and exporting aircraft was a big part of his
business. At the same time, however,
he also rebuilt or restored a huge
variety of aircraft, including Cubs,
Stearmans, BT-13, T-6, B-25, and just
about everything in between.”
To say that Clu was into aviation almost as soon as he was out of
diapers is no exaggeration. “Mom
really got on Dad’s case one time,
when she came out in the shop
and found he had me down in the
tail cone of a Mooney, bucking rivets without ear protection. I was 5
years old at the time.”
Further ensuring that Clu had
few, if any, barriers between himself and aviation was that he
was raised on his father’s farm in
northeastern Oklahoma.
“It actually was a working farm,”
Clu says, “so we farmed during the
summer and built airplanes during
the winter. Dad had a runway on
it, and later when I got married, we
bought 75 acres, built a house, and

JIM KOEPNICK

started farming on the other end of
the runway.”
The farm gave Clu a childhood
that was very av-centric because of
its semi-isolated location 7 miles
from a small town of less than 300.
“We don’t have a stop light, which
means, as a kid, my world was very
much centered on the farm, and
that meant airplanes. I rebuilt a
Cub mostly on my own as an afterschool project when I was 12 years
old and built up my first Luscombe
when I was 14. And of course I had
the obligatory and highly illegal
‘farm solo’ when I was 14.
“One day an FAA inspector was
out at Dad’s place inspecting an airplane he was going to export. He
had been out lots of times and saw
me always working on airplanes. I
wasn’t 18, so I didn’t have an A&P
[airframe and powerplant mechanic] ticket yet. The inspector cornered me and said, ‘I want you in
my office on your 18th birthday to
take the A&P exam,’ which I did.”
He moved to Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma, to work for an airline
as a mechanic, quickly becoming
its top dog for C checks on MD-80s.
He was still flying his brains out
and, at one point, met the airline’s
chief pilot, which resulted in an offer to fly as a flight engineer.
“I flew as an engineer for a couple of years, moved into the right
seat, then was furloughed. I wound
up with another carrier that was ab-

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 5

Stowing the horizontal tail requires nothing more than the removal of a couple of pins
and the relocating of the brace strut to two different mounts on the tail and fuselage.
DEKEVIN THORNTON

sorbed by yet another carrier until,
in 2001, I landed at my present job
where I’m based out of Denver.”
When he’s not playing airline pilot, Clu, like his father before him,
is rebuilding airplanes—lots of airplanes. Especially Luscombes.
“I’ve had at least 20 to 25 Luscombes,” he says. “Most of the time,
I’ll take a real basket case and build
it up to where it’s a pretty easy project for someone and then sell it. I
have fuselage and wing jigs, and I’ll
go through them and replace everything that needs replacing, which is
usually because of corrosion. This
is especially true of the wings. I’ve
gotten to where I don’t trust the
spars. I had 13 sets of wings at one
point, and every single one of them
had at least one spar with bad intergranular. So, since Univair has the
extrusions for the spars, I just replace them. That lets me sleep better at night knowing everything I
sell has good spars.”
Even though a lot of Luscombes
come and go, he’s working on one
for himself. “I have three T8F Luscombes and will finish one up and
keep it,” says Clu.
But Luscombes wouldn’t even
come close to solving his family
transportation problem. “When we
decided to go big, low, and slow,
I automatically thought about
the L-13,” he says. “When I was

6 FEBRUARY 2011

a kid, Dad had four or five projects around, so I knew them really
well. And they were exactly what
we needed. Actually, they could be
considered bigger than we need,
since they were originally set up for
six seats or two litters. But whoever
has too much room in an airplane?
“I hadn’t seen one for sale for
some time, so I came up with a way
of ferreting projects out. I ran a bogus ad on eBay in which I just said,
‘Airplane for sale.’ Since it was eBay,
I knew I was going to get tons of responses, which I did, including one
from eBay itself, because what I was
doing, running an ad to sell something when I really didn’t have
anything to sell, was against their
rules. I knew that, which is why I
put the ad up on Friday, knowing it
would take them until Monday to
take it down.
“All I wanted to do was talk to a
lot of people who were looking to
buy airplanes and get the word out
about the L-13. Practically no one
knows anything about the airplane,
and this way I could spread the
word until someone sees one. And
that’s exactly the way it worked.
“The first one that came up was
in Scottsdale. It had no firewallforward, which is pretty standard
for these projects because the sixcylinder, 240-hp, flat Franklin
they originally had turned out to

be very diffi cult to keep running.
So, a lot of the airplanes became
lawn ornaments because of no
available engines.
“Originally designed and prototyped by Stinson before it was absorbed into Consolidated Vultee,
the military actually bought 300
of the aircraft in 1946 and ’47. It
was supposed to be the ultimate
ambulance/liaison/utility airplane,
so it has a lot of unique features.
For one thing, for battlefield mobility, it’s designed specifically to
be able to be towed through a hole
no wider than a Jeep. So, not only
do the wings and tail fold, but the
main gear wheels can be pivoted
back inside the landing gear legs,
giving it a really narrow profile. I
don’t have the right brake line fittings on my gear legs, so I can’t rotate the wheels, not that I have any
reason to.
“The flaps are massive, as are the
wings, so it can really come down
steep and land at practically zero
airspeed. Most of its role was taken
over by the helicopter, so shortly
after the Korean War they were all
surplused. Unfortunately, the lack
of a suitable engine meant a lot
of them wound up rotting behind
hangars. Not all of them, though.
“Two companies went through
the STC [supplemental type certificate] process to certify the airplane

DEKEVIN THORNTON PHOTOS

The cockpit is very utilitarian, with steeply sloping sides on the instrument
panel to allow for maximum visibility. The beefy control yoke columns are
unusual, being a triangular cross-section.

With Clu’s son Lear up in the cockpit, Clu Colvin (far right) had two
of his flying buddies, Matt Mitchell
(left) and Brandon Jewett (center),
with him during our EAA AirVenture
photo shoot.
for a 300-hp, R-680 Lycoming radial. One was known as the Centaur 101. They also did a couple as
Centaur 102s with 300-hp Jacobs.
Besides being more horsepower,
the Lycoming was a well-proven
engine, and at the time there were
lots of them available surplus. Another company did a Lycoming
type certificate and named their aircraft the Husky. It carried eight passengers with two bench seats in the
back. They used the airplanes as air
taxis bouncing around the Caribbean islands.
“Because one of the companies
had done a Lycoming 680 design
investigation for the USAF, they
could easily market the conversion,
and that’s what saved many of the
few L-13s that have survived. With
that engine, it began working in
Alaska and anywhere a high-lift airplane was needed, such as for towing gliders. They also came up with
a conversion for a 450-hp P&W
[Pratt & Whitney], and at least one
of those has survived and is being
restored. Now that one ought to be
a real hoss.”
Once Clu had committed to

How many airplanes that you’ve flown come with a trap door? Befitting one
of its military roles as a liaison aircraft, the L-13 has this cargo pickup
door in the aft section of the cabin.
purchase the first L-13 project, he
found himself on a roll as a second
one popped up on his radar almost
immediately. This one was in Van
Nuys, California.
“That airplane was a complete
airplane, although modified somewhat with metal over the skylights
and other changes. One odd thing
about this airplane was that I have
a picture of me standing in front
of it as a little kid. [Even though]
this one was a complete airplane
as compared to the project I had
just trailered home, I wasn’t sure I
wanted it. I had just won a salvage
bid on a C-195 that had an engine
my friend Nick Howell wanted for
his Staggerwing, so I was already
committed. Still, the 195 was more
or less in the same direction as
the L-13, so I threw a number at
the L-13 owner, deciding ahead of

time that if he took it, we’d just
take two trailers and bring them
b a c k t o g e t h e r. I w a s n ’t a b o u t
to fly it home. Complete or not,
it hadn’t flown for 25 years, and
I learned long ago that it’s much
easier to take an airplane apart on
the ramp than in a pasture. That
assumes you find the right pasture
at the right time.
“He took the offer, so we took off
with two trucks and trailers thinking we were picking up two airplanes. However, when we started
loading the L-13, we found I hadn’t
bought one L-13 but closer to twoand-a-half, because there was another project fuselage and wings
as part of the deal. He hadn’t mentioned that. So, at that point I
owned three-and-a-half L-13s.”
Because he commuted to Denver
for his airline job, Clu had a han-

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 7

DEKEVIN THORNTON

DEKEVIN THORNTON

The wings are folded after accessing the forward spar mount and releasing the wing root fairing.

JIM KOEPNICK

gar at Front Range Airport, which
is only minutes from where he’s
based. He has always had an airplane project in that hangar, including the oldest Taylorcraft flying, so
he dropped the L-13 off there where
he could work on it during the dead
times while staying in Denver.
“When we started taking the airplane apart, and bear in mind that
it appeared nearly flyable, it became
obvious that this was an airplane I
would have flown only if someone
was shooting at me. For one thing,
the yoke was rusted tight, and
it took some banging to break it
loose. The landing gear wasn’t L-13
gear. I don’t know what it was, but
it definitely was not L-13. The L-13
gear is a little odd to begin with because the legs don’t line up right
and left: They are a little offset fore
and aft, so the upper ends of the
legs can miss each other and push
against oleos that pivot from the
opposite gear leg attach point.
“The tail wheel was…well…
I don’t know what it was. It was

8 FEBRUARY 2011

a cobbled-together something or
other. It looked as if someone had
stolen the original and stuck this
thing under it so no one would notice. I’m certain the owner didn’t
even know it had been changed.”
The L-13 is much bigger than it
looks in photos unless someone is
standing next to it to give it scale.
It’s actually a little taller than a
Beaver and a fair amount wider.
Or at least it looks wider, because
the cockpit is so open and airy.
That’s one of its most attractive
attributes; the entire flight deck is
just that, a deck, and only the pilot’s seat appears to be more or less
permanently attached in place. Everything else is quickly removable
to allow a wide variety of seating/
cargo arrangements. The structure
is also easy to access which makes
bringing a dead one back to life a
little less difficult.
“We crawled all over this thing,”
says Clu, “and were amazed at what
a small amount of corrosion we
found. There was a little rust here

and there on the tubing, but the aluminum needed nothing but a good
cleaning. Considering how disreputable the airplane looked, we were
pleasantly surprised. We wound up
doing a refurbishing job, not a restoration. In fact, that had been our
goal all along because we wanted a
working airplane that we could enjoy, not a showpiece that we’d worry
about scratching. So we didn’t go
nuts with the thing in any area.
“We haven’t done the panel yet
because we want to find a radio compass and take everything back to
pretty much original, but usable. The
panel hasn’t been cut, so the radios
are mounted in such a way that they
can be removed leaving no marks.
“The engine supposedly only
had a hundred hours on it since
overhaul, but that was back in ’77.
So when an accessory gasket let go
while we were running it up, we
dropped the engine off. As soon as I
got it apart, it was obvious the parts
were in good shape, so rather than
doing a complete overhaul, I just
did an IRAN—inspect and replace
as necessary—which was mostly
hoses and gaskets.”
When it came time to fly the airplane for the first time, Clu went
out of his way to avoid one of the
usual pressure points of first flights.
“We did it late in the evening
with no one but helpers around.
No spectators. You don’t need a
peanut gallery on a test flight.
“The airport is at 5,400 feet MSL
[mean sea level], and I chose the
long runway just in case. While
taxiing out, I messed with the tailwheel lock and found it different

DEKEVIN THORNTON

than most tailwheel locks in that
it locks it steerable, not centered;
when unlocked, it becomes full
swivel, which is usually the case.
“As the power went in, the airplane had barely started moving
before the tail wanted to come up,
and a few seconds later it was off
the ground. This at 5,400 feet MSL!
However, as it started accelerating,
the trim began trying to push the
nose up and the forces got quite
high. I found later that the trim
cable was wrapped the wrong way
around the trim drum and I hadn’t
noticed it. I did my Schwarzenegger thing, keeping the nose down
and the power back until I came
around and landed it. On that first
one, I wheeled it on so I could take
off again if I needed to. Even on
that first approach the flaps were
something to be reckoned with:
There’s a big pitch change, which
helped with the out-of-trim condition, but until you’ve seen it, you
can’t comprehend the view out the
windshield with the flaps all out.
You’re looking at nothing but pavement, because the nose is so far
down. And that’s on every landing.
We flew it again the next day with
absolutely zero problems.”
At this stage of the airplane’s development, it was still in bare aluminum. But painting something
that big is a pretty daunting task,
and Clu gave some thoughts to
having a professional paint it.
“I changed my mind and decided to paint it myself when I got
the first quote,” he says. “I know
that $8,000 isn’t that unusual for
a paint job, but I just couldn’t see

paying that much. So I took advantage of a good friend, Brandon
Jewett, who wanted to fly the airplane so badly he could taste it. In
exchange for some flights in the
airplane, we took it up to his private runway and painted it out in
a pasture with the help of Tom Alexander, Don Smallwood, and Matt
Mitchell. Nothing complicated.
Like I said, I didn’t want a show airplane, but I don’t think it turned
out too badly.”
Yellow isn’t a color often associated with ex-USAF aircraft, but it
was actually fairly common during
the mid-’50s.
“I went for yellow because,
among other things, when you
have something this ugly, you
don’t want to hide it. You want it
to stand out. Besides, I remembered
that some of Dad’s L-13 parts were
yellow. The nose art is inspired by
my wife Jenifer, and it’s set up as
an air ambulance, ‘Intensive Care
Unit.’ We’re thinking about painting our T8F Luscombe the same
way and naming it ‘First Aid Kit.’

“When I brought the airplane
home, I buzzed the runway so
my dad would come out. The first
thing he said when I got out of the
cockpit was, ‘I wouldn’t pay $8,000
for that paint job,’ and I replied, ‘I
didn’t. I paid $457.”
So now the Colvin family has
a five-place, $100-hamburger airplane. Clu laughs, “At 17 gallons
an hour and 105 to 110 mph, that
hamburger had better be pretty
close, or it’ll be more than a hundred bucks.”
We, however, think he has to
look at his airplane from a different
angle. Its normal useful load is 1,900
pounds (wartime useful load was
4,200 pounds!), so with all 110 gallons on board, he can carry his entire
family and some baggage for sixand-a-half hours. That’s a lot of flying! Or he can carry four-and-a-half
hours of fuel and carry eight people
with room to spare. That being the
case, Clu says the airplane can be his
hamburger bird until child number
six shows up. We wonder if he’s really considered that.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 9

Vintage Chapters

Across the USA
VAA Chapter 15, Hampton Airfield (7B3)
BY JOHN

MALONEY

PRESIDENT OF VAA CHAPTER 15

The construction of the chapter’s German primary glider project, an SG38, is one of the many
projects VAA15 has undertaken at Hampton Airfield.

ocated 2 miles west of the
New Hampshire coastline,
Hampton Airfield (7B3) has
one 1,800-foot grass runway, 04-22. Owned by Mike
and Cheryl Hart since 1975,
the field hosts a primary flight school, a
fixed base operator, and an antique aircraft restoration business. It’s also the

L

10 FEBRUARY 2011

home of one of the Northeast’s most active groups of Vintage Aircraft Association members, VAA Chapter 15 (we refer
to ourselves as VAA15).
The flight school has been operating
Piper J-3s continuously since 1946. Best
of all, you can solo them! This is the place
to come for a tailwheel endorsement. The
school also offers C-172s. Should you pre-

Dick has retired from a great career of flying corporate and charter
flights in jets, recips, and helicopters as well as a 16 year position as
a Safety Program Manager in South Carolina. Due to his contribution
to so many pilots, he was named Aviator of the Year in 1999. Dick
now enjoys time at his local airport, Whiteplains Plantation, where he
keeps this very pretty, 1950, PA-20, Piper Pacer.
It has been a great pleasure to be a customer of AUA. I always
receive friendly, understanding and knowledgeable service. To me,
AUA means, Always Understands Aviators!

Dick Hitt
Lexington, South Carolina
A&P, IA
Commercial – Helicopter
ATP – Lear Jet, Sabreliner,
Citation 550, King Air 300
VFI – Single Engine,
Multiengine, Instrument
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— Dick Hitt
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VAA15 presents its 2009 scholarship to winner Rober t Nee (four th from the left). Also pictured
are Fred Drake, Marcey Nee (Rober t’s mother), George Vossler, Ken Perkins, Errol Dow, and
George Schumacher.

Casey Brown’s flight instructor, Bill Rose; Casey Brown of Eliot, Maine;
Casey’s mother, Alison; Kim Brown; Casey’s father, Nick; Kent Lawrence,
one of the scholarship committee members; VAA15 Technical Advisor Dick
Blevens; and Sue Gagne.
12 FEBRUARY 2011

fer that someone else does the
piloting, you will fi nd outstanding tours of the Granite State in
a New Standard open-cockpit biplane, truly a unique experience.
(Leather flight jacket, helmet,
and goggles not included.)
A very welcoming place, the
field is home to The Airfield Café
for breakfast and lunch. On weekends you may find a group of retired pilots sharing brunch and
war stories. During the summer,
the Loop–T-Scoop ice cream bar
remains open until early evening.
It is a great place to enjoy your
favorite flavors while watching
some of the classic aircraft based
at 7B3. You might see Stearmans,
Wacos, New Standards, Cubs, or a
variety of homebuilts and ultralight vehicles.
Hampton Airfield is home to
VAA15. The chapter boasts both
a clubhouse and a workshop,
thanks to the generosity of Mike
and Cheryl Hart. The group recently completed building an
SG38 glider completely from
scratch. SG stands for Schulgleiter,

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Kent Lawrence with Rob Drake (accepting the award for
his son, Kyle Drake, who was away at school). Kyle is
an air traffic control student. In the background is Kim
Brown’s Dakota Hawk, a kit from Fisher Flying Products
kit that members were tweaking prior to its first flight.
a German primary glider, circa 1930. After World
War I, because of restrictions on motorized aircraft, Germany focused much of its effort on glider
development; the SG-38 was an ideal “stick and
rudder” trainer. Indeed, the fi rst part of its name
means “school” in German. In this country, the
glider is known as a Northrup, named not for aviation’s Jack Northrop, but for the man who first imported one.
VAA15’s SG38 was an educational project and
hands-on learning experience for our members.
It took approximately 700 hours to complete. We
took the plans from an old Popular Science magazine and converted the measurements from metric. Everything is scratchbuilt: The ribs are Sitka
spruce, the fuselage is built with birch Haskelite,
and the runner shoe is ash. We fashioned the landing and flying wires from 1/8-inch stainless cable,
the control wires from 1/16-inch, and the bracing
wires of 3/32-inch. We covered the wings and tail
feathers with the Poly-Fiber process.
VAA15 sponsors a scholarship program for young
people entering the aviation field. Robert Nee of
Salem, New Hampshire, won the $1,000 award in
2009. He is a student at Daniel Webster College in
Nashua, New Hampshire.
On the third weekend in May, Hampton Airfield
hosts an annual “Fly Market,” an aviation flea market with quite a bit of nonaviation stuff. To raise
funds for our projects, VAA15 sponsors a pancake
breakfast plus burgers and dogs, perfectly cooked
by our talented members. This is a treat not to be
missed. Come on up!
In 2010, VAA Chapter 15 did award two $500
scholarships to be used for flight training at our
home field, Hampton Airport, in 2010. Casey Brown
and Kyle Drake were our scholarship winners.

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What Our Members
Are Restoring

Are you
u near
nearing
arin
ingg completion of a restoration? Or is it done
and you’re busy flying and showing it off? If so, we’d like to
hear from you. Send us a 4-by-6-inch print from a commercial
source (no home printers, please—those prints just don’t
scan well) or a 4-by-6-inch, 300-dpi digital photo. A JPG from
your 2.5-megapixel (or higher) digital camera is fine. You can
burn photos to a CD, or if you’re on a high-speed Internet
connection, you can e-mail them along with a text-only or Word
document describing your airplane. (If your e-mail program
asks if you’d like to make the photos smaller, say no.) For
more tips on creating photos we can publish, visit VAA’s
website at www.vintageaircraft.org. Check the News page for
a hyperlink to Want To Send Us A Photograph?
For more information, you can also e-mail us at vintageaircraft@
eaa.org or call us at 920-426-4825.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 13

My Friend

Frank Rezich
Part V

After the war
BY

ROBERT G. LOCK

PHOTOS COURTESY OF REZICH FAMILY COLLECTION

I

n 1946, after being discharged
from the Army Air Corps,
Frank opened his own shop
at Stinson Airport, a short distance from where he grew up. His
brother Nick had just opened the
Pylon Club tavern.
Nick approached Frank with a
proposal: design and construct a
racer for the Goodyear-sponsored

14 FEBRUARY 2011

races at the Cleveland National Air
Races. These races became popular after the war and featured some
of the hottest World War II military fighters of the time, “souped
up” to go even faster. Also featured
was a new class of racer, the Goodyear-type racer with engines up to
85 hp. The Continental C-85 was
the engine of choice. His brother

Above Lead Photo: Frank with the
Rezich Br others Racer, RBS-1,
which he designed for the Cleveland National Air Races.
Right: An ar tist’s rendition
of the Rezich racer with
race number 43.

Mike came to him and said, “Design it for me. You know what the
heck you’re doing. Let’s get on
with it. I’ll finance it, and you do
all the work.” Frank also remembers, “It wasn’t even finished when
Bill Odom got killed [in 1949] and
there went the races.” The racer was
never completed.
Nick and Frank were involved
in the construction, but the design
was all Frank’s. The ship was designated the Rezich Brothers Racer,
RBS-1. Nick’s son Jim provides additional information on the racer.
“I believe this photo was taken in
1951 or 1952. You can see Steve Bevell’s Lil Spook #77 in the background.
The ship was owned by the Pylon
Club, as my dad was interested in
air racing and flying in air races.
He attended the 1947 Cleveland
races and the 1950, Detroit races. I
think the construction on the racer
was started in 1950 when my dad
opened the Pylon Club tavern. The
plan was for Frank to build the airplane and Dad to fly it. The airplane
was also designed to have the C-85
engine removed and a 600-cubicinch engine installed for use in the
Unlimited races. The racer was donated to the EAA and displayed in
the museum in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. When the museum moved
to Oshkosh, they changed their pol-

icy to having only fully completed
airplanes on display. So, they attempted to sell the RBS-1.”
Overcoming some technicalities,
Jim was able to obtain the racer.
The ship now resides with the family in its uncompleted state.
While work in his hangar was sporadic and sometimes slow, Frank recalls a series of events that took him
to the Illinois Air National Guard.
“Right after the war—I don’t
know how long I was out, but an
Air National Guard colonel, Wilson Newhall, came over and said
he wanted me to go to work for the
Guard. I responded I didn’t want
any more military, and he said
no, no, no, you work as what we
call full-time maintenance people;
you’re civil service. He said he was
buying a P-63 and we’re going to
Cleveland with it. We’re gonna race
it. Oh, okay. I didn’t have a job.
There was no Howard. So the National Guard of Illinois was right
there at Chicago Municipal. They
had another strip on the north side
of Chicago with two runways that
was called the ‘orchard’ that is today O’Hare. So, every three or four
weeks the Illinois, Michigan, and
Wisconsin National Guard would
go on an encampment. I was chief
of maintenance for Illinois, and
Mike Sitik was chief of mainte-

A two-view sketch of the racer as
designed by Frank. Note the similarity of this drawing to a Cassutt
racer that came after this design.
Jim recalls, “Tom Cassutt was a
TWA pilot who was a frequent visitor to the Pylon Club and shared
an interest in the new Goodyear
racers. He was able to see the
RBS-1 taking shape, and he sure
copied a lot of the same ideas that
Frank and Dad had in the design.
He was able to get his airplane finished, and it was well received.
It went on to be a popular spor t
airplane and was even upgraded
with a tapered wing in place of the
‘Hershey Bar’ wing.”

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 15

A new R-4360 B-36 engine, with Frank standing third from the right.
nance for Michigan. So when Mike
went to work for Ford, he came
over and kept pestering me, ‘Come
on, Frank, you gotta go to work for
Ford. We need guys with radial engine experience.’ Mike Sitik spent
three hours with me and kept saying ‘Come on, Frank, I’ll give you
the general foreman’s job.’ That’s
how I got the job at Ford.”
The tumultuous 1940s were
over, and those who came home
from the war looked for new horizons and stable employment.
Frank wanted to settle into a more
normal life, get married, and raise
a family.
Ford had received a contract
from the military to build R-4360
radial engines that were used in
Boeing C-97 and Model 377 Stratocruiser, the Convair B-36, the
Northrop XB-35, and the Douglas
C-124. Frank was hired and immediately went into management of
the aircraft engine division, assembly, and test section. Ford was getting its engines out into the field.
The first engines were being built
for the massive B-36 that was be-

16 FEBRUARY 2011

ing constructed at Convair’s Fort
Worth, Texas, plant.
As Frank familiarized himself
with the new 28-cylinder radial
engine, a new position opened,
that of a technical representative
from the Ford plant. Frank recalls, “The military says to Ford…
you gotta have technical reps out
there in the field, just like Pratt &
Whitney. I go to the guy who is
the head of service and tell him
I want to be the first guy who
goes west or southwest. So I was
assigned to Fort Worth and the
Convair factory. I’ve got a picture
of me walking on the top of the
wing of a B-36.”
Frank has always been a people person, working with people
rather than against them. That is
his strength—confronting a problem, then designing a solution.
When one looks back over Frank’s
experiences prior to that point in
his career, he was honest and hardworking, and his word was good. If
he made a commitment, he would
follow through. He seemed to be
in the right place at the right time.

People noticed him and were envious of his talent.
Having spent two years in Fort
Worth, and with his work at the
Convair plant winding down,
Frank received his next assignment.
Frank was assigned to the West
Coast, specifically at the North
American Aviation plant in El Segundo, California.
At that time they were building
the F-100 Super Sabre jet-powered
aircraft. Pratt & Whitney designed
the model J-57 afterburning engine. Ford began production of
these engines under contract to
Pratt & Whitney, and ace 4360 tech
rep Frank Rezich would be involved
with the installations in new production aircraft and retrofit in existing aircraft. So Frank began work
at El Segundo.
Frank recalls, “I came out here
because we [Ford] delivered the engine for the F-100. It was an engine
swap—the original airplane had a
G.E. nonafterburning engine, and it
didn’t perform. Along comes Pratt
with the J-57 with afterburner. So
I came out here as a factory rep for

Frank (right) on the wing of a B-36 at the Convair factor y in For t Wor th, Texas, perhaps troubleshooting the installation of an R-4360.
that engine at North American. A
lot of people don’t understand government contracts. North American

builds the airplane, and there are
certain products that the government furnishes, GFP. Engines are

one of them. I came out here and
met the vice president of manufacturing, their production and engi-

A picture is wor th a thousand words. Working closely with factor y engineers and assembly people, Frank solved critical problems with his hands-on methods.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 17

Frank Rezich at Nor th American Aviation with a new Ford-built Pratt & Whitney J-57 afterburning engine still in the shipping can. By the end of this contract, Frank’s life would take another
interesting turn.

neering people. Pratt & Whitney
was also delivering engines, so you
could get an airplane with either
Pratt & Whitney or Ford manufactured engines installed. Well, they
were just ramping up production
around 1954.”
Frank’s daughter Kathy was born
in 1956, when Frank and Eileen
were living in Canoga Park. “As
production really got going I got
a couple more reps. They [North
American] had their own test cells,
and we had a contract with PAC
that if any warranty work was required it was done at PAC [Pacific
Aeromotive Corporation]. Anyway, I was the senior rep on the
West Coast for Ford.”
Near the end of the Ford contract, Frank recalls, “Barry Stoh,

18 FEBRUARY 2011

the vice president and general
manager [of North American],
came to me and asked what I was
going to do when the contract was
over. I said just go across the runway to the commercial side. He
said that was pretty tough over
there, and so he made me an offer
to come work for us [North American]. So I thought about it a day or
two, and I came back to him. What
do you have in mind? He said how
about assistant to me. We haven’t
had any problems with your engines, and if they needed fixing,
the work was done on time. Your
people got along with our people.
You will have a special assignment
out of this office. He made me superintendent of the whole North
American Palmdale plant!”

It should be noted here that
Frank did not want to go back to
Chicago. He liked the West Coast,
and that is where he wanted to
live. I recall a story Frank told
about changing a fuel valve in a
DC-3 on the ramp of Chicago Municipal Airport in the dead of winter. With freezing weather and fuel
flowing down his arms, the cold
was miserable. He thought at that
time, “I need to get out of here and
go where the summer temperatures are bearable, but the winter
temperatures are mild.” He eventually settled in the Canoga Park area
of Southern California, between
Santa Barbara and San Diego.
Next month, we’ll share some
incredible stories from the North
American days and the XB-70.

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Savy onlin
Bu

It’s gonna be
a big day. All
week long.
This year we’ve packed each day
(and evening) of AirVenture with
special events and attractions
you’ll want to plan around.
Monday, July 25
Opening Day Concert

Tuesday, July 26
Tribute to Bob Hoover

Wednesday, July 27
Navy Day

Thursday, July 28
Tribute to Burt Rutan

Friday, July 29
Salute to Veterans

Saturday, July 30
Night Air Show Returns

Sunday, July 31
Big Finale, the Military Scramble

Join us for a big celebration of
the 100th Anniversary of Naval
Aviation. See it all, from the Curtiss
Pusher replica to the Navy’s hottest
hardware. All week long.

Advance tickets made possible by

The Antiques in Winter
Part III

If airplanes could talk . . .
BY

ROGER THIEL

This is the third installment of a story,
wherein a large communal lightplane hangar
in the present-day American Midwest in winter, six antique airplanes come to life and
tell their tales of Depression-era survival
to the newer airplanes, who are worried
about recent national economic issues.

The Great Lakes’ Story
The other antique airplanes had
felt some sympathy for the only biplane in the group—called a Great
Lakes—because in the fall some minor repair issues had come up on its
annual inspection, and it had not
flown since.
At last it spoke up: “I heard
the earlier talk about the airplane
types that did not survive the Depression, and my line was one of
them. But such was my design’s
unique ability to revive—thus, I
have many descendants.
“My line was started in 1928,
one of the “brioso” startups that
took advantage of the Lindbergh
success. I am from 1931, as the
factory was soldiering on during
the Depression and the situation
toughened terribly. My rakish lines

20 FEBRUARY 2011

and aerobatic ability captured the
hearts of aviators, but in the end,
not their thin wallets. And like so
many others, my factory’s doors,
too, closed in 1932.
“Everyone thought that we
were, well, down. But evidence of
our line continued in a surprising and spectacular way, as our
design’s popularity as an air show
mount kept us going.
“Like the success of Depressionera movies, people would pay a
little something for the diversion
of an aerial exhibition. It was one
of the few ways for pilots to make
money in the 1930s, and we Great
Lakes were, well, back up at a time
when many other airplanes never
left their hangars for lack of funds.
“Then came the war, and air
shows stopped. Our status, like the

majority of civilian lightplanes, was
down again.
“But after the war, something
surprising happened, rare in American aviation. As our air show work
resumed, our nimble design was appreciated, even with all of the exmilitary biplanes on the market,
and we were up again, and referred
to in the 1950s as ‘still the standard’
for such flying. Many pilots marveled at our air show performances,
and unable to buy one of us, petitioned the design holders for sets of
plans. This was done, and in workshops all over the country, Great
Lakes biplanes were again made by
individuals in the new homebuilders movement.
“As the postwar ‘tail fin years’
passed, new trends in aerobatic flying and competition again threat-

ened the Great Lakes line. Rather
than the beautiful, sweeping, lefthand/right-hand choreographed
nature of our performances, a new
trend called ‘vertical penetration’
came to pass, and the situation
again for us looked, well, down.
“Then something happened,
even more unusual than the 1950s
demand for my plans, something
unique at that point in American
aviation. In 1974, on a wave of nostalgia and the desire for traditional,
open-cockpit flying, a factor y
tooled up and began manufacturing my line anew, some 40 years
after my company’s demise, in a
final swing up of our decades-long
up-down ride.
“And so this winter, my tail
feathers need some minor repair
work and some fabric re-covering.
Am I therefore never to fly again?
Am I expunged from the list?
Should I give up? Of course not!
I will be patched up, and I will
fly again. The whole issue, quite
frankly, seems normal to me.
“Because, you see, as my line’s
histor y bears so well—down is
not out—and up can often be just
around the corner!”

The Cessna’s Story
Known for minding its own business and usually remaining silent,
the Cessna 140, with its sleek, understated aluminum covering, and
the only all-metal aircraft among the
six antiques, spoke up last, and the
other five took immediate notice.
“It was a great gamble to make
me in 1946,” it said. “As the war
ended, Cessna changed over from
making wooden-winged, twinengine trainers to a brand new line
of three different aircraft models.
“ To t h e c i v i l i a n m a r k e t , w e
looked modern and different, but
of conservative design, and this was
extreme risk for us. Everything was
designed around patient, safe utility. We received undramatic ‘form
follows function’ monocoque fuselages and thin spring-steel landing
gears of a sort not seen before on
major production aircraft.

“But look at a picture of me on an
aircraft ramp in the late 1940s, near
a parking lot with contemporary
autos, and note the huge contrast.
The public wanted bulgy, tanklike,
‘we won the war’ cars, but Cessna
minded its own svelte air business,
making its models functional and
finished in efficient taste.
“In the postwar bust, we fought
for what business there was. And
with our step toward great modernity already taken, there was no
turning back. We were forced to
promote an understated product
and fought to persevere.
“We recovered from the postwar
slump in slow, undramatic fashion,
minding our own business and relying on our sheer practical utility
to persevere. Slowly this happened,
ushering us into the more prosperous era in which ‘swords were
beaten into tail fins.’
“I morphed into the Cessna 150,
and my bigger brother into the 172
Skyhawk, which went on to become the most popular airframe in
all of world aviation history!
“My line’s story might be compared to comedian and straight
man Bud Abbott, who was considered a better talent and paid a
higher salary than his partner,
punch line-grabbing Lou Costello.
Hardly any of my line has thrilled
an air show audience or flown in
a speed dash, and yet we patiently
and undramatically ‘bring them
there’ and get it done every time—
again and again and again.
“As American manufacturer Andrew Carnegie said, ‘Put all your
eggs into one basket, and then
watch that basket.’
“Understated, subdued, and yet
the most popular of all time. And
how did we Cessnas do it? Why, by
minding our own business!”
Had the young airplanes been
listening? The antiques didn’t
know. And if so, would they even
care? Did all of the storytelling
even matter at all? The six old airplanes settled into their tidy warren
of tail feathers, struts, wing panels,
fuselage sides, and tail wheels.

From the unjoined portions of
the metal hangar, tiny furrows
and channels of light stabbed in,
and the shadow-shapes they made
etched weird, angular caricatures of
airplanes onto each other and onto
the cold floor.
The old planes’ thoughts became
hazy, too, drifting in and out of
warm summer flights, of easy engine
starts, of being washed and polished,
of being photographed, and of taking people up for their first time off
earth. These and hundreds of other
pictures, incomprehensible to those
who do not fly, came and went.
Outside, the municipal light
buzzed amidst the whistling sound
as the unconcerned night wind
blew tufts of stale snow into small
eddies, atop the stark hibernating
vegetation, into the ditches of the
section line roads . . . and behind
all of this was the distant sound of
the encroaching trucks, marching
in their endless, carnivorous line,
roaring like lions.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 21

Light Plane Heritage
published in EAA Experimenter February 1991

THE HILD MARSHONET
BY

It began during World War I . . .
two young men, already deeply
involved in aeronautics, became
determined to design and manufacture for sale an airplane—for the
Sunday flier that would be their
equivalent of Henry Ford’s ubiquitous Model T Flivver. These men
were Frederic Hild and his brotherin-law, Edward Marshonet.
Like so many optimists of the
day, they visualized a postwar period when returning servicemen,
aviators, “doughboys,” and “swabbies” alike would insist on their
right to fly affordable airplanes far
and wide across this free land—if,
as, and when they chose. To that
end they applied themselves to

OWEN S. BILLMAN

their drawing boards and came up
with a small, single-seat biplane
fitted with a two-cylinder, 20-hp
engine that drank gasoline in relatively small sips.
By war’s end these men, living
in Hempstead, Long Island, had
achieved an enviable reputation in
aeronautical circles. In 1910 they
entered into a partnership and
operated a business they rather
grandly called The American Aeronautical Supply House.
They manufactured and offered
for sale a Bleriot “type” monoplane. With that small word enclosed in quotation marks, one can
only wonder if their offering had
the stamp of approval of Louis Ble-

riot, or may have resulted from the
borrowing of his original plans. Regardless, their first sale of an aeroplane came in 1911.
It is recorded that in 1912, Hild
taught himself to fly in one of their
own production ships, a common
practice in those early days. He rapidly gained experience and soon
flew an exhibition for representatives of Fédération Aéronautique
Internationale. On February 22,
1913, he was issued Aero Club of
America license number 216.
Hild immediately found his services in demand, so he began making exhibition flights. One was in
Newton and another in Asbury
Park, both in New Jersey.

Editor’s Note: The Light Plane Heritage series in EAA’s Experimenter magazine often touched on aircraft and concepts
related to vintage aircraft and their history. Since many of our members have not had the opportunity to read this series, we plan on publishing those LPH articles that would be of interest to VAA members. Enjoy!—HGF

22 FEBRUARY 2011

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 23

On March 4, he flew from Hempstead to circle New York City, ran
out of fuel, and landed on a farm,
on what is now known as Roosevelt
Island, gliding in on final under the
Queensbury Bridge.
He taught flying around Hempstead, as well as that hotbed of aero
activity, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
He and Marshonet soon sold out
their supply house in Hempstead
only to establish United Eastern
Aeroplane Corporation, 1251-57
DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn.
When war broke out in Europe
they sold that interest and went
into design work, first for the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
in Garden City, Long Island, and
later for Standard Aircraft Corporation in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It
was during this period they gained
the knowledge and experience that
enabled them to develop the design
for their sportplane. At war’s end in
1918 they began building and testing it. It was ready late in 1919.
Their sportplane was quite
small. Wingspan (upper) was 24
feet, and length was 19 feet. Power
was supplied by a two-cylinder, 20hp engine of unknown origin. It
was a small V-twin that looked suspiciously like a motorcycle engine
of the period.
Their concept was unique in
that both upper and lower wings
were swept, the upper one to the
rear and the lower one forward.
Both sets of wings were tapered.
Attached to a cabane strut over the
fuselage, the top wing’s rear spar
was located about over the pilot’s
head; the front spar of the lower

24 FEBRUARY 2011

wing attached to the bottom longeron at a point about even with
the pilot’s hips. At first glance this
appears to be a strange configuration, but close examination seems
to reveal a method in their madness, as we will see.
The fuselage consisted of a long,
wooden box that connected the
pod housing the engine and pilot
with the tail assembly. Entry to
the cockpit was gained by stepping

up onto the 18-inch-high fuselage
deck with one foot and then into
the cockpit with the other while
grasping a handhold in the cutout
center of the upper wing, slithering
forward until comfortably seated.
It can be seen that without the
method of staggering the mounting of the wings in this way, entry
to the cockpit of such a small biplane would have been very difficult, if not impossible.

Specifications:
Span top plane
24 feet
Span lower plane
19 feet 3 inches
5 feet to 3 feet
Chord top plane
Chord lower plane
4 feet 6 inches to 3 feet
Gap
3 feet to 4 feet
Overall length
19 feet
Angle of incidence
4 degrees
Wing section
N.P.L. No. 4
Total area of mainplanes
160 square feet
Area of ailerons (two)
20 square feet
Stabilizer
6 square feet
Elevators
9 square feet
Fin
3 square feet
Rudder
6 square feet
Factor of safety throughout
7
Empty weight
450 pounds
Gross weight
700 pounds
Speed range
(40-hp engine) 35-65 mph
Climb
780 fpm
Glide
1 in 8

Dihedral angle of the upper wing was 0 degrees and
that of the lower 6 degrees. It was claimed that the
unusual layout of the wings made for excellent stability, lateral as well as longitudinal. The wings could be
folded very quickly by one man, and the plane stored
in a space measuring just 9 feet by 20 feet.
No performance figures are available for the 20-hp
version, but the same airframe powered with a 40-hp
engine claims a speed range of 35 to 65 mph.
Advertisements showing the new plane appeared
beginning with Aerial Age magazine dated March 1,
1920. It included a photo of the Sportsman in profile,
proclaiming that readers should own one for pleasure
or business . . . save time, earn money. The ad proclaimed, “It is easy and safe to fly. Enjoy good health
and recreation by flying through the air.”
Some of the features mentioned were:
• You can see the wheels while landing.
• Slow landing speed.
• Will start or alight on roadway, etc., no need
for large field.
• Can be stored in a small barn, garage, etc.
when not in use. No need to erect a hangar.
• Ease in getting in and out of seat, particularly
desirable for ladies.
• Economical. Fuel cost 1 cent per mile.
• Low upkeep cost. Plane can be moved about on
ground by one person.
• Motor reliable and efficient. Easy and simple to
operate. 18 years of reputation in back of it.
• Large factor of safety. Excellent stability. Workmanship and materials guaranteed for one year.
• Price complete, $2,000.
Sales of their Sportsman apparently did not materialize as hoped, for as later in 1920, Hild and Marshonet dissolved their partnership and went their
separate ways. It is not known what happened to the
latter, but Hild was next reported in Chicago, where,
in 1927, he founded the Hild Floor Machine Company. This business was quite successful, and he operated it until 1954, when he sold out and retired to
Florida. He died unexpectedly in Miami on October
31, 1963, at the age of 73.
Much of the material for this article was found in a per-

sonal letter dated April 24, 1963, signed Fred C. Hild, to
E.A. Goff, Secretary, Early Birds of American, courtesy of
the Library at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
It is regrettable that so little information is available in
regard to Edward Marshonet. It is evident that he was a silent partner of Hild’s.
References:
Aerial Age Weekly, March 1, 1920
Flight magazine, March 25, 1920
NASM Library
Journal of American Aviation Historical Society,
Spring 1968

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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 25

Vintage
Mechanic

THE

BY ROBERT G. LOCK

Bendix 30x5 Wheels
Early aircraft wheels were
classified as either spoke type
(clincher), spun disc type (Bendix
30x5), or cast drop-center type

(Bendix and Hayes). See Figure 1.
Very few aircraft still operate with
the spoked clincher-type wheels.
Some, however, operate with the

spun disc Bendix 30x5 wheel, and
many more still operate with the
cast drop-center type wheel.

FIGURE 1
First, let’s look at loadings on wheels during ground operation
and landing. Normal landings do not impose a heavy load on
the wheels (assuming it is not a hard landing). Nevertheless, the
Bendix 30x5 wheels do not absorb side loads well. The faster
the airplane is moving on the ground, the heavier the load imposed on the wheels.
26 FEBRUARY 2011

Figure 2 illustrates what happens when
an aircraft touches down in a crosswind
landing, in this case from left to right. As
the aircraft slows, the rudder becomes
increasingly ineffective. Unless brake
is used, the ship will weathervane into
the wind. If it is traveling fast enough, it
will complete a turn, thus damaging the
wheel, landing gear, and outboard wing. If
things get really bad, it will flip over on its
back. A conventional tailwheel-type aircraft would rather travel down the runway
tail-first. Therefore, the tricycle landing
gear is much preferred for modern flight
training. Consider when the aircraft goes
out of control, there is a tremendous side
loading placed on the wheels.

FIGURE 2

FIGURE 3
Figure 3 clearly shows what happens when an aircraft places heavy side loading on the wheels. The aircraft
is a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, and the wheels are spoked type clincher. Side loading on the wheels caused by the
aircraft sliding sideways has collapsed the spokes, a common problem with this type of wheel. Similar loads
can be imparted on the spun disc type Bendix 30x5 wheels if the aircraft ground-loops and slides sideways. The
spinnings are not designed to withstand heavy side loads.
Photo from Ron Alexander (http://PeachStateAero.com) and the collection at Candler Field Museum. The photo, taken in 1926, is of Doug
Davis who was based at Candler.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 27

FIGURE 4
Bendix manufactured 30x5 wheels in two basic
types, the plain bearing and roller bearing type
hubs. The plain bearing hubs used bronze bushings, which slid over the axle and centered the
wheel on the axle. Of course, wear was always a
problem and the bushings had to be lubricated at
regular intervals. Figure 4 shows a cross-section
sketch of the plain bearing Bendix 30x5 wheel.
The aluminum hub casting can be seen along
with the side spinnings, inner band, and side
beads. Roller bearings cannot be used in this
wheel assembly.
Figure 5 illustrates the Bendix 30x5 roller bearing
type spun disc wheel. Note the difference in the hub
casting to accept tapered roller bearings on the axle (left).
Using the chart, one can easily see a maximum
wheel load of 1,600 pounds per wheel and a guaranteed side load ultimate strength of 3,300 pounds.
The inboard spun disc is attached to the cast aluminum hub with steel rivets. These rivets should always be checked for looseness. Looseness will be
accompanied by a trace of black soot-like dust around
the head, indicating that the rivets are moving or the
aluminum under the head is loose. The outer portion of
the inboard disc is attached to the liner and bead assembly with heat-treated alloy 2117 (AD) or 2024 (DD)
flush head rivets of 5/32 inch or 3/16 inch diameter.
The outboard spun disc is attached to the bead and
liner assembly with flush-head, heat-treated rivets, the
same as the inboard disc. The disc is fastened to the
hub with 5/16-inch diameter bolts. In most installations these bolts also fasten a bearing cover to keep
dirt out of bearings.
When inspecting these type wheels it is necessary
to deflate the tire, loosen the bead area, and move it,
in order to inspect the rivet heads. Look for loose or
missing rivets. Again, if the rivet is loose, there should
be a black powder around the head. Mechanics call
this the “smoking rivet.”
28 FEBRUARY 2011

FIGURE 5
Figure 5 contains notes on installation of the wheel
and brake assembly. These wheels are designed only
to carry the maximum load, which the tire manufacturers specify for standard tires, not oversize. These
loads should never be exceeded. Maximum thickness
for the brake-mounting flange is also shown in the
illustration.
The brake-mounting flange must be machined true
to the axle within 0.0005 inch, measured at the outside diameter of the flange. The brake assembly must
be concentric with the wheel drum or drum-to-lining
clearance cannot be properly set. Brake lining should
be adjusted to the least clearance possible before
dragging occurs. This clearance is from 0.005 inch
to 0.010 inch (0.008 inch to 0.010 inch is usually the
norm) depending whether the brake is mechanically
or hydraulically activated. It might be necessary to
turn the wheel brake drum on a lathe to assure that
it is absolutely round, or adjustment of clearance will
be impossible. Make a check by inserting 0.010 inch
feeler gauge in the slots on the brake-backing plate.
If accurate adjustments cannot be made, check the
drum to see if it is, in fact, round.

FIGURE 6

FIGURE 7
Figure 7 shows a typical tapered roller bearing. Bearings should be removed, cleaned, inspected, and repacked with grease at each 100-hour or annual inspection. Any discoloration or grooving of the race is grounds
for replacement. Always use a good grade of heavy-duty wheel bearing grease. Most mechanics will hand-pack
the bearings with grease, forcing the grease from one side of the rollers to the other side, assuring that all open
areas around the rollers are completely filled. Never blow compressed air over the bearing, causing it to spin.
Bearings should be cleaned in mineral spirits or cleaning solvent.
Figure 8 is a photograph of my 1929 Command-Aire 5C3 with Bendix 30x5 wheels and
a Scott 3200 steerable tail wheel. The airplane
handles extremely well on the ground, even
when landing in a crosswind above 20 mph.
Daily inspection includes feeling the inner and
outer spun discs for wrinkling and checking
for any loose rivets. On one occasion, the rivets that attach the inner disc to the hub were
found to be loose. This was discovered when
one wheel made a “groaning” sound when
the airplane was pushed forward. I found the
paint cracked around the rivet heads, a clear
indication of loose rivets. The wheel was reFIGURE 8
moved from service. I would not authorize
any riveted repairs to the discs other than replacement of a rivet. Riveted repairs, no matter how good, will only
return approximately 80 percent strength to the part. Therefore, I would say no sheet metal repairs to the spun
discs.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 29

INSPECTION:
Jack the airplane, spin the
wheel, and look for excess wobble.
This indicates a side loading may
have been imposed on the wheel or
it was repaired incorrectly.
Deflate the tire, move the bead
to expose the rivet heads on the inside of the wheel rim area. Look for
loose or missing rivet heads, and
any cracks along the bead area.
Check for cracks, dents, or wrinkling of spun discs. Run your hand
over the disc to feel for irregularities. Look closely at the hole in the
outboard disc, where the air valve
extenders are installed, and check
for cracks.
Conduct this inspection as often
as necessary to assure the wheel
is in serviceable condition. At minimum disassemble the tire from the
wheel at annual inspection time to
thoroughly inspect the wheels.
Only the pilot knows of a hard
landing or heavy side loading, and
if the inspecting mechanic is not
promptly informed, wheel failure
could occur with subsequent damage or loss of the airplane.

FIGURE 9
In Figure 9, when a severe side load is imposed on these 30x5 wheels,
a catastrophe is in the making.

FIGURE 10

Have a comment or question
for Bob Lock, the Vintage Mechanic? Drop us an e-mail at vintageaircraft@eaa.org, or you can
mail your question to Vintage
Airplane, P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903.
30 FEBRUARY 2011

Finally, Figure 10 shows an original Bendix 30x5 wheel and the disastrous effects of side loading beyond maximum. Note that the flush rivets
around the bead are mostly intact, although a few have failed from overstress. Failed rivets can be seen by observing shadow of the wheel on
ground—missing rivets allow light to pass through the drilled holes. Obviously this wheel cannot be repaired, but the hub was undamaged. When
repairing or assembling these wheels, only the highest-quality craftsmanship is acceptable. If the wheel fails, severe damage to the airplane will
occur. Hearing wing spars crack or hanging upside-down in the rear seat
is not comfortable! Keep a close watch on all 30x5 wheels for any signs of
damage or deterioration.

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Vintage
Instructor
THE

BY Steve Krog, CFI

Taking the fear out of crosswind takeoffs
“Every time I taxi to the runway
for takeoff my palms begin to sweat,
and I get a nervous knot in my stomach, especially when at a fly-in with
a large audience. I’ve read your previous articles about crosswind landings and have put your tips to practice
with great success. I no longer fear the
crosswind landing, but the takeoff is
another matter.”
Crosswind takeoffs can be a little
intimidating, especially with a lot
of observing critics judging your
every move. But, just as with crosswind landings, a little forethought,
some practice, and learning to relax will go a long way to perfecting
that takeoff.
I’ve found when either giving dual
instruction or providing Biennial
Flight Reviews (BFR), the hardest part
of the takeoff is self-induced pilot
anxiety! Whether sitting in the front
seat of a J-3 Cub or in the right seat of
a Taylorcraft BC-12D, I can practically
read the student’s or pilot’s pulse by
placing a finger lightly on the control
stick or yoke or gently resting a foot
against the rudder pedal. The closer
we get to the crosswind takeoff, the
greater the heart rate and the firmer
the grip on the stick.
Let’s analyze a crosswind takeoff
step-by-step and see if we can’t eliminate the normally building fear. In
this example we’ll assume that we
have an approximately 30-degree
10-knot crosswind from left to right
on a 75-foot-wide hard-surface runway and we’re flying a J-3 Cub.
After taxiing to the end of the
runway, completing the pre-takeoff

32 FEBRUARY 2011

checklist, and clearing the runway
for approaching traffic, we’ll taxi into
position on the runway centerline.
Once positioned and at a complete
stop, take two or three deep breaths;
this helps relax your breathing as
well as your arm and leg muscles.
Now lightly grip the stick in your
right hand using your thumb, index,
and middle finger. Think of the stick
in terms of one of those huge carnival cigars that could be won at any of
a number of games of chance. Your
ring and little fingers will not be in
contact with the stick.
Position the balls of your feet
lightly on the rudder pedals, with
your heels contacting the floor.
Rudder inputs during takeoff
should be made by flexing your
ankles, not your entire leg. This is
one of the biggest mistakes I find
with students and pilots alike.
They all like to let their feet creep
up on the rudder pedals, positioning their arches on the pedals. The
next trip you make to the airport,
sit in your airplane and see where
you normally position your feet on
the rudder pedals. If your arches are
contacting the pedals, rudder input requires movement of your entire leg; this will cause a stiff, jerky
movement rather than the desired
fluid movement achieved when
flexing the ankle. The jerky movement leads to slow rudder input
followed by overcorrecting rudder
inputs. Improper foot placement
will usually lead to a series of small
S-turns during the takeoff roll.
With your hand placed properly

on the stick and feet correctly positioned on the rudder pedals, we’re
nearly ready to add power. But first
we need to make the proper aileron
and elevator inputs. Whether the
crosswind is 5 knots or 20 knots and
gusty, I always use full aileron deflection. In this example the stick
will be moved fully to the left with a
full up aileron on the left (or windward) side of the airplane. This will
prevent the left wing from flying before the right wing. The control stick
should be deflected to the aft position, with the elevator in the full up
position. By doing so, we’re creating
a downward load on the tail, keeping the steerable tail wheel firmly on
the ground, which provides directional control at slow speeds.
Before adding power and initiating the takeoff roll, there are
two additional items we must do
to help ensure a safe, smooth takeoff. First, establish your visual line
of sight. On a 75-foot-wide runway I look for, and focus on, the
third runway light forward of the
airplane. It doesn’t make any difference which side you look at;
either side is fine and will depend
on which eye is your primary eye.
(Which eye do you use when looking down the sight of a rifle? Right
eye? Then look to the right side.)
Second, visualize the takeoff roll
in your mind. Engine torque and
propeller P-factor will pull the airplane to the left. Add the crosswind
from left to right to the equation.
The wind will strike the airplane
on the left, attempting to push the

U.S. NAVY FLIGHT TRAINING MANUAL, published in 1943.

tail to the right. This will require
slightly more than the normal right
rudder input during the takeoff roll.
With the ailerons fully deflected,
elevator full up, relaxed grip on
the stick, balls of your feet lightly
contacting the rudder pedals, and
line of sight established, smoothly
apply power, moving from idle to
full power in approximately three
seconds. (Don’t slam the throttle to
full power!)
As the takeoff roll begins, the
airplane will want to drift to left of
centerline. Anticipate and lightly
tap and release the right rudder
pedal. Do not tap and hold, as you
will instantly overcorrect, causing
the plane to move to the right. Just
tap and release, tap and release,
tap, tap, tap. In so doing, you will
be able to maintain a straight-line
track on the runway. Should the
plane actually move a few feet to
the left, keep tapping, straightening the longitudinal axis, and continue straight ahead, parallel to the
runway centerline. Do not try to
move the plane back to the centerline. Just continue tracking straight
and parallel to the centerline.
As the ground speed increases, the
wings begin generating lift, and the
controls begin to become more effective. The greater the ground speed,
the less aileron deflection is needed
to keep the windward wing from flying. Generally, approximately half
of the aileron deflection can be re-

moved. Simultaneously, the elevator
is becoming effective, as can be felt
by the increasing pressure needed to
hold the control stick full aft. At this
point, relax enough back pressure to
allow the tail to begin flying. Now all
of our directional control is provided
by the rudder. As the tail lifts, we can
anticipate the need for a slight bit of
right rudder as again torque, P-factor,
and the crosswind are all trying to
force the plane to the left. Ideally, we
want to lift the tail off the ground
but keep it in a slight tail-low, nosehigh attitude. In a normal head wind
takeoff, the tail would be kept low
but off the ground for maximum angle of attack.
If we lift the tail too high, which
is very tempting to do to improve
forward visibility, we negate lift
and prolong the length of time the
airplane is on the ground during
the crosswind takeoff roll. Rather,
the desire is to raise the tail slightly
higher than normal and lift off at a
speed slightly greatly than normal.
This will compensate for gusts or
changes in wind velocity and increase the safety of the takeoff.
All the while that we’re rolling,
inputting aileron, tapping on the
right rudder, and lifting the tail,
our eyes remain focused on the
edge of the runway, approximately
three runway lights ahead of the
airplane. It’s really tempting to try
looking over the nose, but as soon
as you do so, you lose all reference

for keeping the airplane tracking
straight ahead.
As the airplane approaches liftoff,
gently begin moving the control stick
to the center position, neutralizing
the aileron input just as the plane
breaks ground. This technique allows
the plane to lift off with the wings
even and parallel to the ground
rather than the common one-wing
low configuration. Continue the
climb for 10-20 feet; then lower the
nose to level flight and relax all rudder and aileron inputs. This will allow the airplane to weather vane into
the wind, which is actually allowing
the airplane to set up its own crab
angle. Once stabilized, continue the
climb out of the pattern, maintaining
the crab angle, and be off on another
leg of pleasure flying!
Crosswind takeoffs are not
overly difficult, but they do require
close attention to all details. Begin
brushing up on your crosswind
technique by practicing in light
wind conditions. Then as your
technique improves and you become more comfortable, try a takeoff and landing or two in slightly
more wind. Practice breeds proficiency, and proficiency eliminates
the fear factor.
Happy flying, especially on crosswind days!
To contact Steve Krog or Vintage
Airplane editor H.G. Frautschy, send
an e-mail to vintage@eaa.org.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 33

by H.G. FRAUTSCHY

MYSTERY PLANE
This month’s Mystery Plane comes from a collection of photos we
recently noted was updated last year. It is of foreign manufacture.

Send your answer to EAA,
Vintage Airplane, P.O. Box 3086,
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Your
answer needs to be in no later
than March 20 for inclusion in

the May 2011 issue of Vintage
Airplane.
You can also send your response via e-mail. Send your
answer to mysteryplane@eaa.org.

Be sure to include your name
plus your city and state in the
body of your note and put
“(Month) Mystery Plane” in the
subject line.

NOVEMBER’S MYSTERY ANSWER
The November 2010 Mystery
Plane came to us from the batch
of old photos sent to us by Duffy
Thompson of Lakeland, Florida.
The answer was provided by
Thomas Lymburn of Princeton,
Minnesota:
The November 2010 Mystery
Plane is the Fokker F.III. It appears in

34 FEBRUARY 2011

your photo to be missing its rudder.
Designed in 1920 by Reinhold Platz,
the F.III was similar to the earlier F.II,
but had increased dimensions and carried five passengers in the cabin, with
the pilot’s cockpit on the starboard
side recessed into the wing’s leading
edge. The prototype was powered by
a 185-hp BMW IIIa engine. Initial
production models for KLM had 240-

hp Armstrong Siddeley Puma inlines.
Twelve were built for KLM, these entering service on 14 April 1921 on the
London-Rotterdam-Amsterdam route.
These cruised at 81 mph and had an
endurance of five hours.
Other F.IIIs went to Deutsche
Luft-Reederei (with 350-hp BMW
engines) and the Hungarian carrier
Malert (with 230-hp Hiero IV and

BMW III engines). Some versions were
powered by a 350-hp Rolls-Royce Eagle and late production models used
Gnome-Rhone Jupiter or Titan radials.
The F.III (also appearing as F.3) had
a long career, examples flying all over
Europe, Britain, the USSR, the USA,
Canada, and one in New Guinea.
Total production is not clear, but estimates range from 50 to 78. Some,
called Fokker-Grulich F.IIIs, were manufactured in Germany at Staaken.
Your clue indicates the photo was
taken on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
John Stroud’s European Transport Aircraft since l9l0 notes that in 1921 two
Fokker F.IIIs came to the United States.
One, registered C 1891 (s/n 1603),
was delivered to Brock & Weymouth
of Philadelphia. The other, registered
C 2720 (s/n 1600), was sent to Fairbanks Airplane Corporation in Alaska
and was flown by Noel Wien. He used
it to fly passengers and cargo between
Fairbanks and Nome. A photo of his
F.III from June 1925 appears in Geza
Szuroly’s Bushplanes. Two F.IIIs were
still extant in Canada in 1931, one

flying on twin floats. These might
have been s/n 1600 and 1603.
Jack Erickson of State College,
Pennsylvania adds this:
My best guess from your
photo, hints, and the three references
is that the aircraft is a Fokker F.III,
designed in Germany with first flight
during May 1921, built in Germany
and the Netherlands, and used a great
deal by the emerging European airlines
beginning in about 1921-22. It is unknown how many of the 50-60 F.III
built found their way to the U.S. and
Canada, but from the U.S. registration
system that began in 1927, two were
registered in the U.S.
Anthony Fokker had a sales office in New York City from about 1920
to 1932 and conducted business there
as Fokker Aircraft Corp (FAC). Fokker
exported several aircraft to the U.S.,
and a few F.III demonstrators were
probably among them. Later, in December 1923, the Atlantic Aircraft
Corp. was founded as a U.S. company. Capital for Atlantic was raised

by New York City businessmen, with
Fokker as chief engineer, and built his
designs at their factory. Their factory
(formerly owned by Witteman-Lewis
to build the Barling Bomber) was located at the airport in Hasbrouck
Heights, New Jersey, which became
Teterboro Airport. In 1926, FAC
bought out Atlantic Aircraft Corp. and
continued business at Teterboro under
Fokker’s ownership and management.
Your photo shows hangars in the
background that look like those at Curtiss Field at Garden City, Long Island.
This can be seen in photos of Netherlands-built Fokker S-3 and AO-1/
CO-IV MAIL aircraft in Part 2 of Bowers’ article. During the early days of
FAC, and even after Atlantic Aircraft
was founded, their aircraft were often
photographed for a time at Curtiss Airport. At any rate, your photo was taken
on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. at
one place or another.
A correct answer was also received from William Abbema of
South Rockwood, Michigan.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 35

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38 FEBRUARY 2011

(1) Rose Parakeet, (2) Bellanca Jr., (3) Aeronca Chief floatplane, (4) Luscombe 50, (5) Piper J-2 Cub,

(6) Wendt W-1, (7) Porterfield (exact model unknown, flatopposed engine with exposed cylinders; could be Porterfield
40,50 or 60), (8) Welch OW, (9) Dart G,
(10) Taylorcraft on floats.

VINTAGE
AIRCRAFT
ASSOCIATION
OFFICERS
President
Geoff Robison
1521 E. MacGregor Dr.
New Haven, IN 46774
260-493-4724
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Vice-President
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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-560-1949
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Secretary
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507-373-1674
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Treasurer
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608-592-7224
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DIRECTORS

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Sherborn, MA 01770
508-653-7557
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317-293-4430
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P.O. Box 328
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Greenwood, IN 46143
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Lawton, MI 49065
269-624-6490
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704 N. Regional Rd.
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336-668-3650
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1002 Heather Ln.
Hartford, WI 53027
262-966-7627
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1265 South 124th St.
Brookfield, WI 53005
262-782-2633
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414-771-1545
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DIRECTORS
EMERITUS
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9345 S. Hoyne
Chicago, IL 60643
773-779-2105
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PO Box 470350
Tulsa, OK 74147
918-622-8400
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2159 Carlton Rd.
Oshkosh, WI 54904
920-231-5002
GRCHA@charter.net

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8102 Leech Rd.
Union, IL 60180
815-923-4591
buck7ac@gmail.com

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15401 Sparta Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330
616-678-5012
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5936 Steve Court
Roanoke, TX 76262
817-491-9110
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609-758-2910
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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 39

But It’s Cold Outside
Hangar time—a finer time
BY

S. MICHELLE SOUDER

I enjoy our hangar. It’s a place to write,
take naps, tell stories, solve problems,
visit with airplane folks . . .

A

s I look out my
kitchen window
this morning, I am
keenly aware that
Wi n t e r h a s a w a k ened from her slumber and has come to hunt. As she
swats us with a snowy paw, five or
so inches of her cold, white misery
remains in my yard.
While many folks think snow is
wonderful, I do not. I much prefer
to clean up grass clippings tracked
in from mowing the yard than
stepping in unseen melted snow
puddles in my stocking feet. (Agh!)
I don’t have much of a cold tolerance. Never have. I suppose in
PC terms you could say I’m thermally challenged. Regardless, it

40 FEBRUARY 2011

limits my ability to enjoy some
of the things I like to do. For the
next several months there will be
limited time spent in the hangar.
That frustrates me. I enjoy our
hangar. It’s a place to write, take
naps, tell stories, solve problems,
visit with airplane folks, or just admire the two airplanes that call it
home (particularly the one with
my name on the registration).
Hangar time provides some
of the finer moments in my life.
Where flying provides the ultimate
sanity, hangar time provides necessary solitude or social opportunity mostly at my choosing. I’m
thankful for those opportunities.
They are an important part in dealing with the daily challenges in

my life. When I am not personally
airworthy I at least have a place
to go for some aviation therapy.
Cleaning bugs off the leading edge
gets rid of nervous energy, and just
the sound of an airplane taking off
is good for this aviator’s soul.
I am blessed to be based at a little airport where I know the other
tenants on a first name basis and
consider them friends. We have
good neighbors, and I can share a
hangar with someone I know and
trust. I fly in a beautiful valley as
I choose. With so many negatives
facing general aviation, it’s nice to
still have an airport (and a hangar)
I can call home.
In a little while I will put on
my insulated coveralls. (I’ll look
like a little kid in a snowsuit.) I
will go to the hangar, cold or not.
If the taxiway is cleared I’ll pull
out the airplane, gently pull it
through to wake it up, and if all
is good let those beautiful wings
once again take me up where the
third dimension makes the world
look small and life’s troubles even
smaller. I will be glad for my aviation moments, and I really hope
the heater works!