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june 2012

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vehicles through Ford’s Partner Recognition Program. To learn more on
this exclusive opportunity for EAA members to save on a new Ford vehicle,
please visit www.eaa.org/ford.

VEHICLE PURCHASE PLAN

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A I R P L A N E
Vol. 40, No. 6

2012

J U N E

CONTENTS
2

Straight and Level
Your AirVenture Bucket List
by Geoff Robison

3

Friends of the Red Barn

4

Aeromail

6 News
7 Book Review
8 T-Craft Tale With a Twist
LSA meets vintage
by Budd Davisson

16 Type Club Notes

8

Oil leaks . . . where? Oh, where!
by George Horn

17 The Hunter Brothers
Part 1, A flying family from Sparta, Illinois
by Robert H. Hayes

22 Nobody Whistles at Coveralls
Adventure with the Curtiss crew
by S. Michelle Souder

23

Light Plane Heritage
Exploring Early Rotary Engines
by Bob Whittier

28

The Vintage Mechanic
Truss-type fuselage structures
by Robert G. Lock

32

The Vintage Instructor
Wind, takeoff, and traffic patterns, Part 1
by Steve Krog, CFI

34

Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy

36

What Our Members Are Restoring

37

Classifieds

38

The Flabob Connection
Poly-Fiber expertise used to restore squadron mascot
by Dave Gustafson

40

Old Radials and Fathers
by Lynn Larkin

COVERS
FRONT COVER: With a color scheme honoring a Taylorcraft used by Cliff
Henderson’s staff of the National Air Races of 1937, this bright little gem was
restored by Don Hernke of Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and is now owned and
flown by Michael Zidziunas of Lakeland, Florida, and Peter Van Spronsen. The
engine powering the T-Craft, a Lycoming O-145, may not have been as popular
as the Continental A-65, but it has a loyal following among antique aircraft aficionados. EAA photo by Tyson Rininger.

BACK COVER: The joys of flying a Cub are doubled with the addition of a
pair of EDO floats in this ink and watercolor illustration by Bob O’Hara, part of a
series of Young Eagles themed illustrations which we’ll be sharing with you in
the coming months. An enthusiastic young lady enjoys the sights, sounds and
smells of cruising the shoreline near Snug Harbor during her Young Eagles flight
in a Piper J-3 Cub on floats.

STAFF

EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Director/Editor
Business Manager
Senior Art Director

Rod Hightower
J. Mac McClellan
H.G. Frautschy
Kathleen Witman
Olivia P. Trabbold

Advertising:
Manager/Domestic, Sue Anderson
Tel: 920-426-6127
Email: sanderson@eaa.org
Fax: 920-426-4828
Independent Business Relationship Representative, Larry Phillip
Tel: 920-410-2916
Email: lphillip@eaa.org
Classified Advertising
Tel: 920-426-6809

For missing or replacement magazines, or
any other membership-related questions, please call
EAA Member Services at 800- JOIN-EAA (564-6322).

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 1
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STRAIGHT & LEVEL
Geoff Robison
president, VAA

Your AirVenture Bucket List

W

ow! As I write this
i t ’s m i d - M a y, a n d
AirVenture is a mere
nine weeks away. The
excitement continues to grow for
what I will yet again predict to be
another excellent year to attend AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. All
you really have to do is go to http://
bcove.me/w2grykdi and watch EAA’s
video titled “What’s on Your AirVenture Bucket List.” Be sure to turn
up the sound and click on the lower
right of the window to put the video
in full-screen mode. If you don’t feel
the energy and desire to pack up the
airplane or car and head to Oshkosh,
Wisconsin, for this event, then you,
sir or madam, have nothing but ice
water running through your veins,
or you do not have a single aviation
bone in your entire body! Be prepared to become obsessed! You just
have to be there . . . it will be wild!
I would also suggest that you give
some thought to volunteering with
the Vintage team of volunteers. Every year the Vintage Division of EAA
attracts more than 450 folks who
will volunteer more than 22,500
total hours of sometimes hard but
always enjoyable work to this wonderful organization that we all love
and cherish. It doesn’t matter if you
can help out for just a few hours
or for the full week. Come give it a
taste, and I think you will be glad
you did! You can start your journey
as a volunteer at the volunteer kiosk
located right in front of the VAA Red
Barn Hospitality Center.
Remember now, your fellow VAA
volunteers will be operating the EAA
Aeromart at AirVenture this year, so

we will be in need of some additional
personnel to assist us in making this
operation a real success. If you make
the decision to come join us, you can
feel free to contact the various chairmen from the list below.
Convention Management
Geoff Robison
260-437-5579
EAA Aeromart
Paul Kyle
262-844-3351
Judging/Chief Judge
Dave Clark
317-839-4500
Computer Operations
Earl Nicholas
847-367-9667
Construction & Maintenance
Mike Blombach
260-745-2339
Setup & Transportation
Phil Blake
507-256-4543
Headquarters/Sales
Ruth Coulson
269-624-6490
VAA HQ Hospitality
Jeannie Hill
815-943-7205
Interview Circle
Ray Johnson
765-664-2588
Merchandise
Bob Lumley
262-782-2633
Metal Working Shop
Steve Nesse
507-373-1674
Aircraft Parking/Safety
Kathy McGurran 303-671-9612
VAA Security
Tim Fox
260-486-8126
Tall Pines Café
Steve Nesse
507-373-1674
Type Club HQ
Steve Krog
262-966-7627
Manpower/Volunteers
Gerry Larkin
865-577-6759
Come join us and we’ll do our
best to make you feel welcome!
Many of you are likely unaware
that all of the returning Vintage Past
Grand Champion aircraft are always
provided a special recognition park-

ing space at AirVenture each year.
These returning Champions are always parked facing west on the east
side of the road in front of the Vintage Red Barn and Vintage Hangar
area. These Grand Champion aircraft represent the “best of the best.”
They’re among the finest examples
of why we as members of the Vintage
movement are dedicated to the preservation of the artifacts as well as the
history of these old flying machines.
It’s always nice to be able to check
out these fabulous aircraft and to take
a moment to appreciate the TLC that
is provided for these aircraft in their
routine upkeep and maintenance. I
oftentimes will target one of these
old birds and spend as much as an
hour just looking it over. It’s amazing
to me the number of little details you
will notice and pick up on when you
take an extra moment to give such a
great restoration a good look.

VAA is about participation:
Be a member! Be a volunteer!
Be there!
Do yourself a favor and ask a
friend to join up with us.
Let’s all pull in the same direction for the overall good of aviation.
Remember, we are better together. Join us and have it all.
Come share the passion!
Hope to see you at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the 60th annual celebration of flight — July 23 through
July 29, 2012.

2 JUNE 2012

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VAA Friends of the Red Barn
Your support is crucial to the success of
VAA’s EAA AirVenture activities and programs
BY

H.G. FRAUTSCHY

VAA members like you are passionate about your affiliation with vintage aviation, and
it shows. You’re the most loyal of all EAA members, renewing your VAA membership each
and every year at a rate higher than any other group within the EAA family. We appreciate
your dedication! Each year about this time we give you another opportunity to strengthen
your bond with the VAA by inviting you to become a Friend of the Red Barn.
This special, once-a-year opportunity helps VAA put together all the components
that make the Vintage area of EAA AirVenture a unique and exciting part of the World’s
Greatest Aviation Celebration. This special fund was established to cover a significant
portion of the VAA’s expenses related to serving VAA members during EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh, so that no dues money is used to support the convention activities.
This is a great opportunity for Vintage members to join together as key financial
supporters of the Vintage division. It’s a rewarding experience for each of us as
individuals to be a part of supporting the finest gathering of Antique, Classic, and
Contemporary airplanes in the world.
At whatever level is comfortable for you, won’t you please join those of us who
recognize the tremendously valuable key role the Vintage Aircraft Association has played
in preserving the irreplaceable grassroots and general aviation airplanes of the last 100
years? Your participation in EAA Vintage Aircraft Association’s Friends of the Red Barn will
help ensure the very finest in EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Vintage programs.
To participate in this year’s campaign, fill out the donation form below and return it
in the envelope included in this magazine or visit our website at www.VintageAircraft.
org/programs/redbarn.html to make an online contribution. And to each and every one
of you who has already contributed, or is about to, a heartfelt “thank you”
from the officers, directors, staff, and volunteers of the
Vintage Aircraft Association!

STEVE MOYER PHOTOS

VAA Friends of the Red Barn

Name______________________________________________________________________EAA #___________ VAA #___________
Address______________________________________________________________________________________________________
City/State/Zip________________________________________________________________________________________________
Phone___________________________________________________E-Mail______________________________________________
Please choose your level of participation:
■ Payment Enclosed (Make checks payable to Vintage Aircraft Assoc.)
____ Diamond Plus $1,500.00
____ Diamond Level Gift - $1,000.00
____ Platinum Level Gift - $750.00

____ Gold Level Gift - $500.00
____ Silver Level Gift - $250.00
____ Bronze Level Gift - $100.00

■ Please Charge my credit card (below)
Credit Card Number _____________________________ Expiration Date _________
Signature_________________________________________

____ Loyal Supporter Gift - ($99.00 or
under)
$_______Amount
Use envelope provided or mail your contribution to:

VAA FORB
PO Box 3086
OSHKOSH, WI 54903-3086

*Do you or your spouse work for a matching gift company? If so, this gift may qualify for a matching donation.
Please ask your Human Resources department for the appropriate form.

Name of Company __________________________________________________________________
■ No badge wanted for this year. ■ Yes, prepare a name badge to read:__________________________________________
First M. Last (Please print just as you wish your badge to read)
BRONZE LEVEL AND ABOVE
The Vintage Aircraft Association is a non-profit educational organization under IRS 501c3 rules. Under Federal Law, the deduction from Federal Income tax for charitable contributions is limited
to the amount by which any money (and the value of any property other than money) contributed exceeds the value of the goods or services provided in exchange for the contribution. An appropriate receipt acknowledging your gift will be sent to you for IRS gift reporting reasons.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 3

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AEROMAIL
Send your comments and questions to:
VAA, Letters to the Editor
P.O. Box 3086
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086
Or you can e-mail them to: vintageaircraft@eaa.org

Cub Memories
Dear Mr. Handleman,
I read your article “Going Home
Again” about the history of the Cub
in the December 2011 issue of Vintage Airplane. Thanks for the nice article; I, too, used to fly a Cub and can
identify very much with your sentiments. The part that really brought
back memories was your mention
of the rising “clatter” as you pushed
the throttle forward and accelerated
down the runway. Exactly! It sounded
like a farm tractor shifting into high
gear; each cylinder was heard quite
clearly. What a blast!
You are indeed correct regarding
the origin of the “J-series” name for
the Cub line of aircraft. In 1986, I was
privileged to eat dinner with Walter
Jamouneau and Bill Piper Jr. This dinner was held at the lightly attended
trial run of the very first Sentimental
Journey Fly-in at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1986 (the
fly-in officially kicked off in 1987). My
wife, Margie, and I attended the fly-in
banquet one evening with about 20
other people in the back room of a
small local restaurant, and we got to
meet and talk with both Walter and
Bill. (Frank Kingston Smith was the
after-dinner speaker, but that’s another story). Both Walter and Bill
were about 75 years old at the time; I
was a young 27 then.
At one point in the conversation,
the question came up about the similarity of the “J-series” name and Walter’s surname. He modestly assured
us it was not named after him and
seemed a bit embarrassed by this per-

sistent legend. Walter’s assertion was
backed up by Bill Piper Jr., who was
sitting at the table as well.
Walter was very humble about his
work on the J-series, and I actually believe he would have refused the honor
if it had been offered to him. Bill and
Walter were very pleasant and gracious.
Both these men are gone now, but
even today I am thrilled that we got to
meet both these aviation legends.
I last flew a Cub in 1987 and then
flew our family Tri-Pacer hundreds of
hours until it was mothballed a few
years ago (needs cover and overhaul).
Hopefully I will get it flying again
sometime. The J-3’s owners, a husband and wife team, rebuilt their Cub
and have since flown it from Georgia
to Alaska and back and later wrote a
book about the journey. Happy flying!
Sincerely,
John A. Ritchie Jr.
Duluth, Georgia

The Vintage Instructor
Dear Steve,
Re: “Do You Know What You Don’t
Know?”
I look forward to reading your
Vintage Instructor with each issue. I
think it’s made me a better pilot (at
least I think so). You have got me
thinking better when I do get in the
cockpit. Sometimes we get a little lazy
and don’t realize it. I’m 82 and still fly
my WWI S.E.5a replica my son and
I built, plus a J-3 Cub, Baby Ace D,
and our Cessna 170A I’ve had since
1970. I wish I had you as an instructor
when I started flying in 1946. Please
keep up the great work you are doing

instructing, and keep on writing for
Vintage Airplane!
Just for the LOVE of flight,
I remain,
Mr. Robert F. Zilinsky
Willowbrook, Illinois
Steve responds:
Dear Bob,
I received your note today and want
to thank you for your kind comments. I
thoroughly enjoy teaching people to fly in
a J-3 Cub. There is nothing more satisfying to me than stepping out of the cockpit and telling a student to do three solo
takeoffs and landings.
And the second most satisfying moment is shaking hands the day they pass
their checkride.
I have been flying since 1969 and
teaching flying since 1973. Until 2008
I had been teaching tailwheel checkouts nights and weekends while working full time. But I chose to take an early
retirement and open a flight school using Cubs in the spring of 2008. In the
past four years I’ve had the pleasure of
flying with nearly 300 people, many of
them “seasoned citizens” who once flew
but left aviation to raise families. Now
they’re ready to return to the love of flying. Many of them are in their late 60s or
70s. I had one student that, at the age of
80, earned a sport pilot certificate.
You mentioned in your note that you
have a J-3 Cub. Have you given thought
to participating in the 75th anniversary
of the J-3 and flying to Oshkosh? Our
plan is to have the Cubs meet at Hartford, Wisconsin, and then fly in trail to
Oshkosh on Sunday, July 22. It would
be an honor to have you be a part of this
one-time event.
Thanks again for writing and sharing your thoughts. It makes the effort
well worthwhile when I receive notes
such as yours.
Sincerely,
Steve Krog, CubAir Flight
Hartford, Wisconsin
www.CubAir.net
For more information on the
events in Hartford, Wisconsin,
and EAA AirVenture surrounding
the 75th anniversary, visit www.
Cubs2Osh.EAAchapter.org.

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VAA NEWS
Jack served in the U.S. Air Force
as an aircraft maintenance officer
on active duty from 1955-58 and
later attained the rank of captain in
the USAF Reserve.
Our condolences to his many
friends, and to his wife, Jean, their
son Jeff and daughters Jerri and
Jeannie, as well as their families,
and to Jack’s brother, William.
Jack’s services were held Monday, May 20, at the Pine Grove
Cemetery in Westborough, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made
to the Vintage Aircraft Association,
P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903.

Jack Copeland

VAA Director Jack Copeland
Longtime VAA Director John
“Jack” Copeland passed away at the
age of 81 on Wednesday, May 16,
2012.
Jack, who joined EAA in 1971,
has been a volunteer with the VAA
(then the Antique/Classic Division) dating back to 1975, about
the same time he bought his first
airplane, a Cessna 140. He served
the membership as classic parking
co-chairman, manpower chair, and,
for more than two decades, the enthusiastic chairman of the participant plaques. Appointed an advisor in 1979, he’s been a director of
the division since 1984. Jack was
one of the faces familiar to countless members as he headed up the
participant plaque program during
each year’s annual fly-in.
An instrument-rated pilot and
later a flight instructor for most of
his life, Jack’s expertise as an engineer was helpful to the division’s
needs during his nearly 40 years of
service to the membership. On a
local level, he was an active Young
Eagles pilot, having flown 281
Young Eagles since the program began in 1992.

Cubs 2 Oshkosh
Plans are shaping up to make
this year’s celebration of the 75th
anniversary of the Piper J-3 Cub
one of the most exciting events
in the Vintage area in many
years. We’ll have much more on
the program in the July issue. If
you’re even thinking about coming to Oshkosh, please visit the
official Cubs 2 Oshkosh website
at www.Cubs2Osh.EAAchapter.org.

VAA Picnic and Cubs 2 Oshkosh
Dinner

AirVenture 2012
With just more than a month to
go before the summertime celebration of flight that is EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh, we have a few items we’d
like to share with you as you prepare to make your journey to Wittman Field. We’ll have more in the
July issue of Vintage Airplane.

Type Club Information
Type club representatives who
wish to have a presence at a table
in the Vintage Hangar during AirVenture 2012 should already have
been in contact with VAA Director
Steve Krog, the type club hangar
chairman, at sskrog@gmail.com. If
you’ve not made your table reservation, please be certain to contact
him as soon as possible.

VAA Awards Ceremony

A combined event with two
dinner seatings will cap off the
celebration of the Piper Cub’s
75th anniversary as we combine
that celebration’s dinner with the
VAA Picnic dinner held in the
EAA Nature Center the evening
of Wednesday, July 25. Tickets go
fast once the convention begins,
so be sure to purchase your tickets right away when you arrive
on the convention site. Jeannie
Hill will be available during the
pre-convention celebration in
Hartford, Wisconsin, so that Cub
pilots can purchase their tickets
before departing for Oshkosh.
During the convention, you can
purchase your tickets at the VAA
Red Barn prior to the event. If you
have a type club and would like
to have your group get-together
as part of the VAA Picnic on the
Wednesday night of AirVenture,
contact VAA Director Jeannie Hill
at 815-245-4464.

The VAA aircraft awards ceremony

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will take place in the Vintage Hangar,
just south of the VAA Red Barn. The
ceremony, which will take place after the daily air show, starting at 6:00
p.m. on Saturday, promises to be a
great evening for winners and attendees alike. After the ceremony, we’ll
host a reception for all attendees and
the winners in the Vintage Hangar
with soft drinks and snacks. Plan on
being there to cheer on your friends
and enjoy some vintage camaraderie
before we all head home the next day.

VAA Judging Categories
But for those of you who are not
yet VAA members and are planning on bringing an airplane to
be judged during EAA AirVenture,
you’re strongly encouraged to join
the division. Why? VAA volunteers
spend hundreds of hours parking
aircraft, judging them, and making the VAA area the best it can be.
VAA also covers the majority of the
cost of the actual awards, so we’d
appreciate it if you’d show your
support for the volunteers’ efforts
and VAA by becoming a VAA member. So it’s one less thing to deal
with upon your arrival, give us a
call at 800-843-3612 or join online
at www.VintageAircraft.org. Dues
are only $42 per year if you’re already an EAA member!
Each year we receive inquires regarding the effective years for VAA’s
judging categories. Here they are:
Antique
An aircraft constructed by the
original manufacturer, or its licensee,
on or before August 31, 1945, with
the exception of certain pre-World
War II aircraft models that had only a
small postwar production. Examples:
Beechcraft Staggerwing, Fairchild 24,
and Monocoupe.
Classic
An aircraft constructed by the
original manufacturer, or its licensee,
on or after September 1, 1945, up to
and including December 31, 1955.
Contemporary
An aircraft constructed by the
original manufacturer, or its licensee,
on or after January 1, 1956, up to and
including December 31, 1970.

Required Equipment:
EAA AirVenture NOTAM
If you’re
planning
to fly
p
in to Oshkosh
next month,
it’s
it imperative
that
th you obtain
a copy of the
FAA’s
2012 AirF
Venture
Notice
V
to Airmen (NOTAM),
which
T
contains
arrival
c
and departure procedures for the 60th
annual fly-in convention. These procedures are in effect from Friday, July
20, through Monday, July 30. (The
event is July 23-July 29.)
While the overall procedures are
similar to past years, you should always review each year’s NOTAM and
be familiar with the procedures so
you don’t have to fumble around in
the cockpit as you head down the
railroad tracks from Fisk! You can
download a PDF version at www.
AirVenture.org/flying/2012_NOTAM.
pdf, or call EAA Membership Services at 800-564-6322 and a printed
booklet will be mailed to you, free of
charge. (You can also order a booklet
on the website noted above.)

Don’t Forget Your EAA Passport
This Summer
The EAA Museum Passport Program, in partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Museums
(ASTC), was launched a couple of years
ago. This member benefit provides free
admission to more than 300 participating museums around the world.
To use this benefit, you need to
display the ASTC logo on the back
of your membership card; current
EAA membership cards have the logo
conveniently printed on the back.
Your EAA Passport will grant free
admission to you and your immediate
family into most participating museums on the list—as long as it is more
than 90 miles from your home. (Additional restrictions apply in Wisconsin.) See the complete list at www.EAA.
org/passport for the exact policy the
museum of interest enforces.

BOOK OF
INTEREST
An American Adventure:
From Early Aviation Through Three Wars
to the White House
by Dr. William Lloyd Stearman
Dr. William Lloyd Stearman, the
son of famed aviation pioneer Lloyd
C. Stearman, has recently published a
memoir that should garner the attention of anyone who has any interest
whatever in early aviation, WWII in
the Pacific as a naval officer, life in the
diplomatic service in Europe during
the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and
the workings of the White House National Security Council staff. This book,
entitled An American Adventure: From
Early Aviation Through Three Wars to the
White House, is published by the Naval
Institute Press and is available on Amazon as well as other book sources.
Of particular interest to Stearman
enthusiasts are his recollections of
the lives and history of various members of the Stearman family, of their
interactions, and of the many of
aviation’s famous personalities that
he encountered as a young boy at
his home, as well as at the Stearman
factory. He also describes how the
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (now
Lockheed Martin) came into being.
His father was its first president.
This volume displays his keen insight into life from the 1920s to the
present, and his opinions and perspective on world affairs and leaders
is very insightful and persuasive. It
is one which should join the list of
required history reading. His elegant
prose and writing style makes for a
very interesting and informative easy
read. I enjoyed it immensely and
highly recommend it to all.
Moreover, I agree with John F.
Lehman, Reagan’s Secretary of the
Navy and author of several books,
who wrote, “With a novelist’s sense
of drama and a historian’s rigor, he
has given us a real page turner full of
insight and anecdote.”

THOMAS E. LOWE, PRESIDENT,
NATIONAL STEARMAN FLY-IN
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 7

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T-Craft
Tale With a
Twist

LSA meets vintage
BY

BUDD DAVISSON

PHOTOS TYSON RININGER

8 JUNE 2012

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It seems as if every week we
see the debut of a new, usually
slick and streamlined LSA design. The concept is definitely
here to stay, and the increasing demand for LSA is what
has kept Michael Zidziunas

of Lakeland, Florida, in business for some years: He offers LSA flight training, sales,
and maintenance at Breezer
Aircraft USA (www.Breezer
AircraftUSA.com). However,
when Mike Z, as he is known

by just about everyone,
showed up at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011, he wasn’t
flying the newest LSA on the
field. In fact, it may well have
been the oldest on the field: a
1939 Taylorcraft BL-65.

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The prewar Taylorcraft’s panel
is dominated by the large
backwards-turning tachometer
in the center of the instrument
panel. A nice, lightweight interior in the airplane keeps its
performance sprightly.

Very thin plywood was used
as the headliner in the cabin.
A pair of truncated triangular
skylights keep the cabin bright
while adding to the pilot’s
visibility out of the aircraft
during turns.

The Lycoming O-145 wasn’t as
popular as the competing Continental A-65. This example
was found to be in excellent
condition after being pickled
following an overhaul in 1975.

The ’39 T-craft came out of a
friendship Mike had formed with
one of his LSA students who had
a similar taste in airplanes, Pete
Van Spronsen.
Mike says, “Pete learned to fly
with me a couple of years ago, getting his sport pilot license [certifi-

cate] at age 53. Then he went on
to get his private. He and I became
partners in a 1940 BC-65 project and are still doing a complete
restoration on it. Pete is also the
president of our local EAA Chapter 1178, and it was his idea to get
a flying T-craft so we could have

something to look at and fly while
we restore the ’40.”
When restoring an aircraft, it always helps to have a “pattern” airplane as a source of information.
Mike says, “Pete found a ’39 T-craft
on Barnstormer and went up to see
it just before AirVenture 2011. I remember how excited he was when
he called to tell me what he found
in a makeshift hangar on a small
private strip south of Minneapolis. After delivering my Breezer LSA
to be on display at EAA AirVenture
2011, I went to pick up the ’39 and
brought it to Oshkosh. My third
landing in it was at AirVenture. I
spent a glorious week camping with
the plane in the vintage camping
area, then flew the little airplane
back to Plant City, Florida (800 feet
AGL the whole way).”
The aircraft that persuaded Mike
and Pete into taking their checkbook out wasn’t just another Taylorcraft: It wears the colorful livery
of the Model A Taylorcraft that
was used by the management of
the National Air Races to both pro-

Don Hernke enjoyed mimicking the 1939 NAR scout plane color
scheme when he restored the Taylorcraft.
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mote and conduct the 1937 National Air Races at Cleveland. The
colorful little BL-65 had been restored by Don Hernke of Cannon
Falls, Minnesota.
Don is a longtime airplane guy
whose background parallels that of
many of us in sport aviation, with
the Taylorcraft being the latest episode in his long aviation life.
He says, “As a teen, and into my
early 20s, I used to hang around
an old WWII grass strip in Cannon
Falls and eventually started taking
flying lessons. That was in the early
’60s, and I was flying Cessna 140s.
I started working towards my license [certificate] but had no idea it
would take 20 years to accomplish
that task.”
Don’s tale of the struggle to get
his certificate resonates with most
pilots: He started flying, but building his life, career, and family sidetracked his flying activities.
“I got into models and eventually motorcycles,” he says. “But airplanes were always on my mind,
and eventually I got back to them.”
When he returned to aviation, it
was as a homebuilder.
He says, “I’ve always liked working with my hands. It’s really satisfying to take nothing and make
something out of it, so homebuilding an airplane was a natural thing
to do for me. I started looking
around and ran across a set of Avid
Flyer wings that needed a fuselage
to make them into an airplane. So,
I scratchbuilt the fuselage, doing
all of the work myself. I worked on
that for four or five years, eventually getting it flying with a Subaru
EA81 in the nose. It flew really well,
and I put around 150 hours on it
before selling it to get into the Taylorcraft project.”
The Avid Flyer went to a pilot
who put it on floats, but not before Don spotted what he thought
would be his next project.
“I had the Avid based on a 1,000foot private grass strip south of
Minneapolis,” Don says. “The gentleman who owned it operated an
ultralight school and dealership out

of it and had a number of hangars.
I rented one of those and noticed a
pile of parts that looked like a Taylorcraft in one of his other hangars.
It turned out that he had taken
what he described as ‘a big box of
parts’ in on trade for one of his ultralights. I asked him if it was for
sale, and at first it wasn’t. Then he
put a price on it. But I thought it
was too high, and I decided to wait
until he came to his senses.”
Don continued flying his Avid
Flyer, all the time knowing that his
next airplane was piled up in the
back of one of the hangars he was
continually passing. All he had to
do was talk the owner out of it. Finally, when he retired in 2000, he
decided to get serious about becoming the Taylorcraft’s new owner.
He says, “I looked it over, and it
appeared to all be there with the
exception of one strut. It was a
bare skeleton, with no cover, so I
could easily see into all the nooks
and crannies. I didn’t see any catastrophic rust, but the wings needed
a bunch of work. However, it had
a Lycoming O-145 that had been
overhauled way back in ’75, so it
was a question mark. In a casual inspection, the engine appeared to
have been well pickled, so I figured
it was probably okay, or at least
would need minimum work. At the
same time I glanced at the logs.
“By this time,” he remembers,

“it had been sitting in the hangar
for quite a few years, and the price
had slowly worked its way down to
where I thought it should be. So I
bought it. But then I noticed one
peculiarity with the paperwork.
The last entry in the logbook was
in 1966, when it said, ‘Needs complete recover.’ And the title was in
the name of Acme Flight School,
but the bill of sale was signed
by a Mr. Morris Way. There was
no mention of the flight school,
which was the official owner as
far as the FAA was concerned. So,
in theory the guy I was buying
it from didn’t actually own it. In
fact, for something like 40 years,
the airplane had changed hands
repeatedly with a title that the FAA
wouldn’t accept, and they had said
so. This started a whole sequence
of events that, had it not been for
the Internet, probably couldn’t
have been solved: For the airplane
to actually be mine and licensable,
I had to find the last owner and
have him sign a new bill of sale,
which wasn’t going to be easy.
“The FAA had no record of the
original owner, so I started searching his name over the Internet.
Had his name been Smith or Johnson, it would have been much
more difficult, but his was unusual
enough that a manageable number popped up. I started by sending out a blizzard of e-mails and

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Now owned by Michael Zidziunas of Lakeland, Florida, and Peter Van Spronsen, this 1939 Taylorcraft
was restored by Don Hernke of Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
then made some phone calls. The
effort paid off because I found his
cousin, who then put me in direct
contact with the last owner. This
was just before Oshkosh 2005, and
it turned out that we were both
going to be there. So, we met at
Oshkosh, he signed a new bill of
sale, the FAA accepted it with no
problem, and for the fi rst time in
nearly half a century the airplane
was finally legal. More important,
I was now its official owner. What
a headache that could have turned
into, but it didn’t.”
With the airplane legally his and
all paperwork hurdles behind him,
Don could begin seriously working
on the airplane.
“Since I wasn’t an A&P,” he says,
“I made a deal with a local one to
oversee my work, and we set up
a schedule of regular visits. As it
turns out, he didn’t let me skate
past on anything and was probably
being just a little overly cautious.

“The wings
took a lot
more work.
A lot!”

He made certain that everything I
touched was done right every step
of the way; his name was going to
be on the paperwork, and he didn’t
want something biting him, and he
didn’t want me to have problems
in the air. For instance, the wooden
Flottorp prop looked really good
with no cracks in the finish or anything, but he wanted it inspected
and refinished. I found someone
working for a museum who had the
credentials to overhaul such a prop.
I sent it to him, and it came back all
shiny and new looking.
“The fuselage had little or no
rust and cleaned up really well during the sand blasting. After I had it
blasted clean, my mechanic went
over it carefully, finally saying that
it was okay to spray on the epoxy
primer and urethane top coat.
“The wings took a lot more work.
A lot! For one thing, a couple of the
spars had been nibbled on by some
kind of rodent. Most of the damage

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was well out on the tip, so I could
splice them. But one was bad enough
that we replaced it completely.
“One thing that made the spar
replacement easier was that sometime in the far distant past, the
original BL-65 wood ribs had been
replaced with aluminum Taylorcraft ribs as used on the postwar
BC-12s. So, I only had to pull some
nails, not break glue joints that
would then need to be reglued.
“The metal fittings were all in
good shape, so I removed them,
cleaned and repainted them along
with all other wing steel, then
sanded and revarnished the spars.
When reassembled, they looked
great, if I don’t say so myself!”

A never-ending problem with
lots of vintage projects that have
been shuffled from owner to owner
over the years is that the sheet
metal is generally nothing more
than lumpy sheets that can be used
only as patterns. That was not the
case with Hernke’s Taylorcraft.
“I was really lucky with the sheet
metal,” he says. “There were a few
dents I had to iron out, but the
panels were so good that none of
the original Boeing cowl fasteners
were missing. Those are hard to
find, so that was a coup of sorts.
The metal was all there, all reusable
and all reasonably smooth, so I just
cleaned, primed, and painted it.”
The instrument panel was a to-

tally different situation than the
sheet metal; it had suffered the way
most instrument panels do over
nearly seven decades.
“It had been pretty chopped up,
which is a shame because the original arrangement is classic and really makes the airplane’s interior.
So, I got a piece of salvage yard
aluminum—don’t ask what kind,
I don’t know, it’s just aluminum—
and made a new one. This included
forming a compound-curved lip all
around the top edge. The panel is
dominated by a really big—huge,
actually—tachometer. It’s at least
six or seven inches across and works
backwards. The needle goes from
right to left, not left to right. I had

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the original instruments and sent
them out for repair, but the overhaul station wouldn’t touch those
with radium dials. So some dials are
slightly larger but still look right.
“I did the interior more like a
boat, I suppose, than an airplane.
The headliner, for instance, is varnished thin wood, and the seats
are nothing more than laced slings
with pads. It’s comfortable, and I
think it looks great!”
Brakes can be a problem in airplanes of this vintage because some
of the parts are becoming really hard
to find. Don, however, didn’t have
to go through all that aggravation.
“I lucked out on the brakes,
which are Shinn mechanical units.

You can get by with questionable
brakes on a T-craft because they
land so slowly. In my case, however, I didn’t have to worry about
that because my brakes had brandnew linings when I got it, and I
knew it was highly unlikely that I’d
fly it enough to use them up.”
When it came to the engine,
Don knew that even though the
logs said it had been overhauled
and never flown, over a quarter of
a century of just sitting could have
reduced it to a four-cylinder lump
of rust. Making matters much more
risky, O-145 Lycomings don’t have
separate cylinders, which can be replaced or repaired one at a time. On
an O-145 Lycoming the cylinders
themselves are integral parts of the
case castings with only the heads
bolted on and removable. So a bad
cylinder means a bad case half. Not
a good thing!
“I gave the engine to my mechanic and he completely disassembled it, checked everything,
and put it back together: I had assumed that it had no internal rust
or problems, but was nice to know
that for sure.
“I covered the airplane using a Ceconite envelope for the fuselage and
Poly-Fiber for the wings and tail. The
paint is Poly all the way through,
and yes, I used up a lot of masking
tape and paper shooting it.”
When it comes time to paint an
airplane after a complete rebuild, decisions loom large and difficult. The
paint is all most people see when they
look at an airplane, so it’s critical we
pick out something we like but at the
same time is unique enough that the
airplane stands out from the crowd
without being crazy. Usually the
paint scheme starts circling around
inside our heads before we even own
the airplane but quite often isn’t finalized until we pull off the last piece of
masking tape. Even then, we may be
tempted to make changes. But Don
didn’t seem to have that problem.
“I knew pretty much what the
paint scheme would be before I even
started working on it. I had seen a
photo of the Taylorcraft Scout plane

from the 1937 National Air Races in
Chet Peek’s Taylorcraft book. That
book is the bible for Taylorcraft
guys, and I loved that paint scheme.
It’s wild enough to be different, but
it is also easy to prove that it’s true
to the type of aircraft and the period. When I finally got it in the air,
I was really pleased with people’s reactions to it.”
Don flew the airplane for nearly
five years before it showed up at
AirVenture 2011 with Mike Z and
Pete Van Spronsen.
Mike says, “As soon as I saw the
pictures, I was in love! There are so
many Taylorcrafts floating around
that it’s really difficult to come up
with something that looks different but at the same time is totally
original. And I liked that about
it. It really fits in with the fun atmosphere that surrounds our LSA
flight-training operation. And everyone loves it down there. Actually, it’s a great conversation piece.
When we had it in the Vintage area
at AirVenture 2011, it was amazing
how many people wanted to talk to
us about the paint scheme. And it’s
an absolute hoot to fly, although
we’d like a little more power.
“Fortunately, when Don rebuilt
the airplane he installed all the
stuff that’s required in the C-85 STC
for Taylorcrafts. So, if at some time
in the future we decide we want to
go with an 85-hp Continental, all
of the work is done except for the
actual engine installation itself. It
has the right fuel tanks, fuel lines,
valves, etc. Everything! So, if we do
it, it’ll be an easy change.
“Peter Van Spronsen and I are
both enjoying the airplane. And
we plan to continue enjoying it
for a long time to come. That’s the
beauty of it being an LSA. Our fun
won’t be limited by our abilities to
pass a physical.”
It’s not often we see a government program such as the LSA
concept intersect with a bit of little-known history, in this case the
National Air Races Scout airplanes,
and produce such a pleasant—and
fun—result. We love it!

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Type Club Notes
Oil leaks . . . where? Oh, where!
BY

GEORGE HORN,

CESSNA 170 CLUB PARTS/MAINTENANCE ADVISER
Reprinted with permission from The 170 News, Second Quarter 2011,
the quarterly publication of the International Cessna 170 Association Inc. www.Cessna170.org

There’s oil all around, but where is it
coming from? The pushrod tube rubber
seal without ultraviolet lighting.

Like most everyone, I’ve got an
engine covered in many areas with
anti-corrosion compound…namely,
AeroShell W100.
I’ve had a difficult time pinpointing the exact area of the leak. If I run
it a short time on the ground, the
leaks don’t present themselves for discovery. If I fly it around the patch and
land . . . the oil is everywhere, including the firewall!

Where, Oh Where Is the Source?
So I went to AutoZone and picked
up its least expensive ultraviolet oil
leak detector kit, which consists of
an ultraviolet penlight, some dye
(careful…you want the oil/hydraulic
fluid leak-detector dye, not the Freon
or fuel dyes), and some yellow-lens
glasses (the better to see the ultraviolet-lighted oil).
With a fresh oil change performed,
but before washing the engine down, I
added the dye just before adding the
last quart of fresh oil to the crankcase.
I wanted to make certain the maximum amount of dye was washed
down the oil service tube on the engine and mixed with crankcase oil, so
I made certain I followed the dye with
a quart of oil, to wash it down.
I ran the engine for about 10 min-

The pushrod tube rubber seal with Tappet body covers.
ultraviolet lighting clearly shows the
source of the leak.

utes at about 1000 rpm and then
pulled the plane back into the hangar, closed the doors, and turned off
the hangar lights to make it as dark as
possible. Then, while wearing the yellow glasses, I took a look at various areas of the engine that are always wet
with oil, illuminated only with the
ultraviolet penlight.

“Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!” —Gomer Pyle
I had thought the oil was leaking
from the engine through-bolts, but
the first surprise was the dipstick tube!
See the “without UV lighting versus
with UV lighting” photos.
I was also surprised by the studs at
the tappet body covers.
An area of the No. 5 cylinder pushrod rubbers stayed wet, but the rubbers
looked good, and I thought it would
prove to be the crankcase through-bolt
holding the left front engine mount.
Wrong! An otherwise healthyappearing pushrod rubber has apparently lost its elasticity.
Although it takes patience, and
about a $30 investment in dye, penlight, and glasses, I am glad to know
the real culprits of my oil leaks.

Now to Fix Them
I plan to clean the dipstick tube

and tappet body cover/stud with
solvent and electronics cleaner and
then apply Permatex No. 2 into the
crevices, to stop the oil leak. (I’ve successfully used this technique on engine through-bolts and cylinder base
nuts.) Let the Permatex dry overnight
before operating.
Meanwhile . . . for those of you
who want to know the exact source
of oil leaks, you might wish to try one
of the ultraviolet leak detection kits
used and sold by automotive sources.
Even if I don’t actually stop the leaks, I
am reassured that the source of oil was
determined to not be a cracked case or
other traumatic problem. I’m just glad
to know where that oil is coming from!
Hope this short article is helpful.
A note regarding the photographs: It
was really hard to take pictures through
the yellow lenses of the glasses, necessary in order for the UV lighting to
show up. Holding the camera, glasses
in front of the camera lens, holding the
penlight with the other hand twisted
up/around to illuminate the leak, and
then finding a spare finger to focus,
then activate the shutter, all of which
was done in very low-light conditions,
was harder than pouring in the dye and
running the engine!

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The Hunter
Brothers
PART

1

A flying
family from
Sparta, Illinois
BY

ROBERT H. HAYES

In a photo that appears to
have been taken during
the record-setting endurance flight, the technique
used to transfer of fuel
between “Big Ben” and
the “City of Chicago” can
be seen. An open hatch
area just aft of the wing on
the lower plane, the City of
Chicago, allowed the crewman to grasp the hose to
refill the fuel tanks.

Just a mile north of the small southern
Illinois town of Sparta is the town’s airport, called Hunter Field. It was named
to honor four local brothers who became well-known in the world of aviation in the United States during the first
half of the 20th century.
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This photo, taken in north suburban Chicago at Sky Harbor Airport, shows adding fuel to the plane Big Ben from
a Deep Rock tanker truck. Deep Rock Oil company furnished the fuel for the 1930 endurance flight. Albert and
Walter Hunter flew fuel and supplies to John and Kenneth and the City of Chicago in the airplane Big Ben.
At a young age they lost their
father. Since the family lived on a
farm, it became necessary for the
boys of the family to assume the
chores of operating the farm. They
never lost that hard work ethic.
Albert, the eldest son, quit school
after the seventh grade and rode
a horse into Sparta to work at the
Ford garage. After several years, Albert began working at a local coal
mine. In time the family moved
into Sparta, and the other three
boys joined their brother working
as coal miners.
Working as coal miners, the boys
purchased motorcycles for transportation and pleasure. In their free time
they would entertain the citizens of
Sparta and the local area by performing daring stunts on their motorcycles. Each summer, when the coal
mines shut down, the boys would
ride into St. Louis and trade their current motorcycles for newer models.
In early June 1924, on their annual motorcycle shopping voyage
to St. Louis, the brothers rode out
past what is now Lambert International Airport (about a 65 -mile
journey from Sparta). At the air-

port, they saw several biplanes
parked by the Robertson Aircraft
Corporation’s plant. They stopped
and inquired about the planes and
decided that rather than obtain
new motorcycles, they would buy
an airplane and learn to fly it.
Albert, the oldest Hunter brother,
assigned John, the second oldest
brother, to stay at the airfield for a
day and take flying instructions. Albert and his two other brothers returned to Sparta. John did just that,
and after 90 minutes of instruction,
he flew the plane to Sparta, navigating by following the roads they
had taken to St. Louis. When John
arrived in Sparta with the plane, he
landed the plane in a pasture across
the street from the Hunter house
on Dickey Street.
That pasture was home to Blossom, the family cow. Both John
and Blossom survived the landing,
but the plane did not. Landing in a
crosswind resulted in damage to the
plane. One landing gear of the plane
and the propeller were broken. The
brothers quickly repaired the plane.
Soon, an airplane pilot by the
name of Harlan A. “Bud” Gurney

joined them in Sparta and helped
John, Albert, Walter, and eventually Kenneth to become accomplished pilots. For the next several
weeks, Sparta residents witnessed
an almost daily air show as the
Hunter brothers learned to perform
stunts with their plane.
Soon, the brothers bought a second plane and sold it to Bud Gurney. During the summer, Gurney
and the Hunter brothers would fly
to towns in southern Illinois and
southeast Missouri, selling people
an airplane ride for a small fee.
Eventually they purchased a third
plane, started the Hunter Flying
Circus, and gave performances at
area county fairs.
From September 9 to 13, 1924,
they performed at the Jersey
County Fair in Jerseyville, Illinois.
September 16 to 19, 1924, they performed at the Randolph County
Fair in Sparta. Their performance
consisted of wing-walking, parachute leaps, changing from one
plane to another in mid-air, loop
the loops, tailspins, and other sensational stunts.
In addition to the air show, they

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also gave passengers a seven- to
10-minute ride, charging $3 for
each passenger. They used a field
just south of the local fair grounds
for a landing field. Herbert Budd, a
mechanic working for the Hunter
Flying Circus, performed the wingwalking, parachute leaps, and
changing from one plane to another in mid-air stunts. The Hunters advertised their flying circus
and hoped to get billings at other
fairs in the vicinity.
Bud Gurney was a young man
from Lincoln, Nebraska. He came to
St. Louis and was working for Robertson Aircraft Corporation Company. Robertson had hired Charles
A. Lindbergh Jr. as the chief pilot to
fly mail. Lindbergh hired Bud Gurney to rebuild Robertson’s small
fleet of de Havilland DH-4 aircraft.
Lindbergh and Gurney met on
April 9, 1922, when both men sat
side by side in the front cockpit of
a Lincoln Standard Turnabout on
their first airplane ride. Gurney was
working at the Nebraska Aircraft
Corporation factory in Lincoln, Nebraska, to pay for his flying lessons.
Lindbergh had paid $500 to Ray
Page, the president of the Nebraska
Aircraft Corporation, for flying lessons. Both Lindbergh and Gurney
became close, lifelong friends.
In addition to performing in the
Hunter Flying Circus, the Hunters
used their airplanes to travel to air
shows, air races, and just barnstorm
around the United States. In October 1924, the Hunter brothers flew
to Dayton, Ohio, for the air races.
On the way back to Sparta, Albert
and his passenger, Charles Exiter,
planned to stop at Brookville, Indiana, to carry passengers and treat
the citizens to an air show. As Albert was landing the plane, the engine quit while the plane was still
about 200 feet in the air, causing
the plane to crash into a cornfield.
Exiter ducked his head beneath the
cowling in the front cockpit. Because of this, he broke his neck and
died in the crash. Albert, flying the
plane from the rear cockpit, was
only slightly injured.

In May 1925, the Hunter
Flying Circus put on a big
demonstration at a field, about
five miles north of Chester,
Illinois. As part of that demonstration, Kenneth Hunter
performed his first parachute
leap. Charles Hamilton, a local boy from Chester, also
made a parachute leap. As
Hamilton attempted his leap
from the plane piloted by
John Hunter, the parachute
failed to release from the
case, which was attached to
the plane. Hamilton was suspended at the end of a rope,
about eight feet below the
landing gear of the plane.
John Hunter had considerable difficulty keeping
the plane from losing altitude due to the aerodynamic drag
of him hanging below the plane.
After about 30 minutes of circling
the field, Hamilton was able to
climb up to the bag and unlace the
mouth of it so the parachute would
release. Hamilton landed safely in
a wheat field about a mile south of
the landing field.
After John Hunter landed the
plane, it was discovered that the
bag had almost torn loose from
the plane. Had the bag torn loose,
it would have prevented the parachute from opening. When Hamilton returned to the field, he
declared that he was ready to make
another leap. John Hunter, more
frightened that Hamilton during
the episode, responded that he
would not permit another amateur
to drop from his plane.
The Hunter Flying Circus performed at the Randolph County
Fair in Sparta in September 1925.
On Saturday, September 19, 1925,
the last stunt of the performance
was a parachute leap. Kenneth
“Beans” Hunter leaped from the
plane flown by his brother John,
at an altitude of 1,500 feet, about
a mile south of the grandstand at
the fair. A rather stiff wind from
the southwest carried Beans and his
chute toward the assembled crowd

Bud Gurney
in the grandstand.
Beans was able to descend away
from the trees north of the grandstand and made a perfect landing
on his feet on top of the grandstand
roof. However, the wind caught his
partially open parachute, pulling
him from the roof to the ground,
40 feet below.
Beans landed on his left hand
and side. He remained conscious
for a short time, but lapsed into unconsciousness. He was carried to
the Red Cross Hospital where he
was examined by Dr. J.K. Gordon.
The prognosis was that he was suffering from shock, but not seriously
injured. A later examination by Dr.
C.O. Boynton revealed a fractured
bone in his left wrist. Beans was
able to sit up the next day and was
unhappy that his doctor would not
permit him to fill an engagement
in St. Louis on Sunday.
The Hunter brothers returned
to Sparta on Saturday, October 9,
1926, after spending the summer
in the New York City area carrying
passengers in their three planes.
They sold one of their planes while
in the east.
On April 15, 1926, Charles A.
Lindbergh Jr. began the Robertson Aircraft Corporation’s contract mail service between St. Louis

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and Chicago by way of Springfield
and Peoria. The Robertson Aircraft
Corporation hired Lindbergh, 24,
as chief pilot for the mail contract.
Lindbergh recruited a number of pilots to assist in the service. John and
Walter Hunter joined the Robertson
Air Mail service. It’s quite possible
their previous association with Bud
Gurney led to their recruitment.
Pilots flying mail had to fly in visual contact with the ground. They
flew in all weather, good and bad.
Weather reports were not reliable. Often, journeys started in good weather
would fly on into bad weather and
fog. Radio communication with airports did not exist. The airports were
cow pastures with a windsock.
The Hunters became good friends
with Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. Lindbergh visited the Hunters in Sparta
on several occasions. On his first
visit to Sparta, Lindbergh rode his
motorcycle from St. Louis to Sparta.
He flew to Sparta for later trips.
On October 13, 1927, John and
Kenneth Hunter flew home to
Sparta from Hackensack, New Jersey,
where they had spent the summer
providing passenger rides in their
plane. One of the most pleasant experiences that occurred on that trip
was a flight in which a 19-year-old
boy had his hearing restored.
The boy had become deaf at 8
years of age. John Hunter gave the
lad a ride during which he made a
dive of several thousand feet. Upon
landing, the young man could hear.
Several months later, the Hunters
again visited with the young man
and learned that he was still able
to hear. The Hunter Flying Circus
presented a performance to a large
crowd at Freeburg, Illinois, on Sunday, October 16, 1927. Many Spartans attended the performance.
An article in the April 12, 1928,
edition of the Sparta News Plaindealer reported that Bud Gurney,
now chief air mail pilot for Robertson Aircraft Corporation, created quite a stir in Sparta when he
dipped low over “Blossom’s pasture” to wave to the Hunter brothers who were servicing their planes.

Gurney was flying mail to Memphis, Tennessee, in a Ryan monoplane, similar to Lindbergh’s Spirit
of St. Louis. Many people, thinking
it was Lindbergh paying a visit to
the Hunters, rushed to the field. By
the time they arrived, Gurney had
resumed his trip.

One of the
most pleasant
experiences
that occurred
on that trip
was a flight
in which a
19-year-old boy
had his hearing
restored.
John and Walter Hunter continued to fly mail on routes out of
St. Louis. John flew the St. Louis–
Evansville, Indiana–Chicago route.
Walter continued flying the St.
Louis-to-Chicago route. Beans was
working at an airport in South
Bend, Indiana, as a flight instructor.
Endurance flying started on New
Year’s Day 1929. U.S. Army Air
Corps Maj. Carl Spaatz and a group
of fliers set the first endurance record by remaining airborne more
than 150 hours in a Fokker C-2A
plane named Question Mark. That record required transferring fuel from
a plane to the endurance plane. This
endurance flight required 42 in-air
refueling and resupply contacts between the two airplanes.

Throughout 1929, fliers in Fort
Worth, Texas, Cleveland, Ohio, and
California each surpassed the time
aloft set by their predecessors. In
July 1929, Dale “Red” Jackson and
Forrest “Obie” O’Brine remained
aloft for 420 hours and 21 minutes over St. Louis, Missouri, in a
Curtiss Robin monoplane named
St. Louis Robin 1. The Curtiss Robertson Aeroplane and Motor Company manufactured the airplane in
St. Louis, Missouri.
In August of 1929, John Hunter
participated in an attempt to break
the record set by Jackson and
O’Brine. John was the pilot of the
refueling plane, Big Ben, which carried gasoline, oil, and supplies to
the endurance plane.
Starting at 6:52 a.m. on September 30, 1929, John and Kenneth
Hunter, piloting the endurance
plane, attempted to surpass the
Jackson–O’Brine endurance record.
They remained in the air 11 days
but had to discontinue their flight
when a heavy fog made it impossible to refuel the endurance plane.
The endurance plane was a Stinson
SM-1 Detroiter named Chicago WeWill, owned by the Chicago WeWill Corporation.
In early June 1930, John Hunter
purchased the Stinson SM-1 Detroiter airplane and renamed it City of
Chicago. On June 11, John and Kenneth Hunter quietly took off from
Sky Harbor Airport at Northbrook,
Illinois, and began their recordsetting endurance flight.
An article in the Chicago Daily
News on June 13 was the first mention of the attempted endurance
flight. The support of the flight was
well-planned, but the endurance
attempt was not publicized. The experience of the 1929 attempts led
John and Kenneth to enlist brothers Albert and Walter to fly Big Ben,
the refueling plane. The Hunters
hired a manager to help them with
the business connected with the
endurance flight.
As the flight progressed over the
Sky Harbor Airport, refueling contacts were initially made about ev-

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ery six hours. After more than a
week, refueling contacts were increased to every three hours due to
a leak in one of the fuel tanks in
the endurance plane, City of Chicago. At each contact with City of
Chicago, Big Ben provided gasoline, oil, food, and clean clothes to
John and Kenneth. Their mother
and sister Irene did their laundry
and prepared their meals. John
and Kenneth took turns flying City
of Chicago and sleeping. On occasions, Kenneth would leave the
cabin and scoot along a catwalk to
the engine in the nose of the plane,
where he would change spark plugs
and tighten bolts on the engine.
Communication between City of
Chicago and support on the airfield
was by exchanging notes. One note
from John and Kenneth to their
sister, Irene, complained the food
they were receiving was not “heman enough.” The note continued:
“Give us more hot dogs and hard
boiled eggs, and less of the fancy
fixed duck and chicken.”
As the endurance flight continued
toward the record set by Dale Jackson and Forrest O’Brine, the flight of
City of Chicago began attracting more
and more attention. Daily articles in
the Chicago newspapers caused large
crowds to visit Sky Harbor Airport
to witness the event. Many citizens
from Sparta made the long trip north
to Sky Harbor Airport to cheer the
Hunter brothers on. Will Rogers rode
along with Albert and Walter on Big
Ben during a refueling contact with
City of Chicago.
On Sunday, June 29, 1930, City
of Chicago passed the O’Brine–
Jackson endurance record; John
dropped the endurance plane low
over Sky Harbor Airport with Kenneth standing on the catwalk waving to the crowd estimated to be
about 75,000 people. Officials at
Sky Harbor Airport offered to get
a doctor for their mother, Mrs. Ida
Hunter, who seemed a bit faint as
she watched the event. Albert’s response was, “Aw shucks, get her
a chair and let her sit down. She’s
seen things like this before.”

On July 4, 1930, brothers John
and Kenneth Hunter landed City of
Chicago after having been airborne
for 553 hours, 41 minutes, and 30
seconds, establishing a new flight
endurance record.
John and Kenneth had been experiencing difficulty all day. In late
afternoon, an oil screen in the motor clogged. As oil was poured into
the motor, it was forced out into the
faces of John and Kenneth. The motor began to overheat due to the lack
of oil. John and Kenneth decided
to land the plane before the motor
failed. As City of Chicago touched
down and taxied down the runway,
the crowd rushed toward the plane.
John, recalling Lindbergh’s experience in Paris, taxied the plane
around the crowd and into the
hangar. Inside the hangar at Sky
Harbor Airport, John and Kenneth
were rushed to the microphones of
the national radio networks. They
reported that they were tired but
could have stayed in the air for several more days had the oil screen in
the motor not become plugged.
Following the radio broadcast,
the Hunter family, including all
four brothers, their mother, and sister Irene were taken by a long automobile procession to the House on
the Roof at the Hotel Sherman in
Chicago. There they were guests of
the hotel management.
After arriving at the House on the
Roof, John and Kenneth enjoyed
their first bath in more than three
weeks. After bathing, they were required by their manager to sit at a
table and listen to long talks. When
the talks were completed, John and
Kenneth were finally permitted to
get some long-overdue rest. They
were awakened the next morning
at 10:30 a.m. for an appearance on
stage at the Palace Theater in Chicago shortly after noon.
The record endurance flight was
reported all around the world. Pictures and news of the endurance
flight were published in the New
York Times. The July 8, 1930, issue of the St. Louis Globe Democrat
featured a front-page article about

Sparta, the Hunter brothers, and
the endurance flight.
Many news accounts reported
that Albert was the only member
of the family who was married.
This was quite possibly amusing to
John Hunter, who on May 7, 1929,
was married to Laura McCarey of
Sparta by a justice of the peace in
St. Charles, Missouri. Laura was
teaching school and chose to keep
her marriage a secret. In the spring
of 1930, John was flying mail and
planning an endurance flight.
Laura thought that announcing
their wedding then would attract
attention to her while John was a
national celebrity.
In the week following the endurance flight, the Hunter family was
honored as guests at a number of
banquets in Chicago. The banquets
were hosted by Will Rogers, Charles
S. “Casey” Jones, an executive of
Curtiss-Wright, and members of
the Chicago Board of Trade. Their
sister Mabel was the only family
member not present during the endurance flight and subsequent festivities. Mabel was in a hospital,
suffering from tuberculosis.
During that week, the Hunter
family appeared three times a day
on stage at the Chicago Palace Theater. After that week, the Hunter
brothers abandoned the stage to
work on their planes. The City of
Chicago had a new 300-hp Wright
J-6 engine, donated by the CurtissWright Corporation, installed to replace the original 220-hp Wright
Whirlwind J-5 engine.
The Wright Whirlwind J-5 engine was the same type of engine
that Lindbergh chose for his New
York-to-Paris flight. Both planes,
City of Chicago and Big Ben, were being prepared to carry the Hunter
family to Hollywood, California.
The Hunters signed a contract with
United Artists to appear in a movie
to be produced by Howard Hughes
and Sid Grauman.
Part II of the Hunter brothers’
story will appear in next month’s
issue of Vintage Airplane.

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Nobody Whistles at Coveralls
Adventures with the Curtiss crew
BY

S. MICHELLE SOUDER

H.G.FRAUTSCHY

W

hen I first started flying I had no idea of the
plethora of different aircraft I would come in
contact with. Having a hangar beside an aircraft builder/restorer has been quite an education—and an interesting one at that.
In 1911 Eugene Ely flew a Curtiss Pusher onto and from
a ship in San Francisco, California. That was the beginning
of U.S. naval aviation, although the process to fully incorporate aircraft took some doing.
Fast-forward 100 years to a small airport in New Market,
Virginia, and a man named Bob Coolbaugh. In honor of
the Navy centennial he, a former Navy aviator, and several airplane cohorts built a replica of the Curtiss Model
D that Mr. Ely flew. Their intention was to participate in a
number of centennial shows with the Navy and introduce
people to some little known aviation history. (See the May
2011 issue of Vintage Airplane.) Watching for three years as
the overgrown ultralight-looking contraption took shape,
I could not help but look at the “sticks and wires” and
think, “You’re going to do what?!”
Since Bob and his wife are more like family than neighbors, I answered the plea for help and marked my calendar for the shows I could make. We have a familiar joke
between us that “some of us aren’t retired . . ..” As such
my attendance was limited, but I was able to manage a few
trips as part of the crew during the year.
I boned up on my Curtiss history (fascinating, I admit).
Then I set out to find some attire I wouldn’t melt in while
wearing the somewhat-period-correct Curtiss coveralls.
I must say they were spiffy in white (White? Yes, white.)
with Curtiss embroidered on them. Any frustrations I had
about not fitting into 10-year-old shorts were for naught
as the coveralls made midlife flaws inconsequential.

S. MICHELLE

SOUDER

Many a conversation
was started by those coveralls with the
name emblazoned on the back. Nobody whistles at coveralls, but many opportunities were provided to share about
the airplane—which was as it should be.
My job while crewing consisted of manning the support tent, folding oodles of T-shirts, helping move the
airplane, and of course, talking to lots of people. Being
the babe (in the aviation experience sense) of the group,
I was a bit hesitant to take a place beside the airplane to
talk about it. I needn’t have worried. While I couldn’t relate the actual flying experience of it, I could answer most
folks’ questions and share their amazement. Any positive
connection was worthwhile.
The rest of the crew graciously shared their space and responsibilities with me. We laughed, sweated, and occasionally grumbled together. We ate too much “show” food and
went to bed tired just to get up and do it again the next day.
Crazy, yes probably, but for some of us it was a once-in-alifetime experience to share that kind of aviation history.
The Curtiss is overwintering in Florida. It was flown
more than 120 hours (4,000-plus miles) from Virginia
around the East Coast, halfway across the country,
and back. There were many things to contend with,
but no aircraft emergencies—quite a testament to
those who built it.
Congratulations, Bob, on a successful and safe year. You
and the “regular” crew have much to be proud of. Kudos
to the whole Curtiss group (and your significant others)
for your hard work and talent. I was fortunate to share a
small part. Thanks for letting me wear the coveralls and
share the adventures.

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Light Plane Heritage
published in EAA Experimenter January 1994

EXPLORING EARLY ROTARY ENGINES
BY

BOB WHITTIER
EAA 1235

This amazing model of a Gnome rotary engine was on display at the Hays engine tent at Oshkosh
years ago. Younger EAA folks who have never heard of rotary engines are often amazed the first time
they see one running. The Turkish towel draped behind this model was to catch oily exhaust.
n the years following World War
II, it was easy to find serviceable 65-hp lightplane engines
at attractive prices. These powerplants, so important to the population expansion of the certificated
lightplane in the years bracketing the
war, launched the homebuilt airplane
movement on a course which led it to
what it is today.
But now, those engines are getting
on in years, they’re not so easy to find,

I

and they’re increasingly expensive to
recondition thoroughly. At the same
time, engines of more recent manufacture tend to be of higher power,
and this has led to the development
of homebuilt aircraft designs that are
faster and more expensive than many
grassroots aviation enthusiasts want,
have the skill to fly, or can afford.
Mass-produced aviation and automotive engines have been around
for so long that most of the people

now active in sport aviation literally
grew up with them and know them
well. Younger enthusiasts are thus often surprised, amazed, and puzzled
when they encounter strange old
aero engines in books and museums
and at fly-ins. Many EAA people are
expert mechanics but know rather
little about the intricacies of aircraft
engine design. Yet, lack of knowledge
about what has been done in the past
can stifle ingenuity when doing pres-

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

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Left, cutaway of pre-1913 Gnome rotary. Note inlet valve in piston head. Magneto and oil pump
mounted on anchorage plate did not rotate. A brush-and-ring arrangement which sent current to
plugs had to be kept clean. Because heat and oil deteriorated rubber insulation, bare wires that
carried current to plugs often broke. Top right, enlarged view of intake valve. From 1913 onward,
“Monosoupape” Gnomes used the less troublesome inlet system shown at lower right.

Left, the reason for using an odd number of cylinders on rotary
engines was to achieve a smooth running firing order. Right,
counterweight on valve ends of rocker arms overbalanced tendency of centrifugal force on rods to hold valves open.
ent-day experimental work.
Therefore, this and articles to appear in succeeding issues will present
aero engine history in an interesting
and imagination-spurring way. We
have to point out, however, that it’s a
vast subject that can’t be treated fully
in magazine articles.
Because they had been in use since
the 18th century for driving water
pumps, factory machines, and boats,
steam engines became increasingly
numerous and well-understood as
the 19th century moved along. It is

understandable that some aeronautical pioneers tried to adapt these engines for powered flight. While some
acceptably light, powerful engines
were created, they were held earthbound by the size and weight of the
necessary boilers and their supply of
wood or coal.
Powered flight thus had to await
the appearance of comparatively light
yet powerful internal combustion engines burning liquid fuel internally.
For the quite short flights feasible in
very early airplanes, a small and there-

fore light supply of fuel was adequate.
For the most part, early gasoline
engines created for use in cars and
boats were too heavy for their power
output to be suitable for aircraft use.
One writer described attempts to
fly under their power as being like
“trying to imitate the kangaroo.”
To achieve usefully low weight, the
Wright brothers built their own engines around a cast aluminum crankcase. It delivered 12 hp and weighed
179 pounds. We have to remember
that their flights of December 17,
1903, were made with an appreciable
head wind.
A very early European aero engine was the Anzani, made by a firm
having a motorcycle background. To
make his 21-mile English Channel
crossing in 1909, Louis Bleriot used
a 24.5-hp, three-cylinder, air-cooled
Anzani. It just barely got him to England, and would not have done so if
a providential rain shower had not
cooled off the badly overheating cylinders. More capable French Antoinette monoplanes used custom-built,
expensive Antoinette V-8 air-cooled
engines able to produce 30 to 50 hp
and weighing around 200 pounds.
In case you wonder, these machines

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were named after the daughter of one
of the firm’s principals.
A vast step forward for aviation
took place in 1908 with the introduction of the Gnome engine which
weighed 165 pounds and delivered 50
hp. In French folklore, a gnome is a
sturdy little worker, hence the name.
At the Rheims air meet in August of
1909, pioneer fliers such as Henri
Farman and Louis Paulhan surprised
the aviation world by demonstrating
how very ably this new combination
of power and lightness could fly big,
box kite-style biplanes.
The Gnome was a “rotary” engine,
and we should point out that it was
nothing at all like the much later
Wankel having an internal rotor. One
way of making a lightweight engine is
to start with a single-throw and therefore very short crankshaft, fit it into a
ringlike and similarly short and light
crankcase, and arrange several cylinders radiating out from the crankcase in a starlike fashion. The Gnome
crankshaft and case were substantially
lighter than the longer equivalent
components of engines having four
or six cylinders in a row.
The rear portion of the crankshaft
was made quite long so that it could
be affixed to suitable brackets or bulkheads built into an aircraft’s fuselage.
Of course, it projected appreciably
from the back side of the crankcase.
Downward pressure on piston heads
pushing against connecting rods created side-pressure on the cylinder
walls, which thus made the crankcase
and cylinder assembly revolve swiftly
while the crankshaft remained motionless. Clamp the projecting crankshaft end of a junked lawn mower
motor into a vise, rotate the rest of
the engine around it, and you’ll grasp
the idea perfectly. The propeller was
attached to the front of the crankcase
and rotated with it.
Whatever the time period in which
an engine happens to be designed, it
represents the “state of the art” as of
that time. Whatever is available in the
way of design techniques, materials,
and manufacturing facilities is used to
best advantage.
Creators of the Gnome, the

brothers Laurent and Louis Seguin
of Paris belonged to a family which
had long experience building locomotives and heavy machinery.
They had experience with and the
machinery for working in steel. A
crankcase machined from a solid billet of forged steel would be easier for
them to produce than one of cast
aluminum, which at that time was
a relatively new and unfamiliar material. Similarly, for air-cooled cylinders it would for them be quite
routine to put billets of steel into a
lathe and turn the cooling fins.
But a problem! Because of the
shapes necessary it would be hard
to produce cylinder head fins with
a lathe. Some combination of fussy
drilling, broaching, and planning
work would be necessary. Even then,
the resulting fins might be too lacking
in number and area to dissipate combustion chamber heat.
Thus they hit upon the rotary idea.
Cylinder heads located at the outer
edge of a revolving engine would
travel through the air at considerable
velocity and thus cool as well as possible, considering their skimpy finning.
The Sequins did not invent the rotary
engine; they adapted the idea to aero
engine use. A mopedlike, two-wheel
vehicle built late in the 19th century
had a five-cylinder rotary engine built
into its rear wheel. A few early automobiles also had rotaries. For Gnome
engines, solid steel billets weighing
67 pounds were machined into cylinders weighing about 8 pounds. Wall
thickness was only 1.5 millimeters,
or about 1/16 of an inch. Steel parts
for the later Le Rhone rotary engines
were machined down to 184 pounds
from billets totaling 1,160 pounds.
That’s how they achieved lightness
using what they had and overlooking
the cost in terms of wasted material.
After the 1909 Rheims meeting,
demand for Gnomes soared, and for
some time it was the leading aero
engine. It was in demand because
it combined power with lightness.
Other firms, of course, rushed rotaries into production. Although we
now can consider the rotary idea to
be freakish, the outbreak of World

War I in 1914 caused governments to
swamp rotary makers with orders simply because these quirky engines were
available and the need was urgent.
Well-known French makes were
the Gnome, Le Rhone, and Clerget.
The British built some of these under
license and developed their own 230hp Bentley, the most powerful rotary
to be built. Gnomes had been built
under license in Germany prior to the
war, and modified versions continued
to be made there under the Oberursel
name. There were numerous less-wellknown makes.
Details of rotary engines were often
outlandish by today’s standards. But
we should not laugh at them, for they
exhibited a degree of designing imagination not often seen today.
Carburetors as we know them, for
example, were not used. It would
have been practically impossible to
contrive one that would work while
whirling around at 1200 rpm. Besides,
air and fuel were thoroughly mixed
and vaporized as they sped past crankshaft cheeks and connecting rods inside crankcases.
Very crude air and fuel metering
valves and jets were mounted at the
rear ends of hollow crankshafts. Details varied from make to make, but
in general pilots had to be skilled at
manipulating air and fuel controls to
keep their engines running.
Also, it would have been impossible to keep a supply of recirculating oil within a whirling crankcase.
Oil was thus pumped into the hollow crankshafts, and airflow swept it
along into crankcases. Because main
bearings were of the ball bearing type,
pressure lubrication was not needed.
Oil mist served them adequately, just
as in two-cycle engines.
Mineral oil would have mixed with
and been diluted by gasoline. Besides,
such oils available long ago proved
unable to stand the heat and pressures experienced by rotary engine
parts. So castor oil was used. It would
not mix or be diluted with gasoline, it
could withstand the heat, and it had
higher lubricity—the ability to cling
to metal surfaces—than early mineral
oils. It did cause hard, black varnish

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Left, piston side-pressure on cylinder walls made the
engines revolve. Big ends of connecting rods had
crutchlike, curved pads that ran in grooves in main bearing. Center,
80-hp Le Rhone engine. Right, a double-acting rocker arm actuated by a push-pull rod operated both valves. Cams were complex.
coatings to build up on hot surfaces.
And this combined with quite light
construction gave early rotaries 10 or
20 hours of flying between overhauls.
The best of them produced late in
the war could be run for perhaps 50
hours. Because of limited supplies of
castor oil, the Germans made less use
of rotaries than did the Allies.
Incoming castor oil lubricated
briefly, and then airflow and centrifugal force carried it into the firing chambers. Some of it burned and
created a smoky exhaust. That which
didn’t burn flew out with the exhaust.
Many early rotary-engined planes
were of the pusher type so that only
the tail surfaces would be coated with
the resulting film. Castor oil gave exhaust fumes a pungent, penetrating
odor suggestive of ether or automotive starting fluid.
When tractor-type engine installations came into favor, it quickly
became apparent that sheet metal
shields would be needed to keep the
worst of the mess and stink from
blinding and gagging pilots sitting
in open cockpits a short distance behind. These evolved into the neat
cowls seen on Sopwith Camels, Nieuports, and others. While these did
add some streamlining to fuselage
noses, their prime purpose was to collect the exhaust and direct it down
and out below the fuselage. As a study
of accompanying drawings will show,
it would have been next to impossi-

ble to fit exhaust manifolds. Even if
one were contrived, it would still exit
the exhaust in pinwheel fashion. Exhaust flame exiting from rotaries were
something to see at night. It is said
that pilots wore long, flowing scarves
not to appear dashing but to have
ready at hand goggle-wiping cloths
that would not blow overboard.
One old book states that 85 pounds
of centrifugal force acted on the fairly
small valves of a Le Rhone. Because
centrifugal force pulled outward on
pushrods with such force, overriding
counterweights were built into the
valve ends of rocker arms. Because of
low compression ratios and running
speeds, words such as “thundering”
wouldn’t apply to the sound emitted
by a rotary. Various writers have described it as being a moderately loud
but pleasant hum, a soft but strong
buzz, or a low growl.
Early Gnomes had inlet valves
built into the piston heads. They
opened and closed by pressure differentials and forces on hinged counterweights. To maintain uniformity
of inlet timing, and thus full power
output, mechanics were kept busy removing cylinders to check and adjust
these valves.
In 1913 Gnomes thus began to
use a system called “Monosoupape,”
meaning “one valve” in French. This
referred to the single big exhaust
valve—really more of a flap—in the
cylinder heads. A ring of holes was

drilled around the lower ends of cylinder walls. Shortly before reaching bottom dead center, pistons uncovered
them and the fuel/air mixture flowed
into combustion chambers, as in a
two-cycle engine. It took practice to
learn to run a Monosoupape. Because
they had doubts about the legitimacy
of these strange engines, Englishspeaking pilots took to pronouncing
the name as “Minus-a-pops.”
Le Rhones used intake and exhaust valves mounted in the cylinder heads. Copper intake pipes ran
from the crankcase to each cylinder
head, and centrifugal force helped
the mixture get out to the heads.
The single rocker arms were doubleacting. Single pushrods operated by
complicated cams alternately pushed
up and pulled down on these rods.
The tortuous and restricted intake
route of the Gnomes caused them
to burn about 10 gallons of gas and
2 gallons of oil per hour for an output of 80 to 110 hp. Le Rhones used
half that much. The high fuel consumption of rotaries limited their use
to short-range fighters. Less thirsty
straight-six, V-8, and V-12 engines
were preferred for bombers.
Because of their built-in-flywheel
effect, rotaries ran very smoothly indeed. Also, their pistons did not reciprocate. Instead, revolution of the
cylinders created the necessary four
strokes. Clamp the big end of a Continental connecting rod into padded

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Left, pilots had to learn how to operate Gnome fuel and oil supply systems. Because oil was used
briefly and then expelled in exhaust, a large supply had to be carried. In crashes, systems employing air pressure often sprayed gasoline and aggravated the fire hazard. Right, because the volumes
of heat generated in larger cylinders would have overtaxed marginal cooling systems, Gnome resorted to using standard cylinders to build up this 14-cylinder, 160-hp, double-row rotary engine.
vise jaws, install the piston, and then
slide the cylinder up and down on
the piston to visualize this action. But
in the air, rotaries also experienced
pronounced gyroscopic effects. Find
the front wheel of a bicycle and a
wooden shaft. Drill the end of the
shaft so you can force-thread it onto
one end of the wheel’s axle. Hold
the wheel at right angles in front of
you and get it to spinning. Then experience for yourself the gyroscopic
forces with which rotary pilots had
to cope. In a steep right turn, the pilot of a nimble single-seater would
use hard left rudder to keep the nose
from being pulled down into a spiral.
In a steep left turn, he’d apply hard
left rudder to keep the nose from being pulled skyward.
The German Siemens-Halske that
appeared late in the war is a prime
example of engineering imagination
bordering on the weird. Designed to
produce 160 hp, its creators realized
that a mean amount of gyroscopic
force would confront pilots. So, the
cylinders rotated one way while a set
of gears behind the crankcase made
the crankshaft and propeller turn in
the opposite direction! That cut the
gyroscopic force—but since the cylinders then rotated at only 800 rpm,
there was poor cooling.
Because of very elementary air
and fuel admission controls, Gnomes
could not be throttled down. They
ran at about 1,200 rpm all the time.

To taxi and to descend for a landing,
a pilot pressed a thumb button on top
of the control stick to short out the
ignition. He’d release it before the engine died. This was called “blipping
the engine.” Le Rhones had more sophisticated admission devices and
could be slowed down usefully by pilots who were deft with the controls.
Planes powered by Clergets and Bentleys had a set of switches by means
of which these nine-cylinder engines
could be run on seven, five, or three
cylinders. This meant that unburned
fuel and combustion flames exited
into the cowlings at the same time.
Apparently only the steady rush of air
into and out of the cowlings kept the
planes from being torched.
An assortment of factors brought
on the end of rotaries. They were inherently quirky and messy, never
very safe, and expensive to operate
and maintain. The gyroscopic effects
killed many pilots, both students
and experienced. Fuel consumption was uneconomically high, and
meanwhile the efficiency of stationary engines was steadily improving.
If rotational speed was significantly
increased, centrifugal force would
place huge loads on light steel
crankcases. The long, tortuous journey from air inlet past the jumble of
parts inside and out to the combustion chambers gave them inherently
poor breathing efficiency.
In Europe civilian pilots having re-

cent military experience used rotaries
for a few years after the war simply
because they could be bought so very
cheaply from war surplus outlets. But
gasoline was so expensive there that
the high fuel consumption of rotaries
soon led to their being retired.
In the United States, some Le
Rhone rotaries had been manufactured in 1917 to 1918 for use in military training and scout airplanes such
as the Thomas Morse. In the early
postwar years one company managed to convert surplus Le Rhones
into fixed radial engines. But the stationary V-8 Curtiss OX-5 engine was
much more plentiful here, and while
it had its faults, it didn’t have the
nasty vices of the rotaries. And it, too,
was cheap. So it became “the” engine
for private and modest commercial
flying in the 1920s.
It thus had the effect of discouraging the development of lowerpowered aircraft engines here. But
from the early 1920s onward, the
high cost of petroleum in Europe led
to much activity in the field of small
and very much improved engines.
Many of these were of the radial type.
Externally they resembled rotaries in
that cylinders fanned out from the
crankcases. But these parts did not
whirl around. Instead, crankshafts revolved within fixed crankcases. This
produced very much more tractable,
reliable, and economical engines. Next
month we’ll explore radials.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 27

Vintage June2012.indd 29

6/1/12 10:47 AM

Vintage
Mechanic

THE

BY ROBERT G. LOCK

Truss-type fuselage structures
Perhaps the oldest aircraft structure is the truss-type fuselage, which dates back to the Wright brothers. Over the years truss
fuselages have been manufactured from wood, aluminum, and steel. The truss-type fuselage structures evolved into two basic
types—the Warren truss and the Pratt truss. Illustration 1 shows a wire-braced, truss-type fuselage.

Illustration 1

Illustration 2

The primary fore and aft load-carrying members are
called longerons. Illustration 1 shows both Pratt and
Warren type structures. The Pratt truss can be identified by longeron cross-bracing being placed at 90
degrees to one another, with either wire or tube bracing for rigidity. The Warren type structure has crossbracing at varying angles to the longeron.
Examples of truss-type frames are shown above right
in Illustration 2.

As is the case of most early aircraft designs, there
were no maintenance or overhaul manuals written by
the factory. On occasion the factory would produce a
sketch detailing repairs to primary structural components. Such is the case with New Standard Aircraft Corporation of Paterson, New Jersey, and its model D-25.
The factory provided a detail drawing of how to splice
aluminum angle longerons, which could be adapted to
other angular components.

Illustration 3
Right: Illustration 3 is a New Standard D-25 factory sketch of a longeron splice. Repair sketches
like this are very rare, especially when made by the
original manufacturer.

28 JUNE 2012

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6/1/12 10:47 AM

Saving an Original Truss Fuselage Frame

Illustration 4
Illustration 4 shows a 1929 Command-Aire 5C3,
NC998E, the factory entry into the Guggenheim Safe
Flight Contest, 1927 to 1929. This photo was taken at
Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York, at the start of the
contest in October 1929. NC998E eventually became a
crop duster in Fort Pierce, Florida, and has miraculously
survived throughout the years. It is in the author’s possession and will be used in this column to describe repairs to a steel tube truss-type fuselage frame.

CONTACT US TODAY!
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Illustration 5
Illustration 5 shows NC998E, modified to crop dusting, displaying major damage to the forward section
and internally rusted lower longerons necessitating
entire replacement, both left and right. Before starting
the repairs a mechanic must make a determination as
to the condition of the entire frame. This ship is so rare
that every effort must be made to save as much of the
original frame as possible and still keep the ship airworthy. So the first step is to determine how much of the
original tube structure is still airworthy. This should be
completed before designing repairs; if the frame is no
good, then it will be a waste of time to design repairs,
as a new frame will have to be constructed. A quick
and easy first step is to test the tubes that are not damaged using a tap-testing tool that comes to us from advanced composite damage assessment. Illustration 6
shows tap-testing the tubes.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 29

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6/1/12 10:48 AM

Illustration 6
Tap-testing a modern-day advanced composite structure is practiced by gently tapping the structure with a
dense metal object (usually a coin made from a section
of brass bar stock) and listening for a metallic ring or
a solid sound (Illustration 6). If the structure has delaminated, the sound will be dull or dead. You can do
the same thing with steel tube; just tap the structure
and listen for a metallic ring. Take a new piece of tubing and support both ends, then tap and listen to the
sound. Practice this, then move to the structure and
begin tapping on the bottom or lower portion of the
tubes. If internal rust has eaten away the wall of the
tube, the sound will change to a dull tone, indicating
that the wall is thin. Do the entire frame, making notes
on a sketch or marking with masking tape if you find
tubing suspected of internal rust.

Illustration 7
One will be amazed how easy and quick this step
takes. Just invert the frame and tap all the tubes, longerons, cross and diagonal tubes, etc. In the case of this
Command-Aire, the lower longerons are rusted internally to a point that they are unairworthy. In fact there
are a few holes that emanate from the inside of the
tube all the way through the wall thickness. When this
step is completed and the frame found to be airworthy
by using the tap-test, a more thorough inspection may
be needed in certain critical areas.

Illustration 8 shows some of the damage detected
in the Command-Aire frame. If detail and assembly drawings can be secured from the FAA or other
sources, then dimensions will be available, along
with tubing diameter and wall thickness. If there
are no drawings (as is the case with the CommandAire), then it will be necessary to make detailed
sketches of the fuselage structure complete with
accurate dimensions as the frame will have to be
cut apart to make necessary repairs. A background
in mechanical drawing comes in very handy in
situations like this. Having already restored one
Command-Aire, I made detail drawings of as many
primary structural components as possible during
the restoration. I also fabricated a fuselage fixture to
weld the side truss of the shop, which may come in
Illustration 8
handy when repairing this project. However, when
the factory fabricated all the fuselage frames (except for the first few ships), Chief Engineer Albert Vollmecke designed
a large fixture whereby the entire 4130 frame could be fitted and then welded. It was a marvelous invention that assured uniformity in the production of tube structures, including fuselage, ailerons, elevators, horizontal stabilizers,
vertical fins, rudders, landing gear, and engine mounts. Illustration 9 shows an original factory photo of the rotating
fuselage fixture and gas welders at work in the Little Rock, Arkansas, plant. Note the Pratt truss-type structure that was
entirely constructed from 4130 chromoly tubing, when most other manufacturers were still using 1025 mild steel.

30 JUNE 2012

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6/1/12 10:48 AM 

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Illustration 9
Saving a rare old aircraft is a passion, and one I
wish to share with any who are interested. There
will be more on this restoration in future articles.
When designing and conducting repairs to any
primary structure, alignment of the hard points
are very critical. The fuselage frame sets the geometry of the landing gear, engine thrust line, lower
wing angle of incidence, cabane strut location,
horizontal and vertical stabilizer location, and tail
wheel mount point. When an airframe is damaged
from an accident, many of these points can be affected, so close examination must be completed
before a decision is made to either repair or replace
the frame. The upper longerons are straight, so the
top of the fuselage is flat. If one laterally levels the
upper cross tube at station 1 and then checks the
level at the aft cross tube, any twist in the frame
will be evident.
Once a decision is made to repair the frame,
detailed sketches of the structure must be created
in order to place the structure back to its original
dimensions. I have a background in mechanical
drawing, so with drawing board, tee square, triangle, and scale, suitable sketches can be made of
the structure complete with dimensions. Back in
1982 a search of FAA files and the Federal Records
Storage Center turned up no ATC drawings. One
FAA offi cial suggested that the original drawings
were transferred to Fort Worth, Texas, and were
destroyed in a flood. Whatever actually happened
to the drawings will never be known, except that
they no longer exist.
And so this column ends with a decision to repair the original fuselage frame by replacing both
lower longerons, repairing cross and diagonal
tubes in stations 1 and 2, removing all tubing that
was added to support the hopper installation, and
welding cross tubes in place that were removed
when the hopper went in. Stay tuned for further
progress reports.

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Are you nearing 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 31

Vintage June2012.indd 33

6/1/12 10:48 AM

Vintage
Instructor
THE

BY Steve Krog, CFI

Wind, takeoff, and traffic patterns
Part 1
How do you fly the traffic pattern, especially if you are
going to do two or three takeoffs and landings? “Never
much thought about it,” is the reply most often offered
when I’m conducting a flight review. “It sort of comes
natural,” they add.
“Is that why we were about one-quarter mile south
of the runway centerline during the climb-out,” I offer?
“Geez, I never realized I was doing that,” the pilot responds, “Why are you making such a big deal out of it?”
My reply is, “To prevent a midair collision, and so that
you can make a good landing.” “What does my climb-out
have to do with my landing?” Everything! Precision in the
traffic pattern usually leads to a good landing.

Takeoff and Climb-out
NOTE: Assume in the following example that we are experiencing a 45-degree crosswind from right to left at 12-15 mph.
After completing the pretakeoff checklist but before
every takeoff, what do you do? Align the airplane with the
centerline and push the throttle to the stop? Or do you
take a few seconds and think about the takeoff? Do you
ever ask yourself the “What if” questions? What if the engine sputters and quits before liftoff? Just after liftoff? Do
you remember to take a quick peek at the engine gauges as
the power is added? What is the surface wind doing just
before adding power?
If these questions are answered honestly, most would
agree that the airplane, engine, and pilot inputs are oftentimes taken for granted. Maybe we could and should all
pay a bit more attention and run through the “What if”
questions before each takeoff.
Let’s take a look at how the airplane responds in a crosswind takeoff and the actions, or lack thereof, of the person at the flight controls. Many of us general aviation
pleasure-flying pilots will glance at the windsock as we
taxi away from the hangar and make our way to the preferred runway. After determining which direction we’ve
selected for the takeoff, we never again look at the windsock. Rather, we just assume the wind won’t change before
we get into the air.
The surface wind can be quite variable in any given
day, particularly if it is less than 15 knots. Have you ever

found yourself adding power, beginning the takeoff roll,
and then found that the airplane decided to take you on a
cross-country tour through the tall grass on either side of
the runway? It catches you by surprise as you apply corrective control inputs, but the question comes to mind,
“What was that, and what did I do wrong? The wind was
right down the runway when I last looked (7-10 minutes
ago).” When working with students, I insist that they take
one last look at the windsock before applying power.
Beginning with the takeoff roll, the control stick or
yoke should be all the way back in your lap and turned or
pushed near fully to the stop in the direction from which
the wind is coming. A crosswind from the right requires
the stick to be pushed or turned to the right. The right
aileron is deflected to the up position, preventing the right
wing from generating more lift than the left.
With the stick or yoke in the full back or aft position,
the prop blast and the relative wind cause a downward
load on the tail, keeping the steerable tail wheel firmly
planted on the ground as power is applied. Directional
control for the first four of five seconds of the takeoff roll
is maintained by the tail wheel and proper rudder pedal
application. Generally, several soft taps on the right rudder
are needed in a calm or light head wind situation. But in
this particular situation one may need to tap the left rudder to offset the crosswind that is attempting to push the
tail to the left and the nose to the right.
As groundspeed increases, pressure on the elevator can
be felt in the control stick. At this point, gently move the
stick slightly forward, lifting the tail about a foot off the
ground. A mistake commonly made at this point is raising
the tail too high, creating either a neutral or negative angle of attack. This tail-high attitude significantly extends
the length of the takeoff roll. Simultaneously, light rudder
pedal taps will be needed to maintain straight-line directional control. If the crosswind is strong, left rudder will
be needed, but if it is light, right rudder will be required to
offset engine torque and propeller P-factor.
We began the takeoff roll with the right aileron fully
deflected upward. With increasing groundspeed, the controls become more effective and less aileron deflection is
needed to offset the crosswind. Just as the airplane leaves
the ground the control stick should be rotated to a neutral

32 JUNE 2012

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position, causing the aileron to assume a neutral position
as well. Oftentimes a pilot will continue holding aileron
deflection during the liftoff, causing the wing to dip in
the direction of the wind. Simultaneously, some pilots will
then add and hold left rudder causing a slip/skid configuration. Correct this by glancing at the space between the
bottom side of each wing and the horizon line. In a lowwing airplane, look at and balance the space between the
top of the wing and the horizon. Level the wings and take
your foot off the left rudder pedal.
Once airborne, even in a light crosswind, I like to
climb to about 15-20 feet, then level off and neutralize
the rudder and ailerons if you’re still holding the windward wing down. Depending on the crosswind velocity,
the airplane will “weather vane,” basically establishing its
own crab angle. When the crab angle stabilizes, resume
the normal climb-out attitude while maintaining the
crab angle. Don’t forget to apply light but constant right
rudder during the climb to offset torque and P-factor.
This will allow you to climb on a straight line off the end
of the runway. Continue the climb until reaching at least
500 feet above ground level (AGL), and then lower the
nose to a level attitude.
Depending upon the level of activity in the flight pattern and airport traffic area, you may want to vary your
climb attitude and airspeed for safety. Traffic volume may
dictate a more gradual climb angle so that you can more
easily see over and around the nose and spot any potential
traffic conflicts.
A designated pilot examiner (DPE) friend, for whom I
have a great deal of respect, recommends making gradual
S-turns passing left and right through the imaginary extended centerline during the climb. This will allow seeing
whatever is in front of the airplane (i.e., to better see other
traffic). This is an especially good practice when flying an
airplane like the J-3 Cub, as the nose blocks all forward visibility when in a normal 60-mph climb attitude.
Just because your airplane will climb out in a steep attitude, there is no need to demonstrate this feature when
departing a fly-in. Wait until you are clear of the airport
traffic area, then play. It may someday save a near miss or
even worse.

Head wind or Tail wind on Crosswind Leg
After lowering the nose and clearing the area for
other traffic in or approaching the traffic pattern, establish a shallow-bank climbing turn to the left (for
left-hand traffic patterns). In a light or no-wind condition this turn would be approximately 90 degrees, so
that you are perpendicular to the departing runway
but flying away from that runway.
In this example we are turning from a right-quartering
head wind to a right-quartering tail wind. If this is not
taken into consideration, the crosswind leg will not only
increase your groundspeed, but the wind will also push
the airplane leftward toward the runway, tightening the
traffic pattern track. To correct this situation, roll out of the

turn about 10 degrees early to establish a slight crab angle
to the right, offsetting the wind’s push. The increased
groundspeed will necessitate initiating the turn to downwind a bit more quickly than you may have anticipated.
The crosswind leg of the traffic pattern is the leg that is
most often abused by students and certificated pilots alike,
based on my experience. Frequently, neither the wind
direction nor the velocity is taken into account. In turn, a
sloppy crosswind leg leads to an equally sloppy downwind
leg, which then leads to a bad base leg.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll state it again. If I’m
flying with an individual who is flying a sloppy pattern,
I’ll challenge that person to a contest. I will predict, while
on downwind leg, if the landing will be good or not. A
student will almost always accept the challenge. I’ll write
the letter “G” or “B” on my hand—“G” for a good landing
and “B” for a less than good landing. I can truthfully say
that I’m correct well more than 90 percent of the time.
The more things are done properly and correctly while flying the traffic pattern, the fewer things have to be fixed on
either the base leg or final approach. The fewer things to
fix, the better the landing.
Note: In the next issue I’ll explain the downwind, base,
and final legs of the traffic pattern and what I look for to
help make a better, more comfortable, safer, smoother,
and uneventful landing.

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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 33

Vintage June2012.indd 35

6/1/12 10:48 AM

by H.G. FRAUTSCHY

MYSTERY PLANE
This month’s Mystery Plane comes to us from the
EAA archives/Cedric Galloway collection.

Send your answer to EAA, Vintage Airplane, P.O.
Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Your answer
needs to be in no later than July 10 for inclusion in
the September 2012 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.

MARCH’S MYSTERY ANSWER

O

ur March Mystery Plane
came to us from the Cedric Galloway collection
of the EAA archive. Here’s
our only answer:
On January 7, 1929, Braley Field
was established southeast of Wichita, Kansas, and just north of Travel
Air Field (Wichita Beacon. January
7, 1929, and January 13, 1929. Referred to as “Braley Airport” in the
first article and at www.WingsOverKansas.com). This facility consisted
of one building and a hangar. Two
addresses are known for the Braley

34 JUNE 2012

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6/1/12 10:49 AM

Aircraft Company and the adjunct
Braley School of Flying (211 E.
Douglas Ave. and 6400 E. Franklin
Rd., Wichita, Kansas, respectively).
The Braley operation was a family affair. Thomas E. Braley served
as company president, with his
sons, S. Ward “Skip” Braley, serving
as the designer of their aircraft, and
his brother, Ted, being in charge of
production and testing. Known in
most sources simply as Ward Braley,
he was, and is, undoubtedly one of
the youngest aircraft designers in
aviation history.
In early 1928, at the age of 17
or 18 (depending on whether one
accepts the obituary information
given in the Wichita Beacon or the
Wichita Eagle, respectively), Ward
Braley designed his first aircraft.
Known as the B1 (some sources include a hyphen, hence “B-1”), it
was given the appellation of Beezle Bug1 . Registered as X8171, the
B1 (photo attached) was a singlebay biplane powered by a 220-hp
Wright J-5. It had an upper span of
27 feet and a lower span of 25 feet.
The overall length was 21 feet 7
inches, and the useful load was 800
pounds. The range of the B1 was
75 miles, with a VMAX of 184 mph,
a VC of 135 mph, and a VSO of 35
mph. Inset ailerons were only fitted
to the upper wing.
The next Braley design, also a
Beezle Bug, was known as the B2K5 (registered as 660H). The span
was 27 feet, and the overall length
was 21 feet. It apparently differed
little from the original B1 with the
exception of the engine, which was
a Kinner K-5 of 100 hp. Yet another
was built as the B2-R5 (or B2-J6).
Registered as X432N, it apparently

differed in the use of a 225-hp (165hp, according to Aerofiles.com)
Wright J-6-7.
The fourth and final Beezle Bug is
the subject of the Vintage Airplane
photo. Registered as NX626K, it
was powered by a 185-hp (170-hp,
Aerofiles.com) Curtiss R-660 Challenger and was designated as the
B2-C6 (or B-2C6, depending on
what nomenclature one wishes to
accept). NASM laser videodisc 1,
side A, frames 15,387 and 15,388
are two other photos of this same
aircraft. The manufacturer’s name
is incorrectly spelled as “Brayley.”
According to Aerofiles.com, special
“flaps” were fitted to the landing
gear struts to slow the aircraft to 35
mph for landing.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck
the company within a year. At 9
a.m. on the morning of Monday,
January 13, 1930, both the building and hangar were destroyed in
a fire which consumed 11 aircraft,
three of them being Beezle Bugs.
The fate of the fourth Beezle Bug is
unknown, as are the identities of
the other aircraft. The total loss was
valued at $90,000, according to the
Wichita Beacon. However, this is not
the end of the story….
By mid-April, the Braley School
of Flying was again operational, and
a new school was opened for glider
instruction. In May, the Braley
Glider Corporation had built a new
glider, known as the Skysport (Wichita Beacon. April 18, 1930, and May
11, 1930). Unfortunately, tragedy
once again struck the Braley family
with the death of 18 (or 19)-yearold Ward “Skip” Braley on July 19,
1930. According to newspaper accounts, one of the wings of the Sky-

sport came off at 100 feet altitude,
while being towed into the air by
a car. “Skip” Braley died on impact,
and was survived by his brother Ted
and a 9-year-old brother named
Jack, and a sister, Dorothy, age 16.
He was buried at Marion, Kansas.
According to one source, the
school may have continued up to
the outbreak of the Second World
War. Whatever the case, the fate of
one Beezle Bug remains unclear. S.
Ward Braley’s obituary mentions
that four Beezle Bugs were built,
and the story of the fire does state
that three were destroyed. As most
of these stories go, we will probably never know exactly what happened…but it would make a good
research project…for someone. Any
takers?
Wesley R. Smith
Springfield, Illinois
No other correct answers were
received.

We enjoy your suggestions for Mystery Plane—in fact, more than half of
our subjects are sent to us by members, often via e-mail. Please remember that if you want to scan the photo
for use in Mystery Plane, it must be at
a resolution of 300 dpi or greater. You
may send a lower-resolution version
to us for our review, but the final version has to be at that level of detail or
it will not print properly. Also, please
let us know where the photo came
from; we don’t want to willfully violate someone’s copyright.

1 The etymology of the words “Beezle Bug” is somewhat controversial and obscure. The term was used in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears
a Who. In that story, animals threaten to boil the Whos in Beezel-nut oil. This may be another form of the 1920s slang term “beezer,”
meaning “nose.” A search of the Internet reveals little. Some say it is a reference used in the Sylvia Foster story The Women. One blogger wrote: “The engineers said she couldn’t fly, but she did, every Saturday night.” I heard my grandparents use these words a few
times, and my recollection is that it simply referred to a winged insect, usually a beetle or a locust (known as “June bugs” and “grasshoppers” in the Midwest). I recall that the buzzing sound made by the wings of June bugs was the reason for the term “Beezle Bug,”
but childhood memories are far from conclusive.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 35

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6/1/12 10:49 AM

WHAT OUR MEMBERS
ARE RESTORING
by H.G. Frautschy

Brian Coughlin, one of the antique world’s most accomplished restorers and antique aircraft reproduction builders,
shared these photos with us in a couple of letters. I’m embarrassed to say that one of them has been hanging
around in our file for more than a couple of years, so I suspect he’s further along on these projects than is shown in
the photos. He told me the Curtiss-Wright is close to flying, with just an exhaust awaiting overhaul and a couple
of small details to be finished off before it’s ready for flight.

Buhl Pup
Brian purchased this very original 1931 Buhl Pup in 2010, where he found it in a barn 50 miles south of
Glens Falls, New York. It had been in storage for 65-plus years. He learned about it thanks to its proximity to a
summer camp, Lake George, his wife’s family has had for many years. Brian worked out a trade deal with vintage airplane collector Kermit Weeks, so the Buhl has returned to the state where it was originally owned—
when delivered from the factory, it belonged to a Miami, Florida, flying club. As found, the Buhl Pup project is
shown here with its original tail fabric from 1931 and cotton wing covering installed in 1938.

36 JUNE 2012

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6/1/12 10:50 AM

VINTAGE
TRADER
S o m e t h i n g t o b u y,
sell, or trade?

Aeronca C-3 and Curtiss Wright Junior.
I’m going to let Brian tell you about these two in his own words:
“These two airplanes spent 50-plus years in the attic of a chicken coop
in upstate New York, along with eight or nine other pre-WWII ships. One
of them is a Curtiss Robin restored by Doug Wallbridge of Pompey, New
York. I have flown that Robin 30-40 hours and even took the prior owner,
Clarence Ingersoll, for a ride on his 90th birthday.
“I have been working on the Curtiss-Wright Junior for over four years.
In one of the photos, you can see the engine start for the first time since
the early 1940s. The Aeronca C-3 is owned by my neighbor Gen. Bob
Knauff. (It’s C-3 Master version. The single-axle landing gear and doors are the
clues to look for on this one.—HGF) He has had the engine overhauled and
new ribs made. The fuselage fabric is factory original.
“On a trip to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington,
D.C., I noticed that on the kiosk for the Curtiss Robin Ole Miss there was
a photo of the Key brothers in front of presumably their Curtiss-Wright
Junior. I decided on the spot to use their logo on mine. See the photo.
The boy on the left is Charlie Mann, and on the right is our son, Teddy
Coughlin. Both are air-minded and enjoy flying.”

Classified Word Ads: $5.50 per 10
w o rd s , 1 8 0 w o rd s max i m u m , w i t h
boldface lead-in on first line.
Classified Display Ads: One column
wide (2.167 inches) by 1, 2, or 3 inches
high at $20 per inch. Black and white
only, and no frequency discounts.
Advertising Closing Dates: 10th of second
month prior to desired issue date (i.e.,
January 10 is the closing date for the March
issue). VAA reserves the right to reject any
advertising in conflict with its policies. Rates
cover one insertion per issue. Classified ads
are not accepted via phone. Payment must
accompany order. Word ads may be sent via
fax (920-426-4828) or e-mail (classads@
eaa.org) using credit card payment (all cards
accepted). Include name on card, complete
address, type of card, card number, and
expiration date. Make checks payable to
EAA. Address advertising correspondence to
EAA Publications Classified Ad Manager, P.O.
Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086.

MISCELLANEOUS

www.aerolist.org, Aviations’ Leading
Marketplace.

SERVICES
Always Flying Aircraft Restoration, LLC:
Annual Inspections, Airframe recovering,
fabric repairs and complete restorations.
Wayne A. Forshey A&P & I.A. 740-4721481 Ohio and bordering states.

There’s plenty more . . .
and other goodies at
www.vintageaircraft.org

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 37

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6/1/12 10:50 AM

For a group of USAF F-22 mechanics who had never worked with wood or fabric, the rebuild of a WW I Nieuport
28 was a challenge they met with enthusiasm and superlative skills.

USAF Nieupo r t 28 a n d F-22 R a p tors :

The Flabob Connection
Poly-Fiber expertise used to restore squadron mascot
BY

One of the oldest existing U.S. Air
Force’s fighter units is the 94th “Hat
in the Ring” Squadron, made famous
in World War I by Eddie Rickenbacker. The 94th has a historic lineage, Nieuports and Spads in WWI,
P-38s in WWII, later F-86s, F-4s and
F-15s, and now the F-22 Raptor. For
more than 25 years, the 94th displayed a full-scale Nieuport 28 replica outside its squadron building in
honor of its first combat fighter.
Last summer a freak windstorm
destroyed the Nieuport, and a saddened squadron vowed to restore
it. Donations flooded in from 94th
alumni worldwide; the only problem was that the current F-22 maintenance guys didn’t know much
about working on 1917 wood and
fabric aircraft. Several contractors
offered to replace the replica at inflated prices, but their quotes were
well beyond the squadron budget.

DAVE GUSTAFSON

Jon Goldenbaum, president of
Flabob’s Poly-Fiber, heard of the disaster. Goldenbaum was a member
of the 94th when the replica was
originally built. At the time he was
an F-15 pilot whose hobby was antique and classic aircraft. In those
years, he owned and maintained
a Taylorcraft that he flew at Langley AFB when he wasn’t in an F-15.
Since Goldenbaum was the only pilot in the unit who knew anything
about fabric aircraft, he wound up
assisting builder Ken Kellett assemble and install the airplane in
front of the 94th .. Later, Goldenbaum gave Kellett a ride in an F-15,
a memory they share when they
meet at air shows today.
Since the windstorm, Goldenbaum coached the 94th F-22
maintainers on antique aircraft restoration via e-mail and phone. The
94th guys installed a wood shop

in an F-22 hangar, then launched
with enthusiasm to learning new
skills including cutting and shaping wood, welding steel. In January,
Goldenbaum and top Poly-Fiber
technician Hualdo Mendoza flew to
Langley to help finish the restoration and teach the high-tech F-22
guys how to cover a 1917 WWI
fighter with fabric. More than 20
Air Force technicians worked on the
project. Soon, fabric components
were in the paint shop receiving an
authentic WWI camouflage paint
job with the proud Hat in the Ring
emblazoned on the side.
The replica was rededicated in
February, then installed in its place
of honor in the front of the 94th.
If you get a chance to visit Langley,
don’t miss seeing the 1917 airplane
completely restored by 2012 F-22
maintainers, with a little help from
the past and Flabob.

38 JUNE 2012

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6/1/12 11:39 AM

VINTAGE AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION
OFFICERS

Enjoy the many benefits of the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association

President
Geoff Robison
1521 E. MacGregor Dr.
New Haven, IN 46774
260-493-4724
chief7025@aol.com

Secretary
Steve Nesse
2009 Highland Ave.
Albert Lea, MN 56007
507-373-1674

Vice-President
George Daubner
N57W34837 Pondview Ln
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-560-1949
gdaubner@eaa.org

Treasurer
Dan Knutson
106 Tena Marie Circle
Lodi, WI 53555
608-592-7224
lodicub@charter.net

DIRECTORS

Steve Bender
85 Brush Hill Road
Sherborn, MA 01770
508-653-7557
aaflagship@gmail.com

John S. Copeland
1A Deacon Street
Northborough, MA 01532
508-393-4775
copeland1@juno.com

Espie “Butch” Joyce
6257 NC 704
Madison, NC 27025
336-427-0971

David Bennett
375 Killdeer Ct
Lincoln, CA 95648
916-952-9449
antiquer@inreach.com

Phil Coulson
28415 Springbrook Dr.
Lawton, MI 49065
269-624-6490
rcoulson516@cs.com

Steve Krog
1002 Heather Ln.
Hartford, WI 53027
262-966-7627
sskrog@gmail.com

Jerry Brown
4605 Hickory Wood Row
Greenwood, IN 46143
317-422-9366
lbrown4906@aol.com

Dale A. Gustafson
7724 Shady Hills Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46278
317-293-4430
dalefaye@msn.com

Robert D. “Bob” Lumley
1265 South 124th St.
Brookfield, WI 53005
262-782-2633
rlumley1@wi.rr.com

Dave Clark
635 Vestal Lane
Plainfield, IN 46168
317-839-4500
davecpd@att.net

Jeannie Hill
P.O. Box 328
Harvard, IL 60033-0328
920-426-6110

S.H. “Wes” Schmid
2359 Lefeber Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
414-771-1545
shschmid@gmail.com

Robert C. Brauer
9345 S. Hoyne
Chicago, IL 60643
773-779-2105
photopilot@aol.com
Gene Chase
8555 S. Lewis Ave., #32
Tulsa, OK 74137
918-298-3692

DIRECTORS EMERITUS
Ronald C. Fritz
15401 Sparta Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330
616-678-5012
rFritz@pathwaynet.com

E.E. “Buck” Hilbert
8102 Leech Rd.
Union, IL 60180
815-923-4591
buck7ac@gmail.com

Charles W. Harris
PO Box 470350
Tulsa, OK 74147
918-622-8400
cwh@hvsu.com

Gene Morris
5936 Steve Court
Roanoke, TX 76262
817-491-9110
genemorris@charter.net

ADVISORS

Joe Norris
tailwheelpilot@hughes.net
920-688-2977

PO Box 3086, Oshkosh WI 54903-3086
Phone (920) 426-4800

Fax (920) 426-4873

Web Site: www.vintageaircraft.org
E-Mail: vintageaircraft@eaa.org
VINTAGE AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION
Current EAA members may join the Vintage Aircraft
Association and receive VINTAGE AIRPLANE magazine
for an additional $42 per year.
EAA Membership, VINTAGE AIRPLANE magazine and one
year membership in the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association is available for $52 per year (SPORT AVIATION magazine not included).
(Add $7 for International Postage.)

EAA
Membership in the Experimental Aircraft Association,
Inc. is $40 for one year, including 12 issues of SPORT AVIATION. Family membership is an additional $10 annually. All
major credit cards accepted for membership. (Add $16 for
International Postage.)

FOREIGN MEMBERSHIPS

John Turgyan
PO Box 219
New Egypt, NJ 08533
609-752-1944
jrturgyan4@aol.com
Ron Alexander
118 Huff Daland Circle
Griffin, GA 30223-6827
ronalexander@mindspring.com

Membership Services
Directory

Tim Popp
60568 Springhaven Ct.
Lawton, MI 49065
269-624-5036
tlpopp@frontier.com

Please submit your remittance with a check or
draft drawn on a United States bank payable in United
States dollars. Add required Foreign Postage amount
for each membership.

Membership Services
Monday–Friday, 8:00 AM—6:00 PM CST

Join/Renew800-564-6322 membership@eaa.org
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
www.airventure.org

888-322-4636
airventure@eaa.org

Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft Hotline
877-359-1232
www.sportpilot.org sportpilot@eaa.org
Auto Fuel STCs

920-426-4843

EAA Air Academy
www.airacademy.org

920-426-6880/4815
airacademy@eaa.org

stc@eaa.org

EAA Scholarships

920-426-6823

scholarships@eaa.org

Library Services/Research

920-426-4848

slurvey@eaa.org

VAA Insurance Plan

800-727-3823

www.auaonline.com

EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan
www.eaa.org/memberbenefits
EAA VISA Card

866-647-4322
membership@eaa.org
800-853-5576 ext. 8884

EAA Hertz Rent-A-Car Program
www.eaa.org/hertz

800-654-2200
membership@eaa.org

VAA Editor/Executive Director
www.vintageaircraft.org

920-426-4825
vintage@eaa.org

VAA Office

920-426-6110

tbooks@eaa.org

Copyright ©2012 by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association,
All rights reserved.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE (USPS 062-750; ISSN 0091-6943) is published
and owned exclusively by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association of
the Experimental Aircraft Association and is published monthly at
EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Rd., PO Box 3086, Oshkosh,
Wisconsin 549023-3086, e-mail: vintageaircraft@eaa.org. Membership to Vintage Aircraft Association, which includes 12 issues of
Vintage Airplane magazine, is $42 per year for EAA members and
$52 for non-EAA members. Periodicals Postage paid at Oshkosh,
Wisconsin 54902 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER:
Send address changes to Vintage Airplane, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh,
WI 54903-3086. CPC #40612608. FOREIGN AND APO ADDRESSES—
Please allow at least two months for delivery of VINTAGE AIRPLANE
to foreign and APO addresses via surface mail. ADVERTISING —
Vintage Aircraft Association does not guarantee or endorse any
product offered through the advertising. We invite constructive
criticism and welcome any report of inferior merchandise obtained
through our advertising so that corrective measures can be taken.
EDITORIAL POLICY: Members are encouraged to submit stories
and photographs. Policy opinions expressed in articles are solely
those of the authors. Responsibility for accuracy in reporting rests
entirely with the contributor. No remuneration is made. Material
should be sent to: Editor, VINTAGE AIRPLANE, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh,
WI 54903-3086. Phone 920-426-4800.
EAA® and EAA SPORT AVIATION®, the EAA Logo® and Aeronautica™ are registered trademarks, trademarks, and service
marks of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. The use of
these trademarks and service marks without the permission of the
Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 39

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6/1/12 11:39 AM

Old Radials and Fathers
When one would
fly over the house,
whoever heard it first
would yell out, “Old
Rumbly’s coming!”
by Lynn Larkin

W

hen I am asked, as I am sure many
of you are, how I became interested
in aviation, I think back to early
childhood.
Our house had a large picture window that
looked out over a creek and a cow pasture. Beyond the pasture were the Southern Railway
tracks. All these features became the personal
playground of my best friend and me as we
grew up.
I remember standing in front of the window
at my dad’s side. When one of the pre-jet-age
airliners would fly over on its climb-out from
the Knoxville airport, we would watch and listen to it as it flew into the distance. What a
beautiful sound!
I would ask, “Where is it going to, Dad?”
“Oak Ridge,” was his reply.
“Wow,” I thought.
Readers, the plane might have been going
towards Oak Ridge, but not to land. There was
not an airport there, but I didn’t know that or
even really care. Five-year olds are just happy
to get an answer, any answer. Sometimes we
would get in the car and drive to the local airport just to watch planes take off and land. It
was inexpensive entertainment for young parents to provide their children.
When Gerry and I became parents, our children were exposed to aviation from infancy, and
Oshkosh was our summer vacation. We had a
plane and lived next door to a grass strip. We also
had a special name that we applied to any radialengined airplane: “Old Rumbly.”
When one would fly over the house, whoever heard it first would yell out, “Old Rumbly’s
coming!” and we would run out of the house
to look and listen until it was gone. I suppose
we were doing our part to make sure it made it
safely through our part of the sky.
Time marches on . . . my father passed away
34 years ago, the children have grown up and
moved off, and Old Rumbly seldom flies over
any more. Occasionally, however, a Rumbly
will grace the sky, en route to Oak Ridge perhaps. As always, I will put down whatever I am
doing, walk outside, and stand reverently until
he is gone. Invariably, my mind takes me back
to that picture window of my childhood. I so
miss my dad at times . . .
Lynn Larkin and his wife, Gerry, are longtime
volunteers for the Vintage Aircraft Association.

40 JUNE 2012

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6/1/12 11:40 AM

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Vintage June2012.indd 43

6/1/12 11:40 AM

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