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march 2010

march 2010

STRAIGHT & LEVEL


GEOFF ROBISON
PRESIDENT, VINTAGE AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION

No user fees and that pesky weather rodent


This months column starts out
with a good newsbad news scenario.
Okay, the good news first. The federal
budget was recently introduced by
the current administration in Washington, D.C., and there are no signs
of any user fees projected to impact
general or recreational aviation for
the upcoming fiscal year 2011. This
is really huge news in my estimation.
I see this as an affirmation of all the
hard work of each of the aviation
alphabet organizations, as well as
our membership, in their efforts to
tell the whole story about the importance of general aviation (GA) in todays society, and its positive impact
on this nations economy.
Doug Macnair of EAAs government relations office said it best
when he recently remarked, The
system is elegant in its simplicity; the
more we fly, the more fuel we burn,
the more we pay in taxes. There can
be no more accurate measure of our
direct use of the national airspace system. Well said, Doug! If you havent
been watching the development of
the GA caucuses in the 111th Congress, you should be aware that the
House and the Senate caucuses have
both experienced massive membership growth in recent months. These
caucuses in the House and the Senate
already have shown to have had a
positive impact on GA, particularly
in the arena of abusive legislation
that has time and again threatened
our way of life. Lets continue to
hope for the best, that these caucuses
will continue to thrive and impact
GA with positive outcomes. If your
local representative has yet to join

one of these caucuses, please be sure


to encourage him or her to take an
active role in GA and join up.
Now for the bad news! It seems
as though that pesky little rodent in
Pennsylvania has once again seen his
shadow, thereby assuring us of an additional six weeks of winter weather.
Oh, the joys of living in the great Midwest or, this year, in the mid-Atlantic
and Northeast. They no more turned
Phil loose in Punxsutawney, and it
started snowing around here nearly
every day since. I think we have gotten
9 inches since this shadowy event, and
its snowing now and not predicted
to stop for two more days. Somebody
out there in the great state of Pennsylvania, please hunt this useless wannabe guinea pig down and concrete
his hole shut! Oh well, by the time you
read this months column, we will be
within just a few weeks of April and
hopefully experiencing some higher
temperatures and a little sunshine.
Heres hoping you have an earlier
spring than I do. Since the groundhog
has given us all an extra bit of time to
bone up on our flying knowledge, seek
out some of the online aviation information; theres bound to be something you dont remember!
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010 is
coming together. The Vintage type
club parking area will feature a large
number of Cessna 170s along with
the venerable Stinson aircraft this
year. Another featured aircraft at Oshkosh 2010 will be the old-time workhorse, the Douglas DC-3. This year
marks the 75th anniversary of this
awesome machine. EAA, VAA, and
the Warbirds of America will be host-

ing virtually dozens of these amazing


aircraft. Nowhere else in this world
will you ever be able to see so many
DC-3s in one place at the same time.
This effort is sure to be a gate-buster at
this years event.
July 28, 1935, was the day of the
first flight of the famous Boeing B-17
Flying Fortress. EAA has put out the
call to all current operators of these
special aircraft to bring them to AirVenture for this unique anniversary.
Be sure to visit www.AirVenture.org
often to keep up with all the planning
for this years event. You just have to
be at The Worlds Greatest Aviation
Celebration. I hope to see you there!
Be sure to read about our newly
relaunched Vintage Aircraft Association Lifetime Membership opportunity in the VAA News column in this
months issue. This renewed opportunity comes about because of a great
deal of interest from our thousands
of members.
Please consider making a lifetime
commitment to the Vintage Aircraft
Association. The many benefits of a
VAA Lifetime Membership are sure to
complement the many amenities of
your regular benefits. Help us preserve
the vintage aircraft movement by joining us as a VAA member in perpetuity.
VAA is about participation: Be a
member! Be a volunteer! Be there!
Lets all pull in the same direction
for the good of aviation. Remember,
we are better together. Join us and
have it all!

A I R P L A N E
Vol. 38, No. 3

2010

MARCH

CONTENTS
IFC Straight & Level
No user fees and that pesky weather rodent
by Geoff Robison

News

Chapter Locator and Info

Fleet Canuck
Canadas gem from the north
by Budd Davisson

12

My Friend Albert Vollmecke


Part III
by Robert G. Lock

16

Ground Effect
Use manual flaps to hop off sooner
by Irven F. Palmer Jr.

20

Light Plane Heritage


The Bellanca Biplanes
by Jack McRae

25

The Vintage Mechanic


My thoughts on aircraft propellers, Part II
by Robert G. Lock

30

6
STAFF

The Vintage Instructor


Hows your flight proficiency?
by Steve Krog, CFI

32

EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Director/Editor
Production/Special Project
Photography

Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy

36

Vintage Books and Video Reviews

37

Classified Ads

39

What Our Members Are Restoring


Klemm 107C
by Thomas Stute

COVERS

Advertising Coordinator
Classified Ad Coordinator
Copy Editor
Director of Advertising

16

FRONT COVER: Two Fleet Canucks came to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 with their pilots,
Peter Moodie and Joe Leslie. Leslies airplane, this beautifully restored model built in 1953,
only has a bit more than 12,000 hours on it. Moodies airplane, which you can see in the article by Budd Davisson star ting on page 6, had 22,270 hours on the air frame as of the trip to
Oshkosh. EAA photo by Jim Koepnick.
BACK COVER: If you ever wondered what the very first airplane to receive a Department of Commerce, Aeronautics Branch Approved Type Certificate looked like, wonder no more. This is the
very first Buhl-Verville J4 Airster, ATC no. 1. The type certificate was issued with great fanfare on
March 29, 1927, just a couple of months before Lindbergh flew the Atlantic solo. This particular
airplane, the first off the production line, was sold to Henry B. DuPont of Wilmington, Delaware.
This Kalec-Forester photo is part of the George O. Noville Collection of the EAA Library.

Tom Poberezny
Mary Jones
H.G. Frautschy
Kathleen Witman
Jim Koepnick
Bonnie Kratz
Sue Anderson
Lesley Poberezny
Colleen Walsh
Katrina Bradshaw

Display Advertising Representatives:


Specialized Publications Co.
U.S. Eastern Time Zone-Northeast: Ken Ross
609-822-3750 Fax: 609-957-5650
kr40@comcast.net
U.S. Eastern Time Zone-Southeast: Chester Baumgartner
727-532-4640 Fax: 727-532-4630
cbaum111@mindspring.com
U.S. Central Time Zone: Gary Worden and Todd Reese
800-444-9932 Fax: 816-741-6458
gary.worden@spc-mag.com; todd@spc-mag.com
U.S. Mountain and Pacific Time Zones: John Gibson
916-784-9593 Fax: 510-217-3796
johngibson@spc-mag.com
Europe: Willi Tacke
Phone: +49(0)1716980871 Fax: +49(0)8841 / 496012
willi@flying-pages.com

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 1

VAA NEWS
LIFETIME

MEMBER

VAA Lifetime Membership


Now Available
Its been more than 30 years
since the Antique/Classic Division
of EAA (now the Vintage Aircraft
Association) has offered a lifetime
membership option. Over the past
few years a number of committed
members of both VAA and EAA
have asked us to consider reinstating the lifetime membership option. Now, with the EAA lifetime
membership available to all who
wish to show their dedication to
recreational aviation, we can offer
the same opportunity to members
of the Vintage Aircraft Association.
It takes a special individual to make
a lifetime commitment to support the
work we do to help preserve, protect,
and defend the freedom of personal
flight. We feel honored that a number of you have expressed an interest
in showing your dedication by becoming a VAA lifetime member, and
your commitment deserved to be rewarded. By demonstrating your commitment to aviation as a VAA lifetime
member, youll be rewarded with all
the great benefits of individual membership, plus the exclusive benefits
only lifetime members receive:
A personalized VAA lifetime
member card,
Customized and framed VAA
lifetime member certificate,
Official VAA lifetime member
propeller paperweight,
VAA lifetime member pin,
VAA lifetime inside/outside
window decal, and
A listing on the VAA website as
a VAA lifetime member alongside
your fellow VAA lifetime members.
If youd like a VAA lifetime member jacket, it is available for an additional cost of only $50.

2 MARCH 2010

A VAA lifetime member becomes


part of an exclusive group of aviators who have chosen to act as stewards of recreational aviation and the
backbone of EAAs mission to support the passionate pursuit of flight.
VAA lifetime members lead by example through their demonstrated
dedication to aviations future. And
with their help, and yours, VAA can
preserve the unwavering spirit of
more than a century of aviation pioneers, innovators, and heroes.
Beyond a passion for the airplanes of yesteryear and a willingness to show your commitment to
support the work being done by the
VAA, there is just one requirement
for VAA lifetime membership; since
you have to be an EAA member to
be a VAA member, each VAA lifetime member must also be an EAA
lifetime member.
If youre already one of the nearly
1,300 EAAers who are already an
EAA lifetime member, the additional cost of a Vintage Aircraft Association lifetime membership is
only $975. If youre not yet an EAA
lifetime member, to become both an
EAA and VAA lifetime member, the
total cost is $1,950. Various options
are available to pay for a lifetime
membership. For more information,
contact EAA membership services at
800-564-6322.

Time to Replace Your


Paper Pilot Certificate
Pilots who still have not replaced
their paper pilot certificate should
do so immediately or risk being unable to exercise their hard-earned
privileges in the not-too-distant future. All paper airman certificates
will expire after March 31, 2010.
FAR 61.19(h) reads: Except for a
temporary certificate issued under
61.17 or a student pilot certificate issued under paragraph (b) of
this section, the holder of a paper
pilot certificate issued under this
part may not exercise the privileges

of that certificate after March 31,


2010.
To have your certificate replaced,
you can visit this website: www.FAA.gov/
licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/
certificate_replacement.
Or, you can mail in your request to:
Federal Aviation Administration
Airmen Certification Branch,
AFS-760
P.O. Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125-0082
Enclose a check for $2 for each
certificate you need replaced.
A few items to note:
The FAA says to allow four to six
weeks for mail processing and seven
to 10 days for online processing.
It will issue only one copy of
each certificate.
It cannot place the original date
of issue on a replacement certificate.
It will not issue expired certificates. However, you can request an
expired CFI letter at no charge.
If your current address is listed
as a post officebox (P.O. box), general delivery, rural route, or star
route, please provide directions or
a map for locating your residence.
Finally, one more thing to mentiondont send your paper certificate in when you mail in your
request! Keep it in your possession.
The FAA does not require you to send
it in, and doing so may confuse the
FAA into thinking youre surrendering your certificate, something that
you really dont want to do.

Type Club/FAA Meeting


During EAA AirVenture
In an effort to add to the ways
the type clubs can communicate in
an efficient manner with the FAAs
Small Airplane Directorate, the VAA
will again facilitate a series of meetings between clubs who ask for a
meeting with the FAA during AirVenture. To be clear, we dont control the agenda, nor does the FAA
limit its contact with type clubs to

only this time of year; on the contrary, when issues come up from
time to time, the FAA is most interested in obtaining feedback from the
clubs. Often, this feedback is done
through the airworthiness concern
sheet (ACS) system when a maintenance-related issue is highlighted.
The Small Airplane Directorate responds to the publics concerns throughout the year and in
as timely a way as possible, notes
John Colomy, manager of the Small
Airplane Directorates Standards Office. Our job during AirVenture is
to provide a convenient place for
the FAA to meet with any type clubs
that would like to meet face-to-face.
We ask that any issues the type
clubs may have with the FAA be
sent via e-mail or letter to VAA
headquarters by April 30. During
the first part of May we will compile the issues in a list and forward
them to Kim Smith, the manager of
the FAAs Small Airplane Directorate in Kansas City.
Kim and her staff will then directly contact the clubs, working to
address the issues during the first
part of the summer and, if need be,
meet with the individual clubs during AirVenture.
After AirVenture, the Small Airplane Directorate will report back
to EAA regarding the issues brought
forward and their disposition.
We ask that only the head of each
type club send a letter; if youre a
member of a type club and you feel
the club should address a specific
problem, please contact the club directly and ask that the issue be added
to the clubs list of concerns. Club
presidents or their designated representatives should send their letter to:
Vintage Aircraft Association
Attn: Type Club Issues
P.O. Box 3086
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086
Or you can e-mail your letter to
vintageaircraft@eaa.org. Only those issues brought forth in writing will be
added to the list, and again, please
ensure your message is submitted by
April 30, 2010.

Short Wing Piper Club


Also, we have a change for the
listing of the Short Wing Piper Club:
Short Wing Piper Club Inc.
Eleanor Mills
2865 S. Ingram Mill, Unit D-202
Springfield, MO 65804
417-883-1457
E-mail: membership@shortwing.org
Website: www.ShortWing.org
Dues: $40/yr. U.S. & Canada;
$50 Intl
Newsletter: Short Wing Piper News,
Bimonthly

International Stinson Club


Please change your listing for
the International Stinson Club;
the individual in the previous list
published in Vintage Airplane is no
longer associated with the club.
Heres the correct information:
International Stinson Club
Logan Boles
210 Blackfield Dr.
Tiburon, CA 94920
415-383-3262
E-mail: loganboles@gmail.com
Website: www.StinsonClub.org
Dues: $30/yr.
Newsletter: Monthly

Nelsons Comanche Windshield

EAA Calendar of Aviation Events Is Now Online


EAAs online Calendar of Events is the go-to spot on
the Web to list and find aviation events in your area. The
user-friendly, searchable format makes it the perfect webbased tool for planning your local trips to a fly-in.
In EAAs online Calendar of Events, you can search
for events at any given time within a certain radius of any
airport by entering the identifier or a ZIP code, and you
can further define your search to look for just the types of
events youd like to attend.
We invite you to access the EAA online Calendar of
Events at http://www.eaa.org/calendar/

Upcom ing M ajor F l y - I ns


AERO Friedrichshafen
Messe Friedrichshafen
Friedrichshafen, Germany
April 8-11, 2010
www.AERO-Friedrichshafen.com/html/en
Sun n Fun Fly-In
Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL)
Lakeland, Florida
April 13-18, 2010
www.Sun-N-Fun.org
Virginia Regional Festival of Flight
Suffolk Executive Airport (SFQ)
Suffolk, Virginia
May 22-23, 2010
www.VirginiaFlyIn.org
Golden West Regional Fly-In and Air Show
Yuba County Airport (MYV)
Marysville, California
June 11-13, 2010
www.GoldenWestFlyIn.org
Arlington Fly-In
Arlington Municipal Airport (AWO)
Arlington, Washington
July 7-11, 2010
www.ArlingtonFlyIn.org

Jim Nelson, owner of the


beautiful Piper PA-24 Comanche featured in our January issue,
dropped us a note to correct the
dimensional thickness of the new
windshield installed by WEBCO.
The actual thickness is 1/4-inch,
not 1/2-inch as written.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh


Wittman Regional Airport (OSH)
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
July 26-August 1, 2010
www.AirVenture.org

Possible Assembly Glitch with


February Magazine

Mid-Eastern Regional Fly-In


Grimes Field Airport (I74), Urbana, Ohio
September 11-12, 2010
www.MERFI.info

If your copy of Februarys issue of Vintage Airplane wasnt assembled correctly, wed like to
hear from you so we can send you
a correctly constructed copy! A
very limited number of that issue
were incorrectly assembled at our
printers plant. Drop us a note at
vintageaircraft@eaa.org or via regular mail at VAA, PO Box 3086,
Oshkosh WI 54903 and well get
a new, correct copy to you as soon
as we can.

Colorado Sport International Air Show and Rocky


Mountain Regional Fly-In
Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC)
Denver, Colorado
August 28-29 2010
www.COSportAviation.org

Copperstate Fly-In
Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ)
Casa Grande, Arizona
October 21-23, 2010
www.COPPERSTATE.org
Southeast Regional Fly-In
Middleton Field Airport (GZH)
Evergreen, Alabama
October 22-24, 2010
www.SERFI.org
For details on hundreds of upcoming aviation happenings,
including EAA chapter fly-ins, Young Eagles rallies, and other
local aviation events, visit the EAA Calendar of Events located
at www.eaa.org/calendar.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 3

JOHN OSTMEYER

Chapter Locator
and info

Visit the VAA


chapter nearest
you and get to
know some great
vintage-airplane
enthusiasts!
You dont need to
be a pilot to join
in the fun, just have
a love of the
great airplanes
of yesteryear.

CALIFORNIA
Hayward, CA, VAA 29
Meeting: 2nd Thurs., 6:00 p.m.
Hayward Executive Airport Hangar (HWD)
William Field, President
Phone: 925-463-0589
E-mail: wfield49@aol.com
CALIFORNIA
Sacramento, CA, VAA 25
Meeting: 2nd Sat., 9:00 a.m.
See chapter website for location.
Jim Jordan, President
Phone: 916-983-0865
E-mail: jimsfcu@ix.netcom.com
Website: www.Vin25.org
CAROLINAS, VIRGINIA
Walnut Cove, NC, VAA 3
Meeting: Contact President
Susan Dusenbury, President
Phone: 336-591-3931
E-mail: sr6sue@aol.com
Website: www.VAA3.org
May 7-9: Spring Fly-In, Roxboro, NC
FLORIDA
Lakeland, FL, VAA 1
Meeting: Contact President
Jon Baker, President
Phone: 863-676-0426
E-mail: airmanj5@wmconnect.com
Website: http://FSAACA.com
ILLINOIS
Lansing, IL, VAA 26
Meeting: Contact President
Peter Bayer, President
Phone: 630-922-3387
E-mail: c180bayer@comcast.net

4 MARCH 2010

INDIANA
Auburn, IN, VAA 37
Meeting: 4th Thurs., 7:00 p.m.
Auburn Airport Chapter Hangar
Drew Hoffman, President
Phone: 260-693-9747
E-mail: drewhoffman@vaa37.org
Website: www.VAA37.org

KANSAS
Overland Park, KS, VAA 16
Meeting: 2nd Fri., 7:30 p.m.
New Century Airport, CAG Hangar
Kevin Pratt, President
Phone: 816-985-3248
E-mail: kpratt@vaa16.com
Website: www.VAA16.com
June 25-26: Annual Greater Kansas
City Area Vintage Fly-in at Gardner
Municipal (K34). See web for details.
Come and enjoy!

LOUISIANA
New Iberia, LA, VAA 30
Meeting: 1st Sun., 9:00 a.m.
LeMaire Memorial Airport Hangar 4 (2R1)
Roland Denison, President
Phone: 337-365-3047
E-mail: vaa30@cox.net

MINNESOTA
Albert Lea, MN, VAA 13
Meeting: 2nd Thurs., 7:00 p.m.
Albert Lea Airport FBO (AEL)
Paul Stieler, President
Phone: 507-377-2291
E-mail: pstieler@smig.net

NEBRASKA
Plattsmouth, NE, VAA 31
Meeting: 1st Sat., 10:30 a.m.
Plattsmouth Airport Term Bldg.
William Kroeger, President
Phone: 402-331-3887
E-mail: pilotwill@cox.net

Fall Fly-In at Camden, South Carolina, L-R: Harry Ballances Stearman, Todd
Givens Stearman, Ron Normarks Super Cub and Chet Phillips Fairchild 24.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
North Hampton, NH, VAA 15
Meeting: 2nd Sat., 11:00 a.m.
Hampton Airfield (7B3)
Eric Obssuth, President
Phone: 603-479-5832
E-mail: sandhillaviation@att.net

OKLAHOMA
Tulsa, OK, VAA 10
Meeting: 4th Thurs., 7:00 PM
Hardesty South Regional Library
Joe Champagne, President
Phone: 918-257-4688
Email: skypal@groveemail.com

NEW JERSEY
Andover, NJ, VAA 7
Meeting: 1st Sun, 10:30 a.m.
Aeroflex Andover Airport (12N)
Joe Tapp, President
Phone: 908-872-3821
E-mail: joetapp@comcast.net

TEXAS
Spring, TX, VAA 2
Meeting: 4th Sun., 2:00 PM
David Wayne Hooks Airport (KDWH)
Fred Ramin, President
Phone: 281-444-5309
Email: fredramin@sbcglobal.net

OHIO
Columbus, OH, VAA 38
Meeting: 2nd Sunday, 1 p.m.
Contact president for location.
Perry Chappano, President
Phone: 614-496-3423
E-mail: polestar@ameritech.net

WISCONSIN
Brookfield, WI, VAA 11
Meeting: 1st Mon., 7:30 PM
Capitol Drive Airport Office (O2C)
James Brown, President
Phone: 262-895-6282
Email: jb1910@wi.rr.com

OHIO
Delaware, OH, VAA 27
Meeting: 3rd Sat., 9:00 a.m.
Delaware Municipal Airport (DLZ) Terminal Building
Martin McIntire, President
Phone: 740-362-7228
E-mail: wjmcintire@cs.com
Website: www.EAAdlz.org
May 15: 8-10 AM: Fly-In Pancake Breakfast
June 19: 8-10 AM: Fly-In Pancake Breakfast

Buddy Wehman describes the starter on his Fleet 16 at the


Camden 2009 Fly-In.

OHIO
Troy, OH, VAA 36
Meeting: Contact President
Richard Amrhein, President
Phone: 937-335-1444
Email: dickandpatti@aol.com

Want to Start a VAA Chapter?


Its easy to start a VAA chapter. All you need to get started is five Vintage enthusiasts.
Then contact the EAA Chapter Office at 920-426-6867, or e-mail chapters@eaa.org to
obtain an EAA Chapter Starter Kit. EAA has tools to help you get in touch with all your
local Vintage members, and will guide you through the process of starting a chapter.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 5

Fleet

Canuck!

Now theres a term with

wide-ranging applications and meaning. For example, its one of the many phrases our friends north of the
border use to describe themselves. For another, it can be a hockey team. Or a Canadian cartoon character
(Johnny Canuck). It can also be an airplane. Three actually: the World War I Curtiss JN-4 Canuck (Jenny, south
of the border); the native-designed and -built jet fighter, the CF-100 Canuck; and lastly, the Fleet Canuck. Except the Fleet Canuck isnt just an airplane. This postwar classic is closer to being an icon. Or a legend. To hardcore Canadians, its more than simply a flying machine. And with 22,270 hours in its logbook, CF-EOH is more
than just a Canuck. Its a flying witness to the Canadian character: tough, resilient, adaptable, and ready to do
whatever needs doing. Its a Canuck and then some.

Canadas gem from the north


by Budd Davisson

6 MARCH 2010

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 7

The Fleet Canuck has a distinctive narrow-waisted look to the aft fuselage. Thats
accentuated by the rather wide cabin that can accommodate two people in full
winter dress.

The Fleet Canuck is powered by a fuelinjected Continental C-85, and it uses


bungees tucked up in the bottom of
the fuselage to absorb landing loads.

CF-EAU has only 12,000 hours on it, most of it accumulated during flight
training. Now with a prize-winning restoration and a very capable instrument
panel, its retired to a life of leisure with Joe Leslie at the controls.

Peter Moodie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is typical of Canuck owners


in that he is driven to make certain
everyone knows of Canadas own
Fleet Canuck. Being a Canuck, hes
proud of his Canuck. Even though
its a little worn around the edges
(22,270 hours will do that to an
airplane), he has every right to be
proud of his airplane in that it is
one of the roughly 60 survivors of
the 225 built, and in its lifetime, it
has produced literally hundreds of
pilots. (Editors Note: That last statistic is interesting; if you look at the
production/registration records of airplanes built in the United States, youll

8 MARCH 2010

usually find that about half of the


classic airplanes built after World War
II are still on the registration rolls. The
Canuck is a tough, useful airplane, but
the rigors of flight training, and of flying in the bush in Canada, have taken
their toll. Only a quarter of those built
still survive.HGF)
Joe Leslie, from Abbotsford,
British Columbia, is proud of his
Canuck, too. CF-EAU is totally restored, a spit-and-polish trophy
winner, and sitting next to Joes
airplane, it makes spectators that
much more aware of the toll time
has taken on Peters. But that is to
be expected because Joes Canuck

Joe Leslie and his simple fuel gauge familiar to most pilots, a wire on a cork.

has only a little more than 12,000


hours on it. Most of it in flight training like Peters. Thats right, the two
airplanes sitting side by side in the
Vintage area at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 had a total of more than

CF-EOH is well-loved, having accumulated 22,270 hours on the airframe! Its


owned and flown by Peter Moodie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who brought it to EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh along with his pal Joe Leslie, of Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Hey, if you had 22,270 hours on your


airframe, your rudder pedals would be
a bit worn, too!

34,000 hours between them! 34,000


hours! Thats nearly four years aloft.
Airplanes dont live that long or
work that hard unless they are A)
good at what they do and B) hell for

Peter Moodie with his nice new set of Millennium cylinders that help keep CFEOH purring along.

stout. And the Fleet Canuck is both.


Another interesting aspect to
the Canuck is that it is essentially a
homebuilt airplane that was eventually put into production. The original design was laid down by J.O.
Bob Noury of Ottawa in 19411942. He had thoughts about putting it into production and got it
certified, but then the unpleasantness in Europe intervened, and he
put his flying prototype away until
the war was starting to wind down.
Fleet Aircraft, based in Fort Erie, Ontario (just across the river from Buffalo, New York), was at that time
looking ahead at what it knew was
going to be a challenging future. It
had built itself into a sizable airframe
manufacturing company during the
war, and the cessation of hostilities
meant it was going to be out of work
unless it found something to build.
Enter the Noury N-75.
Recognizing it was less expensive
to rework an existing design than
do one from scratch, Fleet Aircraft
bought the prototype and design
rights, modified it slightly (bigger

Even without the added distortion of a


wide-angle lens, you can see how nice
and wide the cabin of a Canuck is at
shoulder level. Like the Luscombe Silvaire series, the Fleet Canuck is different than many side-by-side airplanes in
having stick controls.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 9

vertical fin, lowered thrust line),


and rushed it into production powered by a fuel-injected Continental C-85-12F 85-hp. The company
didnt want to miss out on the huge
market that was sure to be represented by the tens of thousands of
returning GI pilots, all of whom
were going to want an airplane in
their garage. Only it didnt work
out that way.
Fleet was far from being the
only airframe manufacturer to be
fooled, and the huge population
of aircraft built in 1946-1947 (well
more than 30,000) still make up a
sizable proportion of todays small
aircraft population. Fleet built 198
airplanes before shutting down.
The inventory was sold to Leavens
Brothers, which assembled another
25 airplanes as late as 1958.
Peter says, My airplane was one
of those assembled by Leavens Brothers in 1953. Mine went to Central
Airways flight school in 1953, where
it stayed until sometime in the mid60s. Then it went to the Edmonton
Flying Club. I bought her in 1986,
and she is now semi-retired.
The Canucks really formed the
backbone for the Canadian postwar flight training. Although that
role has pretty much been taken
over by Cessnas and such, many of
those who made it to the left seats
of Canadian airliners got their start
in Canucks. I know of at least 30 Air
Canada pilots alone who flew my
airplane. And, if I know that many
on just my airplane, how many were
trained on all the others? It has to
be thousands. Although something
like 30 Canucks were exported, most
of them became trainers and stayed
that way for several generations.
The airplane is ideal for a
trainer because its very benign and
rugged. It can take a terrific beating
and keep on flying. The fact that
mine has so many hours on it is
testament to that fact. In 1971 the
Edmonton Flying Club installed a
Continental O-200 in -EOH. On the
13th flight of the test program the
instructor, after a very short ground
roll and steep climb-out, stalled at

10 MARCH 2010

The trim system uses this handle and Teleflex cable.


around 100 feet. He did manage to
keep it straight all the way to the
ground. The impact collapsed the
gear, and there was enough damage
to declare the aircraft a write-off.
That he survived and the airplane
was rebuilt says something about
its overall rugged construction.
Joes airplane also shows how
tough it can be because it survived a
mid-air collision. Its in the logbook,
and you can see where they spliced
the main spar carry-through tube.
A casual walk around the airplane reveals several unique features
about it. For instance, although the
airplane is traditional rag-and-tube
construction, the ailerons are metalskinned, and the hinges on the ailerons are external to the wing and
on the top, rather than the bottom.
Also, theres a fairly sophisticated
piece of tooling evident in that there
is a bead stamped in the aileron surface that goes forward and over the
aileron nose, making the bead into
a compound curve. So the ailerons
were made in stamping dies: pretty
sophisticated stuff for what is essentially a puddle jumper.
Of course, Peter says, the airplane is a little on the heavy side
for what it is. Mine is 1,035 pounds
empty, and the factory specs say it
should be a little over 900 pounds,
which none of them are. Gross
weight is 1,480 pounds and 1,524
on floats. Plus its no Super Cub.
The airfoil is a NACA 23012, which
is a fairly high-performance airfoil
not known for low-speed lifting

like the Cubs flat-bottom wing. So,


it doesnt leap off the ground.
When Joe got his airplane, it
was pretty rough, and he got to
deal with the fact that the airplane
wasnt produced in large numbers,
so some of the parts are hard to find.
The lift struts, for instance, arent
regular streamlined tubing. They are
something Fleet had made specifically for the Canuck, so, if you need
a strut, you have no choice but to
find an actual Canuck strut.
The same thing goes for the
trim system. It uses a crank, which
is impossible to find, but Joe found
one. Most Canucks have gone to
a Teleflex helix-wound push-pull
cable, which was done on my airplane, too, but the cable is also
hard to find and costs $45 a foot.
As it happens, I found a long, long
piece in a surplus store that was
made for the Noorduyn Norseman,
and I got the entire thing, enough
to do three airplanes, for $50.
And then there are the bungees,
Peter says and frowns. They are also
unique to the Canuck, so you have
to plan well ahead, when replacing
them, because they are always special order. The same thing applies to
the windshields. The molds exist, but
they are in a cottage-industry environment, so you cant just order one
expecting it to be on the shelf.
When Joe was rebuilding his
airplane, he was lucky that his
wings were pretty good. The spars
use an extruded spar cap that is no
longer available, so if you need to

them. You just pull the wheels, and


the axles slide into sockets on top the
floats. Theres not even a spreader
bar in front. Only in the rear.
The skis are just as useful and
unique. The entire tire sits on top
the ski in a pocket-like arrangement and is strapped down to the
ski. There are some Federals licensed for the Canuck, but they attach like all other skis do, so they
arent as convenient.
The airplane is really a great airplane to fly. For one thing, its 40
inches wide, which, for its time is
quite wide, so both of you can wear
heavy coats and not be jammed in,
although the heater does a fairly
reasonable job of keeping the cabin

. . . the two
airplanes sitting
side by side in the
Vintage area at
EAA AirVenture
2009 had a total
of more than
34,000 hours
between them!

The Canuck and Its Contemporaries Compared


Fleet 80 Aeronca
Cessna
Canuck 7AC Champion 140

Luscombe
8E Silvaire

Engine (Continental) 85 hp

65 hp

85 hp

85 hp

Cruise mph

100

90

101

95

Initial climb, fpm

550

370

620

640

Service ceiling, ft.

12,000

12,500

15,100

15,500

Takeoff over 50 ft.

800

632

1,950

1,850

Landing over 50 ft. 600

885

1,530

1,540

Gross weight, lbs.

1,480

1,220

1,500

1,400

Empty weight, lbs.

858

740

818

791

Fuel, U.S. gal.

19

14

21

30

Wingspan

34 ft.

35 ft.

33 ft. 3 in. 34 ft. 7 in

Source: Aircraft Blue Book Price Digest, except for the Fleet Canuck figures, which are from Canadian Aircraft Since 1909 by K.M. Molso and H.A.
Taylor. Landing and takeoff distances for the Canuck are from an old copy
of Canadian Aviation.
totally rebuild a spar, it can get very
difficult. The ribs are punched aluminum and can be repaired, but
the spars can be a problem.
Having been an airframe manufacturer during the war, Fleet did
a number of things on the Canuck
you wouldnt expect for a little airplane, and it shows the airplane was
designed for operations up here in
Canada. The Fleet-designed floats,
for instance, dont require you to
remove the landing gear to mount

warm. It is, however, quite noisy,


reportedly 115 decibels, which is
well above the level that hearing
damage can occur, so earplugs or a
headset is mandatory.
The controls are really well balanced, with the ailerons being a little like a Cub, only it rolls faster.
And, as youd expect, it has a lot of
adverse yaw, so you really need to
use your feet.
With its powerful rudder and ailerons, it slips like a stone, which is

huge fun, but you have to be careful slipping to the right with skis
and maintain 75 mph indicated
airspeed because the airspeed reading is not correct in that attitude.
Because of the positive controls
and its wide gear, it is also terrific
in a crosswind. I know people who
would go out and play in 20-knot
direct crosswinds just for the fun of
it. One thing that you dont expect,
when you first start flying it, is that
it floats quite a bit on landing, so
you cant come in fast. Thats one
of the effects of the 23012 airfoil: It
doesnt build up drag very quickly
when you try to slow it down in
ground effect.
It is stressed for aerobatics, and
when it was being used extensively
for training, it was common for
schools to be teaching loops and
rolls in it. And of course spins. Its
really a fun spinning airplane, and
many students made six-turn spins
part of every solo flight.
You can generally flight plan
95-100 mph, which, at less than 5
gallons per hour and a 19-gallon
fuel tank, means you can fly pretty
long legs. The airplane is very stable, so on cross-countries you can
relax and pretty much let go of it.
Joes airplane is a beautiful example of the breed, and mine definitely isnt. Truthfully, I sort of like
it that way because I dont have to
worry about it. I just enjoy it. The
last time it was re-covered was after
it crashed in 71. They used Razorback, so its still in pretty good condition. It was repainted in 1980,
and I have changed the struts,
some of the windows, and redone
the seats with temper foam. I also
majored the engine and installed a
UBG-16 bar graph engine analyzer
and new radios. Other than that,
it has just been flown. I know that
sooner or later Im going to have to
strip it down, but Im putting it off
as long as possible because as soon
as I restore it, all of the patina that
comes from so many years in the
air will be gone. I think it has character this way, and Ill keep it that
way as long as possible.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 11

My Friend

Albert Vollmecke
Part III
BY

l b e r t Vo l l m e c k e
rose quickly up the
ranks of the Bureau
of Aeronautics and
the Civil Aeronautics Authority, which began in 1938.
Commercial and civilian aviation
had grown rapidly, but World War
II was approaching and there was
a huge increase in the number of
small airplanes manufactured beginning in 1938. Charles Taylor
remembered, Vollmecke went to
Washington to join the staff of the
Civil Aeronautics Administration
the CAAnow the Federal Aviation
Administrationthe FAA. There his
genius in aircraft design and resultant performance soon led to im-

12 MARCH 2010

ROBERT G. LOCK

portant assignments within that


governing body. In 1942 he was
appointed chief of the Aircraft Engineering Division. He also served
as senior member of the Air ForceNavy-Civil Aircraft Design Criteria
Committee. In October 1944 he was
designated by the Department of
State as technical expert on the U.S.
delegation to the International Civil
Aviation Conference of more than
50 nations meeting in Chicago.
During World War II as the CAA/
FAA representative between civilian and military agencies, he was
highly influential in standardizing
design, testing, and analysis of new
and modified aircraft, which resulted in faster and more economic

production of more efficient and effective aircraft.


Near the end of World War II,
Howard Hughes was designing
a large wooden seaplane of enormous dimensions. It would be built
entirely of wood and would have a
wingspan of 320 feet when fully assembled. Vollmecke was appointed
as a consultant/representative for
the government to consult with
Hughes on his design work. He had
several stories about meetings with
the flamboyant Howard Hughes
that were fascinating.
Vollmecke would fly from Washington, D.C., to the Los Angeles
airport, to be met by a black limousine that would take him to

GLENN ODEKIRK COLLECTION

the Culver City plant of Hughes,


where the H-4 Hercules was being
constructed. The limousine driver
would enter the Hughes compound
and park. Then they would just
wait. Vollmecke asked the driver
what they were waiting for, and the
driver replied, For a signal from
Mr. Hughes. After a long wait, a
figure would appear from out of a
large hangar, dressed in a dark pair
of slacks with a wrinkled white
shirt with sleeves rolled up and
wearing a hat. After he waived his
arms, the driver started the limousine and they drove to the hangar
door. Hughes was waiting for Vollmecke and proudly showed progress on his gigantic airplane.
During one visit Hughes loaded
Vollmecke aboard his cabin Waco biplane and flew to Baker Lake, where
Hughes had a hangar and a Sikorsky S-43 seaplane. He was practicing
his flying skills in a large seaplane in
preparation for flying the H-4. Vollmecke remembered, I got into the
right seat, a company pilot occupied
the left seat, and Mr. Hughes was in
the back seat reading a newspaper.
We flew in his Vaco (thats the way
Vollmecke pronounced Waco) to
Baker Lake, which was out on the
Mojave Desert on the way to Las Vegas. There we inspected his Sikorsky seaplane, but he didnt fly it. We
returned to Culver City, and I flew
back to D.C.
Vollmecke made several visits to

Figure 1. The spar of the Hughes H-4 Hercules.


the Hughes facility, but on his initial
visit he asked Hughes if his people
had done any structural testing to
assure the design and construction
was safe. No person had ever constructed an aircraft as large as the
H-4, particularly out of wood. The
answer was a negative, that all design data compiled was analytical in
nature and that no structural testing was needed. Vollmecke said this
was unacceptable to him and the
government, who would ultimately
either pay for the aircraft or cancel
the project. He convinced Hughes
that they should build a sample of
the horizontal stabilizer spar and test
it to destruction. Hughes reluctantly

agreed, and Vollmecke flew back to


Washington, D.C.
On the Vollmeckes ensuing visit
the spar sample was ready, and the
Hughes people had it prepared to test
until it failed. Unfortunately, the spar
failed at only 50 percent of the design load! Seeing this Vollmecke indicated they would have to redesign
the spar and retest. What the Hughes
people did was glue birch veneer
doublers on each side of the spar,
then retest. On the second attempt
the spar failed at about 75 percent of
the design load. Hughes refused to
go any further, and that was the end
of the tests. Vollmecke always maintained he knew why Hughes flew the

The H-4s horizontal tail is mounted within the vertical stabilizers structure. Albert Vollmeckes
engineering expertise told him that the H-4 was underdesigned as far as strength was concerned.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 13

Airworthiness maintenance inspection note on the


Command-Aire. After realizing one was needed on
the airplanes he had designed earlier in his career
before joining the government, as chief of the
Aircraft Engineering Division, Vollmecke wrote and
issued the CAA document!

airplane only once. The wing spars


were designed and built exactly as
the horizontal stabilizer spar, only
larger in dimensions. Mr. Hughes
knew if the aircraft was airborne and
hit a gust, the wing spars may fail!
Figure 1 is a photo from the Glenn
Odekirk collection showing the massive wing under construction in
Hughes Culver City plant. Clearly
visible is the wing rear spar and trailing edge ribs under fabrication. The
birch veneer spar web can be seen
with a 45-degree grain direction.
Vollmecke did indicate that the
Hughes people glued birch veneer
plates on both sides of the horizontal stabilizer spar before it was
skinned, which added weight to the

14 MARCH 2010

November 1983, the remaining officials of Command-Aire Inc.,


Charles Taylor (l) and Albert Vollmecke. This last photo of Taylor,
former V.P. of Command-Aire Inc., and Vollmecke, former chief
designer for the company, was taken in Little Rock, Arkansas,
after Alberts induction into the Hall of Fame in 1983. Behind
them is 1929 Command-Aire 5C3, NC925E, which is presently
on display at the Little Rock Airport in the Omnimax Theater.

structure. The horizontal stabilizer


was not mounted directly to the fuselage structure, but to the vertical
stabilizer, which was not strengthened. So, from Vollmeckes point of
view, the aircraft was structurally underdesigned and totally unsafe. The
photo on page 13 is my photograph
of the H-4 just after it emerged from
its hangar in Long Beach, California;
you can see how the horizontal stabilizer is mounted to the vertical stabilizer, and not directly to fuselage.
The giant Hughes H-4 flew only
once, about 1 mile at a height of only
60 feet. But it did fly, and Hughes became embroiled in a fight with Congress to regain the approximately $18
million he invested in the aircraft. He

lost! The H-4 was stored in a climatecontrolled hangar in San Pedro until
October 30, 1980, when the aircraft
was removed and the hangar disassembled. The photograph on page
13 was taken as the aircraft floated
majestically in the bay near its former hangar. It was the first time the
aircraft had seen sunlight since being
placed in the new hangar, which was
completed in 1948.
Charles Taylor remembered, Albert
was a consultant in the cancellation
of the government contract with the
Howard Hughes organization to build
a number of huge wooden flying boats
for the war in the Pacific. You will remember this as the Spruce Goose (a
term Hughes hated, since it was con-

Vollmecke with his son


Albert Jr. and his wife,
Jan, at Vollmeckes
townhouse in Silver
Spring, Maryland,
January 1986. Albert Jr.
had just brought a copy
of his fathers drawings
of the Little Rocket
racer, the only drawings
that survived Vollmeckes
days at Command-Aire.
When Vollmecke walked
out the front door of the
Command-Aire factory
building on East 17th St.
for the last time, he put
all his drawings in the
safe, turned off the lights, put his neatly rolled Little Rocket drawings under his arm,
and locked the door. The company ceased to exist in 1931. Below, a fuzzy copy of the
title block of drawing number 5680 compiled by Albert Vollmecke for the Little Rocket
racer. This particular drawing was of the Wheel with shock absorber, a unique
invention credited to Albert. It was drawn to full scale on June 2-3, 1930.

structed mostly of birch veneer). So


ends the saga of Vollmecke, Hughes,
and the Spruce Goose.
As Vollmecke rose through the
ranks of the CAA he became chief of
the Aircraft Engineering Division in
1942, succeeding Marion F. Crews.
In the name of safety, airworthiness
maintenance bulletins and airworthiness maintenance inspection notes
were issued from this office. Document
on page 14 shows a November 6, 1942,
airworthiness maintenance inspection
note signed by Albert A. Vollmecke
on his own aircraft designs when he
worked for Command-Aire Inc. Safety
was the top priority in all Vollmecke
designs, and this virtue continued
throughout his government career.
Vollmecke had a magnificent career in the FAA, retiring in 1965. In
a letter to me dated December 5,
1978, Vollmecke stated, By the way,
I retired from the FAA 12 years ago.
I was at that time the chief of the
Airframe and Equipment Branch. As
you can see, I know my way around
the FAA.
Vollmecke was indeed an American treasure transplanted from

Germany. He was brilliant and a


genius in aeronautical design. He
served this country honorably and
provided great leadership during
the early days of aviation, into the
1960s, and beyond.
I was privileged to have met and
gotten to know Mr. Vollmecke. As is
often said of those who precede us,
there will never be another like him.
Vollmecke was inducted into the
Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame on November 11, 1983. At the Vollmecke table that evening were Albert Vollmecke
Jr., Jan Vollmecke, Eric Vollmecke, Kirk
Vollmecke, Walter Vollmecke, John
Vollmecke, Joe Araldi, Suzanne Goller
(Araldi), Hoyt McPherson, and me.
The Arkansas Aviation Historical Society was formed as a nonprofit corporation in 1979. Like many state halls of
fame, it has three primary goals. The
first is to preserve the history of aviation in Arkansas at Little Rock through
the oral history and archives program.
The second goal has been achieved
by establishing the Arkansas Aviation
Hall of Fame. The third goal is to establish a major air and space museum
in the Central Arkansas area. Richard

N. Holbert was president of the society


at the time, and Charles M. Taylor was
ex-officio director.
During the presentation of Albert
Vollmecke for induction into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame on November 11, 1983, Mr. Charles Taylor,
former vice president of CommandAire, pretty well summed it up. Albert Vollmecke left Arkansas for the
Civil Aeronautics Administration in
Washington, D.C., in February 1934,
where he remained until his retirement in 1965. I have already outlined
the assignments and responsibilities
he was given in that organization in
recognition of his unusual understanding and practical experience in
aircraft design and production with
particular emphasis on safety and reliability. These assignments in the CAA
thus made the benefits of his unusual
and outstanding qualifications available to the whole civil and military
aircraft industry in the United States.
Vollmecke was a member of the
OX-5 Aviation Pioneers. The April
1980 issue of OX-5 News carried a
tribute to Albert A. Vollmecke, aeronautical engineer, inventor, and
designer. The front-page story was
about him and stated, In 1978 Al
Vollmeckes name went into the
OX-5 Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame,
as one of many tributes to his accomplishments. He is an OX-5er, and a
member of the Q-Bs, and obviously
he holds membership in many aeronautical engineering societies. He
has also received NASAs Certificate
of Appreciation for his outstanding
contributions to aeronautical engineering, particularly for his work in
connection with structural and research programs over the previous 24
years, during which time he served
as a member of NACA and NASA Research and Advisory Committees.
The foregoing accounts for one
of the great aviation engineering
personalities of our time, one who
never sought nor expected notoriety
for his behind-the-scenes expertise,
and one whom we are glad to count
as an associate.
And I must add this most important person was my friend.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 15

Ground Effect
Use manual flaps to hop off sooner
BY IRVEN

owadays nearly all new


and fairly new airplanes
have electric or electronic everything: autopilots, cowl flaps, trim tabs,
spoilers, and wing flaps, to name a
few, all activated by little switches
and electric motors.
But if you fly an older airplane
like I do, many of those items are
manually operated using levers, cables, pulleys, and control wheels.
My airplane is a Cessna 170B. It
rolled out of the Wichita, Kansas,
Cessna factory in 1954 and came
equipped with large Fowler-type
flaps that rotate downward as they
travel backward and down to assume
as much as a 40-degree angle on the
flap tracks. At the 40-degree position,
these flaps allow for a very steep descent into short fields. Newer Cessnas limit flap travel to 30 degrees.
Most folks agree that the company
made the limitation because with 40
degrees of flaps extended, there is essentially no climb capability during a
go-around attempt.
Manually activated flaps such as
the type installed in my airplane are
applied by pulling up on a long lever
that most pilots refer to as a Johnson bar. The use of these Johnson
bar-applied flaps for a short-field
takeoff is the essence of this story.

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
When I moved to Alaska more
than 40 years ago and began flying
to remote locations, very often at offairport locations, I wanted to learn
how to get the best performance
from my airplane. I used to hang out
at local fixed base operators and talk
to the pilots who regularly flew out
in the bush. Id ask for any pointers

16 MARCH 2010

F. PALMER JR.

they could give me on landing and


takeoff techniques in remote areas.
Thats where I learned about using a
time/distance chart to determine the
length of airstrips in the boondocks.
The floatplane and skiplane pilots
also gave me some advice on shortening a takeoff run by using the
flaps to break the water surface tension on the floats or help the wing
pull the skis up through deep snow.
By quickly using 20 degrees of flaps
at just the right moment, you can
use the added lift to your advantage.
I was able to use that technique with
both skis and on wheels.

GROUND EFFECT
As aviators we have probably
all experienced floating upon
landing, which can result in overshooting your landing spot. Under
certain long-landing conditions,
especially at a faster than normal
approach speed, the results can be
disastrous as you run off the runway into all types of obstructions.
This floating is caused by ground
effect. When an airplane is flown at
approximately one wingspan or less
above the surface, the vertical component of airflow is restricted and
modified, and changes occur in the
normal pattern of airflow around the
wing and from the wingtips.
This change alters the direction
of the relative wind in a manner
that produces a lower angle of attack. This means that a wing operating in ground effect with a given
angle of attack will generate less
induced drag than a wing out of
ground effect. Therefore, it is more
efficient. In the takeoff mode this
means the wing is also more efficient in ground effect, and with

the pilots help, this effect can lift


the airplane sooner, thus shortening the takeoff run. The key is using
your flaps at just the right moment.

THE TECHNIQUE
You all know that your pilots operating handbook lists the takeoff and
landing performance using various
flap settings and airspeeds under different elevations and temperatures.
By extending the flaps, wing camber is increased, and the angle of attack of the wing is increased. With
Fowler flaps the wing area is also
increased. This increases wing lift,
but is also increases induced drag.
The important consideration here
for short-field takeoff is to use just
enough flaps (10 or 20 degrees) to
increase lift more than induced drag
and to apply the flaps quickly when
needed. That is where the Johnson
bar flap handle does its job. Electric
flaps are too slow for this purpose.
The technique involves taxiing
your airplane to the very end of
a short-field airstrip and, if possible, facing into the wind. Then the
brakes are set and maximum takeoff power is applied. The brakes are
released, and forward stick pressure
is applied to lift the tail. Then, just
prior to hearing the stall warning
horn start to fully buzz (an audible
indication that the airplane is nearing its stall speed), quickly reach
down and pull in 20 degrees of flaps
using that Johnson bar handle. The
airplane will leap off the ground
and fly in ground effect. Knowing
when to add the flaps using an audible cue is something that must be
learned by experience.
Now here is the tricky part. You
must not try to climb yet! You must

let the airspeed build up to the best


angle of climb (VX) airspeed while
youre in ground effect, before you
start to climb out of ground effect.

WARNING:
Never pull in more than
20 degrees of flaps, as the induced drag will overcome increased lift.
After learning about the quick
application of flaps technique, I
used to practice doing this at my
home base, a gravel bar airstrip in
the river, and at other places out in
the boonies. Id suggest you practice
using a nearby strip of turf, gravel,
or unimproved legal runway!
Depending on the temperature,
surface, and takeoff weight, of
course, it was possible to get off the
ground in one-half to two-thirds of
the normal takeoff distance listed
in the airplanes performance chart.

THE DISAPPEARING BEACH


Fly back in time now to a Fourth
of July three-day weekend in Alaska.
It was a perfect time to go on an offairport camping and fishing trip. My
friend Bill Lyle and I talked about
where to go. We finally decided that
since the king salmon were entering
the many streams along the Alaska
Peninsula that empty into the Bering
Sea, that was to be our destination.
After work on Friday we loaded
on our camping and fishing gear,
food, the survival kit, and two
5-gallon cans of avgas into my
Cessna, filed our flight plan, and
took off. Leaving our home in Anchorage, we flew south and southwest through Lake Clark Pass in
the Alaska Range and landed at the
town of King Salmon to take on
fuel. Taking off we flew south along
the beach to Bear River, an abandoned village on the Bering Sea
coast where Bear River empties into
the sea. We landed on the beach,
and I taxied up the beach to park,
between a couple of large dunes.
We grabbed our fishing gear and
walked the few steps to the river to
try our luck. It wasnt long before

When used with proper technique, the large flaps on the Cessna
170 give the airplane excellent short-field performance.
we both had strikes and reeled in
a couple of nice king salmon. For
an hour we played catch and release. We had used up most of the
evening, so we kept a small jack
salmon, which we cleaned and
roasted on our evening fire. We set
up our little tent and watched a
lone caribou walk along the other
side of the river, watching us, perhaps wondering who or what we
were. He must have wandered away
from the herd. It was a great first
day in the boondocks.
The next day we explored the
village. Bear River used to be a
viable fishing village complete
with a Russian Orthodox Church,
many houses, abandoned shops
and stores, and a school. The
shifting Bear River had changed
its course and eliminated the
small harbor, and the little town
had been abandoned. It was an
antique dealers paradise, with
all sorts of household items lying
about within the buildings.
In addition to the town buildings, we noted that in the tallgrass area of the storm berm there
were many Japanese glass fishing
floats. We gathered up a bunch of
those and loaded them in the airplane. We did a little more catchand-release king fishing, but our
dinner was a treat wed brought
from home: a couple of steaks with
fries. The evening was spent sitting
around the fire, watching the sunset and discussing the days events

and deciding where to go next.


It was a great second day in the
boonies.
The next day Bill wanted to explore further south, so we loaded our
gear, took off, and landed at a couple
more small streams. The first stream
was a bustno fish. But the second
stream was full of kings. In this part
of the Alaska Peninsula there are
large beach dunes, and dune cliffs
break up the beach.
Prior to landing I had slowed to
60 mph and used my stopwatch to
determine the length of the beach,
which according to the time/distance chart was about 900 feet. (Editors Note: If youve never used this
method to estimate the length of a landing area, well explain it in more detail in a follow-up article.HGF) As I
parked the plane near the mouth of
this stream, I noticed that the stream
had cut through a dune and that the
dune contained some pebbles and
cobbles, a probable sign that it was
part of an older river system. I also
noted that at high tide there was no
beach and that the water would be
at the cliff. At the time I made that
observation the beach was about 200
feet wide.
Out came the fishing gear and we
walked upstream around a couple
stream meanders and started catching and releasing king salmon. We
had Vibrax and Pixie and T-spoon
lures, and they hit everything. We
noticed and commented on the increasing clouds and a bit of a breeze

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 17

The Johnson barstyle of manual flap handle is common to the early post-war Cessnas and Piper airplanes.
out of the north. We spent about two
hours at some of the best salmon
fishing Id ever had. The clouds
looked more menacing, so we decided to leave. We caught a couple
nice 30-pounders to take home and
walked to the beach.
Big surprise! Our long, wide beach
had disappeared. We could hardly believe it. The tide in the Bering Sea is
not that great, but the beach here had
a very shallow gradient. That means a
little rise in the water level can cover
a vast amount of beach, and it had.
I quickly paced off the remaining
beach. My pace is about 2.8 feet. I
took 152 steps from one end to the
other. That calculates to 425 feet. I
knew we had burned about 22.4 gallons of fuel in the 230 nautical miles
since leaving King Salmon. That
equals 141 pounds.
Since we were 175 pounds under gross at takeoff at home, we
were now relatively light. We did
not have enough fuel to return to
King Salmon, especially against the
north wind I judged to be about
eight8 to 10 mph. That was why I
had loaded on the extra two 5-gallon cans of avgas. Each one of those
weighed 35 pounds, so we took
those out and wrapped them in a
couple of big green garbage bags
and hid them behind the big dune.
Now we were lighter, but not much,
as the salmon weighed about as
much as those two cans of gasoline.
The beach surface was hard-packed,
with silt and clay from the stream
mixed in with the beach sand and

18 MARCH 2010

At full extension, the flap handle will be up about 45 degrees.


The button on the top releases the locking mechanism.

gravel. The wind was out of the north.


Under these conditions I knew I had
taken off before in a similar distance
by using flaps at just the right time.
We taxied to the south end of
the beach with the tail wheel in the
water. I set the brakes, applied full
power, released the brakes and raised
the tail, and quickly used up all the
425 feet of beach. Just before the
wheels touched the water I reached
down and pulled in 20 degrees of
flaps using that Johnson bar handle.
The plane lifted into the air a few
inches above the water, and we were
flying in ground effect. Remember, the
tricky part is not to attempt to climb
yet. We waited until the airspeed built
up to over 70 mph and slowly retracted the flaps as we flew north. We
flew to Bear Lake where the Bear River
starts and stopped off at the Bear River
Lodge, operated by Don Johnson, a
well-known Alaskan guide who Bill
and I both know. Don gave us enough
gasoline to get us to King Salmon. We
decided wed had enough fun on this
trip and flew home.

WORDS OF CAUTION
You must keep in mind the factors affecting your airplanes performance. Cooler temperatures
mean better engine and wing performance, so plan your takeoffs in
the early morning or late evening,
when the temperatures are cooler.
Also, both takeoff and landing distances are reduced approximately
10 percent for every six6 mph of
wind velocity, so take off into the

wind. Your airplane performance


may be different.
A long time ago in ground school
you probably learned about the
left-turning tendency of Americanmanufactured airplanes. The forces
that produce these tendencies are
the reactive force, spiraling slipstream, gyroscopic precession, and
P-factor. All of these cause the plane
to want to turn left when takeoff power is applied. Lots of right
rudder is often needed. So if you
are taking off from a sloping river
gravel bar or an ocean beach with
a steep gradient, try to take off so
that the left-turning tendency is up
the beachnot down the beach,
pulling you into the water.

PRACTICE
As you know, there is nothing better to keep us all sharp and safe when
using our airplanes practice. So I suggest that for those of you thatwho
have manual flaps in your airplane,
practice using them as discussed
above. Find a country road or some
other place where you can practice
using the quick application of flaps
to lessen your ground run and get off
the ground much sooner. Measure the
takeoff distances at different takeoff
weights and under different wind conditions. You will soon get to know the
feel of the controls and the visual
and audible cues that tell you when
you can pull in those 20 degrees of
flaps and jump off the ground.
As always, have fun and be careful out there.

Harold Mize,
York, South Carolina
Former USAF jet instructor,
US Navy jet fighter pilot
Piloted for Braniff International,
Piedmont Airlines & US Air
Currently pilots for History Flight,
giving instructional flights in SNJ, T-6
& Stearman aircraft. Also pilot for
Island Century Media flying media ship

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Light Plane Heritage


published in EAA Experimenter November 1989

Clarence Chamberlins Bellanca CE at Glens Falls,


New York, the West Mountains in the background.

THE

BELLANCA

BIPLANES
by Jack McRae
EAA 93

t had been a responsive audience, that snowy


winter evening when I spoke at the December
meeting of the Glens Falls Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association. Among the many subjects I
covered was a description of my success in finding several very interesting old airplanes in upstate New York.
The first one, and the one that convinced me the
search was worth pursuing, was the Thomas Headless
Pusher, made by the Thomas Brothers of Bath, New York,
in 1912. I had been successful in buying it and, eventually, passing it to Cole Palen of Old Rhinebeck fame, who
had restored it, flown it, and finally retired it to his museum on the hill behind his airport.
Next had come the Ecker Flying Boat, located in a loft
in downtown Syracuse. That plane had been returned to
its designer, Herm Ecker, who then gave it to the Smithsonian. They restored it, and it is now on display in the
Early Flight section at the Smithsonian National Air and
Space Museum.
My third find of consequence was locating an original 1909 design by a John Von Pomer of Fort Edward,

New York, who built and flew it that year with as many
as three aboard. This plane is currently being restored by
members of Empire State Aerosciences Museum (ESAM),
located in the Schenectady County Airport.
A more recent find (1986) is an excellent example of a
homebuilt Chanute hang glider, long stored in a garage
in Amsterdam, New York. The workmanship is superb; it
must have been built by a cabinetmaker. It is impossible
to establish just when it was built, but Im certain that it
is extremely oldits fabric covering had been varnished,
as was the custom in the days of Curtiss and the Wright
brothers. The fabric was so deteriorated that in places it
had cracked open from the sheer weight of the collected
dust, so that between wing ribs it drooped in festoon
fashion. If I were to estimate its vintage, Id put it at 1905
or thereabouts. This aircraft I placed in the hands of the
restorers at ESAM, too.
But, back to that evening in Glens Falls. After the meeting
was adjourned, several of the members clustered around me
to graciously express their thanks and praise for my efforts.
One by one they spoke with me and then left. Finally only

Editors Note: The Light Plane Heritage series in EAAs 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

20 MARCH 2010

one gentleman was left, and he had


obviously planned it this way. This
man had seemed especially interested
in what I had been saying. He glanced
around before speaking, seemingly to
be sure we were not being overheard.
I know of a very old airplane located
within just a few miles of here. ZAP!
My mind focused on what my new
friend was saying as it would have at
the reading of the will of a recently deceased wealthy uncle. This plane has
been stored in a barn near here for a
long, long time. The people who own
this barn are the parents of a good
friend of mine. I have been aware of
it for years but have never been allowed to see it, but I believe it may be
an important one so far as the history
of aviation is concerned. These people
and their ancestors have lived on this
property for over 200 years, and they
insist on their privacy. They believe
this airplane was the one that Clarence
Chamberlin used to fly the Atlantic,
back whenever that may have been.
I was quite skeptical; a Bellanca
named Columbia with a Wright engine had successfully flown the Atlantic in the hands of Clarence
Chamberlin shortly after Lindberghs
success in 1927. That ship had gone
on to capture many other records in
succeeding years only to meet its end
in a fire in another barn somewhere.
But I didnt say so. Instead I said,
When I hear of something like this,
I find it doesnt pay to procrastinate;
I like to move immediately. Ive lost
several chances for a great airplane
by postponing just a bit. I propose
that we go there right awaytonight,
if its possible. My new friend said,
Im afraid that is impossible. These
people are the kind who would resent
being rushed into something like this,
especially at this hour. He looked at
his watch, which indicated 9:30. He
continued: They have always been
very careful about who they allow on
their property, but if you are really interested, I will speak to their son and
see what I can arrange.
Really interested. Indeed, that was
an understatement!
This was not very welcome news
to me, but it was obvious I must be

Pulley at trailing edge of interplane


strut holds aileron cable in slot. This
was the strut found in the loft of a
Glens Falls area barnpossibly the remains of Chamberlins CE.
content with it for the present. Ten
long days later we finally met again
and traveled to the barn.
The grandparents and their son
greeted us warmly, reflecting the
groundwork that had been done by
my new friend, and soon we were all
climbing an extension ladder to gain
access to the hayloft of the barn.
As my eyes slowly adapted to the
low light level, I was disappointed at
what I was able to see. In my imagination, I had conjured a picture of
a complete airplane, engine hung,
wing panels suspended carefully
from the roof, everything just waiting to be dusted off and towed to the
airport to be assembled and blithely
flown around the pattern.
What I actually saw, when my eyes
became completely accustomed to
the gloom, was a pair of small wing
panels (both lefts, for a biplane) that
had obviously sustained accident
damage, two wheels with tires that
appeared to be quite fatigued
from having traveled too far in a
deflated condition, and the left
side components of the elevatorhorizontal stabilizer structure. No
fuselage, no engine, no landing gear.
Oh, well. You cant win em all!
On closer inspection, we could see
that the wing panels were quite small.
Measurement indicated that the top
wing was 13 feet and 4 inches from

the tip to the spar fittings. If the top


panels butted into a cabane arrangement, the span would be around 26
to 27 feet. The spacing between the
spars of the wings was 24 inches upper and 14-1/2 inches lower. This had
been quite a small biplane.
The grandfather said, When this
plane was first stored here, it was
a complete flying machine, with a
small radial engine on the front. We
kids used to sit in it and make believe we were flying it through the
air. I dont know what happened to
the rest of it; bit by bit, it has just
kind of disappeared.
Letdown best describes my mood
about then. What had happened to
the plane that was supposed to have
flown the Atlantic in 1928?
I was just about to leave when I noticed a large packing crate, measuring
1 foot by 4 feet by 15 feet lying on its
side. Wiping off some of the dust, we
were astonished to read the words:
To: C.D. Chamberlain, c/o The Express Station, C.O.D. - $936.50, From:
Maryland Pressed Steel Company,
Hagerstown, Maryland.
Well, now. This was interesting!
Unfortunately, the crate was empty,
except for an interplane strut made of
wood in a streamlined form. However,
this strut was like no other one I had
ever seen: Its trailing edge had been
routed out to form a groove its entire
length; at its midpoint and trailing toward the rear was a pulley mounted on
a bracket in such a way that the tangent of the pulley was nearly touching
the trailing edge of that strut. Its purpose was obvious: It was a keeper to
keep the aileron cable (which was carried in this groove) from slipping out
of the groove while in flight.
On seeing the strut, bells started
ringing in my mind: Thirty years
ago, while chasing down a rumor of
an airplane stored in a barn in this
neighborhood, a farmer had given
me photos he had taken of a very
small biplane years before. I had not
recognized the plane at the time, but
later, it was pointed out to me that
the pilot was Clarence Chamberlin
and the little biplane had been one
of Giuseppe Bellancas early efforts.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 21

Bellanca CE: 55-hp Anzani; span, 28 feet; length, 18-1/2 feet; wing area, 1634/5 square feet; empty weight, 470 pounds; gross weight, 900 pounds; top
speed, 97 mph; climb, 600 fpm; range, 300 miles.
In effect, I filed it and forgot it!
Now the few details of which I had
been aware came flooding back.
If it was true that the photos I received had been taken near this location (and the steep hills in the
background seemed to bear this out),
why would Chamberlin have had
this little plane here? At the time I
had been given these photos I was
mystified and inclined to doubt the
farmers story. Now, here I was again,
within a mile or two of the same
place in another barn, looking at
components of a Bellanca biplane,
probably that particular one. That
pulley on the rear interplane strut
was proof that it came from a Bellanca Model CE.
The owners asserted in no uncertain terms that they would not, under
any circumstances, consider parting
with the contents of this loft; in fact,
they said they wanted the subject
dropped, as anything else would tend
to compromise their privacy. I could
only honor their wishes, leaving with
nothing other than new information.

22 MARCH 2010

After arriving back at home, I dug


out my Bellanca files and boned up
on this mans career. Giuseppe Mario
Bellanca was a native of Sicily, born
March 19, 1886, in the little village
of Sciacca. He was physically small,
reaching, finally, the height of 5
feet 5 inches. But his mental stature
was considerably greater, as history
would bear out.
As a youth, he studied engineering beginning in 1904. He earned his
degree after studying at The Royal
Technical Institute and the Politecnico di Milano. He was intrigued
when word of the accomplishments
of the Wright brothers reached him.
He observed in fascination as the
French Delagrange made a sensational flight at Turin with a woman
for a passenger. That was 1908. For
Bellanca, that was the turning point.
He and a fellow student designed
a craft that somewhat resembled a
Wright Pusher. Bellanca lost the toss
of a coin, so it was his partner who
crashed while teaching himself to fly.
Bellancas family encouraged him,

and he emigrated to America in September of 1912. His Uncle August,


who had preceded him there, arranged
backing for further research, and soon
the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation had
been established, with one Fiorello LaGuardia as legal counsel. The factory
was set up in the basement of the Bellanca home in Brooklyn.
Early in the spring of 1931, Bellancas first brainchild was finished
to the point where more room was
needed for its assembly, so a shed
in Mineola was rented and the project moved there. What he had was
a wire-braced monoplane whose fuselage consisted of a pair of rectangular wooden longerons, one above
the other, braced with vertical members and more wire. The pilot sat in a
bucket seat below and behind a 30hp Anzani Y engine.
Slowly, on calm days, Bellanca
taught himself to fly at the fields
then in existence: Belmont Park,
Hempstead, and Garden City. His
was quite a different configuration
than most being flown at that time,
and as a result he took considerable
ribbing about it, but when he was
satisfied that he was ready to go, he
did so, very successfully.
In the following year, 1914, he set
up a flying school, taking on all comers. By stretching his parasol a bit and
swapping the engine for the more
powerful 45-hp Anzani, he had a better trainer in which he, in 1915, taught
LaGuardia to fly. This man was later to
command an American Aero Squadron in Italy and still later to become
the mayor of New York City.
In the summer of 1916, Bellanca
crossed paths with an executive of
Maryland Pressed Steel Company, a
supplier throughout the World War
of an infinite variety of manufactured products for the armed services.
The company sensed that the end of
the war could not be too far off, and
it wished to prepare itself to convert
to products that would lend itself to
peacetime usage. Thus it was that the
ompany entered into an arrangement
with Bellanca to produce a small airplane that would appeal to not only
the returning service pilots, but to all

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Clarence Chamberlin and the CE. The rear interplane strut has the pulley at its trailing edge that identifies this plane, the same as the interplane strut found in the barn.
men who aspired to learn to fly.
The aircraft that he produced in
Hagerstown was designated the Bellanca Model CD, powered with the
leftover 30-hp Anzani engine. It could
theoretically carry two persons, since
there was a front cockpit, but it was
not fitted out for a passenger. It had a
wingspan of 26 feet and weighed just
400 pounds, and it flew very well.
Lateral control was achieved by warping the wings, as used by the Wrights.
It was well streamlined, with a top
speed of 75 mph, much faster than
similar designs of the same power.
In 1919 the Model CE was introduced that was a true two-place
sport plane, with a 55-hp Anzani engine that made it perform at gross
weight even better than the singleseat model of 30 hp. This one combined economy of operation with
a rate of climb of 620 fpm and top
speed of 102 mph with passenger.
Landing speed was less than 40 mph.
The Model CE used ailerons on the
upper wing instead of wing warping with resulting improvement in
firmness of construction and liveliness of response to the controls. The
first of the production versions of
Model CE was purchased by Clarence Chamberlin.
In a very recent conversation with
Carl Slim Hennicke, pioneer pilot,
mechanic, founder of the Long Island Early Flyers Club, and personal
friend of Clarence Chamberlin, considerable light was shed on the reasons
why this airplane, with Chamberlin
as pilot, might have been in the upstate New York city of Glens Falls.
These two men, Hennicke and Cham-

24 MARCH 2010

berlin, saw an ad in Aerial Age Weekly


magazine dated May 3, 1920, in which
the American-French Aero Exposition
Company announced it was forming
a group that would supply air shows
to anyone who was in the market. Pilots who had their own airplanes were
advised to appear in person at a prearranged date at Glens Falls to demonstrate their aerobatic skills and then to
be signed up for the season.
Both Hennicke and Chamberlin
responded, the former taking his Canuck (a Jenny with ailerons on both
top and bottom wings, Canadian
style), and the latter, his Bellanca CE.
Chamberlin arrived there in good
shape, but Hennicke had an incident
en route near the city of Hudson,
and his Canuck was totaled.
It seems quite likely that the photos that were given to me were taken
near Glens Falls at that time, in 1920,
that it was damaged later and that
it was stored from that day onward.
This is only conjecture, but doesnt
it seem likely in view of what Slim
Hennicke has told me? I think Ill settle for this explanation.
The Smithsonian Institution has
published a series of books with the
general title Famous Aircraft of the National Air And Space Museum. Number
six of this series it titled BELLANCA
C.F. The Emergence of the Cabin Monoplane by Jay P. Spenser. This book
deals with the subject of Bellancas
design immediately following the
one we are discussing here; however,
some space is devoted to this design.
Spenser said: The CE turned out
to be a wonderful barnstorming airplane, Chamberlin using it with

great success in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.


My rates were $15 a hop for straight
flying, he (Bellanca) recalled in Record Flights, his autobiography, and
$25 a ride if the passenger wanted
to get the works. Most of them
preferred stunt flights, first, because
they wanted to get a real thrill,
and secondly, because it soon became apparent that my little Bellanca biplane did a lot more things
than the other barnstorming planes
which were war surplus stock and
quite clumsy by comparison. Even
those who had been up before were
frequently enticed by the swiftness
and maneuverability of my ship
into spending their money for another ride.
The high regard of this former
Army pilot for the graceful biplanes
led him to buy up the remaining partially completed CE biplanes at auction prices after Maryland Pressed
Steel closed its doors. Sadly, not one
Bellanca CE remains in existence.
Lately, Ive been daydreaming
about this pretty little biplane and
wonderingcould it just be, after all,
that these nice private people might
just possibly reconsider and present
what is left of this sole remaining example of the Bellanca Model CE to
the Empire State Aerosciences Museum for restoration? That would be
an inordinately extensive (and expensive) project, but with dedication, it could be done.
Editors Note: Weve never heard a
follow-up concerning the disposition of
the parts of the CE; if any members have
additional information on the Bellanca
biplane, wed be interested in publishing
additional material.HGF
Specifications
Bellanca CE Biplane
Span, upper plane: 28 feet 0 inches
Span, lower plane: 21 feet 5 inches
Chord, upper plane: 4 feet 6 inches
Chord, lower plane: 2 feet 9 inches
Total area: 184 square feet
Length: 18 feet 6 inches
Empty weight: 470 pounds
Useful load: 510 pounds

Vintage
Mechanic

THE

BY ROBERT G. LOCK

My thoughts on aircraft propellers


Part II
n the previous issue we discussed fixed- and
ground-adjustable pitch propellers, both wood
and steel. Now its time to look at some general information regarding aircraft propellers;
I trust that you will find it informative. A few
subjects to be addressed are:
How do I know what prop fits my particular
airplane?
Where can I find information about a particular
prop?
What is type design data and where can I locate
such data?
What are yellow tags, and what do they tell me?
What is static rpm, and why is that important?
And well include other issues that are of importance.

TYPE DESIGN DATA: This is data the original


manufacturer used to build the airplane. Approved
type certificates (ATCs) date back to March 1927 when
ATC No. 1 was issued to Buhl-Verville to build the J4
Airster. Type design data consists of drawings, engineering data, and any other kind of detailed information needed to construct an aircraft or component that
had been awarded the ATC.
Why does that matter to us in our prop discussion?
The approved propeller type specific to that particular
airplane is included in the type design data. Sometimes
this data is easy to find, but more often it is very difficult. For some aircraft, copies of the original drawings
are available, but for others the drawings either do not
exist or the FAA will not release them.
However, I have personally seen file cabinets at FAA
headquarters, Washington, D.C., that contain file folders
numbered sequentially 1 and up. The numbers pertain
to the ATC number granted by the Aeronautics Branch
of the Department of Commerce and, later, the Civil
Aeronautics Administration (CAA). In some cases the
file folders are empty. Such is folder 184, ATC 184, the
Command-Aire 5C3. I know; Ive seen the empty folder.
To understand how the type certification of aviation products happens, let me quote from a reliable

sourcea U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of


Air Commerce document dated July 1, 1934, Airworthiness Requirements for Engines & Propellers. It is
Aeronautics Bulletin No. 7-G and, at that time, was the
source for data to obtain a type certificate (TC) for an
engine or propeller.
Chapter II deals with Aircraft Propeller Requirements. Section 19 of the chapter deals with commercial propellers. Manufacturers are to submit: (1)
Application for approved type certifi cate, in duplicate, submitted on forms which will be furnished for
the purpose by the Secretary (Daniel C. Roper). (2) A
complete set of drawings descriptive of the propeller, in duplicate. (3) A complete log, covering the
tests outlined in paragraphs (B) or (C) of this section
accompanied by an affidavit. (4) A stress analysis
as required in conjunction with flight testing, (B)
Tests required for propellers other than fi xed pitch
wood propeller: (1) Propellers of this type shall be
subjected to a 50-hour endurance block test on an
internal-combustion engine, rigidly mounted, of
the same general characteristics as the engines upon
which the propellers are to be used in service. Section 16 (C): When an approved type certificate is
granted, one set of drawings is impressed with the
seal of the Department of Commerce and is returned
to the manufacturer to be used in the construction
of his propellers. The other set is placed in the Departments files. The Departments inspectors may
call for, and must have access to, these approved
drawings when making an inspection at the manufacturers plant to determine whether the propellers
built conform to the approved data.
And there, folks, is the source of design data for
TCd products, whether they be an aircraft, engine,
propeller, or appliance. And this is the data we are trying to get from the FAA at this time. Its not the propeller drawings, but the specific aircraft drawings.
To understand how to research approved propeller
types, it will be necessary to explore where type design
data can be located.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 25

AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATIONS: Aircraft specifications were produced by the CAA and are the source
for type design data. Included in the aircraft specifications is a list of approved equipment that could be
installed on the aircraft, including the propeller(s).
In most cases specific hub and blade numbers and a
manufacturer can be found. When wood propellers
were approved, a minimum/maximum diameter was
specified and a static minimum/maximum rpm was
given. Static power is maximum rpm at full throttle
with the aircraft not moving. Therefore, several types
of wood props could be used as long as they met the
above length and static rpm specs. If the type design
data doesnt appear in the aircraft specifications, it is
contained within the aircraft listing.
AIRCRAFT LISTING: When there are 50 or fewer
aircraft registered, the type design data appears in the
aircraft listing. This very condensed version of type
design data isnt detailed enough for the mechanic
when determining what type of prop was originally
used. For example, the publication will show: Propelleradjustable metal. It will not give the specific
manufacturer or type. Thats not very helpful, so
where does one go next?

FIGURE 1

PROPELLER LISTING: The propeller listing contains type design data for older propellers that are no
longer around en masse. Some of the data that can
be gleaned from this publication is maximum/minimum diameter, blade and hub part numbers, maximum horsepower for hub and blades, serial numbers
eligible, etc. Also shown is the propeller ATC number
for the hub and blades.

it changed the rules and added a category to TCs called


supplemental type certificates (STCs). If someone
other than the manufacturer of the airplane changed
the type design data, that person could go through a
lengthy process and eventually receive an STC. One
could consult the Summary of Supplemental Type Certificates to check whether a particular prop had been
approved for installation on the specific aircraft. If
no data could be located in any of the previously discussed data, the last choice is FAA field approval.

CAA AIRWORTHINESS FILE: Most airworthiness and registration files are available for a specific
aircraft on microfiche (now available on CD-ROM). If
one searches through the file to locate inspection forms,
the Department of Commerce or CAA inspector usually
listed the prop by manufacturer, make, and model. For
instance, a search of the record file for the New Standard
D-25, serial number 105, registration number NC9756,
shows that it was powered by a Wright J-5 engine and
had a Hamilton Standard prop installed. The hub number was 1518 (ATC 187) with blade design number 1407
(ATC 4). See Figure 1. For the second New Standard, serial number 205, registration number NC9125 (formerly
NC150M), the file shows it was originally powered by a
Wright R-760-8 and had a Hamilton Standard propeller installed. The hub number was 1693 and the blade
model was 5B1-6. See Figure 2. You have just found the
data that didnt appear in the aircraft listing. Where can
further propeller data be found?

FIELD APPROVAL: CAA inspectors were used to


grant field approvals for major changes in type design,
and so the airworthiness file for the specific aircraft
may contain a previously issued field approval for a
propeller installation. Today, it is much more difficult
to secure FAA field approval for propeller changes. I really dont want to go into FAA field approvals, because
its not clear to me exactly what the FAAs current policy is at this time.
Once the propeller data has been located, one
might want to obtain the type design data for the specific propeller. To find this data, one must consult the
propeller specifications. Propeller specifications are
similar to the aircraft specifications but are a separate
publication. Propeller type design data can be found
there, but if there is no data, one must consult the
propeller listing.

SUMMARY OF SUPPLEMENTAL TYPE CERTIFICATES: When the FAA came into being in 1958,

26 MARCH 2010

PROPELLER OVERHAUL: Airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanics can do little work on propellers; overhauls and repairs are completed in approved

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friendly A&P mechanic for installation and the appropriate


entry into the logbook.

FIGURE 2
propeller repair stations. In order to overhaul old propellers, the shop must have type design data and even
have blade profile data. Before purchasing a propeller,
make sure you get the hub and blade numbers and
check with a prop shop to assure it has the data to
overhaul such a prop.
Let me detail an example of a potential problem:
My son Rob found a set of blades for a Hamilton Standard 5406 ground-adjustable propeller for sale on the
Internet. The blade numbers didnt match any data in
the propeller listing. In fact the blades were not manufactured by Hamilton Standard. I began checking with
known prop shops that overhauled these older props,
and nobody had any data on the blades. The result was
that nobody could overhaul and certify the blades. So
for us they were useless! When propeller components,
or the entire assembly, are overhauled, the component
parts are yellow tagged.
MAINTENANCE RELEASE FORM (YELLOW
TAG): The propeller receives a yellow tag when overhauled by a propeller repair station. Accompanying
the yellow tag is a work order detailing exactly what
was done to the prop during overhaul, compliance
with airworthiness directives, manufacturers service
bulletins, etc. If you have a prop overhauled, be sure to
obtain a copy of the work order and keep it with your
aircraft records. It is extremely important to request a
copy of the work order if the prop shop doesnt send
it with the overhauled prop. So now you have a fresh
overhauled prop and you need it installed. Call your

28 MARCH 2010

PROPELLER INSTALLATION: The prop can be installed by an A&P mechanic,


a P mechanic, or the propeller repair station. The propeller
should be torqued according
to manufacturers instruction.
A 30-spline prop is torqued
to the weight of a 180-pound
man on a 4-foot bar, or 720
foot-pounds. A 20-spline prop
is torqued to 480 foot-pounds,
the equivalent of a 200-pound
person on a 2.4-foot bar. After torquing, a safety device
such as a clevis pin or AN
bolt, should be installed in the
hub so, in case the safety device fails, centrifugal force will
hold the pin/bolt in place. The
pin or bolt should be slightly
loose so you can check it on
every preflight inspection. If the bolt or pin is tight,
the prop may be loosening on the shaft. The mechanic
should also check propeller track to assure proper dynamic balance.
In the powerplant logbook, an entry should be made
showing powerplant total time, time since major overhaul, and, if the propeller is a different type from what
had been previously installed, the signature of the
person approving and releasing the aircraft for returnto-service and a change to the weight-and-balance information and equipment list, if required.
PROPELLER LOG: New propellers will be furnished
with a prop logbook. However, older props do not have
logs. The FAA requested that I provide a prop log for a
Hamilton Standard ground-adjustable propeller manufactured in the early 1930s. I refused because there was
no way to estimate total time, number of repairs, etc. So
there is no prop logbook in any of my airplanes!
HARMONIC VIBRATIONS: All moving objects
produce vibrations and sound waves. These vibrations,
when they are associated with an object such as an engine and prop, will intermingle and will produce some
strange vibration modes. Harmonics are the sum of
vibration modes produced by the rotating parts of the
engine, accessories, and the propeller. Some engines
have dangerous harmonics, which will be identified
by a yellow arc on the tachometer or a placard next
to the tachometer (or both). It would read something
like Avoid Continuous Operation Between 1500-1650

rpm. If one operates the engine in


this region, a very high-pitched vibration may be felt in the airframe.
That is the harmonic, and it can be
dangerous. Harmonics will be associated with specific propellers installed on specific engines.
This information will hopefully
be helpful when the subject is aircraft propellers. It is imperative that
the prop be matched correctly to
the airframe and powerplant. Since
the airframe manufacturer selects
both the engine and prop for the
airplane, harmonic vibration is a
strong consideration. Changes to
the original type design are critical and should be made with great
care. Using the approved prop(s) is
closely associated with the safety of
the airplane and longevity of the
engine. To further illustrate problems with vibrations associated
with propellers, one must examine
FAA AD 54-12-02. This directive
applies to all McCauley propellers
having 41D5926 or D-1093 hubs
with SS-135-6 or SS-138-6 blades.
The first number of the AD (54)
tells us that the AD was issued in
1954, or 56 years ago. The wording in the directive is interesting,
so Ill duplicate it here to show a
point. On the basis of satisfactory
vibration stress surveys conducted
on the 102-inch diameter configuration, these propellers were
approved vibration wise for installation on the Continental W670-6A, W-670-6N and Lycoming
R-680 engines. When installed on
the Continental engine, the propeller must be indexed in the 0 degree position (blades in line with
the crankthrow) and operation is
to be restricted between 1500 and
1650 r.p.m. The 1500-1650 rpm
range indicates there is a dangerous
harmonic vibration at that speed of
constant operation.

through the engine mount to the


airframe, and other parts of the
airplane will shake. Heavy sympathetic vibrations can be felt in
the pilots seat, but are more commonly felt or seen in the instrument panel, throttle quadrant, etc.
Some engines require that a wood
prop be installed on the hub with
blades at 90 degrees to the crankthrow. The hub will be indexed to
the prop shaft by a master spline,
but the prop can be mounted at the

90-degree point by the mechanic.


With the piston on top dead center on the No. 1 cylinder, the prop
should be installed in the horizontal position. This procedure is a
method to control unwanted vibrations between the crankshaft and
the propeller.
This ends our discussion of
propellers for this issue. Hopefully I have passed along some
helpful information that you will
find interesting.

S Y M PAT H E T I C V I B R A TIONS: The cause of most vibrations of this type is the engine/
propeller combination. Even
though the engine may be shockmounted, vibrations are still fed

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 29

Vintage
Instructor
THE

BY Steve Krog, CFI

Hows your flight proficiency?


Could you pass a private pilot
flight test today if you had to?
Attaining and maintaining flight
proficiency is sometimes easier said
than done. We live in a fast-paced
world: time, expense, weather, business, and family commitmentsall
keep one away from the airport more
than desired.
The biennial flight review (BFR)
helps all general aviation pilots maintain some level of proficiency to fly
safely. But the BFR is not a pass/fail
endeavor; it is a review and is only a
means to determine if you are reasonably safe when operating your aircraft.
Spring will soon be here (Im writing this the day before Groundhog
Day, and based on the forecast, there
will be six more weeks of winter), and
were all beginning to feel the itch
to get our airplanes ready for the
summer flying season. But are you
getting yourself ready for the season?
Be totally honest with yourself for
a moment. Stand in front of your
bathroom mirror and ask yourself,
If I had to, could I take a private
pilot checkride today and perform
each of the required maneuvers to the
level required to pass the checkride?
As a longtime antique, classic,
and tailwheel instructor, I can tell
you from experience that most pilots cannot do so. While conducting BFRs, I find that most pilots can
perform each of the private pilot maneuvers, but few can perform them
to checkride standards.
Why do we need to strive to be better pilots? Remember, whether you are
a private pilot or an airline transport
pilot flying commercial equipment,

30 MARCH 2010

we make up a very small portion of


the populated universe. In fact, when
lumping all pilots together in one
group, we make up less than onetenth of 1 percent of the U.S. populationand considerably less than that
when looking at global numbers!
What does this mean to each of
us? Every one of us has a vital responsibility to fly as safely and proficiently as we possibly can because,
as a small group, when our activities result in an incident, it becomes
national headlines. These incidents
cause fear among the nonflying population and more regulation from
the ever-present FAA.
Striving to be a better, safer, and
more proficient pilot should be a
goal of the highest level and is a responsibility that we each need to
take seriously every time we fly.
Lets look at the common private
pilot maneuvers and what the FAA
requirements are to demonstrate
each satisfactorily. Since you took
your private pilot checkride, some
of the maneuvers may have been
changed, either in terminology or in
minimum standards.

Takeoff
The takeoff, as outlined in the
FAA practical test standards (PTS),
lists 12 objectives by which the examiner grades this maneuver. Key
among these objectives are:
Exhibit knowledge of the elements related to a normal and crosswind takeoff, climb operations, and
rejected takeoff procedures.
Position the flight controls for
the existing wind conditions.

Establish a pitch attitude that


will maintain VY +10/-5 knots.
Maintain takeoff power and VY
+10/-5 knots to a safe maneuvering altitude.
Maintain directional control
and proper wind-drift correction
throughout the takeoff and climb.
Based on experience, I can testify
that many pilots are quite sloppy
when performing each of the above
tasks during the takeoff.
Though not stated in the PTS, the
FAA and most all FAA Designated
Examiners now want the pilot to
make slight S-turns while maintaining a constant climb speed. This allows the pilots to diligently scan
the area in front of the nose for
other aircraft. Previously we were
taught to climb straight ahead until reaching approximately 500 feet
above ground level (AGL), then
lower the nose and scan for traffic
before continuing our departure
from the traffic pattern.
Slow Flight
This maneuver was once called
Minimum Control Airspeed and
is defined as maintaining airspeed
at which any further increase in angle of attack, increase in load factor, or reduction in power would
result in an immediate stall. There
are six gradable objectives, but the
key points are:
Maintain the specified altitude
100 feet; specified heading 10 degrees; airspeed +10/-0 knots; and
specified angle of bank 10 degrees.
Few pilots actually practice this
maneuver. When I ask BFR candi-

dates to demonstrate slow flight,


most will look at me and say, I
havent done this since my last BFR.
This is an excellent maneuver to
know and really understand your airplane, and it is a maneuver that can
be used when flying into a busy pancake breakfast. Practice and know
how to perform this maneuver.

Medium and Steep Turns


You might be asking yourself,
How can this be so difficult? I do
this all the time. However, when
was the last time you established
a bank angle and altitude and performed the turn?
The PTS states for the steep turn
that you must:
Roll into a coordinated 360degree turn and maintain a constant 45-degree bank.
Maintain the entry altitude
100 feet; airspeed 10 knots; bank
5 degrees; and roll out on the entry heading 10 degrees.
Most BFR candidates will be unable to maintain their altitude and,
once realizing this, will decrease the
bank angle while chasing the altitude and finally roll out well beyond
the entry heading. It isnt a difficult
maneuver, but it does require practice to maintain proficiency.

Power-Off Stalls
This stall was previously called
the Approach to Landing Stall,
but that phrase had a negative connotation, so the FAA changed it
back to the Power Off Stall, a description used from the time of the
Wright brothers until the 1950s.
A private pilot candidate must
be able to perform power-off stalls
both straight ahead and with a
shallow bank. The PTS provides
eight points by which to be graded,
but the key points state:
Maintain a specified heading
10 degrees when performing the
stall straight ahead.
Maintain a specified angle of
bank not to exceed 20 degrees, 10
degrees, in turning flight while inducing the stall.
Recognize the stall; then using

correct recovery techniques, return


to a straight-and-level flight attitude with a minimum loss of altitude appropriate for the airplane.
When was the last time you practiced a power-off stall? Probably
during your BFR flight two years
priorat least that is the response
I usually hear when I ask a BFR candidate to perform the same. There
are two mistakes commonly made
when demonstrating this stall: first,
not recognizing the stall and initiating a recovery before the stall actually occurs, and second, pushing
the nose over and diving at mother
earth, losing an exorbitant amount
of altitude. Remember, this stall is
most likely to occur in the traffic
pattern close to the ground. At a safe
altitude, practice this stall using the
recovery technique of lowering the
nose just below the horizon line.

Power-On Stalls
For reference, this stall was once
referred to as the Take Off and
Departure Stall, but the negative
connotation caused the FAA to reidentify it as the Power On Stall.
The key points in the PTS are
identical to the power off stall:
Maintain a specified heading
10 degrees when performing the
stall straight ahead.
Maintain a specified angle of
bank not to exceed 20 degrees, 10
degrees, in turning flight while inducing the stall.
Recognize the stall; then using
correct recovery techniques, return
to a straight-and-level flight attitude with a minimum loss of altitude appropriate for the airplane.
Again, the last time you may have
demonstrated this stall was during
your last BFR. This stall is easier to
demonstrate than the power-off stall,
but many pilots feel otherwise because the nose attitude is significantly
higher. However, remember the required power setting is at least 65
percent or more of available power.
By lowering the nose to the horizon
line or just below, the airplane is once
again flying. There is no need to push
the nose over and dive at the ground!

Forward Slip to a Landing


This maneuver is a requirement of the private pilot checkride
whether flying an aircraft with flaps
or not. The PTS lists eight objectives
for evaluating the forward slip. The
key objectives include:
Establish the slipping attitude
at the point from which a landing can be made using the recommended approach and landing
configuration and airspeed while
adjusting pitch attitude and power
as required.
Maintain a ground track
aligned with the runway center/
landing path and an airspeed,
which results in minimum float
during the roundout.
Touch down smoothly at the
approximate stalling speed, at or
within 400 feet beyond a specified
point, with no side drift, and with
the airplanes longitudinal axis
aligned with and over the runway
center/landing path.
Many pilots flying antique- and
classic-type aircraft are quite familiar with the slip and use it regularly
when landing, but I still encounter
many who havent performed a slip
in years. The single biggest error I see
during the BFR is allowing the nose
to dip or drop while establishing
and maintaining the slip. Airspeed
then increases, and the landing is
well beyond the 400 feet limit as
outlined in the PTS. Another error
I encounter is the pilots fixation on
the airspeed indicator. Remember,
the pitot tube is providing an erroneous reading on the airspeed during the slip. Establishing the correct
nose attitude is critical to maintaining the desired approach speed.
Practicing the different maneuvers as discussed above will help
make a better and safer pilot of each
of us. When you are ready to get
your airplane out of the hangar and
do some flying, why not challenge
yourself and try these maneuvers?
Remember, you had to perform
them once upon a time when you
took and passed your checkride. Test
yourself and see if you could pass
the checkride again today.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 31

by H.G. FRAUTSCHY

MYSTERY PLANE
This months Mystery Plane comes to us from Jack Austin of
Florence, South Carolina. We promise an extensive
Mystery Plane Extra article in the June issue on this one!

Send your answer to EAA,


Vintage Airplane, P.O. Box 3086,
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Your
answer needs to be in no later
than April 15 for inclusion in

the June 2010 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.

DECEMBERS MYSTERY ANSWER


ur December 2010
Mystery Plane came
to us from VAA member Gordon LaCombe
of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Heres the
answer from Lynn Towns, VAA 97,
of Holt, Michigan.
The airplane in the December issue of Vintage Airplane is a Szekely

32 MARCH 2010

Flying Dutchman, which was manufactured by the Szekely Aircraft


and Engine Company in Holland,
Michigan. The Flying Dutchman
was powered by a Szekely SR-3
three-cylinder radial engine. The
aircraft in the photo is identification number 10027, which was c/n
4.

Otto E. Szekely was an engineer


from Germany who came to the
United States after World War I. He
initially worked for the Velie Motors Corporation, an automobile
manufacturer (and later aircraft and
aircraft engines) in Moline, Illinois.
Szekely started his own engineering
company in Moline to design small

The Flying Dutchman was built


first by Niles Aircraft of Niles,
Michigan, then by Szekely in
Holland, Michigan.

gasoline engines, and his company


also built engine piston rings. His
engineering company designed
engines for the Cushman Motor
Works in Lincoln, Nebraska, which
built small engines to power water
pumps, cream separators, washing
machines, feed grinders, concrete

mixers, wood saws, and generators. His company also did work
for the Maytag Washing Machine
Company in Newton, Iowa, which
made gasoline-powered washing
machines for customers who didnt
have access to electricity.
In 1925, Szekely moved his en-

gineering and piston ring company from Moline to Holland,


Michigan, where his company did
work for a Holland company called
the Vacatap Washing Machine
Company. Before long, the Vacatap Company was dissolved due
to management differences.

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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 33

became the prototype Szekely


Flying Dutchman
10027 c/n 4, the plane that
appears in the Mystery Airplane photo 102E c/n 5
3088 c/n 7, the plane that
is depicted in some Szekely
advertisements
9355 c/n 10
9356, c/n 11
9450 c/n 12, which appears
in many photographs
9451 c/n 13
9452 c/n 14
9453 c/n 15
9454 c/n 16
9455 c/n 17, which appeared
in an in-flight photo that has
This one is tough to make out, but heres another shot supplied by Gordon LaCombe. been published several times
A pair of Flying Dutchmans are parked under the wing of a Fokker Tri-Motor. Its not
9456 c/n 18
known where the photo was taken.
8089 c/n 19
8090 c/n 20
8091 c/n 21
10028 c/n 26
Szekely continued with his pis- non-type-certificated airplanes.
This list includes 17 identificaIn 1927 or 1928, the Niles Airton ring business, and he also
started building engines for other craft Corporation in Niles, Mich- tion numbers, but the missing concompanies. Meanwhile, he was de- i g a n , w a s f o r m e d b y J a m e s R . struction numbers suggest there
veloping a design for a three-cyl- Williams to manufacture and mar- may have been several more.
From published photographs,
inder radial aircraft engine. The ket a single-place low-wing monoresults of his efforts were the Sze- plane airplane named the Gold there were slight variations in the
kely model SR-3L (150-pound dry Tip. The Gold Tip was designed by Flying Dutchman as production
weight, 190.4-cubic inch displace- Professor Peter Altman, director progressed. ID 3088, c/n 7, had a
ment, 5:1 compression ratio, 30 hp of the aeronautical department at tail shape and a long tapered fair@ 1750 rpm) and the model SR-3-45 the University of Detroit, and it ing from the engine cowling to the
(138-pound dry weight, 190.4-cu- was originally powered with an cockpit (no apparent windshield),
bic inch displacement, 4.9:1 com- Anzani engine. Szekely bought just like ID 10027, c/n 4, in the
pression ratio, 45 hp @ 1750 rpm) the design rights and prototype Mystery Plane photo. ID 9450, c/n
engines, which were awarded ap- airplane from Niles Aircraft and 12, had a conventional windshield
proved engine type certificate num- hired Peter Altman to redesign the replacing the fairing in front of the
airplane to use his Szekely engine. cockpit, but it still had the same
bers 53 and 70, respectively.
Szekely three-cylinder engines The resulting aircraft was named shaped tail.
ID 9455, c/n 17, had a convenwere approved on several approved the Flying Dutchman. The Szekely
type-certificated (ATC) airplanes. Flying Dutchman airplane never tional windshield and a roundThese included the Alexander Air- received a type certificate, so all of shaped tail.
Our regular contributor Wes
craft model D2 Flyabout (ATC 449), the airplanes that were built were
the American Eagle model 230 Ea- treated as identifi ed aircraft by Smith has written up an even more
glet (ATC 380), the American Ea- the CAA. Thus, their identifying extensive history of Szekely and the
gle model B-31 Eaglet (ATC 450), numbers did not include the NC Flying Dutchman, which well pubBuhl Aircraft model LA-1 Bull Pup prefix. All Flying Dutchman air- lish in the near future, along with
(ATC 405), Curtiss-Wright model craft were apparently built during some other material sent by Phil Michmerhuizen of Holland, Michigan.
CW-1 Junior (ATC 397), Rearwin 1928 and 1929.
Here is a list of the Szekely Flying
Airplanes model 3000 Junior (ATC
Other correct answers were received
434), Rearwin Airplanes model Dutchman identification numbers from Bob Taylor, Ottumwa, Iowa
3100 Junior (ATC 481), and the that I was able to glean from www. (who supplied us with the copy from
Taylor Aircraft model H-2 Cub (ATC Aerofiles.com:
Aeronautics); Wayne Muxlow, MinneX4448 c/n 1, the prototype Niles apolis, Minnesota; and Tom Lymburn,
572). In addition, Szekely engines
were used on many homebuilt and Aircraft Corporation Gold Tip that Princeton, Minnesota.

34 MARCH 2010

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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 35

Vintage

Books and Video Reviews


The Story of the 1939
National Air Races DVD
by Greg Books

hen one stands in a


museum, gazing at
photographs of people
locked in formal poses
and flying machines frozen against
the static backdrop of concrete and
steel, its easy to miss the sheer audacity of high-performance flight.
But to see those frozen, slightly
self-conscious images of the people
and fragile dragonflies, themselves,
come to life, to watch them in their
element, instills an entirely new ap-

36 MARCH 2010

preciation of the awe-inspiring contributions of those pioneers. Such


is the experience of watching The
Story of the 1939 National Air Races,
recently released by the National Air
Race Project.
Using more than 90 minutes of
photographs of the planes, the people, the site, and the races, the production tells the story of the last
of the golden age of air races. The
race, which took place the day after the invasion of Poland touched
off World War II, was the last race
until 1946, when military surplus
planes, with their superior power
and speed, made the custom-built
classics obsolete. The rare color film

footage, photographs, memorabilia, and background information


are skillfully woven together to capture the excitement and optimism
of the day. Some of the footage,
including exhibition stunts that
would never be tried in a modern
air show (landing a Piper Cub on
top of a Waco in midair, and landing both while still attached) might
even leave viewers shaking their
head in wonder! Or Mike Murphys
Cub, which takes off, flies, and
lands while upside down!
If there is any area where the
production is lacking, it is in the
soundtrack. While the occasional
marching music seemed appropriate for the exhibition of military
aircraft and behind invasion footage, the exclusive use of marches is
puzzling. A primary goal of the documentary filmmaker is to bring flat
images to life, and the soundtrack
is a major channel. Using narration alone imparts a didactic quality, while using music that reflects
the context, enriches. Within the
first few minutes of flying footage,
I began to yearn for the sound of a
radial engine in addition to the narration . . . and while watching the
race-day footage, Id have traded
my popcorn for Little Brown Jug
or Woodchoppers Ball!
But that limitation aside, The Story
of the 1939 National Air Races is an
exciting and worthwhile addition
to any aviation enthusiasts library.
Grab the popcorn, fire up Glen Miller
or Woody Herman on your iPod, and
enjoy! And next time youre looking at Whitmans Bonzo or Art Chesters Jeep at the EAA AirVenture
Museum, or the recent re-creation
of the Schoenfeldt Firecracker at EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh, youll have a
greater appreciation for the golden
age of air racing.

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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 37

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receive SPORT AEROBATICS magazine for an


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Copyright 2010 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 54903-3086, e-mail: vintageaircraft@eaa.org. Membership to Vintage Aircraft Association, which includes 12 issues of Vintage Airplane
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38 MARCH 2010

What Our Members


Are Restoring
Klemm 107C
BY

THOMAS STUTE

JOE RIEMENSBERGER

Klemm 107C D-ELYQ


In June 2000, when I wandered over the apron of Friedrichshafen airport (the home of the Zeppelin airships) while waiting
for a student pilot to show up, I ran into Hermann, who, I knew,
owned a rare Klemm 107C. Unfortunately, it had been a hangar
queen for the past few years. We had the usual pilot talk when I
asked him if he knew of a PA-18 or something similar to be sold.
He didnt, but then he told me he had wanted to sell his plane
for nearly three years without success. That was news to me, so
I convinced him of my interest. I knew his Klemm, but I had never
seen it fly. We walked over to the hangar and removed its canvas
cover. After a thorough external inspection I hopped into the wellequipped cockpit, and with a firm grip on the stick I knew: This
is going to be mine!
I immediately phoned my friend Werner and told him about
our new plane. He rushed out to the airport, and the three of us
confirmed the deal by shaking hands. Now with D-ELYQ we own
a real piece of German aviation heritage (less than 10 of these
airplanes have survived in airworthy condition).
The Klemm 107 essentially is a pre-World War II design. With
its two side-by-side seats and the 105-hp Hirth 504 inverted

four-cylinder in-line engine, it was intended as a primary trainer


and sport aircraft.
After only 20 examples had been built, production stopped
due to World War II.
In the 1950s Hans Klemm and Ludwig Blkow joined forces to
start aircraft manufacturing again with the Kl-107 after the war.
The design was modified, designated as KL-107A, and had an
additional third seat in the back. It was powered by a Continental
C90. First flight was in 1955 and showed that the C90 did not
have enough power. The Continental was replaced by a Lycoming
O-320-A2A, and the aircraft, now designated Kl-107B, flew as expected. After series production had commenced, further modifications were introduced with a wider track oleo-strut landing gear,
designed and manufactured by Dornier-Werke Friedrichshafen,
and a refined canopy. This version was designated Klemm 107C.
The Klemm Kl-107C is an example of the classical German
sport airplane tradition with its lightweight structural design. The
fuselage displays an all-wooden assembly of two plywood monocoque shells glued and bolted together. This structure carries
the wings, empennage, engine, and payload.
The all-wooden wings have one main spar and a torsion-stiff

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 39

KARSTEN PALT

THOMAS STUTE

JOE RIEMENSBERGER

leading-edge D-section. The rear two-thirds of the wing are Ceconite-covered. The main undercarriage is attached to the wing
spar. Takeoff and landing are assisted by a split-flap. The wings
can be dismantled when the fuselage is supported.
The horizontal and vertical stabilizers are stressed-skin designs from plywood, with the control surfaces fabric-covered.
Rudder and elevator are cable-operated, while the ailerons
are controlled via push-rods.
The Kl-107C is a real pilots airplane, and that makes it a lot
of fun to fly: The controls are well-balanced, it is quite agile, and
the control forces are right. The visibility, even forward when sitting on its tail wheel, is excellent. The stall announces itself very
well with buffeting; it goes gently into a spin and recovers right
on command. It behaves exactly as a trainer should.
The Klemm has a conventional landing gear with the third
wheel in the right place . . . at the tail. It is free-swivelling for taxiing and must be locked for takeoff and landing. The 107 has a
long and bulky fuselage, thus it leaves a lot of surface for the
wind to attack, making the 107 quite sensitive to crosswind
operation. So even taxiing in strong winds sometimes is quite
a challenge, not to mention takeoff and landing. The landing is
not completed until the aircraft is safe in the hangar or at least
safely tied down with all the control surfaces locked.
Traveling at an economical speed of about 110 mph gives you
enough time to enjoy the landscape you are passing, and the
fuel burn of about 6.5 U.S. gallons per hour (100 L or car fuel)

doesnt stress your budget too much, which is very important in


Europe with fuel charges of around $10 per gallon.
This plane is real fun, and when Werner and I land anywhere
in Germany or in the neighboring countries, we feel by the reaction of fellow aviation enthusiasts, we own something special.
Lets keep them flying! It is heritage; it is part of our technical culture.

40 MARCH 2010

Basic technical data of the Klemm 107C


Engine

Lycoming O-320 A2A


150 HP

Span Width
Wing Area

10.84 m

35 ft 7 in

157 ft 2

14.6 m

Aspect Ratio

Length

8.3 m

27 ft 3 in

Empty Weight

650 kg

1433 lbs

Max TO Weight

970 kg

2138.5 lbs

VNE

300 km/h

162 kt

186 mph

Vtravel

180 km/h

100 kts

112 mph

Fuel Capacity
Range

1301
850 km

34 US gal
460 nm

530 miles

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