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Vol. 39, No. 12





The Waco Model C

Classy custom Cabins
by Sparky Barnes Sargent

12 Going Home Again

At age 12, I harbored aspirations of flying fast, like my heroes, the Mercury astronauts . . .
by Philip Handleman

16 My First Airplane
by Lee Hurry


Chapter Locator


Light Plane Heritage

Remember the Avro Avian?
by Bob Whittier


The Vintage Mechanic


Tail Wheel Installations

by Robert G. Lock


The Vintage Instructor

Short-Field Operations Part 2
by Steve Krog, CFI


Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy

EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Editor
Executive Director/Editor
Production/Special Projects
Copy Editor

Rod Hightower
J. Mac McClellan
Mary Jones
H.G. Frautschy
Kathleen Witman
Jim Koepnick
Colleen Walsh

Publication Advertising:
Manager/Domestic, Sue Anderson
Tel: 920-426-6127
Fax: 920-426-4828



Senior Business Relations Mgr, Trevor Janz

Tel: 920-426-6809


A Little Smooth Air

Manager/European-Asian, Willi Tacke

Phone: +49(0)1716980871 Email:

by Michelle Souder

Fax: +49(0)8841 / 496012

Classified Advertising Coordinator, Jo Ann Cody Simons

Tel: 920-426-6169


FRONT COVER: In the days before World War II, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA)
and its predecessor, the Department of Commerce, Aeronautics Branch, had a stable of aircraft to be used by inspectors in the field. This 1939 Waco AGC-8 was one of those airplanes.
You can enjoy the story of its history and restoration in Sparky Barnes Sargents article starting on page 5. EAA photo by EAAs chief photographer, Jim Koepnick.
BACK COVER: With a nod to longtime EAA editorial contributor Bob Whittier, who reminded
us of this cover, we bring you the seasonally appropriate cover artwork by Stewart Rouse
of the December 1933 issue of Model Airplane News, featuring a Christmastime message
stamped in the snow to greet the pilot of the New Heath Parasol.

For missing or replacement magazines, or

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


Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

On behalf of the ocers, directors, and the sta of the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association, we wish
each of you peace, joy, and prosperity during the holiday season and throughout the new year, with
many days of safe, enjoyable ying!

Paul Poberezny
Rod Hightower
Geoff Robison
George Daubner
Dan Knutson
Steve Nesse
Steve Bender
Dave Bennett
Bob Brauer

Jerry Brown
Gene Chase
Dave Clark
Jack Copeland
Phil Coulson
Ron Fritz
Dale Gustafson
Charlie Harris
Buck Hilbert
and the entire sta of the EAA


Jeannie Hill
Butch Joyce
Steve Krog
Bob Lumley
Gene Morris
Wes Schmid
John Turgyan
H.G. Frautschy
Theresa Books



John Underwood Inducted Into VAA Hall of Fame

Tom Poberezny Inducted Into

San Diego Hall of Fame
Congratulations to EAA Chairman
Emeritus Tom Poberezny, who was
inducted into the San Diego International Air & Space Hall of Fame
on November 5. Tom was honored
for his leadership of EAA, his 25-year
air show career, and the creation of
EAAs Young Eagles program. Other
inductees included Apollo astronaut
Walt Cunningham, Voyager pilot
Dick Rutan, the U.S. Navy TOPGUN
school, and World War II pilot Jerry
Coleman, perhaps better known as
a second baseman for the New York
Yankees in the 1950s and a Hall of
Fame baseball broadcaster. Paul Poberezny had been inducted into the
same hall of fame in 1996.

EAA Mourns Death of Longtime

Aircraft Technician
EAA staff members are mourning the loss of co-worker Ted Mos-

During ceremonies held the evening of October 27,

2011, noted author
and aviation history
enthusiast John
Under wood was
inducted into the
Vintage Aircraft Associations Hall of
Fame. Other inductees included Jack
Geoff Robison, John Underwood, and Rod Hightower.
McCornack of Cave
Junction, Oregon (Ultralight Hall of Fame), the late Tony LeVier of La
Canada, California (International Aerobatic Club Hall of Fame), the
late David B. Lindsay Jr. of Sarasota, Florida (Warbirds of America
Hall of Fame), and Ed Fisher of Gilbert, South Carolina (Homebuilders
Hall of Fame).
Each of these five individuals has made a unique contribution to
the world of flight that has benefited all of us, said Rod Hightower,
EAA president and CEO. These inductees serve as an example for
everyone involved in flying and represent the best that recreational
aviation has to offer. We recognize their commitment and passion for
flying and are honored to welcome them into the EAA Sport Aviation
Hall of Fame.
Well have more on Underwoods lifetime in aviation in the January issue of Vintage Airplane.
man, whose expertise in aircraft
maintenance kept EAAs B-17 and
Ford Tri-Motor fl ying on tour for
the past 20 years. Mosman died
on October 20 after a battle with
cancer. He was 57.
Mosman, an Iowa native,
joined EAA in 1980 when the organizations headquarters were in
the Milwaukee area, then made
the move to Oshkosh with EAA
in the early 1980s. He was an integral part of EAAs B-17 and TriMotor restorations and worked on

every aircraft owned by the organization. He also assisted air show

performers and others who hangared aircraft at the Kermit Weeks
Flight Research Center during
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Whenever we needed something done
on the B-17 when it was on the
road, Ted was right there; he was a
natural mechanic, EAA Founder
Paul Poberezny said. Hed always
go along on the test flight afterward and listen to make sure everything was right.


Louie Andrew Honored

With Henry Kimberly Leadership Award
More Information
on Bellanca N6561N
As is often the case with our vintage aircraft, theres much more to
the story of an aircraft featured in
our pages than meets the eye. Such
is the case of Bellanca Cruisemaster
N6561N, and in the caption accompanying the photo of the airplane
published in the October issue, we
should have filled in a few more
blanks. Prior to being acquired by its
current owner, Ron Hansen, it was
owned by Al Pontious and Jere Calef.
After being damaged when the left
main gear leg collapsed on landing
at the Columbia, California, airport
during the annual Bellanca fly-in,
the airplane was declared to be a total loss by an insurance company. It
was disassembled and placed in storage pending its disposition. The most
likely outcome was that the airplane
would be sold for parts.
Pontious, who has owned, maintained, and restored Bellancas for
many years and who is a well-known
expert on Bellanca aircraft, did not
want to see another Bellanca delegated to the parts bin, so he and
Calef purchased the pieces, brought
them home to Mojave, and began
the repair/restoration. In addition to
the damage caused by the gear collapse, there was significant damage
inflicted when the aircraft was disassembled and transported to the storage facility. After a little more than
a years worth of effort, N6561N
again took to the skies in the condition shown in the October issue. Mr.
Hansen subsequently purchased the
aircraft from the partners, who were
glad to see another Bellanca cruising
the skies.

Longtime Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, attorney Louie Andrew was

awarded the Henry Kimberly Spirit
of Leadership Award for his volunteer efforts on behalf of EAA and
the community during the Sport Aviation Hall of Fame banquet October 27 at the EAA Aviation Center
in Oshkosh. As part of the award,
named for renowned Oshkosh busiLouie Andrew

ness leader and EAA suppor ter

Henry Kimberly, Andrew received a

$1,000 prize to designate toward any of EAAs programs.

Andrews advice, knowledge of the community and region, and
passion for flight contribute to his effectiveness in his role as interim chairman of EAAs board of directors. He also ser ves as
chairman of EAAs executive committee and a director for the International Aerobatic Club.
He began flying at the Fond du Lac airport at age 14, soloed on
his 16th birthday, and obtained his private pilot certificate at age
17. Andrew, who holds single- and multi-engine land and instrument ratings, flies a Piper Aztec and an Aeronca Super Chief that
are based at Fond du Lac County Airport.
Andrew, a University of Notre Dame and Marquette University
Law School graduate, has been a practicing attorney in Fond du
Lac for 45 years, specializing in corporate and real estate law. He
also owns and operates Guaranty Service Group Inc., which operates seven title insurance offices and provides ser vices to lend-

VAA Dues
Per Section VI., Dues, of the VAAs
bylaws, the VAA board of directors
has voted to set the yearly dues of
the association at $42 per year, effective March 1, 2012.


ers in the state of Wisconsin and six other Midwestern states.

Andrew and his wife, Sue, live in Fond du Lac and are parents of
five children.


Waco Model C

Classy Custom Cabins




trio of grand old Waco C-8

Cabin models gleamed magnificently under the summer
sun at EAA AirVenture 2010,
just as the vintage field began thoroughly drying out from record rainfalls. Like the sunshine,
these luxury custom Cabin Wacos
were a welcome sight. Fewer than
30 of these biplanes were manufactured, and its estimated that about
half exist today, with less than a
handful in flyable condition.
Of the threesome, Bob and Barb
Perkins Waco AGC-8 (N20908) was
manufactured in 1939 under ATC

664. The A denotes its 300-hp Jacobs L-6 engine. Jim Clarks Waco
(NC61KS) rolled off the production
line in 1939 as an AGC-8, but was
soon converted to a model EGC-8.
The E denotes the 320-hp (supercharged to 350-hp) Wright R760-E2.
Bill McCormicks Waco (NC2279)
was originally manufactured under
ATC 665 as an EGC-8. Wacos C
Model was spry yet gentle, and pilots still appreciate it for its quick
takeoffs and slow landings, in addition to its other fine qualities. Lets
take a closer look at the septuagenarian Wright-powered EGC-8.

The Luxury EGC-8 Cabin Model

Waco produced seven EGC-8s.
The EGC-8 had seating for five,
with an overall wingspan of 34
feet, 9 inches (lower wingspan of
24 feet 4 inches) and a length of
27 feet 4 inches from nose to tail.
It towered 8 feet, 7-1/2 inches
tall and had a 108-inch-wide gear
tread. The EGC-8 weighed 2,447
pounds empty, had a payload of
563 pounds, and had a gross weight
of 3,800 pounds.
Its mighty Wright turned a Hamilton Standard controllable propeller, and with 95 gallons of fuel


A company brochure about the

Waco Model C Cabin models.


NC2279s instrument panel.

A peek inside NC2279s exquisitely detailed cabin.


NC2279 is finished in Henry Kings

signature paint scheme.

available, it burned 18 gph while

enjoying a cruising speed of 147
mph (up to 159 mph at optimum
altitude) and a range of 713 miles
(with 15 percent reserve). The standard color for the C Models
hand-rubbed, lustrous finish was
Gunmetal Gray, but customers
could also choose from the optional
Waco Vermilion (which added 33
pounds to the empty weight), Insignia Blue (which added 7 pounds),
or Silver.
A company brochure touted the
Waco Model C as representing
the finest in air travel, since its refined streamlining was responsible
for faster airspeed, and a lengthened
fuselage with an efficient flap design
provided better control at slow landing speeds. Designed for pilot and
passenger comfort alike, this model
featured elegant interiors that could
also accommodate a variety of
cargo, since the biplane was offered with a freighter interior and
may also be equipped as an aerial
ambulance. When so equipped, the
stretcher is concealed when not in
use and the usual passenger interior
remains unimpaired.
One especially interesting feature were the split flaps: At any
time prior to landing if unexpected
obstructions appear, the throttle
may be opened fully and the flaps

will close themselves automatically

and slowly without further loss of
altitude and without effort on the
pilots part. When the emergency
has passed the pilot may close the
flap control valve until ready to use
it again.
With fresh air supplied to the
cabin (from intakes in the wings),
ashtrays for those who smoked,
and a comfortable back seat where
passengers could relax into aerial
naps, the Model C was designed
to please. Special design consideration was also given to mechanics
who would maintain these flying
machines: It is a delightful experience for a mechanic to study this
WACO and see the care that has
been taken to make the entire airplane readily accessible for service
attention with a minimum of time
and effort.
Speaking of maintenance and
more, each of the EGC-8s that
flew in to AirVenture (NC2279 and
NC61KS) were recently restored to
virtually authentic configurations
and have their own bit of noteworthy history to share.

The King Waco

NC2279, a 1938 Waco EGC-8, is
owned and flown by Bill McCormick of Clarkston, Michigan. It
was restored by Rare Aircraft Ltd. of
Faribault, Minnesota, and received
the Bronze Age (1937-1941) Outstanding Closed Cockpit Biplane
Small Plaque during AirVenture.
No doubt its original owner, Henry
King, were he alive today, would
be quite proud that the biplane
is not only an award winner, but
that it looks just like it did when he
owned it.
Henry King was a movie director,
and perhaps best known by aviation enthusiasts for Twelve OClock
High and A Yank in the RAF. Born
in January 1886, he first started directing movies three years before
earning his pilots license in 1918.
He built an impressive career as he
continued directing for nearly half
a century and was one of the top
directors in Hollywood during the

1920s and 30s. His achievements

included directing more than 100
movies, receiving the first Golden
Globe Award in 1944, and being one
of the founders of the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Its one thing

to have
an antique
airplane that is
beautiful to look
at, but an antique airplane
that flies as
friendly as this
airplaneits a
real joy!
Jim Clark

Throughout his career, he remained an avid aviator, and a

sportsman pilothis personalized
private aircraft insignia appears in
The Amateur Air Pilots Register as
early as 1934. In September 1938,
King took deliver y of NC2279
(s/n 5064). It was the fourth of
five Wacos he owned. Each one
was finished in his signature color
schemevermilion with black and
gold trim. Notably, his passion for
flying led him to become one of
the founding fathers of the Civil
Air Patrol (CAP) during World War
II. King served as the deputy commander of the CAP Coastal Patrol
Base in Brownsville, Texas.

King owned NC2279 until 1940,

when he traded it in. Waco then
sold the biplane to Eastern Coal
Corporation of Bluefield, West Virginia. The government bought it in
1942, and three years later, it landed
in the hands of a citizen in San Diego, Californiaat that time, its registration number had been changed
to NC50610. This Waco flew from
owner to owner through the years,
but then languished from the early
1960s for several decades. Eventually it wound up in Vancouver, British Columbia, as a project. In 2004,
Bill McCormick of Clarkston, Michigan, purchased it. The airframe had
a total time of 3,115:45 hours, and
McCormick decided to have it disassembled and trucked to Rare Aircraft for reassembly. Thats when it
became apparent that the old biplane needed a substantial amount
of work, and an 18-month restoration ensued. Jeremy Redman of Rare
Aircraft explains:
The airplane came to us covered
and painted, and we started getting
ready to put stuff together, when
we saw corrosion on the fuselage.
We started punch testing a couple
of tubes and found a rotten cluster.
And then we were inspecting the
wings and found a couple of cracked
spars. Also, there was rot back in the
stabilizer ,and we thought, Man,
we have to do something here! Bill
agreed, and it essentially turned into
darn near a full restoration. We built
four new wings; interestingly, one
upper wing assembly on this custom
Cabin Waco consumes more labor
than the entire wing set on a UPF7. We also rebuilt the tail feathers.
There were some compression failures where the steel fittings bolted
on to the stabilizer and the airframe,
and this model has a cantilever stabilizer, so its very important that
the integrity of the wood is good.
Additionally, Rare Aircraft repaired the fuselage and engine
mount, rebuilt the ailerons, replaced fairings and leading edges,
and fabricated new wing flaps.
While they were at it, they also fabricated a new aluminum bulkhead




The instrument panel in NC61KS.

The original Switlik parachute seats

were modified so they now have a
roomy pocket for stowing items.

for the panel and a stainless firewall. They restored the cowling and
dishpan, rebuilt the landing gear,
re-bushed the tail wheel support
assembly, and fabricated new fuel
and oil tanks. To facilitate flying
and communicating in todays airspace, a VHF transceiver, transponder, encoder, intercom, and Whelen
strobe system were installed.
While the airframe work was
transpiring, the engine was being
overhauled as well. Mike Connor
overhauled the Wright R760-E2 engine, says Jeremy, declaring, Hes
the Wright guru. I dare say, I dont
know if theres anybody out there
who could do a Wright as well as
he could.
In the interest of safe ground
maneuvering, Cleveland wheels

and brakes were installed. We did

a conversion on this one, and did
articulating toe brake pedals and
removed the original pedals, describes Jeremy, and it really transforms the handling of the airplane.
If you just put a toe brake pedal on
top of the rudder pedal, when you
have full left rudder in, its like you
cant push the brake pedal. It gets
really precarious, and in these big
heavy taildraggers like this, you
need some brake when youre on
the last part of the roll out, because
your control surfaces arent going
to overtake the mass of the airplane
if it starts to divert.
The owner, Bill, has a dog that
jumps up on the hat shelf and goes
with him when he flies this, Jeremy says with a smile, adding, hes
a business executive, so you might
say that the biplane is doing the
same thing in 2010 that it did in
1938transporting executives. Bill
has always had airplanes, and hes
active with his local EAA chapter.

The CAA Waco

Jim Clark of Chapman, Kansas,
flew NC61KS (s/n 5072), his 1939
Waco EGC-8, to AirVenture this
summer. He arrived in good company, with his grandson Brody
Clark, who is already a veteran AirVenture attendee at age 12, and
young friend Patrick McElligott,
who is a mentor in their local EAA
Chapter 1364s Wing Nuts youth
program. They taxied in to the Vintage area, drawing admirers even
before they tied down and set up
their camping tent. This black and

Jim Clark brought some good company with him to AirVenturehis grandson, Brody, and Brodys young friend, Patrick.


orange Cabin Waco is unmistakable, with its large Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) logo carefully
painted on the broad fuselage. Jim
also flew the biplane to the AAA/
APM Fly-in in Blakesburg, Iowa,
where it received the Sweepstakes
Classic (1936 to 1941) award.
Three or four years ago, I
started looking for a Cabin Waco,
says Jim with a smile, because I
wanted a big flying SUV that could
carry all my stuff! So I started going all over the countr y looking and could not find one that I
wanted to buy or restore. This airplane was located only 15 miles
from my home, and its longtime
owner, EAA member Chuck Hall,
was a friend of mine. I bought it in
September 2007, and even though
it hadnt flown for about 18 years,
it had been stored properly.
Jim became intrigued by the history of his new Waco, and his research revealed that NC61KS was
one of eight model AGC-8s that
were originally ordered by the CAA.
His Wacos first bill of sale was from
Waco Aircraft to the CAA and was
dated August 17, 1939. Registered
as NC-61, it was delivered to the Air
Safety Board and was based in Garden City, Long Island, New York.
Just a few years later, the CAA ordered an engine change.
The CAA had all those Wacos
converted to the supercharged 350hp Wright R760-E2 and changed
the model number from AGC-8 to
EGC-8. The aircraft records show
that a CAA Repair and Alteration
Form dated June 18, 1941, was

Jeremy Redman of Rare Aircraft Ltd. demonstrates NC2279s split flap.

completed by the Spartan School
of Aeronautics, and it listed the
removal of Jacobs L6MB and installation of Wright R760E-2 as per
form 337. Then in December 1945,
NC-61 was declared surplus and
had registration number NC69607
when it was released [from government service in the mid 1940s]. After Chuck bought the airplane in
1970, he got the registration number back as close as he could to NC61, by adding KS for Kansas.
Before Raven Aero Service could
begin restoring NC61KS, it sent
a couple of its technicians to go
over it and get it ready for a short

ferry flight from Manhattan to its

shop in Junction City. The engine had been pickled properly, so
we could bring that back to life,
recounts Jim, but the brake lines
were corroded into solid rods
so we ran new brake lines and
had the master cylinders rebuilt.
I learned through the National
Waco Club online forum that the
Cleveland wheels and brakes for
the late-model Cessna 310 also fit
a 1939 Cabin Waco EGC-8. So I
ordered a set, and we jacked the
airplane up and bolted the brakes
onwithout having to make a
single modification. Im a member



NC61KS in the Vintage area at EAA AirVenture 2010.

of both the National Waco Club
and the American Waco Club,
and both are great groups. National has a very active [online]
forum, with a tremendous wealth
of knowledge.
The ferry flight took only 40
minutesand Jim made sure that
Chuck was in the right seat. The
restoration started in November
2007, and was completed in July
2010. The biplane, covered and
finished with Superflite, was brilliant in its CAA black and orange
liverya far cry from its previous
pale green and red schemeand
the pleasing scent of new leather
permeated the spacious cabin.
Once again, Chuck was in the
right seat when Jim made the first
flight after restoration.
Just a few modifications were
made during the restorationthe
first being the new wheels and
brakes. Another change involved
relocating the oil cooler to solve an
overheating problem. The original oil cooler was behind the dish
pan and almost against the firewall, explains Jim, so airflow was
nonexistent. I became acquainted
with Addison Pembertona great
guy and aircraft restorerand I no-

10 DECEMBER 2011

one upper wing
assembly on this
custom Cabin
Waco consumes
more labor than
the entire wing
set on a
Jeremy Redman

ticed when I was at his hangar in

Spokane that he hung the coolers
underneath all his aircraft. So he
sent me some pictures and helped
us out. We reformed the cooler
and belly-hung itand it has just
worked excellently!
Additionally, and similarly to
NC2279, Jims Waco received new
navigation and communication
equipment. We went with Becker
in-panel radios, transponder, and
comm, shares Jim, and I do have
weather on a Garmin 496, but its
covered by the original coffee
grinder crank radio face.
It takes a discerning eye to observe several unique features of
NC61KS. Perhaps the most obvious is the second rear door. Less
obvious is the fact that the doors
have a jettison leverand yes,
that feature is still functional. An
Emergency - Do Not Touch sign
warns the rear-seat passengers
not to turn the handle. A cursory
glance at the pilot and passenger
seat backs reveals deep, wide pockets for stowing itemsa clever use
of space made available when the
original Switlik parachute seats
were modified. Also, the small
baggage compartment aft of the


rear seat was neatly converted to

Wacos freighter configuration
for extra cargo space. One more
item is the original wood rack for
holding emergency flares, which
is mounted inside the fuselage, in
the cargo area. Jim doesnt have
the actual flares, but he dummied
the location on the side of the fuselage by using inspection rings
and fabric patches.
One significant challenge that
Jim encountered was locating the
proper CAA emblem for the fuselage. In 1939, the CAA used
a five-point compass rose with
their name in it, and wings and
a s h i e l d t h a t h a d t h e Wr i g h t
Flyer on it. But in 1940 they
were under the Department of
Commerce, so they changed the
emblem to an office building and
a shock of wheat. We researched
e x t e n s i v e l y, b u t d i d n t f i n d a
complete photo of the 1939 emblem. We had a picture of the
CAA airplanes in a hangar, so we
went by that as much as possible. Also, the CAA did not use the
color trim around the windows,
so the fuselage stripe was positioned higher than on the other
Cabin Wacos.

Flying the EGC-8

Jim has about 700 hours tailwheel time, and flies a Piper Pacer
and Cub regularly. He was pleasantly surprised by the EGC-8s
gentle flying characteristicswith
one exception. On takeoff, I let
it come off the ground about 60
mph, then climb out at 80 mph
for the first 100 feet. Then I go to
90 mph and get a nice climb rate
out of it. Cruise climb is about
100 mph, and I get about 500
fpm climb at that. I dont push it;
I watch the cylinder head temps
closely. She cruises about 130 mph.
Then on downwind and base, I fly
about 100 mph, and I dont cross
the fence under 80 mphbelow
that is a danger zone, because
when you start flaring with those
big flaps down, you lose 20 mph
and shes on the runway; there is
no float. I think youd better have
the runway made when you deploy the flaps, he says and laughs
heartily, then adds, but when
youre on final, and youre sure
youre high and fast, youre just
rightdrop those flaps and wow,
you hit the numbers! But this is
not a challenging airplane in my
opinion. In fact, I wouldnt put an

EGC-8 driver in my Pacer and expect him to do okay. This is just

a big, friendly, predictable, nicehandling biplane, so Im thrilled
with my choice. She is just a sweetheart to fly. Its one thing to have
an antique airplane that is beautiful to look at, but an antique airplane that flies as friendly as this
airplaneits a real joy!
Smiling as he reflects about
these classy custom Cabins, he
shares, the C-8s have gotten
more attention from the restoration crowd lately. They fly great,
land easy, and with the gear down
and welded, theyre not nearly
as complex as the antique retractablesand theyre strong enough
to handle bumpy grass strips with
nary a shrug.
So with a tip o the hat to history,
its rather pleasant to imagine the
nostalgic reactions that Henry King
and the CAA pilots who flew NC-61
might have, if they ambled through
the vintage field. Theyd likely declare in quite the surprised tone,
Hey, I recognize that Waco! I cant
believe its still flying! To which
the owners might nod affirmatively
and respond, Want to take her up
around the patch?


Going Home Again

At age 12, I harbored aspirations of flying high and fast,
like my heroes, the Mercury astronauts

prominent man of letters famously wrote,

You cant go home
again. The proposition
has been debated ever
since. Some interpret the familiar
maxim to mean we are unable to
repeat a cherished experience because reunions, anniversaries,
homecomings, and the like simply lack the spontaneity that captivated us initially.
But Im not so sure that the
magic and wonder of first encounters are necessarily out of our grasp

12 DECEMBER 2011


for the remainder of our lives.

Somehow it seems we ought to be
able to reach back and capture past
felicity. And even if impassable barriers block our way physically, who
is so presumptuous to assert that rekindling moments of endearment
in the surroundings we currently
inhabit constitutes a bridge too far?
It was an early spring day in
1963. The breaking dawn bared a
dew-moistened landscape under a
clarion sky. Seizing the fortuity, my
parents granted my longstanding
wish for an airplane ride. That brisk

morning they drove me to a grass

airstrip nestled in an outlying suburb of Cleveland.
The field was strewn with airworthy Piper Cubs, the classic all-yellow
J-3 models with feisty four-cylinder,
65-hp engines. High-time Cubs,
identifiable by their oil-splattered
fuselages, were for sale at the bargain price of $600. Less-worn Cubs,
whose fabric retained the factoryfresh mustardy sheen, were offered
for the princely sum of a $1,000.
The telltale smell of butyrate
dope and burnt fuel, the sweet

aroma unique to airports, wafted in

the air. Every once in a while, one
of the high-wing taildraggers taxied
into position, and when the engine
revved up from a gentle putt-putt
to a high-pitched raspy buzz, the
plane sped down the emerald carpet of freshly sprouted grass and
rose skyward. The transition from
ground to air manifested what
seemed to be the singular response
to an irresistible summons. Like the
gazelles that run wild on the vast
stretches of the Serengeti, the machines were evidently drawn into
the domain that beckoned their
occupants with expectations of release from earthly burdens.
At age 12, I harbored aspirations
of flying high and fast, like my heroes, the Mercury astronauts, whose

forays into the new frontier had

begun just two years earlier. Cape
Canaveral was their portal to the
heavens, but for at least a couple
of the original seven space travelers, the genesis of their remarkable
journeys was a small airfield near
their childhood homes. My nascent
aerial odyssey began similarly, at
the charming, if unadorned, Chagrin Falls Airport.
The grass was green, the sky was
blue, and every direction I turned
there were agile yellow ships ready
to sail on voyages of discovery. The
airports verdant landscape and
tinny hangars evoked the perfect
aura for my maiden flight. Everyone on the field, from the mechanics in grease-stained coveralls to
my uniformed instructor pilot, ap-

peared to be devoid of the conceits

and affectations I had experienced
elsewhere. Instead, they projected a
sense of high purpose, a desire to do
something grandnot for material
reward, but for the satisfaction that
came from the doing itself. And
as such, these otherwise common
men were, in my eyes, noblemen.
The miracle of the Piper Cub was
that it made the sky accessible to
whoever had a desire to flirt with
the clouds. In a way, the remarkable airplanes evolution started in
1911 when an adolescent named
Clarence Gilbert Taylor saw Calbraith Perry Rodgers amble by in a
garishly decorated Wright B biplane
dubbed the Vin Fiz. The flimsy and
mishap-prone crate was participating in a flight contest to cross the
country in fewer than 30 days.
From that day forward, the teenager later known as C.G. Taylor
was intent on building his own
planes. By 1927, he was designing
lightplanes with his brother Gordon in their hometown of Rochester, New York. The first design was a
two-place, high-wing configuration
called the Chummy because of its
snug side-by-side seating.
In 1929, city development officials and private investors lured the
brothers to Bradford, Pennsylvania,
where they formed Taylor Brothers Aircraft Co. Among their financial backers was William T. Piper, a
member of a local farm family. Mr.
Piper had served in the Army during World War I, and subsequently
earned a mechanical engineering
degree from Harvard. He had interests in oil and real estate, but no
background in aviation.
The brothers timing could hardly
have been worse. The stock market crashed that autumn, signaling
the onset of the Great Depression.
In 1931, overhead costs in the face
of declining sales made bankruptcy
unavoidable. The only buyer for the
assets was Mr. Piper, who paid $761
to become the sole owner. He shortened the company name to Taylor
Aircraft Company.


Hopes for the struggling business

rode on C.G. Taylors latest design,
the E-2. This was a refinement of prior
designs that sought to appeal to flying schools as a light and economical
tandem-seat trainer. The E-2 was formally named the Cub, and the models that rolled out of the factory had
the name emblazoned on the fin.
Conflicting accounts continue to
muddle the story of how the name
Cub was adopted and who conceived it. It is certainly true that
success has a thousand fathers, for
there were at least several company employees, an advertising
executive, and an airport manager
who claimed paternity. Regardless of its provenance, the name
took on legendary status. It eventually encompassed not just the
more than 30,000 single-engine
lightplanes of similar configuration built by Taylor/Piper in succeeding years, but virtually every
plane subsequently produced that
bore a resemblance to the Taylor
design. Cub became synonymous
with lightplanes, as Lear did with
corporate jets.
The little plane was dreadfully underpowered, but that changed when
Continental Motors developed the
A-40 four-cylinder, horizontally opposed engine. This light 37-hp engine had been the missing link, and
once incorporated into the Cub it
changed the companys fortunes and
the course of history. To be sure, early
problems plagued the new engine,
but once the wrinkles were ironed
out, the airplane sold like hotcakes.
In 1933, a newly graduated engineer from Rutgers University showed
up looking for work. Walter Corey Jamouneau was originally hired as an
unpaid engineer, and was the only
person on the factory floor with a college degree. He proved to be a jack-ofall-trades, excelling at manufacturing,
sales, and design. Four months after
starting with no salary, he was being
paid $15 a week. With Mr. Pipers encouragement, he significantly redesigned the Taylor E-2.
Because of the extensive changes, a
new model designation was required.

14 DECEMBER 2011

The company decided on J-2, which

many believe was a way for the corporate executives to recognize the
young engineer, whose surname began with the letter J. More likely, the
company simply stuck with its existing designation system, which had
already reached the letter H. Proponents of this theory believe the company skipped over the letter I to avoid
confusing it with the number 1.

Regardless of
its provenance,
the name took
on legendary
The J-2 received certification on
February 14, 1936, and was marketed
as the New Cub. However, not all had
been going smoothly in the executive
echelon. Mr. Taylor couldnt stand to
see his design tinkered with. Moreover, he fundamentally disagreed
with Mr. Piper over the business plan,
which called for selling a higher volume of planes at lower prices. The
discord reached an impasse, and Mr.
Taylor left the company in December
1935. He moved to Alliance, Ohio,
where he made highly regarded sideby-side two-seaters under the Taylorcraft banner.
The Bradford factory had served
the company well, but it was rife
with fire hazards. It erupted into
flames late on March 16, 1937, and
was left a smoldering hulk. Luckily,
no one was injured, and 15 airplanes
were moved to safety.
By summer, operations and personnel began moving to an abandoned
100,000-square-foot silk mill in Lock
Haven, Pennsylvania, 85 miles from
Bradford. Roads, rail lines, and the

Susquehanna River made the Lock

Haven plant readily accessible by conventional means. Importantly, the
city had offered to construct a 2,000foot hard-surface runway as an incentive for the companys relocation.
Despite the companys many
challenges, Mr. Jamouneau was
charged with further improving the
Cub. He replaced the tailskid with
a tail wheel, flight instruments were
added to the panel, a higher grade
of steel tubing was used to accommodate larger engines, and seat
cushions were installed for increased comfort. This variant of
the Cub was designated the J-3.
The first of these iconic models
was rolled out in the autumn of
1937. It sported what became the
familiar all-yellow paint scheme
highlighted by black stripes along
the sides of the fuselage, as well
as the teddy bear emblem on the
fin. As Carroll V. Glines points
out in his superb history of the
Cub, the shade of yellow brightened after World War II, when
butyrate dope instead of nitrate
was used for finishing.
In November that same year, the
company opted to change its name
to avoid confusion with C.G. Taylors new firm. William Piper had labored to make ends meet through the
hard times, even foregoing a salary
for part of the troubled decade. It was
only logical that the companys name
should be Piper Aircraft Corporation.
By the end of 1940, with war
clouds on the horizon, Cubs were
churned out of the expanded Lock
Haven factory at a rate of 125 a week.
During the global conflict, Piper Cubs
played meaningful roles, notably as
Army liaison airplanes with the designation L-4. Among various duties,
they served as aerial ambulances, artillery spotters, and VIP transports.
Moreover, Piper boasted that four of
every five U.S. military pilots during
the war had received their introductory flight instruction in the companys airplanes.
After the war, surplus Cubs flooded
the market. Also, tricycle-gear designs were catching on as the pre-

ferred configuration. Production of

the ubiquitous Cub ceased in 1947,
though a considerably beefed-up
look-alike, known as the PA-18 Super
Cub, was introduced in 1949 for utility-type operations.
The Cub had had an amazing run.
Records indicate that 22,206 civil variants and 8,197 military variants were
built. The most numerous model was
the J-3 with a total of 9,782 completed. The Cub was unquestionably
the Model T of the air.
In the hopeful aftermath of World
War II, Mr. Piper penned an autobiographical book that talked up the
business of general aviation. America
was back to work and at peace. The
future seemed limitless.
The books concluding paragraph
embodied that optimistic outlook
as Mr. Piper laid out his deep convictions about lightplane flying and
the people who do it. He stated, A
healthy personal plane industry is of
great material and social value to the
United States. The private pilot serves
as one of the most effective instruments of goodwill. Amen.
The Cub that would provide my
ride had taxied up. I shook hands
with the pilot, M.R. Smith, and bid
a temporary adieu to my parents.
It must have been a special day for
them, too, a culmination of sorts.
My mother grew up on the periphery of the Cleveland Municipal
Airport (now Hopkins International)
during the golden age of flight. She
scaled the fence Labor Day weekends throughout the 1930s and
beheld the National Air Races, arguably the greatest aviation spectacles
of all time. She later went to work
as a ticket agent at that very airport
and met my father there shortly after
World War II, as he re-acclimated to
civilian life following three years in
the Army Air Forces as a desk-bound
sergeant at a couple of air bases. The
two of them knew that extraordinary
things can happen at airports.
I buckled into the back seat of
N98029. Without fanfare, Mr. Smith
switched on the Cubs engine. He
hollered to me over the cacophony
to cup, not grip, the control stick

with my right hand, motioning as he

spoke, and to place my feet over the
rudder pedals. I would follow his inputs on the controls.
Through the Cubs side window, I
caught a glimpse of Mom and Dad.
I waved, but my attention quickly
shifted back to the airplane. The
Cub taxied far more bumpily than
I had imagined. This was it, though,
the nonpareil event, the lissome
ship about to lift its eager passenger
on its high-spread wings into its exalted realm.
We taxied a long way to be able
to take off into the wind. The waddling S-turns across the field enabled
a slow-motion survey of the whole
airstrip, a chance to absorb the scene
from the privileged vantage point reserved only for those in an airplanes
cockpit. I was in sync with the resplendent and invigorating gateway
to my dreams. This was the most
magical place in the world.
The noise was louder inside the
Cub than out as we clattered down
that rough-hewn runway, throttle full
open. Before I knew it, we were airborne and climbing. We leveled off
soon because it didnt make sense to
go high during a 15-minute orientation flight.
The hum of the engine subsided as
the rush of air became aurally dominant. The horizon defined our relationship to the globe, which wended
beneath us at a crawl. We were one
with the sky, like a vessel floating
on gentle ocean currents, more skiff
than speedboat.
My nervousness was more than
balanced by the sense of adventure.
Mr. Smith turned his head to check
on me. He saw a 12-year-old transfixed by the sight-picture and beaming with joy.
With a steady hand, Mr. Smith performed gentle turns left and right. He
told me to coordinate stick and rudder, to feel the airplane. Yes, it was rudimentary, the first building block of
airmanship, but I was flying.
The world wasnt so big anymore;
it could be tamed. I was, briefly, the
master of my fate, an individualist
empowered to exercise a newfound

independence and ride the wind in

whatever direction my heart deemed
desirable. I had discovered the dream
of flight, which is the dream that anything is possible.
The quaint airport where I was
initiated into the milieu of fliers has
long since given way to the vagaries
of real estate development. Where
once Piper Cubs gathered momentum in dashes for the sky, homes now
predominate in the archetypical grid
work of late-20th century American
subdivisions. According to a database
search, the faithful airplane, good old
N98029, was eventually stricken from
the federal registry, its assorted parts
perhaps languishing forgotten and
forlorn in someones barn, awaiting
either the brusque consignment of
the junkman or the affectionate rejuvenation of the restorer.
Notwithstanding the Cubs reported disposition, the flight in that
unassuming ship lives on where it
matters most. In the precious minutes
that I sailed on its mustard wings,
the kingdom of the sky was revealed
and it touched my soul. So, no matter what airplane has been handy
since, I feel that I have gone home
again and still do each time I rumble down a grass strip, raise the tail
wheel, ease back on the stick, and reenter the Cubs rarefied and everlasting domain.

Further Reading
Piper Cubs by Peter M. Bowers. TAB
Books, 1993.
Mr. Piper and His Cubs by Devon
Francis. Iowa State University
Press, 1973.
Those Legendary Piper Cubs: Their
Role in War and Peace by Carroll V. Glines. Schiffer Publishing
Ltd., 2005.
Piper: A Legend Aloft by Edward H.
Phillips. Flying Books International, 1993.
Private Flying: Today and Tomorrow
by William T. Piper. Pitman Publishing Company, 1949.
The Piper Cub Stor y by James M.
Triggs. TAB Books, 1978.


My First Airplane



oward the end of World

War II, in 1944, a limited
amount of civilian flying
resumed after being mostly
banned since the beginning of the war
for the United States. With no civilian
airplane production authorized, we
were using the old prewar Cubs and
Aeroncas with 50- and 65-hp Franklins, Lycomings, and Continentals
many of them from the now defunct
Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) program.
With a disability pension from the Air
Corps, I was back home in Minnesota,
and with those extra funds, and by
swapping a few of my guns, I was able
to make a deal to get my private certificate from a local instructor/A&P
mechanic in his personal J-3 Cub. By
then I had progressed from crutches
to a cane, which we were able to stash
in the Cub.
Later we heard about a fellow over
at Rochester, Minnesota, who had an
old Cub for sale. He was flight testing his freshly constructed Pietenpol, and he needed the money. My
flying buddy and I looked the Cub
over. It was flying and in license,
a 1937 Piper J-2 with the little 40horse Continental. Since this engine
had only a single mag, it actually
only made 37 hp; the later models
with dual mags put out 40 hp.

16 DECEMBER 2011

The owner wouldnt budge on

his $200 asking price, but after haggling a bit he finally offered to include another plane he had in his
hangar. This was a dismantled but
complete and virtually identical
1936 Taylor Cub, which needed a
total rebuild. That clinched the deal,
as we knew we could profitably part
it out. I won the coin toss to fly the
in-license Cub home to Mankato,
with my partner driving back. Then
we returned with a trailer to haul
the other one home. We sold the
fuselage and engine, which ended
up being modified into a snow machine; this was fairly common in
those days before snowmobiles.
I reworked the complete empennage into the J-3 configuration, and
along with the wing struts, I used
them on a Piper L-4, which I was
building up for our Civil Air Patrol
squadron. The wings ended up with
Norm Sten, which were to be used
with a float-equipped fuselage he had
acquired. He never did get that project completed, and the wings ended
up in Dick Christiansons hangar
behind the hangars of Arden Magnusons Tailwind and Dick Hardens
Cessna 140 at Flying Cloud Airport
in St. Paul, Minnesota. These were
all EAA Chapter 25 members. Dick

always said he was going to use them

on an original-design ultralight, but
he never did.
The early J-2s had tailskids, but
since Rochester now had a surfaced
runway, the airplane had been converted to a tailwheel. Mankato was
still sod, so to do a full-throttle runup to ensure the single mag was
okay, the trick was to get one wheel
behind a lump of grass. That held the
airplane briefly before the airplane
launched you on your takeoff roll in
this no-brakes machine.
When taxiing, one watched the
wind and approached the gas pump
from the downwind side, cutting the
mag at the appropriate spot; it is kind
of like learning to sail a floatplane.
Maybe thats why I got my float rating with only one hour of instruction.
It differed a bit from the later Cubs in
that the throttle was a metal-rod affair and the stabilizer trim consisted
of a cotton rope around a pulley (yes,
sometimes it, too, slipped, just like
J-3s). The panel was Veed in, and it had
the minimum required instruments:
a tachometer, a nonsensitive altimeter, oil pressure gauge, and an oil temperature gauge, but it didnt have any
cabin heat, no carb heat, and it didnt
have a compass. It did have a 9-gallon fuel tank. The rudder had no aero-

dynamic counter-balance, so it was

quicker to move, and overcontrolling
was common until one got used to
it. It handled like a 65-hp Cub with
two aboard when you were flying it
solo, and like a brick when you were
flying with another person aboard. It
cruised around at about 60 mph.
When I took off from Rochester
I lost my bearings (remember, no
compass) and went north instead of
west. Since I had planned to go IFR (I
Follow Roads) back to Mankato, and
the highway wasnt where it was supposed to be, after 10 minutes into the
flight I concluded I must be lost. Accordingly I checked the horizon and
headed for the nearest water tower,
which wasnt much lower than I was.
With the town identified and located
on my chart (thats what we called
the road maps), I turned 90 degrees
onto the approximate course, which
took me right over a turkey farm!
At that time there were a lot of
these in southern Minnesota, and
we had all been warned to stay away
from them, since the birds would run
away from the overhead ship and
pile up in a fence corner and suffocate. A couple 0f area pilots lost lawsuits over this! I hauled my bird up
into a turn as steep as I dared, so the
farmer couldnt get a good look at the
big numbers under my wing. It apparently was a successful maneuver,
because I didnt stall out and never
got arrested. I even managed to find
the correct highway (it was the only
one going into the sun, i.e., west).
It was a fun little plane. We usually flew it solo using less than 3 gallons per hour. We didnt like the fact
that it was built without carb heat. I
think the carb bolted to the oil sump
like a Lycoming and assume that the
hot oil was supposed to prevent carb
ice. At any rate, we modified a carb
heat system from a 65 Continental,
wrapping a pair of stacks as a muff,
and thinking we now were better
equipped, we were happier.
Forced landings were not uncommon, and we were trained to pick
appropriate fields; making actual
landings on the occasional farm field
was expected. Many years later my

1936 Fairchild 24 with Ranger power

had the same omission, but its engine took carb air from inside the
cowl, which was previously heated
by the cylinders. Since the seller had
confessed that there were forced
landings in its history, one of my first
(of many) alterations was to devise
and install a carb air system, which
did provide the legal required air
temp rise. I even got it STCd.
We flew that little Cub all over

was able to
make a deal to
get my private
from a local
mechanic in his
personal J-3 Cub.

Minnesota to fly-ins, flight breakfasts,

etc. With two aboard, it was pretty
loggy on climb, but there was a
row of metal grain storage bins near
the airport, so we would go back and
forth over them, using the heat lift
till we got a couple hundred feet of
altitude to go flying around the area.
Glider pilots can appreciate this.
In cooler weather it would even
carry threemyself, my wife, and
our baby daughter. We would fly out
to Marshall to visit family friends.
The J-2 had four straight stacks, no
muffler, and no cabin heat, and even
with only 37 horses, with the unmuffled Continental, it got pretty noisy.
To this day my daughter complains
that is why she has hearing problems
(so do I). Fortunately this ship had
the optional side window kit. J-2s
were built as an open parasol monoplane with only a windshield. The
top of the rear fuselage met the wing
trailing edge and had a vertical tapered front edge behind the back seat
to streamline it. In later years it was
common to modify J-2s into J-3s by
cutting off the short brakeless axles,
replacing them with J-3 units.
Further required changes included

revising the rudder/fin configuration, the cabin windows, and birdcage, and bolting on a J-3 nose with
the 65 Continental engine. The result was a slightly lighter airframe
with a lower gross weight, but it
made a better-performing legal J-3,
similar to 46 J-3s that were modified
into PA-11 models with the -11 nose,
with the substitution of a 90-hp engine and the addition of a wing tank.
After awhile the slow 60-mph cruise
speed got to us, so we decided to get
something faster, like a J-3! We found
a wind-twisted fuselage for $35 and a
crashed 46 fuselage with papers. We
made one airplane out of the two and
in about a year ended up with a 46
metal spar J-3 with an electrical system, a 65 Continental, and a metal
prop. It indicated a solid 85-plus mph,
until I had the Maxwell prop shop
check the prop, and Mr. Maxwell repitched it flatter as it was supposed to
be; then it would barely make 80!
We sold the J-2 to a fellow at Fairmont who subsequently made a hard
(very hard) landing and broke the
two lower longerons at the tail-wheelmount bolt. Since most planes were
tied down instead of hangared and
were taildraggers, the snow and rain
that found their way inside the fuselage flowed downhill to the back end
and rusted the tubes. Some new tubing welded in made it like-new again.
I well remember having to dig snow
out of the rear of the L-4s, which
werent sealed off behind the back
seat like J-3 Cubs are. That is, after
we had dug the plane itself out of the
snow drifts! Cubs were fun on skis.
Wed land on the lakes by the ice fishermen. I even managed to get stuck
in the snow at Le Sueur, Minnesota,
when the wind blew me sideways and
the skis cut in. My buddy had to get
out and push, and I circled back to
pick him up on the roll (slide?).
Our continuing search for more
speed next led us to a pristine hangar queen 46 Super Cruiser with its
big 100-hp Lycoming engine, but
that was my third or fourth, so I better quit. Flying holds for us so many
great adventures, and then so many
wonderful memories!


Vintage Chapter Locator

Visit the VAA chapter nearest you and get to know some great old-airplane enthusiasts! You dont need
to be a pilot to join in the funjust have a love of the great airplanes of yesteryear.


, North
r 3, Roxboro


Carolina Fly


Chapter 16, Overland Park, Kansas




Hayward, CA, VIN 29

Meeting: 2nd Thurs., 6:00 p.m.
Hayward Airport (HWD)
See website for hangar info.
Gary Oberti, President
Phone: 510-357-8600

Lakeland, FL, VIN 1

Meeting: Contact President
Bobby Capozzi, President
Phone: 352-475-9736

Overland Park, KS, VIN 16

Meeting: 2nd Fri., 7:30 p.m.
CAF Hangar,
New Century Airport (K34)
Kevin Pratt, President
Phone: 913-541-1149

Sacramento, CA, VIN 25
Meeting: 2nd Sat., 9:00 a.m.
See chapter website for
Robert Opdahl, President
Phone: 530-273-7348

Walnut Cove, NC, VIN 3
Meeting: Contact President
Susan Dusenbury, President
Phone: 336-591-3931
18 DECEMBER 2011

Lansing, IL, VIN 26
Meeting: Contact President
Peter Bayer, President
Phone: 630-922-3387

Auburn, IN, VIN 37
Meeting: 4th Thurs., 7:00 p.m.
DeKalb County Airport (kGWB)
Hangar AVAA 37 Clubhouse
Drew Hoffman, President
Phone: 260-515-3525

New Iberia, LA, VIN 30
Meeting: 1st Sun., 9:00 a.m.
LeMaire Memorial Airport (2R1)
Hangar 4
Roland Denison, President
Phone: 337-365-3047

Albert Lea, MN, VIN 13
Meeting: 4th Thurs., 7:00 p.m.
Albert Lea Airport FBO (AEL)
Steve Nesse, President
Phone: 507-373-1674

North Hampton, NH, VIN 15
Meeting: 2nd Sat., 11:00 a.m.
Hampton Airfield (7B3)
Robert Drake, President
Phone: 603-942-9242

Delaware, OH, VIN 27
Meeting: 3rd Sat., 9:00 a.m.
Delaware Municipal Airport (DLZ)
Terminal Building
Woody McIntire, President
Phone: 740-362-7228

Chapter 25, S

acramento, C

alifornia, Gee

Bee Racer

Zanesville, OH, VIN 22
Meeting: 2nd Fri.; 6:30 p.m.
Perry County Airport (I86)
John Morozowsky, President
Phone: 740-453-6889

Tulsa, OK, VIN 10
Meeting: 4th Thurs., 7:00 PM
Hardesty South Regional Library
No meetings in July, Nov. & Dec.
Joe Champagne, President
Phone: 918-257-4688

er ra.

lifornia, at Alta Si

amento, Ca
Chapter 25, Sacr


Want to Start a VAA Chapter?

Spring, TX, VIN 2

Meeting: 4th Sun., 2:00 PM
David Wayne Hooks Airport
Fred Ramin, President
Phone: 281-255-4430

Its easy to star t a VAA

chapter. All you need to
get star ted is five vintage
enthusiasts. Then contact
the EAA Chapter Office at
920-426-6867 or chapters@ to obtain an EAA
Chapter Star ter Kit. EAA
has tools to help you get
in touch with all your local
Vintage members, and
theyll walk you through
the process of star ting a
new chapter.

Brookfield, WI, VIN 11
Meeting: 1st Mon., 7:30 PM
Capitol Drive Airport Office
Donald Hyra, President
Phone: 262-251-1778

Chapter 29, Hayward, California

and Young Eagles in January


Light Plane Heritage

published in EAA Experimenter January 1993




EAA 1235

odays typical aviation enthusiast has encountered the name Avro many times in the
course of his reading. Literature on World
War I aviation makes frequent mention of
the Avro 504 general-purpose and training biplane,
and literature on World War II has much to say about
the Avro Lancaster, Lancastrian, and Lincoln four-engine bombers used by the RAF.
After World War II there were the Avro York and Tudor airliners, and the Vulcan military jet.
But mention an Avro model called the Avian today
and more often than not youll get a Whats that?
response. Only an occasional antique airplane enthusiast will show a glimmer of recognition, but it would
be more realistic to say that his face will probably
light up as much as yours does upon encountering a
good friend!

In its time the Avro Avian two-seat, open-cockpit

training and sport biplane was quite well-known and
played an interesting role in British civil aviation activities. Because more of them were built, more restored antique examples exist today, and more plans
for model airplanes of the type have been published,
though the very similar-appearing de Havilland Gipsy
Moth today is much better known. Nevertheless, the
Avro Avian deserves to be remembered.
The name Avro was derived from the name of an

Above: A Cirrus-engined Avro Avian taking off. Note

ripples in the thin plywood covering on the fuselage side. The letter G on the rudder stands for
Great Britain and is the outcome of security-conscious European bureaucrats insisting on plastering nationality identifications all over airplanes.

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 DECEMBER 2011

English aviation pioneer, Alliott Verdon Roe. The name of the eventually large and famous firm, which he
founded, was A.V. Roe & Co. Ltd.,
and Avro was the obvious contraction. As time went on and his aeronautical accomplishments mounted,
Roe was knighted, so his name in literature on aviation history appears
as Sir Alliott Verdon Roe.
While still a young man, Roe was
an officer in the British Merchant
Marine and had ample opportunity to observe and marvel at the
graceful soaring of the albatrosses,
which followed the ship on which
he served. The more he watched
them, the more his interest in human flight grew. He obtained and The young A.V. Roe displays his prize-winning rubber-powered model of
eagerly read the literature on air- 8-foot wingspan.
craft design and construction,
which was becoming increasingly available in the wings rather than stabilizers, and so were tempted to
call it a sextuplane. It was powered by a J.A.P. mofirst decade of this century.
Roes steadily growing knowledge of the principles torcycle engine delivering a pathetic 9 hp. The enof mechanical flight led him to enter a rubber-powered gines name is derived from the initials of its maker,
model airplane in a contest held in March of 1907 by J.A. Prestwich.
To fly with such feeble power, Roe went to extremes
the prominent Daily Mail newspaper of London. A canard (tail-first) biplane of 8-foot wingspan, it managed to save weight, and even covered the wings with comto fly the then-creditable distance of a little more than mon brown paper. He was an intelligent and persistent
100 feet. That was good enough to win the first prize of man, and in 1913 demonstrated his well-designed and
able model 504 biplane to British military officials. It
75 pounds sterling.
Roe used this money to construct a full-size, man- was a fairly large but light and capable aircraft that was
carrying airplane patterned after that model. Unable to docile and easy to fly. Orders were soon coming in to
afford the high price of a real aero engine, he rented a the Roe establishment.
The 504 was used for many purposes, including comFrench-built Antoinette engine and installed it in this
creation. In July of 1908 he managed to make a flight munications, reconnaissance, light bombing, and even
of sorts at the aerodrome, which by then existed inside as a fighter. More than 7,000 of them were built between
the circuit of the famous Brooklands auto race track in 1913 and 1931, and a variety of engines were fitted.
This vast production effort taught the Avro people
Surrey to the south of London.
A score of years later the Royal Aero Club appointed much about aircraft design and mass production. A.V.
a committee to decide once and for all who officially Roe was different from many high-ranking aircraft inmade the first powered airplane flight in Britain. They dustry executives in that he retained a keen interest
decided that the uncertain skips and hops that char- in small, economical airplanes suitable for training
acterized the Roe machines performance could not be and sport flying. He had his people design and enter
considered as proper sustained and controlled flight, various small planes in the lightplane trials held at
the southern England town of Lympne (pronounced
so he lost out on that great honor.
Most of the early European aviation pioneers were Limm) from 1923 onward.
Early Lympne competitions were for very light airmen of means, which Roe definitely was not. His underfinanced messing about with flying machines did planes powered by fuel-stingy little engines of from 750
not make him particularly welcome at the elite Brook- to 1100 cc displacement. Nobody was manufacturing
lands drome, so he transferred his activities to some real aircraft engines of such small size, so various moopen space at a place called Lea Marshes. In July of torcycle engine conversions were used instead. A motor1909 he did manage to win fame as the first person in cycle able to reach 80 mph on a suitable track or open
road actually spends most of its service life doing 30 to
his country to fly an all-British aircraft.
The machine he built was what we today might call 40 mph on average roads, so it is seldom highly stressed.
a contraption. While generally called a triplane, its But to get even very light aircraft off the ground and
triple-tail surfaces were so large as to look more like up to cruising altitude, the motorcycle engines used at


Alliott Verdon Roe, born April 26,

1877, died January 4, 1958.

An Avro 504 of World War I vintage in flight.

Lympne had to be run at full throttle most of the time.

So it worked out that many an
otherwise well-engineered lightplane entered in these contests
turned out to be little more than
an excellent forced-landing trainer.
By 1926 officials came to realize
that although low fuel consumption might be highly desirable in
theory, in practice the small engines that were available were simply not able to serve dependably
in the noses of lightplanes.
After much discussion, contest The two-seat version of the Avro Baby, circa 1920.
officials decided that for the 1926
meeting, the rules should state that any engine weigh- wish he had spent just a little more for a two-seater,
ing less than 170 pounds complete could be used. They so he could introduce his friends to the great advenrealized that while they might use more fuel, larger ture of flying. You can attach a sidecar to a motorcycle,
engines running at conservative rotational speeds but if anyone has ever attached one to an airplane, we
would be a lot more reliable. By that time government- have certainly never heard about it!
So Avro contrived a two-seater version of the Baby.
subsidized flying clubs aimed at creating a base for future military air power were growing in number, and Two people sat one behind the other in an elongated
open cockpit. But the extra weight and drag was more
what they needed above all else was engine reliability.
Shortly after World War I the Avro Company de- than a 35-hp engine could handle acceptably well.
Work with the Baby and the low-powered Lympne
signed and built a simple single-seat biplane intended
for sport and touring usetouring being the British entries, however, gave the Avro design team a good
term equivalent to our cross-country flying. Called background in lightplane design. When rules for the
the Avro Baby, the prototype was powered by a 1910 1926 competition were announced, a new and good
four-cylinder, water-cooled Green engine of 35 hp, small airplane engine had finally appeared on the marwhich had been overhauled for use in this ship be- ket. It was the five-cylinder, radial, air-cooled Armcause no better small engine of good reliability was strong-Siddeley Genet, which produced a useful 60 hp
then available. Along with this engine, Avro obtained and fell within the 170-pound weight limit.
The contest rules were too involved to describe here,
production plans and anticipated building more of
these engines if the demand should arise. But that but had the effect of forcing designers to use much
mathematical calculation and ingenuity to come up
never happened.
Although the Baby flew well, there was a problem. with aircraft having a chance to win. To keep weight to
Anyone able to afford a new single-seater would soon a very minimum, some Lympne designs had each and

22 DECEMBER 2011

The new Avian did not deliver at

Lympne for a couple of maddeningly trivial reasons. The weightsaving welded aluminum gas tank
sprang a leak that could not be repaired in the field at Lympne, and
so required the plane to be flown
with a reduced fuel supply. Then,
the aluminum magneto drive shaft
failed, and as it could not be replaced in time, this put the Avian
out of competition. A stronger steel
shaft would have weighed but a
The Genet-engined Avian built for the 1926 Lympne lightplane competition.
few ounces more. These are good
examples of the kind of bugs that
every part so thoroughly engineered to save all possible have to be worked out of every new airplane.
But all of Avros effort did leave them with what was
weight that the resulting planes would obviously be too
expensive to manufacture. Some entries even appeared basically a good new airplane design, and they eventually
with two sets of wings, a small set for the speed events got something worthwhile out of it. The fuselage was of
and a large set for climbing and altitude events. A few simple flat-sided, all-wood construction with spruce longerons and cross-members tied together with a covering
were even convertible from monoplanes to biplanes.
Now obviously, while enabling certain planes to of three-layer plywood. This did away with the numerscore well in various Lympne events, these extra wings ous, fussy, and expensive truss wires, turnbuckles, and fitwould add unacceptably to the cost and complication tings typical of earlier wood fuselage framing.
Because Avro hoped the Avian would go into proof everyday airplane ownership and use. That is a good
example of the pitfalls that can lurk in competition duction, a construction and assembly method was
rules supposedly drawn up to produce whatever results worked out to keep labor costs to a minimum while
still not getting themselves involved with the great exsponsors might have in mind.
The 1926 rules called for two-seaters able to carry pense of heavy mass-production machinery. The fusea minimum load of 340 pounds for occupants and lage was put together from right, left, top, and bottom
fuel. So, a designer could elect to use a very small en- subassemblies. A fifth subassembly formed the cockpit
gine having a modest fuel supply or a larger engine floor and control system mounting base.
Fuselages of this basic type have been much used in
requiring more fuel tankage but also able to carry a
larger load, or anything in between. Avros chief engi- Europe for both amateur and factory-built airplanes.
neer, Roy Chadwick, felt that the new 60-hp Genet was The work can be done with ordinary hand tools and
clearly the wisest choice for reliability, realistic touring common woodworking machines. A disadvantage is
baggage allowance, and reserve power for coping with poor occupant protection in serious crashes, for they
tend to shatter and splinter rather than bend and abturbulent air.
The airplane he conceived to go with this engine sorb energy like metal structures.
The Avians fuselage was flat-sided, but the radialwas engineered to be light in weight, but this goal was
to be achieved by wise overall design rather than ex- type Genet engine had a more or less round shape.
pensive ounce-saving tricks in the many small parts Fuel and oil tanks were thus shaped to fit on top of
involved. While not what one would call a sleek air- and onto each side of the front of the fuselage, and the
plane, the design he worked out did have a light and conical form of the side tanks did a simple but effective
airy look about it. This was in notable contrast to some job of fairing the engines roundness into the flat surBritish airplanes, which looked as heavy and graceful faces of the fuselage. This also put the tanks into good
view for ease of inspection.
as a threshing machine.
The Avian followed 504 and Baby practice, in that it
It was given the lilting and easily remembered name
of Avro Avian. We can appreciate the engineering skill had no vertical tail fin but only a balanced rudder. This
that went into its design by noting that while the empty was perhaps done for weight and cost savings. In the
weight was 695 pounds, weight with a full load aboard years we have been reading books on airplane design, not
was 1,600 pounds. Wingspan was 32 feet, and the bi- once have we found a useful discussion of the pros and
plane configuration gave a total wing area of 295 square cons of rudder-only tail design. Many early planes used
feet. This large area in turn gave the quite low wing- this design, too. From what we can put together from
loading of 5.3 pounds per square foot to help the ship to the few brief mentions we have encountered, it appears
that rudder-only tails offer light, quick, and powerful rescore well in the takeoff and obstruction-clearing tests.
But luck plays a large part in every competition. sponse, which is good for aerobatic and fighting aircraft.


Note carefully the stub wing on this Avian III of 1928. Wheels moved aft as wings were folded to compensate for
aft shift of center of gravity. Thin wing airfoil prompted use of thicker auto fuel tank mounted in center section.
But these qualities also appear to make keeping
a steady course in long cross-country flights an attention-demanding and therefore tiring proposition.
Wing dihedral and vertical tail work together to provide whatever directional stability a particular plane
might or might not have.
Visualize a plane flying in turbulent air, and suppose
that a gust comes toward the plane from the right. Dihedral on that side thus tries to raise the right wing, so,
of course, the left one goes down and the plane then
wants to turn to the left. But the same gust also presses
on the right side of the vertical tail and pushes the tail to
the left. That, of course, will tend to turn the nose to the
right, thus countering the planes turning to the left.
A plane with rudder only must wait for the pilot to
sense what is happening to the plane and then feed
corrective pressure into the controls.
A vertical fin of any useful size will, on the other
hand, come into automatic and immediate action to
do the same thing. As soon as Avro Avians begin to

make long-distance flights, tails were quickly changed

to the fin-and-rudder configuration. With the passage
of time, wind tunnel testing and mathematical analysis gave designers tools for calculating the interaction
between dihedral and vertical fin while a new plane is
still on the drawing board.
When evaluating any particular airplane, we have to
try to put ourselves into its designers circumstances.
Avro wanted large wing area for the Lympne Avian
but at the same time very much wanted the plane to
be as slight as reasonably possible. Obviously no plane
docile enough for training use and powered with a
60-hp engine could go fast enough to make the drag
of biplane wings a serious matter. But the very efficient
bracing trusswork possible with the biplane configuration would permit them to design wings of large area
but light weight.
Spruce used by European airplane builders had to
come to them from the very distant Pacific Northwest.
Although the Avians upper and lower wings would re-

This is a Whittelsey Avian manufactured in 1929 at Bridgeport, Connecticut. American models did not have the
wing-folding feature, so straight landing gear shock struts passed through holes built into wings. Handley Page
automatic slots are clearly seen on top wing.
24 DECEMBER 2011

Top left - wings were made to easily fold back for storage; dashed line indicates folded position. Lower left - note
generous gap between lower and upper wings. Upper right - easily built subassemblies went together to form
fuselage. Lower right - dotted line shows aft movement of landing wheels that took place automatically as the
wings were folded.
quire a total of eight spars, compared to the four required
for a pair of monoplane wings, each one could be made
from raw stock of modest and therefore easily obtained
and economical dimensions. So again the biplane configuration made sense. Although homely looking to modern eyes, the squared-off wingtips of the original Avian
also made production sense, since they avoided the need
to make special tip rubs and four wingtip bows. And it
was considered that on so slow a plane, their aerodynamic dirtiness would not be a serious drawback.
The reason only a small amount of stagger was used
between upper and lower wings had to do with the
fact that one of the contest rules required each entrant
to pass through a dummy garage door for storage.
Wings of small monoplanes could quickly be made
detachable, but thats not so easy to do with biplane
wings because of their struts and tie rods. So obviously
the new Avian would have to have folding wings. Very
little stagger could be used for the sake of keeping top
and bottom wing root pivot pins in line with one another. But the small amount of stagger that was used
did have the effect of keeping the tips of the lower
wings from touching ground when folded back and
also keeping them clear of the horizontal tail surfaces.
To help compensate for the loss of lift caused by air
being compressed slightly between upper and lower
wings, plenty of gap, or separation, was used. As the
Avian was not a particularly large plane, the somewhat
high mounting of the upper wing also facilitated entry
and exit from the front cockpit.
Lindberghs memorable flight from New York to






Top left - aircraft have used both stationary and automatic-opening wing slots. Note track and rollers in the automatic installation here. Lower left, careful design and testing goes into tailoring sot action to suit a particular
planes needs. Above right - Airflow at high angle of attack without and with slots.
Paris in 1927 boosted aviation enthusiasm in Europe
as much as it did in America. By early 1928 Avro had
upgraded the Avian to make it less of a contest entry
and more of a general-purpose ship. The Genet engine
was replaced with the 80-hp, four-inline Cirrus engine. Wingspan was reduced from 32 to 28 feet, which
brought wing area down to 244 square feet to increase
wing loading and reduce skittishness on windy days.
Some Avians were fitted with Handley Page automatic slots on the leading edges of their upper wings.
At high angles of attack they would pop open, maintain
smooth airflow over a substantial proportion of the top
sides of the upper wings, and thus get away from the
often vicious and crash-causing stall characteristics of
many planes of the 1920s. A lot of engineering and test
flying went into designing slots of this type to get them
to open at the right time. During more severe maneuvers, the slot on one wing would pop open while the
one on the opposite wing remained closed. The resulting unbalance could give a pilot a bad time. So most of
these installations were fitted with slot-locking devices
for use when deliberate aerobatic flight was planned.
Some Handley Page slot installations made use of
track-and-roller arrangements, while others used parallelogram-linkage arrangements. The fixed slots seen on
a few American light aircraft of the 1940s were simpler
and cheaper to manufacture and were used to maintain even airflow over aileron top surfaces or to cure
vicious tip-stall tendencies.
The new Avian strongly resembled the de Havilland Gipsy Moth, but it was not a copy. Remember, it
originated as a Lympne contest entry. There were other
British light biplanes that closely resembled the Moth
and Avian. And its easy to find look-alikes in books
on American airplanes. The Moth-Avian look-alike
situation is probably the outcome of various designers
thinking about how best to design a light training biplane to use the Cirrus engine.
Where the improved Avian had nicely rounded wing-

26 DECEMBER 2011

tips, the Moth had World War I style raked tips. These
had been shown to be aerodynamically poor, but had
the practical advantage of putting as much aileron area
as far out on the wings as possible. So strong roll control
could be had even though there were only two ailerons.
Mounting them on the lower wings simplified connecting them to the cockpit controls in folding-wing planes.
The Moth had the familiar de Havilland kidneyshaped tail surface outlines. The Avian had a triangular-shaped vertical tail with rounded rudder top, and
rectangular horizontal surfaces. Because the leading
and trailing edges were parallel to one another, all ribs
were alikeprobably another production economy.
An Avro employee devised an improved wing-folding
system. An accompanying photo shows an Avian with
its right wings folded. The stub wings, which sprouted
from the bottom of the fuselage, were of triangular
shape. Rear landing gear struts were attached to rear
spars outboard from the root fittings. The resulting
geometry caused the wheels to move aft as the wings
were folded, so the planes tail end would not then be
so objectionably heavy to lift for handling when on
the ground. At the same time, the fuselage nose was
lowered enough to afford much better access to the engines exposed overhead valve mechanism.
Although less numerous than the de Havilland
Moths, Avians were well-known and often seen in
England. Many were shipped abroad and were thus
common in such places as Canada and Australia. In
1929 Avians were built under license in America by the
Whittelsey Manufacturing Company at Bridgeport,
Connecticut, but this company soon folded under the
growing impact of the Depression, which followed the
stock market crash in October of that year.
Studying old airplanes is both fun and educational.
We gain a new respect for the intelligence and cleverness of old-time designers. And now, get your leather
jacket, helmet, and goggles out of the closet, because
next month were going flying in an Avro Avian!

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Tail Wheel Installations


n the beginning of civil aviation in the United States, most

aircraft were equipped with
a tailskid, with no brakes on
the main landing gear. That was
an adequate arrangement for the
airports of the era, because there
were no hard surfaces on which
to take off and land. In 1927, mechanical brakes, which worked individually from the cockpit, were
beginning to appear when the

28 DECEMBER 2011

Guggenheim Safe Aircraft Competition was announced that same

year. A requirement of the competition was called stick and unstick. The stick portion required
that an aircraft approach to land
over a 50-foot obstacle and stop in
the shortest distance possible. This
required brakes to be installed, and
most were mechanically operated
by a cable from the cockpit. The
tailskid was still in wide use at the

time, and there was no need to

change to a tail wheel.
A side-view sketch from the Aircraft
Yearbook of the Command-Aire 5C3
showing a typical tailskid is shown in
Illustration 1. This type of aircraft was
entered in the Safe Aircraft Competition and scored the highest of any
stock-configured ship. It was flown
by J. Carroll Cone and featured mechanical brakes installed at the factory in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In this aircraft the tailskid was simply a steel leaf spring, hardened by
heat-treating and attached to a cross
member of the aft fuselage. On the
end of the skid a shoe was attached
that had a rib welded fore and aft
through the middle to aid in keeping
the aircraft in the desired direction
on the runway. This arrangement was
widely used until hard-surface run-

ways began to appear, thus making

the tailskid useless. Some types of
wheel arrangements had to be adapted
in place of the shoe arrangement.
Enter the tail wheel, which comes in
many sizes and shapes.
Illustrations 2 and 3 are extracted
from a 1946 Air Associates aviation
supply catalog. Number 19 shows an
array of tail wheel installations for light

aircraft of the day, from Aeronca to

Taylorcraft. The most popular was the
steerable and full-swivel tail wheels,
which required a steering arm that was
attached to the rudderpost. Illustration
3 shows three typical steering arms for
light aircraft. Im sure youll wish for
the 1946 prices for these parts. Some
arms were made of aluminum, and
some were made of cast steel.




With the evolution of tail wheels

there became a need for brakes. The
first systems were of the mechanical
drum type, similar to the automotive brakes of the era. Hydraulic systems were later used to actuate the
shoes into contact with the wheel
drums. Illustration 4 shows typical
wheels and brakes of the era.
Perhaps one of the most popular steerable tail wheels is the Scott
3200 pneumatic steerable and fullswivel assembly. These units were
installed by the Cessna factory on
180 and 185 models and are large
enough to carry the heavier tail
loads on higher gross-weight ships.
In the early days of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), tail
wheel installations could be easily field-approved, and many kits
were sold that would fit particular
aircraft. The pneumatic Scott 3200
and 3400 tail wheels are very rugged and reliable. Cessna used the
model 3200 on its L-19 Bird Dog,
which operated in and out of some
very rough airstrips.
When adapting a tail wheel to an
aircraft, care must be taken to ensure that the installation is done in
accordance with the manufacturers
recommendations. This is particu-

30 DECEMBER 2011

larly true with this tail wheel.

In Illustration 5, the steering
arm (8) mounts to the fork (11),
and when the assembly is attached to the
spring, the steering
arm must be parallel
to the ground when
the aircraft is loaded.
If it is not parallel,
poor steering and an
unwanted shimmy
will result. Illustration
4 is a diagram showing proper mounting
of the tail wheel to
the airplanes spring.
Beside the Scott
and Maule pneumatic tail wheels,
other types were
adapted for use on
certain aircraft that
either had a tailskid
or a very early wheel
i n s t a l l a t i o n . Ta i l
wheels from such
production aircraft
as the Cessna UC-78,
Boeing Stearman PT13/-17, Ryan PT-22,
Fairchild PT-19, and
other types with sim-

ilar gross weights were adapted.

Thats been done for a number of
years with FAA field approval.
For any steerable tail wheel, it
must follow the rudder movement
in a positive motion. To check for
this, raise the aft fuselage and place
it on a stand so the tail wheel clears
the floor. Streamline the rudder by
moving the rudder pedals to the
neutral position in the cockpit, and
then check for rudder neutral position in line with the vertical fin.
The tail wheel should be tracking
straight; if not, adjust it. Move the
rudder left and right and observe if
the tail wheel follows. Since the tail
wheel is attached to the rudder via a
pair of chains and springs, they can
be adjusted to increase tension on
the steering horns on the tail wheel.
Tension just needs to be snug; dont
over- or undertension. When the
rudder is at full left or right travel,
apply some side pressure against the
tail wheel in the opposite direction;
there should be resistance to move-


critical to good performance. The Scott installation on
my Command-Aire is shown in detail in Illustration 7.
It is extremely important that, with the aircraft at gross
weight, the tail wheel assembly is mounted so the steering arm is parallel to the ground.
Modification of the tail wheel assembly requires a
FAA Form 337 asa field approval of a major alteration.
Owners and restorers need to pay close attention to
the tail wheel to make sure it is installed and operates
correctly. If it doesnt work properly, the results can
be catastrophic.

ment because of spring pressure.
Some aircraft use cables or an adjustable push-pull
rod for steering. The check is the same to make sure
the tail wheel follows the rudders movement.
Tail wheels are made from solid rubber or are pneumatic. Because there is a certain amount of give to it,
the pneumatic assembly is more forgiving on rough surfaces. However, if air pressure is allowed to get too low,
the tire can spin on the wheel, shearing off the inner
tube valve stem. Maintaining proper pressure is a must
when it comes to the pneumatic tail wheel. Illustration
6 shows the early restoration stage of my Command-Aire
5C3. The tail wheel installation was made using a Scott
3200 assembly as found on the Cessna L-19 Bird Dog.
Steering should always be accomplished by using a
rudder arm attached to the lower portion of the rudder.
Never attach steering cables to the rudder horns. Most
tail wheels incorporate springs, so the sensitivity of
steering can be adjusted. The more pull on the springs,
the more sensitive the steering as the pilot moves the
rudder pedals. Steering should be adjusted to be positive but not overpowering. With the Scott system, this
adjustment is easy.
The Scott 3200 tail wheel should be installed in accordance with data supplied by the factory. The angle
at which the assembly is mounted to the leaf spring is

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BY Steve Krog, CFI

Short-Field Operations, Part 2

n part 1 on our series concerning short-field landings,

we discussed two methods for
making safe short-field landings. Now lets add one more factor
to the equation and look at making
a short-field landingover a 50foot obstacle!
Unless you fly from a private strip
with obstacles at one or both ends,
you may not have even attempted
a short-field landing over a 50-foot
obstacle since your sport, private,
or commercial checkride eons ago.
Can you recall the last time you actually tried one?
The short-field obstacle landing is not difficult, but it does take
some practice to perform this landing safely and skillfully. Practicing these landings and increasing
your proficiency may be the difference between a safe uneventful
landing and a bent and broken airplane when attempting a landing
at someones private strip someday.
How many times have you read an
NTSB accident report stating that
while flying in VMC, the pilot attempted to land on a friends private
airstrip? After realizing the landing
was too long, the pilot attempted
to plant the airplane and apply
heavy brake action, only to find
himself or herself upside down! Ive
read a number of these accident reports over the years, and with regard as to how and why it happens,
it doesnt seem to make any difference in the amount of flight time
the pilot has accumulated.

32 DECEMBER 2011

When either teaching this landing

or asking for it to be demonstrated
during a flight review, Ive identified
three common weaknesses:
Inability to judge height.
Inability to establish and/or
maintain airspeed.
Lack of familiarity with the airplane (i.e., comfort level).

How many
times have you
read an NTSB
accident report
stating that
while flying
in VMC, the
pilot attempted
to land on a
friends private

Inability to Judge Height

All pilotsyoung or old, experienced or inexperiencedlook to
the sky as soon as stepping outdoors. We learned early in our
training how to identify types of
clouds and weather associated with
each. We also learned, with a little
practice, to generally judge cloud
heights. How many times have you
walked from your car or truck in
your workplace parking lot, looked
up, and mumbled, This would be a
good day to fly!
Why is it then that when looking
up we can judge cloud bases within a
few feet, but when asked to demonstrate a 50-foot obstacle landing, we
have no clue as to what 50 feet looks
like when looking downward toward
the approach end of the runway?
Over the years of my acquired
experience providing primar y
flight instruction, Ive developed a
method for teaching 50-foot obstacle short-field landings.
After a brief preflight discussion
describing the procedures for making this type of landing, well go out
and put these procedures into practice. Ill first have the student demonstrate what he or she believes to
be the correct way for making this
landing. Without fail, we will cross
the runway threshold (where our
simulated 50-foot obstacle is located) and be anywhere from 250
to 500 feet above the runway. As we
initiate a go-around, Ill ask the student to call out our altitude. Lets
say, for the sake of example, the

student calls out 1,450 feet.

While climbing out and flying
the pattern, Ill ask what the field
elevation is at our airport, and the
response is always 1,070 feet. Now
add 50 feet and what do you get?
Unless the student is quite young
and is still attending school where
math is no longer taught, the answer will be 1,120 feet. That is the
altitude we need to clear then. Now
add an additional 50 feet to that
amount for instrument lag, 1,170
feet, and that is the altitude to strive
toward on the next approach.
Additionally, for the next three
or four landings, I will verbally call
out our altitude above the obstacle as we descend on base and final legs. This method seems to help
the student better grasp how high
he or she is at any given point. You
might try this method yourself if
you havent practiced an obstacle
landing in a while.

Inability to Establish and/or

Maintain Airspeed
Up to this point most student pilots, as well as established pilots,
have developed a skill level for establishing correct airspeeds for the
approach and landing in their particular airplane. For the sake of discussion, lets say the airplane were
flying uses the following speeds: 80
mph after reducing power on downwind, 70 mph on base leg, 65 mph
after turning final, and 60 mph on
short final. If a student, or seasoned
pilot, understands and practices
attitude flying, these speeds will
be common on every approach to
land without ever having to look at
the airspeed indicator.
However, throw in the 50-foot
obstacle, and airspeed control
wildly fluctuates. If it appears to the
pilot that were too high, oftentimes
the nose is pitched downward and
our airspeed is reading 90 mph and
increasing. The obstacle is cleared,
but now it will take 2,500 feet of
runway to get on the ground and
stopped1,500 feet more than we
allowed for this maneuver. Or, if it
appears that were too low, the nose

is pitched upward and some power

is added. More often than not, the
power added is enough to easily
clear the obstacle, but were hovering dangerously close to either
a stall or, at the very least, a rapid
descent to the runway. In this scenario the power is then chopped,
the obstacle is cleared, the landing
is very short, but the airplane may
not be usable again without first repairing the landing gear.
The more correct method is to
stabilize the approach speed and
rate of descent. Then after turning
final, pick an aim point 300-500
feet beyond the approach end of
the runway. Continue the stabilized approach and add or reduce
power as needed to compensate for
the effect of the wind. Once you
can see that the 50-foot obstacle
can be cleared, slowly reduce power,
which will slightly increase the rate
of descent. Level off and begin your
flare. While doing so, simultaneously reduce your power to idle.
Upon touching down, continue to
hold the yoke or control stick in
the full aft position and gently apply even brake action. A few more
practice landings, and youll soon
have the short-field obstacle landing safely and skillfully mastered.

Lack of Familiarity With Your

Airplane (i.e., Comfort Level)
When first practicing obstacle landings, one of the fears that
students express is getting the airspeed too slow and approaching a
near stall. Its a common fear, but it
can easily be overcome by getting
more familiar with the airplane being flown.
In part 1 of Short-Field Operations, I suggested several exercises
that a pilot might do to develop a
confident, safe feel for the airplane
being flown. First, at a safe altitude,
align your aircraft with a road (our
simulated runway). Reduce the
power to idle while maintaining
the desired constant airspeed that
you should normally use on final
approach to land. Burn the nose attitude image firmly in your brain so

that you never need to look at your

airspeed. Try this maneuver several
times. The trim system can be a pilots best friend, sometimes especially when landing. Use it to help
stabilize the desired attitude.
Next, do the same exercise over
the road, but this time experiment
by first adding and then reducing
power. How much can you slow
your rate of descent down when
adding 200 rpm while still maintaining a constant airspeed plus 5
mph? This maneuver is especially
good for developing the skills
needed to make consistently safe
short-field obstacle landings.
Judging altitude, controlling airspeed, and knowing your airplane
are essential to being able to perform short-field obstacle landings
safely. The next time you decide to
go flying for fun and pleasure, challenge yourself and try the exercises
Ive mentioned.
With a little practice, youll be
able to turn onto final, maintain
a constant airspeed, and be in full
control of your rate of descent. If
needed, a forward slip can be established for a couple of seconds dissipating the remaining altitude, then
aligning the airplane with the centerline, establishing the flare, and
smoothly touching down while reducing whatever power remains.
Most of the classic airplanes we
fly today need little more than
500-800 feet to land. Allowing for
obstacle clearance, a distance of
1,000-1,200 feet is about average
for an obstacle landing with little
or no help from the wind.

Take the Challenge

A pilot striving to be a better,
more skilled pilot becomes a safer
pilot. And isnt that a goal for all of
us who enjoy general-aviation pleasure flying?
Next time you decide to make
a pleasure flight after work or
on Saturday morning, challenge
yourself and try a couple of simulated obstacle landings. They are
both skill-enhancing as well as



This months Mystery Plane comes to us courtesy of Wes Smith.
It is of North American origin.
Send your answer to
EAA, Vintage Airplane, P.O.
Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI
54903-3086. Your answer
needs to be in no later than
January 10 for inclusion
in the March 2012 issue of
Vintage Airplane.
You can also send your response via e-mail. Send your
answer to mysteryplane@eaa.
org. Be sure to include your
name plus your city and
state in the body of your
note and put (Month) Mystery Plane in the subject


ur September Mystery
Plane came to us from
W. Duffy Thompson of
Lakeland, Florida. It was of foreign manufacture, but the photo
was taken on the East Coast of the
United States. Heres our first answer, from Wes Smith of Springfield, Illinois:
What an interesting photo of
one of my favoritesthe Aeroplanes
Hanriot et Cie HD.1 (HD standing
for Hanriot Dupont. The manufacturer being Rene Hanriot, a preWorld War I Darracq racecar driver,
pilot and aircraft builder, and the
designer, Pierre Dupont). I strongly
suspect that the Vintage Airplane HD.1 is the imported aircraft that Charles Nungesser
used on his 1924-25 American tour (see below). I first heard
of the HD.1 way back in late 1968, when I bought a copy of
Kenneth Munsons book Fighters 1914-18. Three years later
I got a copy of Willy Coppens autobiography Flying in Flanders, and in 1972, Jack Bruces Warplanes of the First World
War: Fighters, Volume 5 was published. That had to do until

34 DECEMBER 2011

Dr. Davilla and Arthur Soltan wrote French Aircraft of the

First World War. Jack Bruce did Windsock Datafile No. 12:
Hanriot HD.1 in 1988, and Gregory Alegi did another on the
HD.1/2 (Datafile No. 92) in 2002. I would be remiss if I also
didnt mention Jon Guttmans Balloon-Busting Aces of World
War 1, published just a few years ago.
Aside from Belgium, the United States, and Italy (where 831

HD.1s were built under license by Societa Nieuport-Macchi,

during the war, and 70 were delivered in 1919, Hanriot built
only 100 HD.1s), it was also used by Paraguay (3), and Switzerland (16), through the 20s. In addition to the 26 HD.2s
purchased by the U.S. Navy, the HD.2 floatplane (hydravion)
variant was also used by the French aviation maritime (30)
and was flown off turret-launching platforms from the Courbet class battleship Paris. This was accomplished by LV Guierre off Toulon on 26 October 1918. The same thing was done
by the U.S. Navy, which flew them off turret platforms fitted to
the battleship USS Texas (BB-35) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
in the spring of 1919 (also the cruiser USS Mississippi). The
first American turret-launched flight took place in a Sopwith
F.1 Camel flown by the legendary U.S. Navy World War I ace
David S. Ingalls; flying off the No. 2 turret platform of the USS
Texas on 10 March 1919. Of course, the British Royal Naval
Air Service was the first to use this method of launching aircraft
at sea. During World War I, the U.S. Navy HD.2s were flown
from Dunkerque Naval Air Station as escort fighters for DonnetDenhaut flying boats. Postwar, the HD.2s were used as armed
fighter trainers. The floats were removed, and experiments were
conducted with skids (French), hydrovanes, and floatation bags.
According to French Aircraft of the First World War (p
275), after the undercarriages were fitted to laviation maritime HD.2s, heavier tail skids were also retrofitted, and the rudders were modified la the HD.1. On HD.2s, a 130 hp Clerget
9b replaced the 110-120 hp Le Rhone 9Jb of the HD.1 (Italian
machines list the hp at 10 hp less than the French). Postwar,
the French Hanriots replaced the Clerget with a 130 hp Salmson
radial. French HD.2s fitted with undercarriages may have been
designated as the HD.2C. Italian-built HD.1s had a slightly
shorter span set of wings and a slightly greater height. The lower
power of Le Rhones on Italian HD.1s contributed to a lower
performance. When fitted with the original larger rudder of the
HD.2 floatplane, the length of the landplane went from 5.85
meters to 5.94 meters. The span remained the same at 8.7 meters, but the height of the HD.2 landplane was slightly increased
to 2.59 meters (2.94 meters for the HD.1 and 2.5 meters for the
Nieuport-Macchi-built airframes). The wing area of the HD.2
was slightly increased to 18.9 square meters over 18.2 square
meters for the HD.1 (17.5 square meters for Italian HD.1s). The
speed of the HD.2 landplane was 180 km/hour, roughly comparable to the 186 km/hour maximum of French HD.1s, and 183
km/hour for Italian airframes. The empty weight of the HD.2
was 410 kilograms (400 kilograms French, 410 kilograms Italian). The loaded weight was significantly higher at 710 kilograms, an increase of 105 kilograms more than French HD.1s,
and 110 kilograms heavier than Italian HD.1s. Float-equipped
HD.2s were naturally longer and higher (7.0 meters and 3.10
meters, respectively) and were heavier (425 kilograms empty,
723 kilograms loaded). Curiously, the wing area was less at
18.2 square meters. The speed was approximately the same at
182 km/hour. The ceiling was about 1,000 meters less than the
HD.1, being 4,800 meters (the HD.2 landplane was only 5,000
meters), but the climb to 2,000 meters was about the same at 6
minutes 30 seconds (6 minutes 3 seconds for French HD.1s and
6 minutes 40 seconds for Italian). Range of the HD.2 avion and

hydravion was 300 kilometers, while the HD.1 had an endurance of 2.5 hours (cruise speeds unknown).
Page 98 of Lucien Morareaus Les Aeronefs de lAviation
Maritime 1910-1942 has a photo of an HD.2 landplane (terrestre) of lecole de chasse de Frejuis, taken at St. Raphel in
1926, which has a modified vertical fin and rudder (or an
HD.1 replacement). Page 22 of Bruces Windsock has a photo
of Francis Lombardis Italian HD.1, fitted with a Fiat A.50 radial (I-PASO). It was flown as late as 1944. The caption goes
on to state that the design evolved into the CANSA (Costruzioni Aeronautiche Novaresi S.A.) FL.5 (later, C.5) trainer. There
is an HD.1 in the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon. It was
flown to England from Belgium by Richard Shuttleworth in
1937 and was fully restored by Marvin Hand in the United
States. Several other HD.1s survive. Two examples exist in the
United States, one at the National Naval Aviation Museum
at Pensacola, Florida. Other HD.1s survive in Belgium, Italy,
Switzerland, and Ecuador.
Nungessers HD.1 was brought to the United States in 1924
and was registered as N5934. He flew it in the 1925 film The
Sky Raider. In 1927 it was flown in Wings by James Granger
(Nungesser had since disappeared during his trans-Atlantic
flight attempt). It was used again in Hells Angels in 1930. In
1951 it was rediscovered by Ed Maloney at Clover Field, Santa
Monica, California, where it had been stored. Currently, it resides at the Planes of Fame Museum and is painted with Nuncontinued on page 37


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Geoff Robison
1521 E. MacGregor Dr.
New Haven, IN 46774

George Daubner
N57W34837 Pondview Ln
Oconomowoc, WI 53066

Steve Nesse
2009 Highland Ave.
Albert Lea, MN 56007

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106 Tena Marie Circle
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85 Brush Hill Road
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7724 Shady Hills Dr.
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375 Killdeer Ct
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P.O. Box 328
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4605 Hickory Wood Row
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635 Vestal Lane
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Phil Coulson
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704 N. Regional Rd.
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Steve Krog
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Robert D. Bob Lumley
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S.H. Wes Schmid
2359 Lefeber Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Robert C. Brauer
9345 S. Hoyne
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Charlie Harris
PO Box 470350
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Gene Chase
2159 Carlton Rd.
Oshkosh, WI 54904

E.E. Buck Hilbert

8102 Leech Rd.
Union, IL 60180

Ronald C. Fritz
15401 Sparta Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330

Gene Morris
5936 Steve Court
Roanoke, TX 76262

John Turgyan
PO Box 219
New Egypt, NJ 08533


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Copyright 2011 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: Membership to Vintage Aircraft Association, which includes 12 issues of Vintage Airplane magazine,
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36 DECEMBER 2011

continued from page 35


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gessers distinctive skull, candles and

coffin personal insignia, which it wore
during his display tourand was used
during his days as a pilot in World War
I. The serial number of this aircraft is not
known, but it is interesting that the personal insignia has yet to be applied to the
aircraft as depicted in the Vintage Airplane photo.
United States Navy and Marine
Corps Fighters 1918-1962 (Paul R.
Matt and Bruce Robertson. Harleyford
Pub.) and Peter M. Bowers United
States Navy Aircraft Since 1911 (Putnam) have additional photos of U.S.
Navy Hanriot Duponts.
Gregory Alegis Windsock Datafile
has a highly interesting photo of an HD.1
(I-EBBO) taking off from the uncompleted
CNA hangar at Romes Littorio airport in
1928. It is shown just outside the hangar, already flying, taking off from a ramp
that runs back into the hangar! According
to Alegi, the pilot, Giangiacomo Chiesi,
often liked to carry a gun in his Hanriot
in order to shoot ducks while flying. As astonishing as this seems, this practice was
not unique. Hubert Latham et. al. did the
same thing long before World War I.
An excerpt from the letter sent by
Tom Lymburn, of Princeton, Minnesota, adds:
Although comparing favorably with
the Sopwith Pup for maneuverability, the
HD.1 was not ordered in quantity by the
French Aviation Militaire. It was undergunned with only one Vickers, so it did
not have the hitting power of the Spad
XIII. Powered by Le Rhone or Clerget rotary engines, the HD.1 had a top speed
of 115 mph and a ceiling of more than
20,000 feet. If it had been capable of carrying two Vickers guns without the weight
penalty, it probably would have been
built in greater numbers.
And a wonderful surprise from
member Eric Pinion of Hialeah Gardens, Florida:
I guess I am a bit late to reply, but I
have a good excuse: I was busy building
an airplane that looks just like this one!
The picture is of a Hanriot HD.1, a
WWI single-seat fighter that would have
been built in Boulogne-Billancourt, France,
by Hanriot or by Nieuport-Macchi in Italy.
The D in the HD designation stands for

Dupont, the last name of the designing engineer that contributed to the rebirth of the
company from 1916. Bibliography refers
to 1,200 of them built with many finding
their way after the war into civilian use in
Europe, North America, and South America; only six genuine survive today.
A number of HD.2 versions were built
for the French and U.S. Navy primarily
as hydroplanes, but they were often retrofitted to wheels; their engine, a Clerget 130 hp rotary instead of a Le Rhone
9J of 110 hp, a different machine gun
arrangement, and different cowling
face were the main external difference
between the HD.1 and HD.2; unfortunately, the Mystery Plane picture does
not show these details. For instance the
Hanriot preserved at Planes of Fame in
Chino, California, is a HD.2 model.
Other correct answers were received
from Wayne Muxlow, Minneapolis,
Minnesota; Jim Gevay, Circle Pines,
Minnesota; Roger Baker, Carlsbad, California; and Renald Fortier, Ottawa,
Ontario, Canada, who reminded us
that another photo and a brief history of the HD-2 for use by the Navy is
shown on the website www.NavSource.


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A Little Smooth Air

by S. Michelle Souder

recious and few are the

moments we two can
share . . . . Those words
from a popular song on
the charts in 1972 pretty much sum
up my flying this time of year.
The days are short now. No stealing a quick flight before dark on the
way home anymore. Night flight is
cold and carries the threat of deer
on the runway. Thats a chance
meeting I prefer to avoid.
For the next few months I am left
with weekends for flying, and pray
that the weather is good. Our part of
the east has had a frustrating amount
of marginal weather for little airplanes this yearexcept on weekdays when Im at work. Of course.
I suppose I can be called a wimp on
occasion. The much-loved airplane
that has my name on the registration

38 DECEMBER 2011

weighs around 900 pounds. Its short,

fat wings seem to locate all the unstable air easily. At this point in my
life I fly for fun. I can opt out of gusty
or marginal VFR days if I choose. Besides, the airplane is 62 years old. It
deserves to be flown with respect,
not needlessly thrashed.
On the silver-lining side, however, early winter does provide
more chances to ride some still air.
When the windsock is motionless,
and the clouds are not moving, its
just got to be good.
Like young animals that become
playful in cool temperatures, the
airplane responds readily when it
breathes in the denser air. You can
almost hear it say, Lets go! The
sluggish summer performance is
abated for a few months.
In the rare gift of no-wind con-

ditions, plane and pilot blend together as if one entity in flight.

Each control input is true. The aircraft response is honest. No compensation is needed to counter the
unseen weather forces. At last
just pure, unadulterated flight
and for a few moments the feeling
of total satisfaction.
Winter will bring its unpleasantness soon enough. Cold, wet misery
will show its snowy face and prevent time aloftagain. For now I
will dress warmly. I will revel in the
fiery pinks and oranges on my wing
struts as they shine in the sunset. I
will marvel at the long shadows as
I watch the farmland pass beneath
me. I will take in the peacefulness
and let it soothe my soul.
I will oh-so enjoy the smooth

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Black-Adult size 9-11 5266140703093

Black-Adult size 10-13 5266140704093

Grey-Adult size 9-11

Grey -Adult size 10-13 5266140704091

Lavender-Adult size 9-11

Lavender -Adult size 10-13 5266140704070

MA1 Flight Jacket


With Vintage logo on front, this jacket is warm and comfortable

during the winter season. The sage green color is attractive and
practical for the many activities of a seriously-fun aviator!

Silk Aviators Scarf


Wrap around your neck the comfort of silk with the historic look of
aviation. O-white scarf is screened with the VAA logo.
One size

Aviator Goggles


Beautifully crafted British style goggles protect your eyes when

ying in those vintage open air cockpits. Also handy for many fun
winter and summer activities.
Adjustable 5266155000000

B-15A Bomber Jacket


Warm khaki color jacket with a removable faux

fur collar.
Med 5265697303082
XL 5265697305082
Large 5265697304082
2X 5265697306082

Winter Fleece Set for Children

This hat, scarf,
and mitten set is the
softest winter wear
your child can have to
keep warm while
enjoying the outdoors.
Black color is perfect
for wearing with any
colored coat. Sized for
youths 2 to 5 years of age.
Telephone Orders: 800-843-3612
From US and Canada (All Others Call 920-426-5912)
*Shipping and handling NOT included. Major credit cards accepted.
WI residents add 5% sales tax.

Flight Cap

$36.95* Fleece lined with VAA logo.

Sm Sage
Md Sage
Lg Sage


Sm Brown 5265341502084
Md Brown 5265341503084
Lg Brown 5265341504084