Vintage Airplane - May 2007

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Together we move forward

Spring has now finally arrived in the
Midwest. This, of course, is a welcome
event that has finally, thank goodness,
brought that long, cold winter of '07 to
an everlasting end, although as I write
this, a massive winter storm is bearing
down on the East Coast! I am trying
to be optimistic about the weather in
May, hoping that we will see a dramatic
change over what we experienced so
far in April. I am writing this month's
column just days before the beginning
of the Sun ' n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland,
Florida, and I just hung the phone up
with a friend in Albert Lea, Minnesota,
and he said the area is expecting up to
10 inches of snow yet tonight. I also just
received an e-mail from Oshkosh and
was told it was snowing there again at
this very moment.
The big debate on the new FM fund­
ing initiatives we have been hearing so
much about of late continues inside the
beltway in Washington, D.C. Key mem­
bers of Congress seem to continue to
be successful in debunking the FAA's
plan and properly labeling it as mostly
dysfunctional. I will reserve my final re­
marks on this important issue for when
this debate finally comes to an end and
we have a clearer vision of what devel­
ops or, hopefully, what fails to develop
in the way of additional user fees for
general aviation.
Change, whether we're talking about
the weather or additional challenges to
our rights to freedom of flight, is ever­
lasting. That principal also applies to
this great organization fondly known to
us all as the Vintage Aircraft Association.
Some six months ago the leadership of
EAA and the VAA agreed in principal
that the business arrangement between
our organizations (that's EAA's three di­

visions, the affiliate [NAFI], and the two
councils) does not function well. The
worst of the matter is the fact that we are
not doing a good job of providing the
membership with an appropriate level
of satisfaction. We know this thanks to
some comprehensive survey work done
by EM, and by comments and requests
sent to us from the membership.
Having collectively recognized that
fact, it truly is time for some change. We
are working toward real changes that
will positively impact our members' sat­
isfaction with EAA, as well as all of the
divisions and all of the affiliated special­
interest groups that exist under the flag
of EM.
The process was begun by all of the
division and special-interest groups in
conjunction with EAA. We prepared a
list of issues that we felt were the most
relevant and critical to improving our
ability to deliver the benefits and pro­
grams our members expect. We came to
realize just how convoluted a process it
can be to do any kind of business with
the EM, from becoming a member of
the organization to renting a display
booth during the convention. I'm sure
many of you have been part of compa­
nies that experienced growing pains as­
sociated with growth, and that's what
we're coming to grips with at EAA. By
carefully evaluating where we can gain
efficiencies in EAA's processes, we'll be
able to match our processes to theirs
and positively impact the quality of the
relationship between these organiza­
tions and our members.
This effort is being worked on aggres­
sively, and we hope to have an action
plan in place so we can realize some
gains starting early next year. What
kind of changes are we talking about?

That's still a little difficult to quantify
at this moment. But what is interest­
ing to point out at this juncture is the
fact that the leadership of EM and all
the different divisions and affiliated
special-interest groups are communicat­
ing at an all-new and refreshing level.
The makeup of the leadership represent­
ing all of the different divisions and the
affiliated special-interest groups is rep­
resentative of some of the very best vol­
unteer leadership ever to be assembled.
Be assured, these are not simple is­
sues we as an organization are facing. In
a lot of ways a great deal of these pro­
posed changes have the potential to not
only enhance our following, but also
address a large number of the offerings
that an association of this type should
be routinely providing to its member­
ship. And that's potentially the most
exciting part of this initiative. So, stick
with us and come along for the ride. I
truly believe we are prepared to move
forward to a much stronger and effec­
tive organization in the near future. I'll
continue to keep you posted on our
progress in the months ahead.
Remember, now is the time to begin
planning your journey to EM AirVen­
ture. We promise you an experience un­
matched anywhere else in aviation.
EM AirVenture Oshkosh 2007-The
World's Greatest Aviation Celebration­
coming July 23-29,2007.
VAA is about participation: Be a
member! Be a volunteer! Be there!
Let's all pull in the same direction for
the good of aviation. Remember, we are
better together. Join us and have it all.

VOL. 35, NO.5


M A y


I Fe

Straight & Level
Together we move forward
by Geoff Robison






Restoration Corner
Steve Wittman on taxi tests, firs t flig ht, and debugging
by Norm Petersen


Just "Plane" Tommy
Th e story of the Thom as-Morse Aircraft Corporation
Part I
by Al Kelch


Th e Flying Pemberton Family
Like fa ther, like son, like son
by Sparky Ba rnes Sargent


DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver
Ma king a silk purse out of a ... ?
by Budd Davisson


Mystery Plane Extra
Th e Bristol Prier
by Wesley Smith


Th e Vintage Instructor
by Doug Stewart


Pass It to Buck
by Buck Hilbert


Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy




Classified Ads


FRONT COVER: With the sun glinting off the polished valve tubes and silver painted cylinders.

Doug DeVries' de Havilland Beaver shows just how nice one of aviation's workhorses can be when

it is given a pampered "retirement." While no longer hauling passengers and freight for a living,

its outstanding capabilities are now being used by Doug and his family and friends to explore the

world . EAA photo by Bonnie Kratz, EAA photo plane flown by Bruce Moore.

BACK COVER: The Rying Pemberton Family flies, among a stable of other fascinating airplanes, this

beautifully finished 450-hp Pratt & Whitney-powered Boeing Stearman 75, the Wendy May. Named

for Addison Pemberton's wife, the number 419 on its cowling helps him remember when her birth­

day is. See the story starting on page 14. Photo by Sparky Barnes Sargent.


EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Director/Editor
Executive Assistant
Managing Editor
ews Editor
Advertising Coordinator
Classified Ad Coordinator
Copy Editor
Director of Advertising

Tom Poberezny
David Hipschman
H.G. Frautschy
Jillian Rooker
Kathleen Witman
Ric Reynolds
Jim Koepnick
Bonnie Kratz
Sue Anderson
Daphene VanHullum
Colleen Walsh
Katrina Bradshaw

Display Advertising Representatives:
Northeast: Allen Murray
Phone 856-220-7180, fAX 856-229-7258, c-Illail: ailelllllflml)[email protected]/sprillg.colfl
Southeast: Chester Baumgarhlt'f

Phone 727-532-4640, FAX 727-532-4630, e-ma il: cballmtl1
Cent ral: Todd Reese
Phone 800-444-993Z, FAX 816-741-6458, e-Illa il: /{)([email protected]·
Moulltain & Pacific: John Gibson
Phone 916-784·9593, e-Illail: ;[email protected]
Europe: Willi Tacke
Phone +4989693402 13, fAX +498969340214, e-Illail: [email protected](







Beach Boys to Make Encore
Performance at World's Greatest
Aviation Celebration
"With warmed up weather let's get to­
gether and do it again."
From "Do it Again" by Brian Wilson/
Mike Love (1968)
AeroShell Square will once again
be rockin' to the sounds of endless
summer on opening day as the Beach
Boys return to perform at EAA Air­
Venture Oshkosh 2007. The legend­
ary inventors of the California surf
sound will appear from 5:30 to 7:30
p.m., free to all AirVenture guests on
Monday, July 23, courtesy of Eclipse
Aviation and Ford Motor Company.
The band thrilled the standing-room­
only crowd last year.
"We're thrilled to welcome the
Beach Boys back to EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh 2007," said EAA President
Tom Poberezny. "Last year's perfor­
mance was definitely one of our ma­
jor highlights and set the stage for a
tremendous convention. We're look­
ing forward to their return and are
thankful to Eclipse and Ford for mak­
ing it happen again."
Like EAA AirVenture, the Beach
Boys are a quintessentially American
original that has gained a devoted in­
ternational following for nearly half a
century. Led by co-founder Mike Love
and longtime band member Bruce
Johnston, the Beach Boys are among
the most recognizable performers in
music history.
The Beach Boys have sold more
than 100 million albums over the past

MAY 2007

four and a half decades. They were in­
ducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame in 1988 and received the Lifetime
Achievement Award from the National
Academy of Recording Arts and Sci­
ences in 2001. In 2006, the band also
celebrated the 40th anniversary of its
groundbreaking album, Pet Sounds.

Movin' Across the Runway
EAA KidVenture setting up shop at
Pioneer Airport
EAA's KidVenture . . . you can't
miss the big white tent right behind
EAA AirVenture Museum , directl y
west of Pioneer Airport. Only begin­
ning this year KidVenture will be lo­
cated on Pioneer Airport.
"We're looking for a fantastic

year ... with our expanded square
footage , " said KidVenture Chair­
man Dan Majka, who coordinates
volunteers from some 25 EAA chap­
ters. A large hangar will offer protec­
tion from the weather for high-tech
equipment. More room will be avail­
able outSide , which means more
space for activities allowing kids to
experience many different aspects
of flight.
Features this year include:
• Flight-training sessions with Na­
tional Association of Flight Instruc­
tors certificated flight instructors.
• Radio-controlled and control­
line air show flying.
• Kids can build and fly their own
balsa gliders in the "skunk works" area
or design an aircraft on the computer
with DaVinci Technologies software.
• KidVenture Heroes Stage returns
with its popular showcase for avia­
tion personalities.
• Learn riveting skills (courtesy of
Van's Aircraft and Avery Tools) and
shape your own propeller (supported
by Hartzell Propeller).
The U.S. Army will return with its 18­
wheeler science laboratory, featuring
physics experiments and cool demon­
strations. Also planned is an unmanned
aerial vehicle on static display.
Andy's Airplane, a KidVenture spon­
sor this year, will feature an interac­
tive video display for younger kids
featuring the new television series

aimed at young children. And Thurs­
day through Sunday, ham radio oper­
ators will set up equipment and allow
kids to communicate with other far­
away operators.
More information about KidVenture
can be fo und at


EM A1rVentu,. Oshkosh Photo Gallery

Speakers, Forums, and
Workshops Galore

Create Your Own
EAA AirVenture Photo Gallery
Get yourself in that "Oshkosh state
of mind" by visiting the new interactive
photo gallery on the EAA AirVenture
website. View selected images from 2006
and 2OOS, and create your own personal
favorites gallery and slide show.
You can also rate the photos you
view. Click for a larger view and see
specific image information, including
the title, name of photographer, and
a brief photo description. Search the
gallery by title, description, file name,
and photographer.
Go to the EM AirVenture Photo Gal­
lery link located at

As of press tim e we're stil l final­
izing the exte nsive speaker, forum,
workshop, and other sched uled ap­
pearances for EAA AirVenture Osh­
kosh 2007, but by the time you read
this, all the details should be ava il­
able at
Schedule your day in advance by
searching the database by personality,
sub ject, time, date, and venue . And
each day during the convention the
up-to-date schedule of events will ap­
pear in AirVenture Today so you can
catch any late changes.

Airlines Offer EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh Discounts
For those not flying into Wittman
Regional Airport or who live too far
to drive to the World's Greatest Avia­
tion Celebration, several airlines are

offering airfare discounts during EM
AirVenture Oshkosh 2007.
The discounted fares are available
courtesy of the participating airlines,
which include American, Midwest,
and Northwest . Discounts are sub­
ject to individual airline restrictions.
For more information , visit www.
Air Venture. org/ 200 7/f/ying/airl ine_

Mooneys Plan Group Arrivals
Traditions stretc hin g from two
years to nearly two decades continue
this year as several airplane groups
are planning mass arr ivals to this
year's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh on
Saturday, July 2l.
The granddaddy of them all, Bo­
nanzas to Oshkosh (B20sh), will
make its 18th group flight from Rock­
ford , Illinois, to EAA AirVenture this

Beecheraft to Celebrate Landmark Year
This year marks the
60th anniversary of
the Beechcraft Model
35 Bonanza and the
75th year since Walter
and Olive Ann Beech
formed the Beech Air­
lliiliiiiiiiiiiiiiiliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilll. craft Corporation . To
commemorate the occasions, the folks at Hawker Beechcraft will sponsor a gathering Sunday evening, July 22, in the North
40, as well as other special activities and exhibits during the week.
Since Sunday before opening day is the traditional night for the annual Bonanzas to Oshkosh party, the B20sh group will
defer its soiree until Wednesday evening in the B20sh group aircraft parking area in the North 40 campground.
To learn more details as they are confirmed , check and


Cessnas arriving at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006.

year. New flight leader Larry Gaines
says 75 aircraft are currently sign ed
up to participate, but he anticipates
100 airplanes this year.
"There's nothing quite as thrilling
as flying in before the crowd at Osh­
kosh," he said, recalling his first trip
to OSH in 1998 in a Beech Muske­
teer. (Learn more about B20sh at www.
The 10th Mooney Caravan fea­
tures as many as 48 aircraft flying in
eight groups of six. They will again
stage at Madison's Dane County Re­
gional Airport for the flight. (For more
on the Mooneys, visit www.Mooney­
Cessnas to Oshkosh (C20), which
organized for the first time in 2006
to celebrate the 50th anniversary of
the C-172/182, plans its second flight
in 2007. Aircraft will gather at Dodge
County Airport, Juneau, Wisconsin.
(More about C20 can be found at www.
Group flights have been a safe and
efficient way for large numbers of air­
craft with similar performance char­
acteristics to arrive at AirVenture.
These group arrivals, whose pilots are
required to take special training be­
fore participating, can temporarily
interrupt the Ripon-Fisk visual flight
rules (VFR) arrival pattern.
B20sh plans to depart Rockford at
noon Saturday, July 21, and arrive at
Wittman Regional Airport at 1 p.m.

MAY 2007

The Mooney Caravan plans a 3:30
p.m. departure from Madison and a
4 p.m. arrival in Oshkosh. Times for
C20 have not been announced.
The normal Ripon-Fisk VFR arrival
as described in the 2007 EAA Air ­
Venture notice to airmen (NOTAM)
will be in effect when the group ar­
rivals are not in progress. Visit www.

We'll list all submitted type club
events during EAA AirVenture Osh­
kosh 2007. Submit your club's infor­
mation online at https://Secure.EAA.
org/airventure/type_cl ubs .html. We'll
post all events submitted by July 14,
and run them in the daily AirVenture
Today as well. If you have questions,
call 888-322-4636, ext. 6112, or e-mail 7/f/ying/i ndex.html
for more information and to order/
download your NOTAM copy.

[email protected]

New AirVenture Arrival
ATIS Frequency
Several pilots responding to an
FAA survey about AirVenture proce­
dures last year reported difficulty re­
ceiving the arrival ATIS at a distance
from Oshkosh. So this year the FAA
will use a higher-power transmitter at
the Fisk Approach Control location
for the AirVenture Arrival ATIS.
The transmitter will use a new fre­
quency that'll be published in the 2007
AirVenture NOTAM. Order your free,
printed copy by calling 800-564-6322,
or visit
index.html to order or download.

Submit Your 2007 EAA
AirVenture Type Club
Event Information
Many type clubs hold special
events, dinners, and meetings in con­
junction with EAA AirVenture Osh­
kosh. Everyone is here, so why not?

Type Club Additions
We have a couple of additions for the
type club list.
Cessna T-50 "The Flying Bobcats "
Jon D. Larson
PO Box 566 Auburn, WA 98071-0566
[email protected]
Dues: By donation

Newsletter: Quarterly

175-R-172 Type Club
PO Box 397
Velma, OK 73491
Phone: 405-821-3746
E-mail: [email protected]
web: http://www.
Newsletter published on
website 3-4 times/year
Dues $25/year in North America;
International is $35/yr


Aviation is still a pretty small com­
munity. As a result, we keep bumping
into the same people wherever we go!
Unfortunately, H.G ., some keep
dropping off at the back end. Like you,
we are going to miss Dorothy Hilbert.
Keep the blue side up!
Don & Mary Toeppen
Sun City West, Arizona


P.O. Box 3086

OSHKOSH, WI 54903-3086

OR YOU CAN E-MAIL THEM TO : [email protected]

More on Curtiss-Reynolds
I really enjoyed Ken McQueen's ar­
ticle on Curtiss-Reynolds Airport.
During the 1933 event, I worked
as a "go-fer" for the press group. At
the time, I was an Eagle Scout, and six
of us were hired by the Chicago Daily
News, one of the sponsors for that
duty. Needless to say, we met all the
high-profile pilots of the day, as we
helped set up interviews for the press.
One of the men met was Maj.
Udet, who became a high-ranking
official under Hitler for their air
force. Of course I also met Roscoe
Turner who had a lion cub as a mas­
cot! Later, as a United Airlines pilot
member of our UAL speaker panel, I
was assigned to appear on a program
with Roscoe in French Lick, Indiana.
At that time he was still running his
FBO in Indiana.
Relative to Curtiss-Reynolds, it
was here I had my first airplane ride.
Our family went out to the field after
dinner on a summer evening. Some
pilot had a Ford Tri-Motor and was
hopping rides for a penny a pound.
Grandfather popped for all of us.
This guy had the right idea as a barn­
stormer. He had a ticket seller who
loaded and unloaded the ship. For the
bucks, you got a takeoff, field circuit
to final, and a landing! As a result,
I've always enjoyed the Tri-Motor.
When EAA started restoring ours, we
had a home in Fontana, Wisconsin.
That is but a short drive from the Bur­
lington Airport, so I spent a year and
a half working with Tom Soerens re­
building EAA's Tri-Motor.
Since that first Tri-Motor ride, I've

always kept an eye out for them . One
day, flying for United in a DC-3, one
showed up near Sandusky, Ohio. I
kept an eye out for it and eventually
found it was based at Put-it-Bay Is­
land (South Bass) in Lake Erie, and
was flying into Port Clinton. In 1947
we were visiting in Ohio, so we drove
to Port Clinton and met the owner,
Milt Hershberger, and flew to the is­
land in the FlO (first officer's) seat.
On arrival, I had him sign my log­
book for the :15 flight time. He then
gave us a tour of his facility.
After a fine lunch in town, we
bought a mixed case of wine at one
of the wineries. The owner drove us
back to the airport.
When the Ford came in , we sat in
the rear with our wine. Milt looked
back and saw me, told me to come
up, which I did. He said I want you to
sit up here. There's a guy on the trip
I have to talk to . Told him I'd been
drinking. Forget it he said. That stuff is
so weak no one cou ld get high on it!
Well, Milt made the takeoff,
handed the ship to me, and went
back to talk to the man he knew! So,
I flew it to Port Clinton, he came up
and landed, and we left the airport .
Fast-forward a few years. I'm on a
night DC-6B trip to the West Coast.
About 0300, I'm getting kind of tired
out, so I hand the ship to the FlO and
go back for a cup of coffee. As usual, on
that trip, everyone was sleeping, except
the stewardess and one passenger back
at the buffet. Who was the passenger?
Milt Hershberger, who now had sold
Lake Erie Island Airlines and was Ohio's
director of aeronautiCS!

ARecommendation From a Member
Dal Donner
EAA 102228 lAC 3787
Restoring an antique airplane calls
for many different kinds of skills .
And, like most people, I found myself
deficient in some categories. Wood­
working was the biggest problem,
both from an experience level and
having tools to make complex parts.
My current project is a Fairchild
24W, and it has a lot of wood which
has suffered neglect and exposure to
the elements.
It would have been convenient to
go to the nearest Fairchild store to
buy some of these wood parts. But
the "Fairchild Store" is as much of the
past as the hand craftsmanship em­
ployed to build this old airplane back
in 1939.
Fortunately I know a young man
who is a furniture maker. In fact, he's
a third generation wood craftsman
and has studied under American and
European artisans. He works with
hand tools as well as power tools.
He primarily builds elegant cus­
tom furniture from old-growth, tight­
grained wood which is highly figured.
His work is like the fine art you 'd ex­
pect to see in a well-known gallery.
So, I felt privileged that he found
it interesting and enjoyable to help
me make some airplane pieces. And,
at a reasonable price! I supplied
the Ai rcraft grade Sitka spruce and
enough of the old tattered parts to
get some dimensions.
I'd like to share his name and ad­
dress with others who might be
"wood challenged" like myself:
Mr. Frank Straza
329 Coastal Lane
Waco, TX 76705
[email protected]


Editor's Notes:
This is the 12th and final installment of the current series of "Restoration Corner" articles. The intent of the
series was to present information of a general rather than highly detailed nature: therefore, more could have been
written on each subject. We encourage readers to share their restoration techniques with us for future "Restoration
Corner" articles.-Gene. R. Chase
While Gene and Norm wrote these words nearly 20 years ago, they still hold true today. We're only as good
as the information and experiences our members share with us. Feel free to drop us an e-mail at [email protected], or drop us a note in the mail. The address is on the contents page.-H.G. Frautschy

Steve Wittman on taxi tests, first flight, and debugging

It is one thing to spend years re­
storing an airplane with attendant
sore hands, tired muscles, and a flat
pocketbook-only to suddenly re­
alize that now you have to fly the
critter! To enlighten us on the many
details of flying a newly rebuilt air­
plane for the first time, we asked the
old master, Sylvester "Steve" Witt­
man, to give us his thoughts on the
proper procedure.
The first item on the agenda, ac­
cording to Steve, is to properly rig the
airplane during final assembly. This
includes putting in the proper wing
dihedral and wing incidence . And
when establishing incidence, don't
forget the all-important wash-out at
the wingtips per the manufacturer's
recommendations. "Wash-out" tips
the trailing edge of the wingtip up­
ward, allowing the wing to stall first
at the root of the wing, with the stall
progressing to the wingtip in a very
controllable fashion. "Wash-in" low­
ers the trailing edge of the wingtip,
causing it to stall first. This is a bad
situation for two reasons: The stall is
violent and uncontrollable, and the
wingtip can suffer structural failure
from overloading.
Don't be lulled into using the old
"eyeball" method. Use proper means
to establish the necessary measure­
ments, be it a plumb, inclinometer,

transit, or incidence board . A final
measurement to determine that
both wings (or four on a biplane)
are square with each other and the
fuselage is most important. And
along this line, make sure the stabi­
lizer has the proper incidence (most
often negative).

Don't be lulled

into using the old

"eyeball" method.

Use proper means

to establish

the necessary


be it a plumb,


transit, or

incidence board.

Steve says that years ago it was
common to rig for "torque"-the large,
imaginary hand that would twist the
fuselage opposite to the crankshaft ro­
tation. "This was a bunch of gobbledy­
gook!" according to Steve.
" I once flew Bonzo into Cleve­


MAY 2007

Vintage Airplane JANUARY


land for the National Air Races, only
to read a story in the evening paper
claiming that it couldn't fly! Suppos­
edly, there was insufficient aileron to
offset the huge amount of torque! The
newswriter estimated that 300 mph
was necessary before Bonzo would fly
straight and level! I am most happy
to report that such was not the case!"
Steve went on to explain that when
you have a midwing aircraft using a
thin wing section with a large chord,
the propeller slipstream is "anti­
torque" as it goes by the wing, allow­
ing the aircraft to be nicely controlled
by the ailerons about the roll axis.
Once the rigging is determined to
be okay, the taxi tests may begin. This
is almost an art in itself and should
only be attempted on a taildragger
if you have tailwheel experience.
Without experience along this line,
the taxi tests can be dangerous en­
deavors! If you don't feel comfortable
making the taxi tests yourself, by all
means, swallow your pride and find
a competent taildragger pilot whom
you can trust.
The taxi tests allow you to check
many items, including wheel align­
ment, brakes, tailwheel control, rud­
der effectiveness at low speeds, and
control pressures in general. This au­
thor well remembers a Minnesota pi­
lot who had finished a total rebuild of

the throttle and lowered the
tail. The resulting increase
in angle of attack caused the
Twister to leap some 10 feet
into the air. The pilot was
so surprised he "lost it" and
proceeded to wrap the small
biplane into a ball .
According to Steve, his
normal procedure is to take
off and climb for altitude,
watching the temperature
gauges closely. Once he has
1,500 feet AGL, he checks
for wing heaviness and pro­
ceeds through stalls and slow
flight. This helps to relieve
the tension about coming in
for a landing. If the aircraft
will stall at the proper nose­
high attitude, h e knows
it will make a three-point
landing. (And a minimum of
1,500 feet is the best insur­
ance you can have when do­
ing these maneuvers.)
Some years ago, Steve was
invited to fly another racing
airplane, only to discover in
flight that it had a vicious
stall and would not get into a
normal three-point attitude!
Steve Wittman and a 40-hp Taylor E-2 Cub.
The only option left was to
make a tail-high wheel land­
a red and silver Porterfield. Anxious ing, which he did with the usual
to take it up for the first flight, he tax­ Wittman finesse. After the flight,
ied downwind to the far end of the he wondered what might have hap­
hard surface runway. As he came to pened if the engine had failed, as it
the end of the runway, he stepped on would have been an absolute bearcat
the brakes ... in that same instant he to land without the power. Curiously,
remembered he had not connected the owner never gave so much as a
the brakes! The Porterfield went hint of the weird flight characteristics
off the end of the runway into tall before the flight!
grass where it promptly went up on
The nearest thing to such an un­
its nose, shattering the new wooden usual flight envelope in a commercial
propeller and bending nose metal.
airplane was a twin- engine pusher
Steve Wittman's wise words, amphibian that Steve was invited to
coming from 60 years of experi­ try from the copilot's seat. Follow­
ence: "Don't fly until you are ready ing takeoff, Steve says, "I was in the
to fly. And when ready, have your right seat as we leveled off in cruise
mind mad e up-don't extend the and the pilot turned it over to me.
agony!" Steve relates how they once After a few turns, I slowed the bird to
lost a Knight Twister at Oshkosh be­ check the stall. The pilot looked over
cause the pilot wasn't sure what h e at me and said, "Watch it, it comes
wanted to do. Making a high-speed off the hook pretty fast! " Believe me,
taxi down the runway with the tail never in my life have I heard a bet­
in the air, the pilot abruptly closed ter description! It was a clean, sharp,

abrupt stall-just like someone had
cut the string!"
When queried about the age-old
question of toe-in versus toe-out, Steve
thought a minute and answered, "Toe­
in is the worst of the two, as it exacer­
bates the swing of a turn and makes
it worse. Toe-out is easier to control;
however, on hard-surface runways it
will wear out a set of tires in noth­
ing flat! I have always liked 'straight
ahead' the best with neither toe-in or
toe-out. I love grass over hard-surface
runways, as you can fly for years from
a grass runway and never wear your
tires out. The inside of the tire carcass
will look like new after many years,
while the outside gets all weather­
checked and cracked."
When it comes time to get your
nicely restored classic or antique up
to its advertised cruising speed, Steve
says there are many little things to
consider. Close-fitting fairings are
important along with eliminating
lumps, bumps, and extraneous pro­
tuberances. Be very critical of any in­
tersections of less than 90 degrees,
as they create extra drag. Round
tubes should be fa ired to a stream­
line shape, and gaps should be sealed.
Good common sense will help a great
deal in "tweaking" your airplane to
optimum performance. Even a close
look at a Wittman Tailwind will give
you a number of clues as to making
an airplane go fast. A look at the strut
stub reveals a cleaner juncture, since
the bolt head and nut are moved out
of the high-speed air! Even the wing
roots and the wingtips are tapered
down in size to save drag on each
end. Little, tiny improvements, when
all added together, make for a very
fast airplane.
One of the real joys in life is to sit
back and observe Steve Wittman look
over an airplane from nose to tail. As
each part is examined by Steve, you
can almost hear his brain figuring out
a way to make it go 25 percent faster.
It is just a natural thing with Steve­
and after 60 years of doing the same
thing-you get pretty good at it!
Thank you, Steve Wittman, for
setting an example for the rest of us
to follow.


The story of the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation

Part I


1982- The following three-part article on the Thomas­
Morse Aircraft Corp., although extensively edited and further
researched by me, should be credited to Robert G. Elliott of
Daytona Beach, Florida, who sought out William T. Thomas
Jr., still living in Daytona Beach. Mr. Thomas generous ly
shared pictures and recollections of his father plus some ma­
terial from the personal collections of Paul D. Wilson, one of
the three original test pilots. Robert submitted to me fresh ma­
terial on the earlier portions of the Thomas airplane venture.
On researching several older articles, I zeroed in on a wonderful
illiam T. Thomas, the in­
geniOUS guiding light of
the whole Thomas aircraft
venture, began his career in England
with an education at Dulwich Col­
lege, near London. He later attended
Ventral Technical College of the Uni­
verSity of London at South KenSing­
ton, from which he graduated in
1908 with a degree in civil and me­


MAY 2007

two-part story in two 1960 issues of American Airman, ex­
tensively researched by Frank Strand with a great deal otorigi­
nal contact with William Thomas Sr.
Frank had permission to use all of the material he had gath­
ered to put together one more article specially tailored tor Vin­
tage Airplane magazine on the Tommy-Morse Scout at World
War I tame. For the real Tommy buffs, it would pay to seek out
his extensive two-part story in the American Airman tor June
and July 1960. Frank also did Profile No. 68 published by Pro­
file Publications Ltd., P.O. Box 26, lA North St., Leatherhead,
Surrey, England.

chanical engineering. To gain practi­
cal experience, young Thomas became
an appren tice in the shops of the Brit­
ish Westinghouse Co., where he was
exposed to the gas engine and turbine
engine departments as well as the pat­
tern shop and foundry. He gathered a
deep background in methods of de­
sign and development that would
serve him well in later years when the
R EPRINTED FROM Vintage Ai/plane JULY 1982

Above: Earl Beers, left, W.T. Thomas,
center, and Bert Chambers display the
center section of the first plane made
in 1910. It was constructed in a barn
in Hammondsport, New York, without
the aid of power tools. W.T. Thomas
here learned the trick of hand drill­
ing small holes first and then following
with successively larger bits until the
holes were of specific size.

The Model TA, 1911, during its second flight, powered by a
22-hp Kirkham engine.

The modified Model TA with dual controls for instruction
flights. It was powered by a 50-hp, six-cylinder Kirkham en­
gine. Note the two narrow radiators mounted vertically.

Bud Carey piled up a 1911 pusher on frozen Cayuga Lake. The
plane was rebuilt within several days and successfully flown.

airplane industry began to bud.
In the early part of 1909 Thomas
came to America, where he used his
qualifications to obtain a job with
Glenn Curtiss in the drafting room.
His first assignments were in working
out designs for motorcycle engines
and dirigible engines. It was here he
got his first taste of aircraft design
and development, and over a period
of time his observations and partici­
pation in the Curtiss designing pro­
gram whetted his appetite to try his
own wings and attempt the design of
an even better airplane. His faith was
shared by one mechanic friend, and
the two of them set out to construct
and design the first Thomas airplane,
right in Curtiss' own town of Ham­
mondsport, New York.
Needing an engine, they chose the
22-hp Kirkham automobile engine .
This proved to be the first automobile
engine ever flown in a powered air­

Walter Johnson, pilot, in the Model TA with the 50-hp, six­
cylinder Kirkham engine used for many exhibition flights.
W.T. Thomas stands at left of pilot.

craft in America. On June 14, 1910,
final assembly and checking of this
first Thomas airplane was completed
on the Page Farm, near Canisteo,
New York.
Initially the airplane relied on di­
hedral ailerons (wing warping) for
control and had two vertical panels
between the outer interplane struts
for stability. The test pilot, Bert Cham­
bers, made the first flight on June 25,
1910. During the next three months
many changes were made. The wing
warping was eliminated, and flaps,
which operated in a down movement
alternately, were attached to the up­
per wings. Later, ailerons were fitted
between the wings, and then an ad­
ditional set of flaps was added to the
bottom wing, all three being operated
together. The final location of the ai­
lerons between the wings resulted in
the first sustained flights, which were
conducted at North Hornell, New

York, with Walter E. Johnson as the
test pilot.
Somewhere during this period, Wil­
liam's brother, Oliver Thomas, joined
the efforts. With the continued in­
tent to manufacture the airplane, a
suitable factory was located at Bath,
New York. The two brothers formed
the Thomas Aeroplane Company for
further development of a pusher-type
airplane, similar to the Curtiss efforts,
but containing many different inno­
vations from the fertile mind of Wil­
liam Thomas.
The later Kirkham engine, rede­
signed for a lighter structure having
an aluminum case, developed a speed
of 1750 rpm. This, of course, was too
high a speed for the propellers of that
day. The result was a well-designed
chain drive coupled with a low-speed
propeller with sufficient power to de­
velop and assure sustained flight.
This plane was developed and built


The 1911 Model TA pusher with Walter Johnson at the con­
trols during exhibition and races at the New York State Fair,
Syracuse. Glenn Curtiss flew an 80-hp pusher, and Walter
Johnson beat Curtiss in a race with his 65-hp powered TA.
The state fair buildings appear much the same today as
they did in 1911. The original Kirkham engine was a geared
drive. The day before the race the gearbox failed, so Char­
lie Kirkham worked all night converting the engine to direct
drive and replacing the prop. W.T. Thomas also added addi­
tional fairings to reduce drag.

Pilot Fred Eells and Earl Beers standing right behind what
is probably an 80-hp Kirkham engine. This plane was flying
in 1911.

by hand, with nothing but hand tools, the work being
carried out in a barn. William Thomas jr., in an interview,
gave us a picture of the untiring efforts that must have
gone into the construction of such a machine without ad­
equate tools. According to Thomas jr., " Pa said that when
it came to drilling holes with a hand drill for fittings and
bolts, he would start with the smallest bit possible, and by
slowly enlarging the holes with progressively larger bits,
they would eventually be bored to the proper size" with

MAY 2007

patience and a lot of elbow grease. After great effort, with
many modifications and changes, the airplane finally
became airworthy and accomplished a flight of about 6
miles on September 20,1910.
The obvious use of an airplane in this period being for
exhibition, Mr. johnson, the company aviator, attempted
a show on September 27, 1910, at Binghamton, New York,
to thrill county fair-goers . Unfortunately, the machine
hit the cattle tent on takeoff and was damaged . There is a
substantial lack of data concerning the welfare of the cat­
tle housed within the tent; however, one can imagine the
havoc and scrambling of those Wide-eyed, snorting cattle
running loose among the fair patrons.
The ensuing repair was rushed, which permitted Walter
johnson to make a circular flight over Concklin Field near
the Binghamton fairgrounds on October 11, 1910. This
successfu l exhibition flight was the 10th flight for test pi­
lot johnson.
Later that month, at Rochester, New York, William and
his brother, Oliver, witnessed the International Air Meet
at Belmont Park, New York. Immediately following that
flight, Thomas and johnson, accompanied by a mechanic,
trucked the airplane to Rochester, New York, where john­
son made demonstration flights on November 3 and 10,
1910. The month of December 1910 saw William Thomas
again at Bath, New York, where the airplane was fitted
with a single rear elevator. Flights were made over the
wintry countryside from Burleson Field near Lake Salu­
bria. On january 27, 1911, Walter johnson, flying from
the frozen surface of the lake and with only the 22-hp
Kirkham engine for power, carried Florence Scrafford as
a passenger. During this period a further modification of
the machine was made to a twin rudder configuration,
which allowed greater control in flight.
Early in March, William Thomas, johnson, and Gene
Bell, their mechanic, departed for Morgan City, Louisiana,
to further continue their exhibition flights in a warmer
climate . A ballpark had been reserved in Morgan City,
which proved too small upon examination, and the dem­
onstration was moved to a larger field, where all went well
until johnson crashed into a stump on landing. Repairs
were minor, allowing time for a circular flight the same
day to save and assure the success of the demonstration.
A second demonstration at Houma, Louisiana, pro­
duced a second crash into a fence on landing. Again, mi­
nor repairs were needed for the skids.
To satisfy officials, a demonstration was scheduled on
the Colonel Breaux Estate in Lafayette, Louisiana, and
witnesses were recruited for the occasion to certify that
the airplane had the ability to fly. Such proof was to be
furnished to the flight sponsor, W.I. Swain Company. A
successfu l straight flight of 300 yards, followed by a cir­
cular flight at 125 feet altitude, satisfied the judges, who
testified that the flights were genuine and the airplane
performed as advertised.
On April 10, flights were made at Forsythe Park in Mon­
roe, Louisiana, followed by flights at Shreveport and Crowley

Paul Isakson
Amery, WI

• Owner of a 1939 Cub J3F-50
and a 1937 Ryan ST-A
• Member of AOPA and fAA


• Plans to add his oldest daughter,
who wants to be a professional pilot,
to his policy in the near future
• Whole family has been to six out of
the last eight AirVentures

"I called, you quoted, I bought. As easy as 1) ) . Not only
easy, but competitive. It's a pleasure doing business with you.
Actually I didn't call, I used your online quote system. It was
quick and easy."

- Paul Isakson

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Pilot Fred Eells, W.T. Thomas with anns crossed, and Earl Beers by the prop pose
with the plane that achieved an endurance flight record on October 31, 1912.

Pilot Walter Johnson and Earl Beers demonstrate the manner
of seating in which pilot and passenger endured the cold to
establish the endurance flight on Halloween 1912.

on May 7 and 8. From there William
Thomas, Johnson, and Bell went to
Mississippi and performed at the Delta
Fair in Granville, where their exhibi­
tion flights drew few people; a decision
was made to return to the North.
Their next exhibition was at Erie
Beach on June 9, 1911, where Walter
Johnson accom plished the first sus­
tained flight ever made in the vicin­
ity of Buffalo, New York. Extra wing
panels on top and bottom had been
added and proved to be successful.
Further developments had been in
progress and produced a new Thomas
model, the TA, which was introduced
on August 6, 1911. A larger engine,
made by Kirkham, with six cylinders
and producing 50 hp was used in the

MAY 2007

the first school chartered by the New
York State Board of Regents.
The earlier p lane with the four­
cylinder Kirkham engine was modi­
fied as a preliminary trainer having
been rebu ilt for dual instruction.
Many exhibition flights with the re­
built airplane continued around the
New York area. At Sylvan Beach near
Syracuse, the TA was flown. After be­
ing broken, it was only natural for
the Thomas machine to be included
for its share of honors.
Johnson, flying a TA model with a
larger 65-hp engine, and with a school
mechanic as his passenger, established
an American endurance record of
three hours, 51 minutes, 15 seconds
at Bath, New York. The flight was be­
tween Bath and Savona, New York, a

Glenn Tate at the controls in about 1912. The aileron
control cable, recessed in a groove, circled the steering
wheel. Note the sing1e foot pedal.

new model. This produced much bet­
ter flight characteristics, and 16 miles
were flown from Savona to Ham­
mondsport in 18 minutes . The return
flight was made in 12 minutes, set­
ting an average of 64 mph, which was
considered very good for the period.
The new performance all added up
to a new d imension being added to
their exh ibitions. A subsequent flight
at Danv ill e, New York, produced a
truly high-a ltitude demonstration.
The model TA underwent 10 de­
sign modificatio n s an d was used ex­
tensive ly at t h e aviation school at
Bath, New York. Walt Johnson made
more than 1,000 flights between Jan­
uary 15,1912, and April 1913, carry­
ing students at the sch ool. This was

distance of 235 miles. The passenger
weighed 150 pounds. This weight fac­
tor was a requirement by the American
Aero Club, under whose supervision
the flight was made. Termination of
the flight was not caused by mechani­
cal trouble but by the blustery cold
winds of October, forcing these two to
land early that Halloween evening.
In 1913 Frank Burnside, a former
student now appointed chief pilot, es­
tablished an altitude record of 13,000
feet to break Lincoln Beachey's alti­
tude record. The top wing of the TA
had been lengthened and the tips
squared, and the powerplant was
changed to a Curtiss 80-hp engine for
additional lift.
(To be continued next month.) .......

Like father, like son, like son

trio of Stearmans landed
softly on the late-summer
grass in Blakesburg,
Iowa, and taxied over
• • •" to the flightline in the
adjoining field. When their big radial
engines had falien quiet the three
pilots climbed out of their respective
cockpits and, with big smiles, stepped
on the ground, relishing the moment.
Addison Pemberton and his two sons,
jay and Ryan, had just completed
their first "formation" cross-country
flight from their home base (Felts
Field) in Spokane, Washington, to the
Antique Airplane Association's (AAA)

MAY 2007

annual invitational fly-in.
That momentous flight didn't just
happen, though; it was a long time
in the making. You see, it started way
back, when young Addison became
intrigued by the airline pilots'
antique airplanes at Gillespie Field
in San Diego. He learned to fly as a
teenager, and in the 37 years since
then, he has logged 10,000 hours. In
1977, he started teaching an attractive
young lady to fly; by the following
year, Wendy had earned her private
pilot certificate and the couple had
their marriage certificate in hand.
The arrival of sons jay and Ryan not

only completed their family, but the
boys' own interest in the antique
mode of aviating serendipitously
complemented that of their aviation­
minded parents.
"jay and Ryan have grown up in
an aviation environment," explains
Addison, elaborating that "they
learned to fly in gliders, and then as
a family project, we built up a Super
Cub for them to learn to fly. We've
done 18 projects in 35 years, and the
kids have grown up with nitrate and
butyrate dope. In fact, when they
were young, I would make trips from
San Diego to Riverside to get dope

Far left: Jay Pemberton prepares to fly
the Wendy May.
Ryan Pemberton flew this 275-hp
Jacobs-powered Steannan, owned by
a family friend, to the AAA Fly-In in
Blakesburg, Iowa.

When their big
radial engines
had fallen quiet
the three pilots
climbed out of
their respective
cockpits and,
with big smiles,
stepped on the

from Poly-Fiber, and they would tell
their teachers that their father had to
go fly and make a dope run!"
Equally proud of both of his sons,
Addison felt quite comfortable with
their flying skills on their long cross­
country adventure. Even as they
all landed at Chamberlain, South
Dakota, where the winds were gusting
to 35 knots, he wasn't worried about
them ground -looping-he just hoped
he wouldn't. Twenty -four-year­
old Jay (who has already launched
a successful career and is now able
to finance his own flying) soloed a
glider at age 15 and has acquired
nearly 2,200 hours' total time, with
about 330 of that in Stearmans. He's
earned the same certificates and
ratings as his father-commercial for
multiengine land and Single-engine
seaplanes, instrument, and a flight
instructor rating-with the exception
of an airframe and powerplant
certificate. Twenty-year-old Ryan ,
who soloed on his 16th birthday,
has logged about 800 hours' total
time, with around 260 Stearman
hours. He's earned a seaplane rating
and, according to his father, didn't
even fly a nosewheel airplane until
he had the opportunity to fly a 8­
24 Liberator two years ago for the
Collings Foundation.

Addison and Wendy Pemberton with
their son Ryan and their Steannan


A rare moment during the fly-in when the Wendy May wasn't in flight.



The Pemberton's Square Tail Stearman 4DM Sr. Speedmail.

The Wendy May lifts off from Antique Airfield in Iowa.

Cross-Country Adventure
The cross-country trio comprised
thr ee very different Stearmans .
Addison flew his Stearman Speed mail,
Jay flew the family's 4S0-hp Stearman,
and Rya n had the good fortun e to
fly a Stearman N2S-4 owned by Jeff
Hamilto n, a family friend. Ryan says
he was the slowest of the threesome,

MAY 2007

explaining that "the Stearman I flew
was re-engined with a 275 -hp Jacobs,
and I cruised at 110 mph, whereas
my brother, in the 450-hp, could go
up to 125 mph , and my dad , in the
Speedmail, could go up to 140 mph .
We stayed within a half mile of each
other, and then as we'd come up to
an airport, we'd tighte n up and fly

a nice formation with an overh ead
break, trying to look good."
From Spokane, th ey followed 1-90
all the way down to Chamberlain,
where they picked up the Missouri
River down to Sioux City, Iowa, and
from th ere, on up to Blakesburg. " [
think we had 16.9 hours logg ed
when we arrived h ere," shares Ryan,


Square Tail Stearmans were showcased at Blakesburg in 2006.

Ron Rex's 1931 Western Airlines Stearman 4D heads up the lineup of Square Tails.

Greg Herrick's 1928 Varney Airlines Stearman C3-B.

Ben Scott taxies his 1930 Stearman 4E.

This Stearman 4E, registered to Alan Lopez, was
manufactured in 1930.


smiling as he conveys his enthusiasm
for the flight. "It was really neat for
me, because this is the first time I've
flown an airplane to Blakesburg. And
of course, to fly on my dad's wing
and have my brother on the other
side, it was really special. As we were
planning the arrival here, I could just
see my dad starting to get all proud
and he was really excited."

Square Tail Stearmans were
showcased during AAA's 2006 fly-in,
and seven of the 18 flying Square
Tails were on hand for the occasion.
Of those seven, four were Speedmail
Model 4s, including Addison's
Stearman 4DM Sr. Speedmail. He
bought it in 1989 as a $4,000 basket
case and flew it in 1992 after an 8,000­
hour family restoration effort. "There
are only nine Speedmails in existence
today, seven of which fly actively.
There were no drawings for any of
them when we were restoring this,"
he recalls, "then I met Ben Scott,
and through our correspondence, I
reverse-engineered his Speed mail 4£
to build many parts of mine."
Addison's 1931 Speedmail has a
top cruise of 150 mph and carries
six hours of fuel. It was originally
manufactured for American Airways;
it was based in Chicago and flew to
Dallas every night on the airmail run.
In the early 1930s, it was also featured
in the movie Bright Eyes, starring
Shirley Temple. Then, in 1934 it went
back to the factory and had a front
seat installed so it could be flown as an
instrument trainer. In 1936, it became
a crop duster. Seventy years later, it's
back to its original configuration and
is flown frequently.

Wendy May
Although Wendydidn't accompany
the men on the cross-country journey,
she was on the ground waiting to
greet the trio as they touched down
in Iowa . "I want to compliment my
wife, who is a big part of all this,"
beams Addison, explaining, "Wendy
has made dinner at the hangar for
25 years, the last two of which have
been at our new hangar, which has an

MAY 2007

apartment with running water. The
hangars of the past only had 'walking
water,' as Wendy says. It's been really
nice. So I have a day job, and then
a night life that's produced all these
great things over the years." The
Pemberton's long-standing family

Addison named
his 450-hp Pratt &
(Boeing) 15 the

Wendy May in
honor ofhis wife,

and the number

419 on its cowling
helps him per
when her birthday
business is also aerospace-related;
Scanivalve Corporation manufactures
instrumentation for the flight-test
and wind-tunnel markets.
Addison named his 450-hp Pratt
& Whitney-powered Stearman
(Boeing) 75 the Wendy May in honor
of his wife, and the number 419 on
its cowling helps him remember
when her birthday is. Addison
purchased it, along with three
other Stearman dusters, when he
graduated from college in 1976. "I
finished this airplane in 1986, and
it is the culmination of everything I
loved in a stock military Stearman,"
he reflects, explaining, "it has four
equal-span, servo-boosted ailerons
with a counter-balanced elevator, a

modified AT-6 canopy for the rear
cockpit, and a tow hitch for glider
or banner towing. It has a standard
airworthiness certificate, which I'm
very proud of-that was quite an
accomplishment to get this airplane
out of an experimental and into the
standard category."
Wendy, having learned the art of
dope and fabric along the way, is also
involved in the restoration projects.
And she, too, is mighty proud of her
sons. "The excitement that my boys
have in aviation has given th em a
direction, a purpose, and an awesome
group of people to be around. Pilots
are great folks. The boys never really
had the awkward teenage years where
they never had anything in common
with their dad, because there were
always airplanes to talk about. Aviation
is such a diverse field; there are always
new airplanes and new challenges,"
she reflects, and adds with a dazzling
smile, "I feel very lucky, because
normally when kids get to be 20
years old, they're off living their own
life and you don't see them as much
anymore-but we haven't experienced
that. Jay is 24 years old and he's still
with the family, and it's just very
exciting for me as a mom. We do eat
dinner down at the hangar, because
that's where the guys want to be, and
if that's where my family wants to be,
that's fine by me! I would rather be
down there with them than be home
alone, wishing I was with my family."
As the Pembertons' fleet of
airworthy vintage and antique
aircraft continues to grow through
their immaculate , step -b y-step
restorations-their current project
is a 1928 Boeing B-40C transport
airplane-the human element of their
family is increasing, as well. Wendy
and Addison will welcome an aviation­
minded daughter-in-law to the fold
when their youngest son, Ryan,
marries his fiancee, Taryn Applegate,
who soloed her family's Piper J-3
Cub on her 16th birthday. No doubt
there will be many more memorable
occasions and aircraft restorations
for the flying Pemberton family, as
they look forward to exploring new
horizons together.

few pristine Beavers that spent at least
part of its life looking up at a saltwater
surface from the bottom. Although the
accident was long before Doug came
into the picture, it will be remembered
The cockpit of the Beaver still retains
the flavor of the original layout, but a
number of modern improvements are
incorporated. On the far right, the ra­
dio panel is angled inward for better
visibility for the pilot, and the center
console is dominated by a completely
restored de Havilland Canada engine
control cluster and a Gannin GPS/mul­
tifunction display.

MAY 2007

You can carry plenty in a working machine such as this bushplane. A smart­
looking Beaver logo is embroidered on the aft bulkhead, with a beefy cargo net
installed to keep the baggage where it belongs.

over. Doug doesn't think this actual
crash was used in the movie, but the ap­
proach was. The airplane was crudely
yanked out of the water and then spent
a few years as a pile of parts languish­
ing in various locations before Doug
DeVries came into the picture.
Doug got into aviation shortly af­
ter graduating from Cal Poly with a
degree in mechanical engineering.
"A friend took me up, but I was
pretty broke and at the time couldn't
do much more than take ground
school," he says. "A few years later I got
my private pilot's license and rented
~ for a year or so before going into part­
~ nership in a Grumman Tiger."
Then, as is often the case, career
CD and other interests took precedence.
as an ignoble end for a movie star-it From the beginning he had wanted to
was in the process of making the 1998 get into the medical device field in the
Harrison Ford movie Six Days, Seven hopes of developing something that
Nights when disaster struck.
would benefit people in general. He
Serial number 799 was one of three began focusing on breathing ventila­
Beavers used for flying shots in the movie tors and eventually became successful
(four more were used for static/studio enough to get back into aviation.
shots). If you saw the movie, you'll re­
"I wanted my own airplane and
member the last shot of Ford's charac­ bought a Bonanza, but then saw a
ter trying to land a Beaver on makeshift Stearman and read Stephen Coonts'
floats in the surf, which didn't go well The Cannibal Queen and thought that
at all. In real life, the airplane was sus­ kind of open-cockpit touring was
pended on a cable under a helicopter something I'd love to do , but kept
while it "flew" onto the water. Although putting it off. Then, one day I went
in the case of SN799, it flew "into" the to the hardware store to get a tool for
water, when it caught a float and flipped a repair I was doing on my Bonanza,

and the clerk started asking me ques­
tions about what I was doing. Half­
hour later, it came out that the clerk
had at one time raced P-S1 Mustangs
at Reno, but in a freak accident got
a thistle in his ear while camping in
the desert, got permanent vertigo,
and lost his medical and flying privi­
leges forever. His story motivated me
to start the Stearman project now, as
one can lose the privilege to fly in a
moment's notice.
"I decided waiting was the wrong
thing to do and started looking for a
Stearman project."
Doug dragged an incomplete N2S-3
into his shop, and when it rolled out
several years later and he flew it to
Oshkosh 2000, he took home the Best
WWII Trainer trophy. Not too shabby!
"Even while I was doing the Stea­
rman I was dreaming about de Havil­
land Beavers," he says.
Considering that he lives in Ken­
more, Washington, the home of Ken­
more Air Harbor, which not only
produces EDO floats, but also has
been a center for Beaver rebuilding
for decades, it only makes sense he
could contract Beaver fever. Kenmore
has dozens of STCs for the airplane
and routinely turns out totally rebuilt
Beavers and Otters.
"I've always loved the airplane and
decided it would be my next project,


"I've always loved

the airplane and

decided it would be

my next project,

so I started look­

ing around. I finally

fou nd the one in

pieces that had been

wrecked in the movie

and looked like a

good possibil ity, so I

went to look at it."

so I started looking around. I finally
found the one in pieces that had been
wrecked in the movie and looked like a
good possibility, so I went to look at it.
"The airplane needed total rebuild­
ing from one end to the other because
the damage affected almost every part of
it. When it was wrecked and they tried
to pick it up, they actually broke the
spars and folded the wings outboard of
the struts. The cabin was badly crushed
and compressed at least 6 inches. All of
the structure in the top, including the
structural channels, was damaged or
tweaked, so nothing lined up.
"Most Beavers spend their lives on
floats, as did this one, so you expect
to find corrosion, especially in the tail,
and this one was no different. How­
ever, since this one had been sub­
merged for at least a little while, we

MAY 2007

had to do some serious investigating
to make sure we found all the corro­
sion. The rear of the fuselage, includ­
ing the back bulkhead, was pretty bad,
but the rest was surprisingly clean, con­
sidering its history, which made little
difference since so much of the metal
had to be replaced anyway to repair
damage. They must have hosed it out
immediately after pulling it out of the
water. However, everything electrical
was useless./I
Doug is very much a hands-on re­
storer and estimates that of the 7,000
man-hours that went into the airplane,
at least 4,000 of them are his. He has
a complete shop with most machin­
ing and sheet metal capabilities right
at hand.
"The wings looked unrebuildable
until you understand the way Beaver
spars are designed; they are built in four
sections, not one long piece, so I pur­
chased another set of damaged wings,
and between the two sets I was able to
piece together the spar structures./I
The good news about the Beaver is
that it was specifically designed for a

rough and tumble market that included
both civilian and military/governmen­
tal bush -type operations . During its
nearly 20-year production span (1948­
1967) 1,657 airplanes were built, but
many of the customers were military
or government departments (the U.S.
military, among many others, operated
hundreds as L-20s), so spares were also
produced by the truckload to support
them. De Havilland apparently recog­
nized the types of operations in which
the airplane was likely to be involved
were of a high-risk nature, which meant
an unusually large number of airframe
components would be consumed as a
matter of course. This has worked very
much to the advantage of people such
as Doug who are putting Beavers into
the air that would otherwise appear to
be damaged beyond feasible repair. In
Doug's case, without too much trouble
he was able to find new, unused struc­
tural components for the cabin, along
with many other ex-military/govern­
ment components.
In addition to the NOS (new old
stock) and surplus components still

available, Viking Air of Victoria, British
Columbia, purchased all of the avail­
able production tooling for the airplane
and has been producing those replace­
ment parts that aren't readily available.
In addition, in February 2006 Viking
Air purchased the type certificate for
the machine from Bombardier Aero­
space, which gives it the exclusive right
to manufacture new Beavers. Does that
mean we'll be seeing a new generation
of DHC-2 Beavers in the future? Given
the cost of production and the supply of
older airframes, that doesn't seem likely,
but anything is possible in aviation.
Even if his airplane hadn't gone
swimming, the sheet metal on Doug's
bird was typical of Beavers worldwide:
It showed the dents and dings that
come from being gainfully employed
for more than five decades. Beavers
have never been relegated to antique
status, and nearly all that are still flying
are still working for a living. In Doug's
case, however, between the saltwater,
damage and wear and tear a lot of sheet
metal had to go.
He says, II Around 90 percent of the
fuselage skins are new along with a lot
of internal structure, especially in the
cabin area. To straighten the fuselage,
I built a jig in accordance with dimen­
sions given in the original de Havilland
drawings and used the jig to fix the
precise locations of the major attach
points, such as the wing connections.
And yes, it does fly straight. There are
a lot of structural frames and string­
ers and such in the top of the cabin
that were damaged, and if the compo­
nent needed was a bent-up part and we
couldn't find NOS, we just made it new
in the shop. Because there was a lot
of damage to the wings and we didn't
want to install patches, about 75 per­
cent of the wing skins were replaced.
liThe cowling was badly crushed, so
I sent it to Ray Morin in Quebec, who
specializes in rebuilding Beaver compo­
nents. He did a masterful job on it.
IIBeaver landing gears are a little
unique because the legs are essentially
chromoly boxes that pivot at the bot­
tom of the fuselage. There is no me­
chanical shock system . Instead, the
legs butt up against big rubber blocks.
We installed rubber pads that were '337

field approved,' as ours were dried and
hard. We did find a crack in one of our
gear legs, but that repaired fairly easily.
11There are 10 type-written pages in
the logbook, which is actually three
three-ring binders (since condensed to
a mere single three-ring binder) that
describe the repairs."
Once he had repaired the damage
and removed the IIpatina" that 18,000
hours of hard work had left behind, he
could start working on the fun stuff.
"There is nothing original on the
panel. I planned on flying this airplane
a lot, not just to fly-ins, so I wanted it as
modern and as usable as I could make
it. I modeled it in 3-D on the computer
in Solid Works and set it up to optimize
the ergonomics from the pilot's posi­
tion. This included slanting the radio
stack toward the pilot so I have a direct
view of the radios.
The cockpit still includes the unique
Beaver oil system: the dipstick is in the
cockpit and you can add oil in flight,
something that's probably important
when flying an R-985 on long flights.
"We had to get 22 337s for things
we modified, ranging from extending
the cockpit to installing modern avi­
onics. The entire process worked fairly
smoothly because we had an excellent
FAA rep that worked with us, rather
than against us."
The paperwork on the airframe work
may have gone smoothly, but Doug
had another paperwork situation that
most definitely didn't go smoothly.
"The title paperwork we got with the
project didn't actually match the data­
plate on our airplane. It showed a se­
rial number which the records showed
as being destroyed in Alaska. I could
have gone with that and had a lot
fewer headaches, but we wanted it as it
was when it flew in the movie. On the
forward bulkhead of the fuselage, we
found an original dataplate that identi­
fied this airframe as SN799.
"We needed the FAA to authorize
the issuance of a new data plate, which
isn't something they take lightly. We
needed proof of what we were saying
and that the numbers were correct.
Thankfully, Bombardier had all the re­
cords, so we sent them serial numbers
from a number of the serialized parts,

and they verified that they belonged to
SN799. We combined their letter with
photos of the airplane in the movie,
and the FAA relented and issued autho­
rization for a replacement data plate.
"I thought long and hard about
just staying with the existing SN pa­
perwork, because by opening that can
of worms the FAA could just as easily
have said that we looked as if we were
trying to do something fraudulent (and
in fact they did at one point), and we'd
have no airplane at all. The real turn­
ing point came when a safety inspector
came through our shop to take a look
at the airplane. He saw how profession­
ally we were approaching the project
and that we weren't trying to pull a fast
one on them."
Kenmore Air is renown for its exper­
tise on the R-985 Pratt & Whitney, so
Doug's decision on who should rebuild
the engine was a no-brainer.
IIWhen Kenmore did the engine, we
were surprised to find the inside of the
engine to be in good condition consid­
ering the time it had spent underwater.
The original cylinders, which had been
full of saltwater, were reused, although
they were chromed. Major components
replaced were all the pistons, crank­
shaft, crankcase, blower, rear case, and
the impeller shaft assembly.
IIWe replaced the two-blade prop
with a slightly smaller diameter, STC'd,
three-blade McCauley, mostly because
of noise considerations. I'd be working
off Lake Washington, which is ringed
with houses, and I didn't like the idea
of being 'that noisy floatplane."'
While Doug was in the rebuilding
process he bought another Beaver to
fly, which not only got him in the air,
but also showed him what he wanted
to change in his other airplane during
the rebuild. This airplane also opened
his eyes to the kinds of adventures
he'd like to have in the new airplane.
This aircraft was flown to Oshkosh on
straight floats in the summer of 2004
and was the main subject of an EAA
Sport Aviation article titled Leave the
Floats at Home.

"We heard about a unique airplane
tour in Australia called the Great Circle
Air Safari that was open only to vin­
continued on page 37




The Bristol Prier

The photo of the February 2007
Mystery Plane is identical to that
which appears in The Aero ("The Bris­
tol Two-Seated Monoplane," Volume
5, Number 104, November 1911, page
231). Most likely, this is one of the first
series of Bristol Prier military mono­
planes, shown later in the February
1912 issue of The Aero ("50 hp Gnome­
engined Bristol Military Monoplane
on Salisbury Plain," Volume 6, Num­
ber 107, page 43) and described in
detail in the June 1912 issue of Aero­
nautics (London, "The Bristol Mono­
planes," Volume 5, Number 82, pages
The 1911-12 Bristol Prier series be­
gan as the 1911 Bristol Prier P.1 mono­
plane (works number 46) during the
summer of 1911, when M. Pierre Prier
joined the Bristol firm in June 1911.
Bristol (The British and Colonial Aero­
plane Co. Ltd.) was originally formed in
February of 1910 by Sir George White,
who was at that time chairman of the
Bristol Tramways and Carriage Com­
pany, and some of his relatives. Some­
times simply referred to as a Bristol
Type P (Flight, Volume 3, Number 39,
September 30, 1911, pages 839-841),
the first machine was built for entry
in the 1911 Gordon-Bennett Cup Race
held at Eastchurch in the United King­
dom, on July 1. The original P.1 was
the third tractor monoplane built by
Bristol. M. Pierre Prier, described as a
"capable engineer," was the first per­
son to make a nonstop flight from
London to Paris, using a Bleriot mono­
plane. He was chief flight instructor

MAY 2007

at the British Bleriot school and also
served in the same capacity for Bristol
at both of its Brooklands and Larkhill
flying schools.
Three P.1s were built. In addition to
number 46, works numbers 56 and 57
were built during 1911. Both numbers
56 and 57 differed somewhat from
number 46. As originally built, all
P.1s were fitted with air-cooled 50-hp
Gnome Omega rotary radial engines.
Numbers 56 and 57 were intended for
use in the 1911 Circuit of Britain Race,
and later, number 56 was temporarily
modified for use in the 1911 Number
2 to be raced in the British Empire Mi­
chelin Cup and was to be flown by Brit­
ish pioneer aviator James Valentine.
In this form, number 56 had a seven­
cylinder, air-cooled 50-hp Isaacson ra­
dial installed in order to make the air­
craft "all-British." Unfortunately, prior
to the race, number 56 was wrecked
by Prier and Number 57 was disquali­
fied because of a complicated affair in­
volving the pilot, D. Graham Gilmour.
While the Gnome Omega engine is
well-known, Isaacson engines are not,
and thus deserve further attention.
The seven-cylinder Isaacson radial
was described in detail in the April
I, 1911, issue of Flight (Volume 3,
Number 13, page 289) and in Glenn
D. Angle's Airplane Engine Encyclope­
dia (pages 263-264). Isaacson built at
least five engine types: two rotary ra­
dials and three radial engines. The
rotaries came in single- and twin-row
configuration, the single row having
nine cylinders and the twin-row hav­

ing 18 cylinders. The nine-cylinder
rotary had a rating of 100 hp at
1200 rpm and displaced 930.69 cu­
bic inches; the twin-row version had
double the horsepower and displace­
ment. The 50-hp Isaacson radial fitted
to Bristol Prier P.1 number 56 appears
to have been the first engine type to
have been built by the Isaacson En­
gine Co., Boyne Works at Leeds.
First displayed at the Third Interna­
tional Aero Exhibition at Olympia, the
engine displaced 312.06 cubic inches
and produced the rated power at 1600
rpm (800 rpm at the propeller shaft).
The engine had a 2-to-1 gear reduction
and forced lubrication was supplied
by a pump, the engine consuming 1.1
pints per hour. The overhead valves
were mechanically operated by push­
rods, and carburetion was supplied by
a White and Poppe carburetor attached
to the rear of t};fe crankcase. Fuel con­
sumption was 0.48 pints per hp-hour.
Isaacson also produced a twin-row
(14 cylinder) version of its radial, the
horsepower and displacement being
double that of the single-row version.
Additionally, there was a 65-hp seven­
cylinder air-cooled radial that dis­
placed 527 .73 cubic inches and pro­
duced the rated power at 1100 rpm.
As previously stated, D. Graham
Gilmour's disqualification was some­
what complex. Prior to the Circuit of
Britain, Gilmour made a rather wild
flight up the Thames. He first flew
quite low over Weybridge to Happing
and back, causing consternation in the
press. Apparently not content, he next

ing the original Gnome
Omegas. Theonlyexcep­
tion to this was number
56, which in addition to
being temporarily fitted
with an Isaacson, plans
~ had been made to in­
~ stall a 40-hp Clement­
~ Bayard. However, this
g=> was never done.
Construction of the
~ original Bristol Prier
was fairly conventional.
Above: These three angles show an early two-place
Flight ("The Bristol Mono­
Bristol Prier.
plane," 30 September
"visited" the Henley Royal Regatta and 1911, Number 144, Volume 3, Num­
"proceeded to shoot up the river in a ber 22, pages 839-841) is undoubted­
dangerous manner" (Brett, Dallas. His­ ly the best description of the original
tory ofBritish Aviation, Volume 1, page Bristol Prier P.l. The 23-foot I-inch fu­
109). Gilmour then dove on the river, selage was of conventional wooden
dragging his wheels in the water, be­ construction, utilizing ash longerons
fore pulling up just in time to miss a and spacer struts to form a piano wire­
crowd. He then made a rather abrupt braced box girder structure. (The Aero
landing in a field near the riverbank. is believed to list the most accurate fu­
For his transgressions, Gilmour was selage length-22 feet 11.875 inches­
called before the Royal Aero Club to although this apparently applies to the
answer for his misdeeds. As a result, his initial two-place variant. The overall
license was suspended for one month. length was 24.5 feet, including the
Bristol then interceded on his behalf by nose skids.) Unique features of the P.l's
filing a writ to lift the injunction. This construction included the use of pat­
was unsuccessful, and Bristol appealed ented wood-cored steel tube wing spars
the ruling. As it turned out, the Royal and a very low-aspect ratio triangular
Aero Club had failed to even follow its stabilator. The wing ribs of the P.l were
own rules, and in any case, it had little designed to have enough flexibility to
real authority to invoke a suspension allow the wings to adequately warp for
of Gilmour's flying activities. Never­ lateral control. In order to prevent dis­
theless, by the time the matter was re­ tortion, they were wrapped in can­
solved, the Circuit of Britain was over, vas for additional reinforcement. The
and Gilmour had cost Bristol the 100­ wings of the P.l had a span of 30 feet 2
pound entry fee for number 57 and all inches, an area of 166 square feet, and
the legal expenses involved in fight­ incorporated a slight amount of dihe­
ing the suspension. As it was, appar­ dral (angle unknown to this writer, as
ently all, numbers 46,56, and 57, is the angle of incidence).
were converted for use as single-place
The flight controls of the P.l con­
trainers at the Bristol flying schools, sisted of a conventional V-jointed
with 35-hp Anzani "Y" engines replac- stick- and foot-bar, the stick having a

square spade handle attached to the
top. Wing warping of the P.I was quite
similar to that of the Bleriot Type XI
monoplane, the front spar being se­
curely fixed in sockets mounted to fit­
tings attached to the appropriate ash
uprights. The rear spars, however, were
free to pivot at their attachment fit­
tings . The 3/16-inch stranded wire
wing-bracing for the forward spar was
affixed to a dorsal cabane pyramid of
oval steel tubing that was placed im­
mediately ahead of the cockpit. Differ­
ential wing-warping cables (for the left
and right wing panels) connected to
the stick ran to a rocking lever arm lo­
cated at the apex of a ventral vee-strut,
located just under the cockpit. The lat­
eral control cables from the stick were
in turn attached to the appropriate
triple warping cables that ran to the
underside of each rear wing spar via
the rocking lever arm. Return carry­
through cables attached to the dorsal
side of the rear spars completed the
warping control system. These ran
from the top of each wing's rear spar
through tubular guides brazed to the
rear side of the upper cabane pyramid.
All control wires in the were dupli­
cated in case of failure . The triple brace
wires for the underside of the front
spars were attached to the landing gear
struts, with the exception of the inner­
most wire, which was attached to the
lower fuselage longeron.
The unique low-aspect ratio stab i­
lator was pivoted on a steel tube that
ran through the fuselage . As in all such
designs, this feature created problems.
The warping would, of course, be rather
stiff and much slower to respond than
the stabilator. Despite the fact that it
was aerodynamically balanced (with
the pivot point ahead of the center
of pressure), it would nevertheless be


quite sensitive to any pitch input. The
vertical rudder was arranged in the
same manner as the stabilator, being
mounted on a steel tube shaft. The sta­
bilator of the P.1 measured 7 feet in
length (chord), had a span of 4 feet 2
inches (same as the distance between
the main landing gear skids), and an
area of 16 square feet. The stabilator
had an interesting wire bracing sys­
tem . Small horns were mounted verti­
cally and placed on opposite sides of
the fuselage. They served as an attach­
ment point for two cables that ran to
the trailing edge of the stabilator, on
both the dorsal and ventral sides.
Additional brace wires were at­
tached to each apex of the triangular
stabilator wedge (the central segment
was removed to allow the stabilator to
fit around the fuselage) . The vaguely
trapezoidal vertical rudder measured 2
feet high above the fuselage to the top
of the mounting tube and was 3 feet 9
inches wide, which gave it a total area
of about 7 square feet. Like the stabila­
tor, the entire surface moved and was
mounted on a centralized tube that
served as the pivot point.
Another unique feature of the P.1s
were the landing gear nose skids.
These extensions of the landing gear
strut skids were intended to prevent
the aircraft from "nosing over." On
the P.1, the skid extensions were
sharply curved and incorporated a
helical spring held in compression in
order to allow the extensions to flex
in the event of any nose-over mis­
hap. The main landing gear wheels
were held in place by steel fittings at­
tached to the main skids and through
an interconnecting axle that was
sprung via an elastic cord for each
wheel, which served as a shock ab­
sorber. Originally, a double rattan
bow tailskid was used on Bristol Priers
well into early 1912 when it appears
as though a more conventional de­
sign was adopted, which was retrofit­
ted to some of the earlier aircraft.
As originally built, the P.1s used four
diagonal steel rods to secure the 50-hp
Gnome Omega. These were eliminated
on subsequent airframes and were re­
moved once the Anzanis were substi­
tuted for the Gnomes and the aircraft

MAY 2007

became school machines. Apparently
the P.1s were fitted with an 8-foot di­
ameter Normale mahogany propeller,
which on subsequent machines was
replaced by a Bristol propeller of 8.1 ­
foot diameter. An aluminum cowl was
used on all Bristol Priers, some cover­
ing the fuselage as far aft as the cockpit
area. At least the first P.1 had an aux­
iliary fuel tank located immediately
ahead of the cockpit. The auxiliary
tank had one of two instruments that
were fitted to the P.l: a fuel gauge (the
other being a tachometer). The main
fuel tank of the P.1 was located imme-








P.1 .

diately aft of the pilot's seat. Location
of the oil tank for the Gnome engines
is unclear but was probably just aft of
the engine. The seats of Bristol Priers
were of aluminum construction and
were mounted on cables that ran be­
tween uprights on opposite sides of
the fuselage. The fittings that held the
suspension wires allowed the seat(s)
to be adjustable-both vertically and
horizontally. On the initial three P.1s,
the wings, empennage, and fuselage
were covered with Zodiac rubberized
fabric. By 1912, this was replaced with
conventional fabric, doped with a spe­
cial Bristol dope that was intended to
provide a smooth finish.
Early in the fall of 1911, the Bristol
Prier had aroused official interest. On
September 5, 1911, Prier apparently
demonstrated one of the original three
P.1s to Capt. J.D.B . Fulton of the Air
Battalion. Because of its profound lack
of stability and controllability, Fulton
was quite unimpressed by the P.l. His
negative report was forwarded to the

director of fortifications at the British
War Office, but it seems to have had
little impact as Bristol works number
75 from the first batch of two-place
"military" machines was subsequent­
ly purchased for 850 pounds in Janu­
ary of 1912. It was delivered to Larkhill
on February 17, 1912. This aircraft
was assigned the serial number B6
and was assigned to Number 2 (Aero­
plane) Company, Air Battalion, Royal
Engineers. Demonstrated by Prier dur­
ing a brief six-minute flight, it was not
flown by an Air Battalion pilot until
March 17, when Lt. H.R.P. Richards
made an equally brief eight-minute
flight. B6 was flown again on April 26
whenitmadeamuch longer 37-minute
flight, but it crashed on approach fol­
lowing an engine failure. The aircraft
was then returned to Bristol's Filton
works for repair before being returned
to service on June 20. A second engine
failure on that same day resulted in yet
another crash, with serial number B6
nosing over and ending up on its back.
The aircraft was returned to Filton for
a second time. The lack of sufficient
stabilator control resulted in improve­
ments introduced at the suggestion of
Bertram Dickson. These improvements,
incorporated in most subsequent Bris­
tol Prier types, included a 2-foot 6-inch
longer fuselage and a redesigned hori­
zontal stabilizer and elevator of more
conventional design. The new hori­
zontal stabilizer was of roughly semi­
circular planform, and the elevator
was roughly a rectangular single-piece
surface mounted at the rear.
Well before B6 was purchased,
Bristol had begun production
of more Prier monop lanes. Eleven
further machines, numbered 58, 71 ­
76, 83, 84, 90, and 94, were built
as two-place machines with 50
hp . Gnome engines (works num ­
ber 75, part of this batch, became
the B6 once purchased by the War
Office). It would appear that the
two-place "military" depicted in The
Aero (and in Vintage Airplane) was ei­
ther the Air Battalion's number 75
or one of the other initial produc­
tion 11 two-place machines.
Following the failure of Bristol to
show at either the 1911 Gordon-Bennett

Cup Race or in the Circuit of Britain, the only remaining
race of note in the United Kingdom was the British Empire
Michelin Cup, Number 2. The race began at Brooklands on
July 11, 1911, but despite the planned participation ofjames
Valentine in number 56 (with the Isaacson radial), th is event
proved to be abortive. In fact, the only British aircraft to com­
plete the 1,0lO-mile cross-country flight was flown by Ameri­
can expatriate (and naturalized British citizen) Samuel Franklin
Cody, who placed fourth, flying his 1911 Circuit of Britain
biplane. Nevertheless, despite the disappointing showings in
the United Kingdom, a Bristol Prier was the only British ma­
chine to be displayed at the 1911 salon de I aeronautique, when
it opened at Paris on December 16. Offered for sale at the price
of 950 pounds, the Bristol Prier generated much interest af­
ter a flight over Paris by James Valentine two days prior to
the opening of the show. During 1911, Bristol trained a total
of 53 pupils, 18 at its Brooklands school and 35 at Salisbury
Plain. The limited success of the Bristol Prier had in no way
affected the success of Bristol's highly successful Boxkite bi­
plane, which proved to be an excellent trainer.
By January 1912, Bristol had 100,000 pounds of working
capital. Bristol pilots Howard Pixton and Harry Busteed were
henceforth dispatched to Spain. At an airfield near Madrid,
Pixton gave demonstration flights before the king of Spain
(Alphonso XIII), demonstrating that the Bristol Prier could
land and take off from freshly ploughed fields . Busteed made
the first aerial crossing of Madrid at an altitude of 5,000 feet,
winning the Avia Cup in the process. Pixton pressed on to
Johannisthal in Germany where he demonstrated the Bristol
Prier to the fledgling German aviation corps, giving flights to
some of those present. Later, Bristol was to sell Prier mono­
planes to Spain, Italy, Germany, and Turkey and opened flying
schools in Italy and Germany. Several of the initial batch of 11
Bristol Priers went to Spain and Italy. Additionally, it is worth
noting that works number 73 (number 14 painted on the rear
fuselage) was fitted with a complex "clothesline" antenna for
wireless experiments conducted at Hendon in 1912. In this
configuration, number 73's antenna arrangement was sup­
ported by beams attached to the dorsal cabane and the verti­
cal rudder support tube, respectively, which incorporated one
additional diagonal strut for support. Between the two beams,
four wires fitted with ceramic insulators were strung in "tele­
phone pole" fashion. The front portion of the antenna ap­
peared to be a simple diagonal pole fixed to the front side of
the apex of the cabane strut pyramid.
By mid 1912 when the British Aeronautics article on Bris­
tol Prier monoplanes was published, the design had evolved
into several different versions: In addition to the two-place
military there was the one-place popular and two-place school
variants. This matter has unfortunately become quite con­
fused and requires some explanation. Prior to this, the origi­
nal three machines described in Flight had long since become
single-place school machines, while the initial production
batch of 11 two-place machines was somewhat different. [n
addition to the obvious inclusion of a second tandem seat, the
wing chord of the original three was stated to be 6 feet 2
inches. The Aero appears to give a more precise figure of 6 feet

All three above: The Prier P.I as shown in the September
30, 1911, edition of The Aero.

Another set of three views of the Prier, this one the side­
by-side sociable version.


2.875 inches for the initial two-place
Bristol Priers. Like the discrepancy in
fuselage length, this is minor; how­
ever, the span of the initial production
batch was apparently increased from
the 30 feet 2 inches (span of the origi­
nal three Bristol Priers) to 32 feet 9.5
inches for the initial 11 two-place pro­
duction machines. That said, the next
production batch of eight two-place
machines (works numbers 82, 85, 87,
89, 91, 130, 155, and 156) appears to
have incorporated the longer Dickson
fuselage and conventional horizontal
stabilizer and elevator. This is unfortu­
nately contrary to the Aeronautics ar­
ticle that shows the older empennage
in its drawings.
There was also a different wing area,
possibly due to an increased wingspan
and almost certainly due to an increase
in wing chord. Both Peter Lewis' Brit­
ish Aircraft 1809-1914 and the more re­
cent British Aircraft Before the Great War
list the span as 34 feet . I have been un­
able to confirm this in the contempo­
rary sources, but it is possible that one
or more of the second two-place pro­
duction batch were built with a greater
span . Aeronautics indicates that the
chord was increased to 6.4 feet, and
the fuselage length was increased to
23.6 feet. The wing area was now stated
to be 200 square feet, an increase of 7
square feet over the older two-place
"military" variant, which is stated by
Th e Aero to have had a wing area of
about 193.754 square feet (this source
gives the area as 193 square feet, 108.5
square inches). The term military is
somewhat loosely applied, but it per­
tains to all tandem-seat, two-place
Bristol Prier variants. The differences
between the initial and latter produc­
tion batches resulted in somewhat dif­
ferent aircraft.
The weight of the initial two-place
Bristol Prier is listed in The Aero as 660
pounds. This was 20 pounds higher
than th e original P.I, which had an
empty weight of 640 pounds and
a loaded weight of 820 pounds. The
loaded weight of the 1911 two-place
military was about 1,080 pounds. The
stated endurance of 3 hours and fuel
consumption of th e Gnome Omega
(0.59 pounds per hp-hr) would require
28 MAY 2007

M. Prier is shown in this photo of
one of the first three, retrofitted
with a three-cylinder Anzani for flight
school work.
88.5 pounds of fuel (13.6 gallons). In
any case, the 1912 two-place Bristol
Prier "military" had an empty weight
of 670 pounds and a gross weight of
1,200 pounds. Both two-place versions
are stated to have an identical max­
imum airspeed of 60 mph, 8 mph
slower than the P.1 fitted with a Gnome
Omega (British Aircraft 1809-1914 lists
a speed of 68 mph). The Aeronautics
article makes the interesting distinc­
tion of mentioning that the two-place
machine can be flown in either one­
place or two-place configuration due
to the proximity of the passenger seat
to the center of gravity. In any case,
number 91 of the second batch of
eight two-place machines was also
purchased by the British War Office
and was subsequently serial numbered
as number 261 in military service. As
in the earlier two-place version, the
engine of the later two-place Bristol
Prier "military" was a standard 50-hp
Gnome Omega. The sole exception to
this were two machines based on works
number 82 that were constructed for
Turkey. These two machines (works
numbers unknown) were fitted with
70-hp Gnome Gammas.
The "popular" one-place Bristol
Prier school machine mentioned in
Aeronautics was similar to, but not
quite the same as, the earlier P.1s. The
Aeronautics description most closely
matches that of works numbers 95
and 96 that were based on number
57 and sent to Italy. The description
also applies to works numbers 97, 98,
and 102 (used at the Bristol Larkh­
ill school), which were the same as
numbers 95 and 96 except that they
had the fixed horizontal stabilizers
and elevators of the later machines,
numbers 95 and 96 apparently retain­
ing the original triangular stabilator.
In any case, the "popular" appar­

ently had a somewhat shorter span
of 29.5 feet (the Aeronautics drawing
confusingly states that it is 10 me­
ters, or 32.81 feet). This indicates that
the span was approximately 8 inches
less than that of the original P.1s.
The wing chord may also have been
slightly less (the Aeronautics text states
that it was 6 feet). Whatever the actual
case, the stated wing area is slightly
less than number 57, being given as
160 square feet. The fuselage length
also closely matches that of the origi­
nal three P.1s, the "popular" length
being listed as 23 feet, the longer Dick­
son fuselage extension not being used
on this variant. While the engine of
the "popular" is stated to be a three­
cylinder 28-hp Anzani, most sources
give the actual horsepower as 35 hp.
Empty weight of the one-place "popu­
lar" is listed as 450 pounds, and the
loaded weight is given as 750 pounds.
The final Bristol Prier variant listed
in the June 1912 Aeronautics article
is a two-place school machine. How­
ever, other sources refer to this Bristol
Prier variant as the sociable because
of its side-by-side seating arrange­
ment. After Prier had left Bristol, and
Henri Coanda (see the November
2006 Mystery Plane) had joined the
company in January of 1912, Coanda
decided to modify Prier's fuselage de­
sign to the side-by-side arrangement
used on the Bieriot Type XI-2. While
the Aeronautics article gives a span of
41.2 feet (12.55 meters listed on the
article's drawing), British Aircraft Be­
fore the Great War states that the span
was 34 feet. In any case, the Bristol
Prier sociable retained the longer
overall fuselage length of 27 feet (8.2
meters is listed on the article's multi­
view drawing). If one accepts the
Aeronautics description, the chord of
the sociable was 6.2 feet and the wing
area was 247 square feet . The empty
weight is listed as 800 pounds, and
the speed is given as 40 mph. Once
again, a 50-hp Gnome Omega was
used as the standard powerplant;
however, one may have had an 80-hp
Gnome Lambda. Three or four socia­
bles were built (explained below) .
Throughout 1912, Bristol Priers con­
tinued to be flown in various events. At

the Hendon meet held on April 20-21,
1912, 22,000 admissions were paid to
witness the racing event. James Valen­
tine placed first in the pylon race but
was disqualified for overtaking B.C.
Hucks on the inside. Valentine never­
theless made good on the Bristol Prier,
later winning the Whitsun Race at
Hendon. Bristol Priers were also flown
in the Daily Mail's First Aerial Derby,
James Valentine piloting a Bristol Prier
with the race number 7 for the 460
pound grand prize.
Toward the end ofjuly 1912, Bris­
tol was forced to temporarily close
its flying school at Salisbury Plain
for the 1912 British military aircraft
competition. Most aircraft were trans­
ferred to the Brooklands school and
were placed under the control of Bris­
tol instructors Hotchkiss and Mer­
riam. However, M. Jullerot, Gordon
England, Howard Pixton, and Harry
Busteed stayed on at Salisbury Plain
to look after the Bristol entries in the
competition. Determined to make a
good showing at Brooklands, eight
Bristol machines flew 20 pupils over
a one-week period, making more
than 300 flights totaling 40 hours.
Typically, flying began at 4 a.m. and
continued all day into the evening
hours . Some students are reputed to
have been roused from their noctur­
nal slumber by the instructors waking
them with the aircraft. In any case,
on average, one brevet was awarded
each day. Among those who soloed
during this period were Maj. J.F.A.
Higgins, Capt. C.P. Michaels, A.M.
MacDonnell, Lt. EE Waldron, Lt. K.P.
Atkinson, Sydney Picks, R.G. Holyo­
ake, and Lindsay Campbell.
The Australian government, with
the intent of forming the Australian
Flying Corps, had sent Campbell to
England. He qualified for his license
on his 49th birthday, flying a Bristol bi­
plane. Unfortunately, this was marred
by a fatal crash on August 3 while he
was flying a Bristol Prier monoplane.
According to contemporary accounts,
Campbell's engine cut out at 300 feet.
The aircraft then stalled and dove to­
ward the ground. He was able to make
a recovery when the engine came back
on, but he stalled a second time and

finally hit the ground. The aircraft was
not very badly damaged, but Camp­
bell was thrown against the padded
cockpit coaming and was fatally in­
jured. He was not using a seat belt.
Following the trials at Salisbury
Plain, B6 was returned to service on
August 22, 1912, now sporting the
new Royal Flying Corps (RFC) se­
rial number 256. When tested by
Capt. C.R.W. Allen and Lt. C.A. Bet­
tington it was found to climb and
handle well with the new fuselage
extension and empennage. It was
subsequently assigned to Number 3
Squadron, and on September 17 was
joined by the second RFC Bristol
Prier "military," which was assigned
the serial number 261 (Bristol works
number 91). It is unfortunate that the
monoplane ban went into effect only
a short time later, and as such, little
flying was done with either of the
machines. However, they were still
listed "on charge" on December 21,
but by March 28, 1913, they were
listed as "unallotted to squadron."
They were held at the RFC Flying De­
pot until they were finally struck off
charge on August 5, 1913 . Interest­
ingly, Jack Bruce's Aeroplanes of the
RFC (Military Wing) gives the span of
Bristol Prier military number 256 as
32 feet 9.5 inches and lists the length
as 23 feet 7.5 inches. (The span
matches that of the initial produc­
tion batch, but the length is slightly
greater.) He also states that the wing
area was 200 square feet and lists the
empty weight as 670 pounds in origi­
nal form, with a gross weight of 1,200
pounds. (These figures would seem to
apply to number 261 from the sec­
ond two-place production batch.) In
all, number 256 was flown only 8
hours 33 minutes, and number 261
was flown 4 hours 38 minutes before
they were removed from service.
The safety record for Bristol Priers
during 1913 and 1914 was as check­
ered as it had been in the previous two
years. On July 17,1913, another was
involved in a fatal accident at Lark­
hill, when Maj. Alexander Hewetson
was killed while doing a figure-eight
test at low altitude. He apparently over
banked the aircraft and sideslipped to

the ground from 100 feet altitude. He
had only been flying for two months
at the time of the accident.
This was followed by a second ac­
cident barely six months later. On
January 26, 1914, Bristol instruc­
tor Warren Merriam was flying a
Bristol Prier sociable fitted with an
80-hp Gnome Lambda at Salisbury
Plain. His student, G.L. Gipps, had
taken his certificate (number 513) on
June 23, 1913. The aircraft was not
equipped with any instrumentation,
and neither person was strapped in
nor were they wearing crash helmets.
According to witnesses, the aircraft
completed one circuit of the field at
80 feet altitude. The aircraft then per­
formed a violent flat turn, stalled,
and dove into the ground. Gipps was
killed, and Merriam was severely in­
jured but recovered. The accident is
said to have been caused when Gipps
resisted Merriam's rudder input. Gipps
then relaxed his leg, which threw the
vertical rudder hard-over, causing the
crash. Whatever the cause, little more
was heard of the Bristol Priers.
It is somewhat difficult to ascertain
exactly how many Bristol Prier vari­
ants were built. According to Peter
Lewis, three sociables were built, with
works numbers 107, 108, and 109.
However, unless one also counts the
sociable destroyed in the Merriam­
Gipps aCCident, the total doesn't
agree with his total of 33. British Air­
craft Before the Great War states that 34
were built. Kenneth Munson's book
Pioneer Aircraft 1903-1914 states that
there were three original machines,
followed by seven one-place "mili­
tary trainers," and 24 larger two-place
machines, and of those, 11 had 50­
hp Gnomes. Without counting the
Merriam-Gipps accident, I arrive at
a total of 32, with certainty. There
were three P.1s, 11 two-place 1911
military machines, five additional
one-place school machines, eight
1912 military machines, two mili­
tary machines with 70-hp Gnomes
built for Turkey, and three sociables.
Thus, if one does include the Mer­
riam-Gipps sociable, one does arrive
at the figure given in British Aircraft






Seeing as how the wind was blowing strongly enough
to rattle the windows of my office (located in a trailer at
the Columbia County Airport), I thought of filing a pilot
report (PIREP) stating, "Moderate turbulence reported by
a trailer parked beside the ramp ... " The wind was blowing
so strongly on this post-frontal day that my client and I
had decided to cancel our training session scheduled for
that afternoon . Since, except for the wind, it was a beauti­
ful, severe-clear day, I figured I would use the free time to
get some exercise. (An important ingredient in staying fit
for flight, especially for those of us into our vintage years,
which too often gets neglected or put off.)
As I headed to my car, I couldn't help but notice a flock
of seagulls congregating around a huge puddle, left from
yesterday'S rain. Some were in the air, and some remained
on the ground. I watched those that were flying, and I
thought to, Boy, I sure wish I had that kind of airmanship.
They don't seem at all flustered by the turbulent air. What
oneness with their environment they seem to display.
That is what airmanship is all about, isn't it?
After I got home, changed clothes, and headed out on
my bicycle, I found myself still engaged in thoughts about
airmanship. How does one really define airmanship? Does
airmanship lie solely within the realm of stick and rudder
skills? If that were so, then maybe those seagulls surely
displayed it. But some might argue that airmanship tran­
scends stick and rudder skills. "Does not airmanship also
encompass judgment and decision-making skills?" they
ask. Others would say that airmanship must also include
knowledge, and still others would say that airmanship
should include ethical behavior. If all these were so, then
those seagulls were falling short of the mark.
As my body struggled with propelling my bike into the
headwind, my mind continued its struggle to really wrap
itself around the concept of airmanship. I think that most
of us pilots might be challenged to fully define airman­
ship, but we could state, as did Supreme Court Justice
Potter Stewart (no relation) did in 1964 in reference to

MAY 2007

another subject, "I know it when I see it."
If it is difficult to define airmanship, might it be even
harder to find guidance on how to develop good airman­
ship? Whereas numerous sources encourage the acquiSi­
tion of airmanship as one of the primary goals of all pilots,
few, if any, really provide concrete steps on how to achieve
this state of being. As I pondered this question, the answer
suddenly came clearly to mind: The Aviators' Model Code of
Conduct (AMCC). This document not only encourages us
to "seek excellence in airmanship," it also goes on to give
numerous steps and suggested practices to achieve it.
The AMCC is a fantastic document available to every­
one, either online, at or from a variety
of flight schools as well as airplane distributors and dealers.
(In fact I provide everyone of my clients with a copy of the
AMCC.) It was created by Michael Baum, with the editorial
oversight of a permanent editorial board. The AMCC "is a
living document, intended to be updated periodically to
reflect changes in aviation practices and the aviation en­
vironment." There are versions of the AMCC created not
only for pilots in general, but specific versions for seaplane
pilots, glider pilots, student pilots, and sport pilots as well.
The introduction to the AMCC states: "The Aviators'
Model Code Of Conduct (Code of Conduct) presents broad
guidance and recommendations for General Aviation
(GA) pilots to improve airmanship, flight safety, and to
sustain and improve the GA community.
"The Code ofConduct presents a vision of excellence in GA
aviation. Its principles both complement and supplement
what is merely legal. The Code ofConduct is not a 'standard'
and is not intended to be implemented as such."
It is not all that often that we find things in aviation
that are purely altruistic; however, it is my feeling that
the AMCC is exactly that. It is 100 percent free and avail­
able to all who seek to use it. Furthermore, anyone who
chooses to "may use the Aviators' Model Code ofConduct as
a resource for code of conduct development, although it
is recommended that this be supported by independent

research on the su itability of its principles for specific or
local applications and situations. It is not intended to pro­
vide legal advice and must not be relied upon as such ."
The Code of Conduct consists of the fo ll owing seven
sections (each containing princip les and sample recom­
mended practices).
• General Responsibilities of Aviators
• Passengers and People on th e Surface
• Training and Proficiency
• Security
• Environmental Issues
• Use of Techn ology
• Advancement and Promotion of General Aviation
Sample Recommended Practices are basic suggestions
fo r using the Code of Conduct principles and tailorin g the
principles to specific aviation comm un ities and organiza­
tions . " . . . the Sample Recomme nd ed Practi ces m ay be
modified to satisfy t he u nique capa bil ities and requ ire­
ments of each pilot, mission, aircraft, an d GA orga niza ­
tion." (As I said before, truly altruistiC!)
If one seeks to delve deeper into th e AMCC, there is a
commentary available on li ne that provides d iscu ssion ,
interpretive guidance, and suggested ways to adopt th e
Code of CondL~ct . If one is of a scholarly bent, Mr. Baum
defi nitely provides far-reaching research and documenta­
tion of a vast variety of views on the sub jects presented in
t h eAMCC.
The AMCC can benefit pilots in numerous ways, some

of these being: high lighting importa nt practices to ma ke
pi lots better, safer aviators; promoting im proved p il ot
training, better airmanship, appropriate pilo t condu ct,
personal responsibility, and p ilot co ntributions to the GA
community and society at large; encouraging the develop­
ment and adoption of good judgment and eth ica l behav­
ior; advanCing self-regulation through the GA community
as an alternative to government regu lation; and promot­
ing GA and making flying a more rewarding experience.
It seems that t h ere is n o overw h elm in g conse n su s
among pilots as to the exact definition of airmans h ip.
It includes skill, knowledge, understanding, and ethical
behavior amongst other things. It seems clear to me that
the Aviators' Model Code of Conduct add resses every pos­
sib le meaning that one might come up wit h . The fact
that the AMCC has as one of its umbrella provisions "seek
excellence in airmanship" demonstrates t hat the entire
document embodies this concept. As one implementer of
the Code has stated, "You want to kn ow t he mean ing of
airmanship to me? The AMCC. That's it. Now try to pu t
that in one word ...."
What is so neat about the AMCC is that it not only
defines airmanship, it then goes on to offer numerous sug­
gested practices to achieve it. May you seek exce llence in
airmanship as you seek ... blue skies and ta il winds.


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Doug Stewart is the 2004 National CFI of the Year, a NAFI
Master Instructor, and a designated pilot examiner. He oper­
ates DSFI Inc ( based at the Co lumbia
County Airport (181).




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Over the years, I've seen things
that didn't fully impact me until re­
cently. The impact of new technology
has begun to affect me. I see my grand­
children doing things with comput­
ers, setting up programs on the DVD
players, and accomplishing things in a
flash that are completely baffling to me.
I see the trend toward glass panels
and navigation systems in the new
"plastic" airplanes and even the old
standby Cessnas and Mooneys. All this
wonderful computer-based high-tech
stuff is being gobbled up with great en­
thusiasm by the "new breed" of avia­
tion people.
The computer-based training pro­
grams and the computer flying games
(and they are games) that simulate fly­
ing a World War I fighter plane or a
Boeing 747 are fantastic. The computer
is an unbelievable tool for education.
Somehow, though, all this high-tech
stuff has passed much of my generation
by. Many of us feel like what I heard
one man say: "Now I know what my
dog feels like watching television."
Sure, using these new systems, with
their ability to navigate while keeping
track of where it (and the airplane!) has
been and where it is gOing, and in the
case of the newer airlines, even make
position reports back to base, are amaz­
ing. They can bring the airplane right
into position for the final approach and
landing; these systems are indeed won­
derful and definitely safer.
I've heard it said that the airliner
crew of the future would be one cap­
tain and a dog. With all this auto­
mated equipment, the dog is there to
bite the pilot if he touched anything.
All thi s is true, and it's here ... and
here's what I mean when I say "his-

tory repeats itself."
When I first began my airline career
it was in the Douglas DC-3. Most of the
old "threes" had thousands of hours
on them. Some of the pilots I flew with
at that time were in the sunset of their
airline careers and were awaiting retire­
ment age. I couldn't help but wonder
why these old-timers hadn't moved on
and up into the newer equipment com­
ing onto the scene. It was the era of
the beautiful DC-6 (its "B" model) and,
in the case of some airlines, the new
Constellations. When I asked some of
them , the answers were usually that
they didn't want to go to any school,
or they were comfortable where they
were, or they didn't want to get into
something "new." Here's the answer
that was closest to the truth : "It's too
darn complicated!"
Going back even further, I was re­
minded that some of the early, and I do
mean early, airmail pilots couldn't or
wouldn't make the transition to instru­
ment flying. They quit because it was
too complicated and took the "fun" out
of the job. Many of those guys are the
individuals who became barnstormers.
The next step in the evolution of the
high technology of the time was the
enclosed cockpit, or the cabin. Again,
there were negative reactions from
some of the pilots. "I can't hear the
wires," "I need the wind in my face," or
"I can't feel and tell what the airplane is
doing." "It's too complicated. I quit!"
Then along came the radio and its
invasion of privacy and the thought
that it was diluting the captain's au­
thority. Now radios can irritate me
with questions as to where I am and
when am I going to get there.
Back then radio navigation super­

seded the airway beacons. Now the pi­
lot has to navigate with some precision
down an airway while listening to the
"beam," make instrument approaches
using time and distance, and be obli­
gated to use minimums. Minimums for
takeoff and for landing, and you can't
even make an approach unless the
weather reported is at or above mini­
mums. Many wonderfully competent
"stick and rudder" pilots never made
the transition and either quit by choice
or simply failed to make the grade now
being enforced by regulation.
Regulation began with the Aero Club
of America. It was a sort of voluntary
thing at first, until about 1926, when
along came the Department of Com­
merce and the beginning of the regula­
tory bodies we know today. It took until
1938, when the Civil Aeronautics Act
became law, to weed out the outlaws.
There were those who rebelled at losing
their freedom to fly, and they just quit.
Learning to comply with all the rules
was just "too complicated."
And so it goes. Some quit when go­
ing to multiengine airplanes. Too com­
plicated! More dropped out and quit
when the medical requirements became
law. Too complicated! As change takes
place, there is always pain for some. It
becomes too complicated for them, de­
spite the joy and enthusiasm the high­
techies exhibit.
Do we quit flying, trumpeting the
phrase "too complicated," or do we
make an effort to get with the new?
There are those who can make it, and
there are those who find it "too compli­
cated. " Which are you?






Send your answer to EAA, Vintage Airplane, P.O. Box
3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Your answer needs
to be in no later t h an June 15 for inclu sion in the
August 2007 issue of Vintage Airplane.



You can also send your response via e-mail. Send
your answer to [email protected] Be sure to include
your name, city, and state in the body of your note, and
put "(Month) Mystery Plane" in the subject line.


Here's our first let­
ter abo ut the February
Mystery Plane, from
someone with intimate
knowledge of the fami­
ly's history:
A.K . Longren built
the March Mystery Plane
in the mid 1930s. It was
built to compete with
Stearman for a military
trainer contract. It was
one of the first all alumi­
num skinned airplanes.
I have done a lot of re­

MAY 2007

search on the plane. Three were built,
and two were stress tested. One flew
and was later taken to California and
owned by Longren Aircraft Corp. of
Torrance, California. The plane num­
ber was L-13. It had an inverted four­
cylinder inverted engine . I hope to
build a replica someday. The symbol
on the side was four L's rotating around
the seal of Kansas. A.K. Longren was
my great uncle.
Jerry Longren
Manhattan, Kansas
And from another Kansan:
This one is a Longren NL-13, built
by A.K. Longren in either Topeka or
Wichita, Kansas. This is serial number
2; I have never seen a photo of number
1. It used the little Martin 120-hp in­
verted inline engine. Longren kept this
ship at the Cessna airport where he
worked in 1936-1940. Longren moved
to Torrance, California, where it was
last registered. A tip-off on this one is
Longren's logo on the fuselage.
Some historians may remember
that A.K. Longren built and flew
the first airplane in Kansas in 1912,
a pusher, similar to a Curtiss. Lon­
gren also built and sold several con­
ventional biplanes and three with
composite (hard rubber material)
that went to the Navy, all prior to
World War 1.
Walt House

Wichita, Kansas

And a bit more on the subject:
The subject Mystery Plane ap­
pears to be the Longren NL-13 c/n 2
(X12538), built in 1932 by Albin K.
Longren (1882-1950) in Kansas City,
Missouri. Longren had been a de­
sign consultant for Butler Manufac­
turing Co. during the certification of
the Butler Blackhawk and built the
NL-13 in the Butler facility with help
from Butler employees. Butler had
ceased production by that time in the
depths of the Great Depression. The
NL-13 had an all-metal airframe ex­
cept for wooden wing spars and the
fabric wing covering. The engine was
a 120-hp Martin 333 inverted inline
with four cylinders. The X12538 was

the only NL-13 built (See Jerry's letter at
left; there seems to be some discrepancy
in the number built.-HGF) and was
not successful in reaching production,
although it was an early example of
formed aluminum aircraft structures.
My information comes from Aero­ and from Chuck (Charles
E.) Lebrecht's fine article entitled
"A.K. Longren - Pioneer Airman of
the West" published in the Journal of

the American Aviation Historical Society,
Volume 26, Number 4, Winter 1981,
pages 258-270. Lebrecht's article gives
a great view of Longren's career as an
aircraft designer and manufacturer.
Jack Erickson
State College, Pennsylvania
Other correct answers were received
from George Otto Snook, Monroe, Mich­
igan; Tom Lymburn, Princeton, Minne­
sota; and Wesley R. Smith, Springfield,
Illinois. Also, it should be noted that
Wayne Van Valkenburgh ofJasper, Geor­
gia, correctly answered our February
Mystery Plane, as did Tom Lymburn.

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MAY 2007

DHC-2 de Havilland

continued from page 23

tage airplanes and included 4,000 miles
touring the Australian Outback. That
sounded like the kind of thing we'd
like to do with the new airplane, so we
shipped the Stearman to Sydney, where
we had barely a day and a half to get
the airplane together and fly one test
hop before taking off with the rest. See
Doug's website,
for more information. All profits of
DVD sales go to the Royal Flying Doc­
tor Service of Australia.
liThe tour had nine airplanes on it
that included three Stearmans, Chip­
munks, and Tiger Moths. The trip was
really different. It was like flying over
the red planet of Mars./I
Out of that experience came some
possible plans for the new airplane in
the near future. Amongst them are
the following:
• Circumnavigate the entire state
of Alaska.
• Explore the North Island of New
• Put it on wheels and crisscross
South Africa.
• Fly the entire circumference of
• Thoroughly explore the east
coast of Australia.
When asked if he'd do anything dif­
ferently, were he to tackle another project
like this, Doug said, "This took entirely
too long. Over six years. My helper could
only put about 20 hours a week into it,
and I need more help than that. That
last year was agonizing because it was so
close but not close enough. As it was, we
only had nine hours on the Hobbs when
we left for Oshkosh.
liMy wife, Robbi, has been wonder­
fully understanding and supportive
through this entire process. She actu­
ally made it quite easy, which is im­
portant. Now maybe we can all enjoy
the airplane. I'd also like to thank Rob
Richie, director of maintenance and
the smartest Beaver guy on the planet
of Kenmore Air, for all the advice and
support he provided during the resto­
ration of this great aircraft./I






JUNE 8-10


• Repairman (LSA) Inspection-Airplane

JUNE 9-10


• RV Assemb~. Electrical Systems, Wiring &Avionics

JUNE 15-17


• Repairman (LSA) Inspection-Airplane

JUNE 23-24


• Fabric Covering


• Composite Construction • Electrical Systems, Wiring &Avionics
• Basic Sheet Metal


• Electrical Systems, Wiring &Avionics


Repairman (LSA) Inspection-Airplane


RV Assemb~


Repairman (LSA) Inspection-Airplane





EAA SportAir Sponsors:




The following list of coming events is
furnished to our readers as a matter of
information only and does not consti­
tute approval, sponsorsh ip, involvement,
control, or direction of any event (fiy-in,
seminars, fiy market, etc.) listed. To sub­
mit an event, send the information via
mail to: Vintage Airplane, P.O. Box 3086,
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Or e-mail the
information to: [email protected] .
org. Information should be received four
months prior to the event date.
MAY 4-6-Burlington, NC-Alamance County
Airport (KBUY). VAA Chapter 3 Spring
Fly-In. All classes welcome. BBQ on field
Fri. Evening, EAAjudging all classes Sat.,
Banquet Sat. Nite. Info: Jim Wilson 843­
753-7138 or [email protected]
MAY 6-Lock Haven, PA-William T. Piper
Memorial Airport (LHV) Pancake Breakfast
Fly-In to Benefit Sentimental Journey Fly-In
8 am-12 pm. All you care to eat pancake
breakfast $5 Adults, $3 children under
age 10. Piper Aviation Museum open for
tours. Call 570-893-4200 or 748-5123 for
more information. [email protected] WWW.

MAY IS-San Martin CA-Annual Wings of
History Aircraft Museum and South County
Airport Fly-in and Open House. Food, old­
time tractors, airplanes, EAA Chapter 62
Young Eagles flights and free museum
tours. 8am-4pm. Peggy Jones, Event
Director, Wings of History Air Museum
[email protected] 831-663-6935

MAY 20-Warwick, NY(N72)-EAA Chapter
501 Annual Fly-In, 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM, all
classes welcome, Registration for judging
closes @1:00 PM, food & beverages
available, for info:973-838-7485, 201­
444-1524, or e-mail [email protected]
MAY 3'1-JUNE 2-Bartlesville, OK-Frank
Phillips Field (BVO). 21st Annual Biplane
Expo. Info: Charlie Harris 918-622-8400

JUNE SolO-Union, IL-Poplar Grove Airport
Army Wings and Wheels. Info Vintage
Wings & Wheels Museum 815-547-3115
Tom Murray [email protected]
JUNE 14-17-St. Louis, MO-Dauster Rying
Field Creve Coeur Airport (lHO). American
Waco Club Fly-In. Info: Phil Coulson 269­
624-6490 or rcou/[email protected] WWW.

JUNE 20-2l--Lock Haven, PA-William T.
Piper Memorial Airport (LHV) Sentimental
Journey Fly-In . Family oriented fly-in
featuring antique and classic aircraft of
all makes and models, especially PIPERS!
Seminars, vendors, food, camping, and
entertainment daily. Come for the day
or the week! Call 570-893-4200 or 748­
5123 for more information. [email protected]

JUNE 21-24-Mt Vernon Ohio-Wynkoop
Airport (6G4) 48th Annual National
Waco Club Reunion. Check WWW. for more
information and contact information. Or
email/call Andy Heins, 937 313 5931
[email protected]
MAY 2007



JUNE 22-24-Gardner, KA-Gardner Municipal
Airport, (K34) Greater KC VAA Chapter 16
Fly-in Contact Kevin Pratt 816-985-3248
JUNE 3O--Chetek, WI-The Chetek WI (Y23)
9AM car show, craft fair and show, a
professional horse pull and a water ski
show. Plenty of food and drink available
throughout the day. For more info contact
Chuck Harrison 715-456-8415 [email protected] or Tim Knutson 715-237­
2477 [email protected]
JULY 6-8--Alliance, Oh (2Dl)-Taylorcraft
and Ohio Aeronca Aviator's Fly-In. See the
airplanes built in Alliance, OH & Middletown,
OH and the people that built them. Camping,
motels, food all day. [email protected]
330823-1168 [email protected]
see for airport
diagrams. Breakfast served Sat & Sun 7AM
to 11AM by EAA Chapter # 82
AUGUST 5-Queen City, MO-Applegate Airport
(15MO). 20th Annual Watermelon Ry-In &
BBQ. 2pm 'til dark. Come and see grass roots
aviation at it's best. Info: 660-766-2644
AUGUST 5-Chetek, WI-Southworth
Municipal airport (Y23). BBQ Fly-In.
10:30am Warbird displays, antique and
unique airplanes, antique & collector car
displays, and raffles for airplane rides.
Procedes will be given to local charities.
Info: Chuck Harrison - Office 715-924­
4501, Cell 715-456-8415, [email protected]; Tim Knutson - Home
715-237-2477, Cell 651-308-2839,
[email protected]
AUGUST 18--Forest Lake, MN-(25D)-Airport
Fly-in and Open House lOam - 4pm. 24­
hour gas and 24-hour grass: 3000-foot
31/13. Forest Lake Lions serve brats,
corn-on-the-cob and ice cream . 100LL is
available John Schmidt EAA 250021 St.
Paul , Minnesota 651 776 1717
AUGUST 17-19-McMinnville, OR-25th
Annual West Coast Travel Air Reunion
Come Celebrate the Rebirth of the Travel
Air. Expected to be the largest gathering
of Vintage Travel Airs in recent times. Held
in conjunction with the Northwest Antique

Airplane Club Event. Info: Bruce McElhoe
AUGUST IS-Brookfield, WI-Capitol Airport
(02C). Ice Cream Social and vintage
Aircraft Display, VAA Chapter 11. Dean
London, 262-442-4622
SEPTEMBER I -Marion, IN-Marion
Municipal Airport (MZZ). 17th Annual
Fly-In Cruise-In . 7:00am until 2:00pm.
This annual event features antique,
classic, homebuilt, ultralight and
warbird aircraft as well as vintage cars ,
trucks, motorcycles, and tractors . An
all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast is
served, with all proceeds going to the
local Marion High School Marching
Band. www.FlylnCruiseln.comlnfo: Ray
Johnson (765) 664-2588 or [email protected]
SEPTEMBER 2-Mondovi, WI-21st Annual
Log Cabin Airport Ry-In. Doug Ward, Owner/
Operator, 715-287-4205. Lunch @ noon.
SEPTEMBER 8-Newark, Ohio-Newark­
Heath Airport (VTA) Annual Fly-In/Drive­
In Breakfast "Pancakes and More,"
Young Eagles Flights, Vintage Airplanes,
Classic Cars, Tom McFadden 740-587­
2312; email: [email protected]
SEPTEMBER 21-22-Bartlesville, OK-Frank
Phillips Field (BVO). 51st Annual Tulsa
Regional Fly-In. Antiques, ClaSSiCS,
Light Sport, Warbirds, Forum, Type
Clubs. Info: Charlie Harris 918-622­
8400 www.tu/
OCTOBER S-7-Camden, SC-Kershaw
County Airport (KCDN). VAA Chapter 3
Fall Fly-In. All classes welcome. BBQ
on field Fri. Evening. EAA judging all
classes Sat. Banquet Sat. Nite. Info:
Jim Wilson 843-753-7138 or [email protected]
homexpressway. net
October 5-7-St. Louis, MO-Creve Coeur
Airport (lHO) The Monocoupe Club Fly-In &
October IO-I4-Tuliahoma, TN-"Beech
Birthday Party 2007" Staggerwing,
Twin Beech 18, Bonanza, Baron,
Beech owners& enthusiasts. Info 931­

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2007 MAJOR

For details on EAA Chapter fly·ins and other local avi·
ation events, visit www.eaa.orgjevents
EAA Southwest Regional-The Texas Ry·ln
Hondo Municipal Airport (HOO), Hondo, TX
June 1·2, 2007

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Advertising Closing Dates: 10th of second month prior to desired issue date

Golden West EAA Regional Ry·ln
Yuba County Airport (MYV), Marysville, CA
June 29-July 1, 2007
Rocky Mountain EAA Regional Ry-In
Front Range Airport (FTGl. Watkins, CO
June 23-24, 2007

(i.e., January 10 is the closing date for the March issue). VAA reserves the right
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Arlington EAA Ry-In
Arlington Municipal Airport (AWOl. Arlington, WA
July 11-15, 2007
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, WI
July 23-29, 2007
EAA Mid-Eastern Regional Ry-In
Mansfield Lahm Airport, Mansfield, OH
August 25-26, 2007
Virginia Regional EAA Ry-In
Dinwiddie County Airport (PTB), Petersburg, VA
October 6-7, 2007
EAA Southeast Regional Ry-In
Middleton Reid Airport (GZH), Evergreen, AL
October 12-14,2007
Copperstate Regional EAA Ry-In
Casa Grande (Arizona) Municipal Airport (CGZ)
October 25-28, 2007

P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086.

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Visit www.f/ or call
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A Website with the Pilot in Mind
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A&P I.A.: Annual, 100 hr. inspections.
Wayne Forshey 740-472-1481
Ohio - statewide.

flying club, flight shop, museum. Free
samples. Call 1-800-645-7739 or 1­

bearings, main bearings,bushings, master
rods, valves, piston rings. Call us Toll
Free 1-800-233-6934, e-mail [email protected] Website
N. 604 FREYA ST., SPOKANE, WA 99202
1946 C-140 3500TT, 450 TSMOH, Metal
wings, many mods, paint 9, int 7,
comm, atc/enc. $22.500.00 918-809­
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Aircraft Construction and Restoration,
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MAY 2007

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