Page 1




By E. E. "Buck" Hilbert President, Antique-Classic Division (Photo by Ted Kaston)

In cooperation with our EAA Aerobatic Division, I recently hosted a meeting of FAA, lAC and ourselves. The topic of the meeting was Unsatisfactory Reports on aircraft, engines and equipment. These URs go under several titles . The FAA would like to call them Service Diffi­ culties, the lAC calls them Malfunction and Defects. Whatever they are called they mean some­ thing doesn't hold up - or broke - or just doesn't work right. FAA wanted data compilation and then dissemination of the information as the computer detected any "trends" . Before I go further, the lAC Division is far ahead of FAA on this. They have a Malfunction and Defect Committee and publish a monthly report in their magazine ­ an up-to-date, factual alert of any defect or malfunction peculiar to the aerobatic aircraft with­ in their group. lAC i~ living right up to their dedication to promote sport aerobatics with safety. I feel they are a great group of forward looking people, and wide awake. The ideas of FAA to maintain a computer data bank and detect trends is admirable, but with the limited numbers and the variety of aircraft we operate there is no justification for a data bank. We face an entirely different game but we have a distinct advantage too. Of the Antiques and Classics we fly, there are perhaps fifteen engine types and fifty different aircraft. A pretty fair variety and many of them no longer of current manufacture and without recourse to manufacturer's representation, and subsequent fixes cooked up by him. The advantage we do have though is the type clubs. The banding together of birds of a feather has a distinct advantage . Now we have engine and airframe information about specific types and a free exchange of information among the members .through newsletters . This exchange of information is timely, necessary and of great value in "Keepin' 'em Flyin' " . I advocate expansion of these type clubs, their newsletters and the exchange of information as an answer to FAA . With the age of our airplanes there aren't any new problems, just new solu­ tions to old problems. And if you birds of a feather flock together, support your type club, and share your problems and solutions with the other owners then we can keep the FAA out of it.

HOW TO JOIN THE ANTIQUE-CLASSIC DIVISION Membership in the EAA Antique-Classic Division is open to all EAA members who have a special interest in the older aircraft that are a proud part of our aviation heritage . Membership in the Antique­ Classic Division is $10.00 per year which entitles one to 12 issues of The Vintage Airplane published monthly at EAA Headquarters . Each member will also receive a special Antique-Classic membership card plus one additional card for one's spouse or other deSignated family member. Membership in EAA is $20.00 per year which includes 12 issues of SPORT AVIATION. All mem­ bership correspondence should be addressed to: EAA, Box 229, Hales Corners, Wisconsin 53130. 2

I~t ~ NIAbt ARPlA~t VOLUME 3 -

Photo by Dick Stouffer


MARCH 1975

TABLE OF CONTENTS Frank Clarke, Movie Stunt Pilot .. . Madeleine Kimotek ..... .... . .. . . . . .......... . .. . .. .. . .. . .. The Uptown Swallow ... " Buck" Hilbert . . . ... . ... . . .. .. . . .... .... .... ......... . . .... .. .. .. ... Sunshine At Syracuse ... Robert Elliott . .. . .. .. ... .. .. . ..... . ...... ... ..... . ..... . . ...... . . .. . Reminiscing With Big Nick . . . Nick Rezich .. .. . ...... . . .. . ....... . . .. . .. . ... . . ... .... ... .. . ... Antique Treasure Hunting ... J. R. Nielander, Jr. ..... . ............. .. .. .. .... .. .. . .. ... . ...... ON THE COVER .•• Hells Angels "Gotha " Courtesy Madeleine Kimotek






BACK COVER .•. Mercury Field. Los Angeles in 1920. Jim Barton Collection

EDITORIAL STAFF Publisher - Paul H. Poberezny Assistant Ed itor - Gene Chase

Ed itor - Jack Cox Assistant Editor - Golda Cox









GAR W. WILLIAMS , JR . 9 S 135 AERO DR .. RT. 1 NAPERVILLE , ILL . 60540

DIRECTORS EVANDER BRITT P. O. Box 458 Lumberton , N. C. 28358

JIM HORNE 3850 Coronation Rd . Eagan , Minn. 55122

MORTON LESTER P. O. Box 3747 Martinsville, Va . 24112

KELLY VIETS RR 1, Box 151 Stilwell , Kansas 66085

CLAUDE L. GRAY, JR. 9635 Sylvia Ave. Northridge, Calif. 91324

AL KELCH 7018 W. Bonniwell Rd . Mequon , Wise. 53092

GEORGE STUBBS RR 18, Box 127 Indianapolis, Ind. 46234

JACK WINTHROP 3536 Whitehall Dr. Dallas, Texas 75229

DIVISION EXECUTIVE SECRETARY DOROTHY CHASE . EAA HEADOUARTER S THE VINTAGE AIRPLANE is owned exclusively by Antique ClassiC Aircraft, Inc. and is published monthly at Hales Corners, Wisconsin 53130. Second Class Postage paid at Hales Corners Post Office, Hales Corners, Wisconsin 53130 and Random Lake Post Office, Random Lake, Wi sconsin 53075. Membership rates for Antique Classic Aircraf1, Inc. are $10.00 per 12 month period of which $7.00 is for the subscription to THE VINTAGE AIRPLANE. Membership is open to all who are interested in aviation.

Postmaster: Send Form 3579 to Antique Classic Aircraft, Inc., Box 229, Hales Corners. Wisconsin 53130 Copyright © 1975 Antique Classic Aircraft, Inc. All Rights Reserved .


(Photo Courtesy of the Author)

Frank Clarke in 1928.

FRANK CLARKE, MOVIE STUNT PILOT By Madeleine Kimotek (EAA 65266)

1332 Portsmouth Ave.

Westchester, Illinois 60153

With the advent of The Great Waldo Pepper with Robert Redford, a movie based on the exploits of a 1920's air circus pilot, there is a renewed interest in that now legendary figure, the barnstormer, and concomitantly, in screen air epics. I thought the members of the Antique and Classic Division might be interested in knowing a little of the story of the man I think was the king of barnstormers and stunt pilots, Frank Clarke. He also was the chief pilot responsible for the aerial footage of one of the great足 est air epics of all time - Hel/'s Angels , produced by Howard Hughes in 1927. I certainly make no claim to be an expert on Frank Clarke's life, or on the making of Hel/'s Angels. But through a dear friend of mine, who is now deceased, Jim Barton, I came to know quite a bit of the story and I would like to share it with you. 4

Jim Barton, known affectionately to the movie stunt pilots and mechanics as "Jimmy", was a mechanic respon足 sible for Frank Clarke's aircraft during the filming of Hel/ 's Angels , as well as being Frank's close friend. My father, who is an avid air historian, decided to write a book on the making of Hel/'s Angels and in the process was introduced to Jim. I became interested in the pro足 ject and in a typical feminine fashion, took Jim over as my special friend. Through a series of letters and a sharing of photos and visits a picture began to emerge of Frank Clarke, pilot extraordinaire, and of those far-off days when aviation was still a glamorous adventure and pilots looked like pilots - oily faces, creased leather jackets and helmets, wings and puttees! According to Mr. Robert Lincks, Frank's uncle, he be足 gan flying in 1917 with Al Wilson. Frank was originally

from Pasa Robl es, but ca me to the movie ca pital in the 1920's. Because he could be counted on to p rovide authentic, heart-s topping stunts that were just w ha t the director ord ered , he bega n to accru e a list of screen credits that eventually led to his being ch osen as th e sinister Baron Vo n Ri chter in Hell 's Angels a nd as Chief Pilot in charge of th e air sequences. (In 1920, in th e film , Stranger Than Fiction , which starred Katherine McDonald, Fra nk fl ew a Jenny off a downtow n Los Angeles office buildin g. H e was know n, too, fo r his plane-to- pla ne ch anges sa ns a rope ladder. In the 1927 Pa th e Serial, Eagle of the Night , he landed a nd took off o n a mov ing passe nger train. But Hell's Angels was his g rea tes t assig nme nt. ) Jim Barton left me man y photogra phs taken during the ma king of Hell's Angels and I have included so me of them here in the hopes that the me mbers will recognize th em. During the Second World Wa r, Frank Clarke served with the "Cellul oid Comma ndos", a motion p ictu re group , as he was now considered too old to be a fighter pilot. aturally, his firs t choice had been the Flying Tigers. I know he wo uld have been a good one! On June 11, 1948, he was killed in a BT-15 in a tragic cras h w hich occ urred at Isabella Ca nyo n, Ca lifornia. Jim was on th e scene soo n afterward and he erected a cross made fro m the twis ted p ropeller blades. The next tim e yo u see one of th.e grea t old stun t-flying epics, please thin k of th e ma n behmd th e goggles - Frank Clarke - I know I will. Beca use I think Fra nk Clarke's ow n word s are ce rtai nl y more evoca ti ve th an min e of th a t era I have recopied so me magazine articles he wro te for Liberty magazine in 1931. I know yo u' ll. enj oy them as I did.

I'd like to close with a poem written about Frank after his d eath by a friend - Mr. Dean Spencer: " SPOOKS" CLARKE Midst annals of aviation fam e Surpassing all livin g and d ea d Immortalized "Spooks" one syllable name Eternally blazed at the head . Hater of gravity - Master of Win gs Nonpareil on the fly Artist of stick - he tenaciously clings to his' loved "S hangri-La" of the sky. Idol of ki wis - God of all flyers King of stunt pilots unsung Lay men would sw ear that we were damn liars Relating the thin gs he has don e. To know is to love him . I'm no exception For I have been favored and blessed With friendship of his without bond of conven_tion The kind between men - and th e best. A toast to you , birdman . It' s fa tes' own d ecision To wear your boots - when yo u d epart You' re not only history - By God, yo u're tra dition To all aviation - "Spooks" Clarke - - - - - -

(Jim Barton Collection)

An S.E. 5 used for movie work. By 1927 these aircraft were considered to be expendable junk and usually had a very short life with the movie studio crews.



(Jim Barton Collection)

Fokker 0.7 rigged for movie work. Notice he has company. (Following is a portion of an article by Frank Clarke that appeared in the June 20, 1931 edition of Liberty magazine.)

Howard Hughes, producer and director of the picture Hell's Angels was twenty years old, and many times a millionaire through royalties on oil inventions perfected by his father, when he decided to come to Hollywood and see what could be done about making motion pic­ tures. He had done a little flying and was a rabid enthusi­ ast. He entered the picture game over the protests of his uncle, Rupert Hughes, the novelist, who told him he would lose his shirt. According to all the rules of the game, this should have been true. "Angels" for film ventures are an old story in Hollywood. They usually were meat for unscrupulous film sharpshooters and eventually left town sadder but wiser, having dropped the roll in making a few pictures that would never be shown anywhere . However, his uncle's opinion of his ability annoyed young Mr. Hughes exceedingly. When he determined to go ahead he got hold of John Considine, Jr., production chief of United Artists, and formed a partnership with him to produce one picture. When Hollywood heard the plot of his first story it laughed heartily. The story didn't have any of the conventional "production" or "box-office" 6

values. It was called Two Arabian Knights, and the two heroes were William Boyd and Louis Wolheim . There was, strictly speaking, no heroine. It was the story of a couple of doughboys who were captured and made their escape through a series of fantastic circumstances. While it was being filmed Hughes spent his entire time behind the cameras. He is something of a mechani­ cal genius and it wasn't long before he knew the techni­ cal work of directing inside out. Because of his curiosity it took about twice as long as ordinary to film the picture and cost about twice as much - something in the neigh­ borhood of $400,000, I believe. When it was done, Hollywood, as well as Uncle Ru­ pert, sat back and waited for the picture to flop and young Mr. Hughes to disappear from filmland. But, contrary to all predictions, when the picture was shown it was an enormous money-maker. Hughes then conceived the idea of an air epic. He found his story in Hell's Angels, a tale of the British Royal Flying Corps during the war. He began to formulate plans for its filming - plans which more or less staggered Hol­ lywood, even though it had seen in the making such enor­ mously costly pictures as The Ten Commandments, Ben­ Hur, Old Ironsides, Wings, King of Kings, and Von Stro­ heim's extravagant ventures.

-'. . ... -.








'. (Jim Barton Collection)

Briefing of air crews before another day of filming " Hell 's Angels " . (Jim Barton Collection)

Caddo Field in the San Fernando Valley - early 1928. Most of the aircraft are Thomas Morse Scouts plus an S.E. 5.



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He started filming the preliminary sequences at the studio, and after a few weeks had a disagreement with the director, who quit. Hughes then stepped in and an­ nounced that he would direct the picture himself. Meanwhile he purchased the play, The Racket, and filmed it, starring Thomas Meighan, with Lewis Mile­ stone directing. It was voted one of the ten best pictures of the year and was a big money-maker. He also produced another Meighan picture - The Mating Call. Hughes originally prepared to film the air sequences of Hell's Angels, which occupy half of the picture, at an air field near Inglewood. He built a mess hall and barracks in preparation for his fleet of planes, etc. Later, however, he decided that cloud conditions would be better in the San Fernando Valley, so he leased what had been an al­ falfa field there and turned it into an air field, completely equipped with hangars, a mechanical department, and lights for night flying. He called it Caddo Field, after the corporate name of the company. He then began to assemble a fleet of planes of wartime vintage. He insisted on the utmost possible accuracy in detail. This was no easy task, for by 1927 a good part of those old wartime planes had disappeared. A large part of those to be found were in such condition that they were beyond hope of repair. One of the first planes he bought was a Sikorsky bomb­ er, five or six years old. It had a wing spread of eighty­ four feet, and when flown out from the east by Roscoe Turner it was the largest plane that had ever been seen on the Pacific coast. This was the nearest replica available of a Gotha bomber of the type used in the war. The story of Hell's Angels revolved around two broth­ ers in the flying corps, and Ben Lyon and James Hall were engaged for the roles . It was at about this time that I joined the company and became chief pilot on the picture. Frank Tomick was en­ gaged to fly the No. 1 camera ship throughout the pro­ duction. Hughes himself had learned to fly, and bought a Waco job with a Wright Whirlwind motor for his own use. The wartime planes were bought wherever we could find them. Among others we had a number of S. E. 5s, powered with Hispano motors. There were also several Fokker D-7s that had been used in the war. Their Mer­ cedes motors had been replaced with Hall Scott L 6s. Then there were some Thomas Morse ships with Le Rhone rotary motors; some Avros, the British training plane, and a num­ ber of Canucks, which were used for crash scenes. The Canucks were the Curtiss Canadian training planes, re­ sembling our Jennys, except for different rigging and double ailerons . Various other ships were rented as the need arose. The gang of pilots who were assembled made me think of the old days. Among them were Frank Tommick, Jack Rand, Leo Nommis, and Maurice (Loop the Loop) Mur­ phy. In taking the job as chief pilot, I had insisted on the employment of Roy Wilson, who is one of the greatest in the business. The first air work consisted largely of take-offs and landings, the scenes depicting a British training ground. Later, as we began to get into the air scenes, a good many planes and pilots were added . In all, I guess we used more than 125 planes in the pictures, including those that were cracked up, and employed even more pilots. There were many changes in personnel, as a lot of them didn't stick with us because of the antiquated craft we were using. In speaking of Leo Nommis, I should mention the 8

fact that he was not only a stunt man in the air, but also in automobiles. He was once a race driver, and special­ ized in smashing up automobiles and turning them over for spectacular scenes in pictures. Ben Lyon and Jimmy Hall flew in the old bomber throughout the picture. Ben became a real airplane en­ thusiast and a regular pilot. Both he and Bebe Daniels, his wife, are crazy about aviation. It was while Ben was learning to fly that a very amus­ ing incident happened. The flyers on the Ford reliability tour had arrived in Los Angeles and were to be enter­ tained at the open-air dining room of the Los Angeles Breakfast Club at 8:00 A.M. Somebody had thought up the idea of having Roscoe Turner and Ben Lyon fly low overhead during the cere­ mony and throw a flock of flowers down. They were going to use Roy Wilson's plane, which was at Caddo Field. When they arrived that morning at the field they were late, and Turner was in such a hurry that he didn't stop to listen to Wilson explain his trick gas sys­ tem. They flew down over the Breakfast Club and were do­ ing their stuff when the motor suddenly cut. There was plenty of gas in the plane, but Turner had opened the wrong tank. The ship had to land in the bed of the Los Angeles River and turned over. By some miracle the river at that time had about eight inches of water in it. Ben and Turner crawled out, a rather woebegone Sight, while the reliability flyers stood on the bank and cheered, saying they had expected to be entertained but not quite so royally as by having Ben Lyon put on a crash for them! Few people, even pilots themselves, have any con­ ception of the magnitude of the task of maintaining a military squadron . Many people have seen army fields, but everything there goes off so smoothly and with so little apparent effort that it all looks simple. Yet the old saying that for every man at the front there must be ten behind the lines holds true in aviation, with the added factor that every man on the ground must be an expert. For the filming of Hell's Angels not only did Howard Hughes, the boy producer, have to establish a flying field complete in every detail and gather his planes and pilots, but he also had to gather a complete ground crew. At Caddo Field there were approximately 130 men on the ground, servicing and checking the planes, keeping the motors in tune, and doing machine-shop work. The task was doubly difficult because most of our crates were old and of obsolete design and in constant need of repair. Most needed parts had to be made on the spot, as they were either difficult to obtain or out of stock altogether. Harry Reynolds had charge of the ground work. Hughes gathered for the filming of this picture the largest fleet of fighting aircraft ever brought together save by governments. He actually owned a larger number of fighting planes than most small nations do today. In the final scenes of the picture we had forty wartime planes engaged in battle in the air at one time! In addition there were a number of camera ships. I was directing. Added to the extensive layout at Caddo Field, a Ger­ man air field farther "Out in the valley was also acquired and equipped. When we started the actual air sequences, Al Johnson was engaged to perform several of the dangerous crack­ ups. He did the first one in December, 1927. The scene called for a steep dive to the ground, the ship turning over on its back when it hit. It was a tough stunt, and many of the flyers didn't be­ lieve it could be done without death or serious injury to

(From Jim Barton Collection)

This is Roscoe Turner's Sikorsky S-29A in which he did a lot of barnstorming before leasing it to Howard Hughes for use in the movie " Hell 's Angels". In the movie the plane was painted up to represent a German Gotha bomber(see cover). Turner claimed the fine print of the lease contract to Hughes beat him out of the plane (the contract stipulated that when the amount of the lease payments equalled the value of the air足 craft, it belonged to Hughes) . The Sikorsky crashed during filming , making the arguments somewhat academic .

(Jim Barton Collection)

Wreckage of the ex-Roscoe Turner Sikorsky.

(Jim Barton Collection)

Tubular camera mount on the Sikorsky/Gotha used in the filming of " Hell's Angels". Don Bingham, assistant camera m,ln, on the ladder and Manuel Zamora man足 ning the machine gun.




(Jim Barton Collection)

Frank Clarke shortly before his death in June of 1948.

the pilot. But they didn't know AI. He used an old Canuck ship and took no special precautions in preparing for the crash. He performed it beautifully, nosing the crate over right in front of the cameras. He stepped out without a scratch, with his usual luck. The next day several of us went over to the Glendale Municipal Airport. We were going to fly a number of old ships from there to a field near Inglewood. It was not for camera work and was the sort of flight any novice might make . Al was to take over an old built-up Avro. He was the first to take off. Hardly had he left the ground when his motor started to miss, and then cut out on him. He attempted to clear the high-tension wires adjoin­ ing the field, but his marvelous sense of judging distance, which made him one of the greatest stunt men in the world, failed him. He misjudged the wires and crashed into them. His plane immediately burst into flames. Al himself was thrown clear and lit fifty feet away. As we ran across the field we hoped his usual luck had stayed with him and saved him from injury. We found him writhing in horrible agony. Although he had broken no bones, he had breathed the flames which enveloped the plane. His lungs were scorched. We carried him to the road. Between gasps he said: "This is the end. Save me the suffering. Put me out of the way now." There was nothing we could do for him. We rushed 10

him to the hospital, where he lingered a day or so, never losing consciousness, and then died. With him passed a master of a game that is vanishing. But if, up beyond the Pearly Gates, they have been look­ ing for a long time for someone to change from cloud to cloud with one hand, and without using a rope ladder, they at last have him in AI. Our hearts were heavy, but we had to carry on. Everyone in our squadron was a flying enthusiast, in­ cluding Ben Lyon and Howard Hughes. It didn't really seem like a motion-picture troupe at all. One afternoon Ben decided he would fly from the field back to town with one of the boys . Hughes got the idea that Ben and Jimmy Hall were al­ ready taking enough risks riding each day in the creaky old German bomber. "Now, look here, Ben," he said, "I don't want you to do any unnecessary flying. Cut it out!" "I'll tell you, Howard," said Ben, laughing, "I'll make you a proposition. I'll stop flying if you will. If I get killed you can hire another actor and retake my scenes, but if you get killed, we all stop getting paid." "Nonsense!" snorted Hughes. "It's different with me. In fact, I think I'll fly one of those old war crates just to see how it goes." Hughes had just recently obtained his pilot's license, and purchased his new Waco with a Whirlwind motor; but he had never tried to fly one of the old jobs. Immediately all the pilots tried to dissuade him. But he was stubbornness personified. He ordered an old Thomas Morse with a Le Rhone rotary motor wheeled out of the hangar. The boys crowded around, giving him all sorts of advice on how to handle it. I didn't butt in, as I figured he already had enough advice to last him for months. It seemed, however, that they had forgotten to tell him the most important thing about the ship, which was not to try to make a right-hand turn with it too soon after taking off. A rotary motor has a strong gyroscopic pull to the right. It almost ducks the plane in that direction, while added pressure is needed to turn to the left. Hughes got in, warmed her up, taxied across the field, and took off. He went up a couple of hundred feet and started to bank to the right to circle the grounds. The old crate ducked sharply, went into a spin, and hit the ground. As we ran across toward the crack-up we certainly thought we were seeing the end of our meal ticket. We found the young millionaire cut and bruised some, but not seriously injured, although he was ordered to bed for several days. A couple of days after the accident Freddie Fleck, the tall, lean and voluble assistant director of Hell's Angels, went to see Hughes at his home. Now the principal business of an assistant director is to be able to explain anything, at any time, entirely satis­ factorily. Hughes called Fleck to his bedside. "Now, Freddie," he drawled confidentially, "tell me what really happened?" "Why, nothing, boss, nothing at all," replied Freddie with the air of pooh-poohing the whole thing. "You sim­ ply took off, and a minute and a half later you were flat on the seat of your trousers on the ground." It was the best explanation of the affair that could have been given. From that time on Hughes was a lot easier to handle. He had a lot more sympathy for the boys and an understanding of their problems in handling the old jobs.

(United Air Lines Photo)

The Swallow before restoration work began. The Curtiss "Hot Water 8" has since been removed in favor of a Wright J-4.


By "Buck" Hilbert, President

Antique-Classic Division

Almost at the moment Dario Toffenetti and I acquired the Swallow, United Air Lines began the planning for their Fiftieth Anniversary. The publicity in The Vintage Airplane and the subsequent article in Sport Aviation caught the attention of UAL's Public Relations Depart­ ment. We were approached as to the possibility of using the Swallow during the observance of UAL's predeces­ sor's initiation of air mail service fifty years ago, in April of '76. The thought of playing a part in this observance and -or ret reating the original airplane and better yet, flying the original route fifty years later, fired our imagination. Our third partner, J. Robert Schroeder, also caught the spirit ('76) so all that remains is to get the job done. Right off the reel we ran into trouble. Bill Haselton, who was to do most of the restoration, backed out. Feeling trapped in a squeeze between the three partners and UAL then get­ ting into the picture, caused his enthusiasm to wane, es­

pecially when we began talking of returning this airplane to the 1926 mail-plane configuration. Next thing we knew, we were packing the airplane back on the trailer for the return trip to Illinois, but we lucked out again. Down towards Seneca, Illinois, lives an antiquer name of Ed McConnell. Ed's ambition has always been antiques, but the preys of other projects and earning a living had al­ ways prevented his participation. I caught him in between projects and it didn't take much seIling to fire his imagina­ tion too. Ed has shelved his own projects just for the oppor­ tunity to get in there and give us a hand. His experience and help have been a real morale booster. Things did look pretty bleak there for a while when Bill Haselton backed out. To make this a 1926 J-4 Swallow air mail plane, the first obvious thing we needed was a Wright J-4 engine. I start­ ed looking. I advertised in the Los Angeles Times, and locally, to no avail. Then on a trip to Flabob Airport at 11

Riverside, California, Jim Appleby mentioned that Howard Wells of Sepulveda, California had one. I contacted How­ ard and on a later trip looked over the dismantled engine. It was not quite all there, but it was a start towards what we needed for the project. A trade was arranged and How­ ard now has a Curtiss OXX6 and we have the makings of a Wright J-4. Enter Ed Woerle. Ed is a free lance writer for several aviation publications, an A&P, and a Memphis based mechanic for Delta Air Lines . He also has the hots to build a Pitcairn Mailwing, and the Pitcairn has a Wright engine. Ed is overhauling the J-4 to gain experience on Wright J-4 and J-5 engines. Of course, as an offshoot, you are apt to be reading articles about Wright J-4 engine overhaul in one or more aviation publications, but in the meantime, Ed is getting educated and we are getting our engine over­ hauled . I'm sure glad this is a free country though, 'cause when Delta Airlines finds out that one of their mechanics is overhauling an engine for a United airplane, well ... We have other help too. Deeply involved now is Mike Drabik, a retired United Air Lines mechanic. Mike dates back a long time, back to the Roaring '20s and the barn­ storming days . Then about 1928 he went legitimate and went to work for NAT, another of UAL's predecessors . Mike was once a foreman for the Wallace Aeroplane Com­ pany, and so his old-timer experience is a real help in the wood-work department. Mike has become the spark-plug of the north-side operation and is always catching me and the boys off guard and putting us to work. With Ed Mc­ Connell working the south end we have a little competi­ tion going. When we meet in the middle, we'll have a nearly complete airplane. Mike and I began with the two right wings . We pulled off all the fittings and hardware and Bob Schroeder cleaned and Glid-Plated them all and keeps asking for more to do . We picked, pried, pulled and poked at the woodwork but the wings have withstood the passage of time remarkably well; we couldn't find the slightest excuse to discard them and build new no matter how hard we tried. About all

we've had to do is varnish after repairing a few cracked ribs, installing new trailing edges, new drag and anti­ drag wire ends, new hardware and the reworked fittings. Three coats of varnish and they came out looking better than factory new. Winter weather has slowed us down, but as soon as it breaks we'll finish up the two left ones and have them ready for Ed to cover. Ed, meanwhile, has stripped the fuselage down to the bones, pulled the OX-5 firewall forward, repaired the 1933 groundloop damage to the gear, spliced a couple of cracked tubes, and is about ready to sandblast and start out. Our search for data on the Swallow airplanes has been very frustrating, but that is a story in itself . . . a story that reads like you wouldn't believe. We have just run into the top half of the lower bureau that insists we must have the data the lower bureau has in the basement files that the upper bureau insists they do not have. We are being placed in the position of revealing to the entire bureau what they have but insist they don't have, or if they have it, they don't have any idea where it is. Or, one hand doesn't know where the left knee joins the elbow. Mix the top bananas into this and remember that nobody in the agency makes any more sense than this last paragraph and you'll maybe get a glimmer of how it is dealing with FAA. I've never experienced so much run-around, and double talk in my life. I know where the records are, and so do most of the valid antiquers in this world, but the Agency denies they have them and further, won't look for them because they claim they haven't the manpower. The last time I searched out data on a project, I was forced to go the back door route, through friends of friends who had a friend who worked there . This friend during the lunch hour removed the micro-filmed records they didn' t have, mailed them to me, and after I printed them out they were mailed back and replaced in the file . There must be some way to get the records we need through the front door, don't you suppose? Well, we've tried, and tried, and tried. One more try and I'm going the other route again.

(United Air Lines Photo)

Above - Just like a big homebuilt.

(United Air Lines Photo)

Left - "So THAT'S why it says, 'wing pin - do not pull' !"

Doug Corrigan waves from car outside AirLine Administration Bldg ., before starting downtown tour of Syracuse, New York.

"SUNSHINE" AT SYRACUSE By Robert G. Elliott (EAA 85145)

1227 Oakwood Ave.

Daytona Beach , Florida 32014

"Wrong Way" Doug Corrigan visited Amboy Field, Syracuse, New York, on Augus t 17, 1938, one month after taking off from Floyd Bennett Field, Long Island, where authorities had supposed he was returning to California. Instead, Corrigan's anticipated California flight ter足 minated at Baldonnel Field, Dublin, Ireland. on July 17, 1938. The ancient Curtiss Robin , originally purchased for $325 .00 from Frank Cordova and subsequently named "S unshine" , performed without serious flaw . Powered by a Wright J6-5, 165 hp, Serial 11197, built in May 1929, and later overhauled, it was CAB approved in October 1935. Corrigan's flight was mostly uneventful except for a fuel leak on the floor of the cockpit. To reduce the depth of fuel sloshing around, Corrigan punched holes in the fabric under the floor with a screwdriver and decided to continue on a leaner mixture. Corrigan made -many modifications starting in April 1936, which includ .d the 225 gallon fuselage fuel tank ad足

diti on ahead of the pilot's seat. It was not until June 1938 that "S unshine" was re-licensed NX9243. During the summer of 1938, I was helping out aro und the Amboy Field flight line selling tickets for a barnsto rm足 ing pilot and thus was on hand when Corrigan landed. Syracuse was a planned visit on his pos t-Atlantic flight tour. Mayor Rolland B. Marvin greeted Doug Corrigan and conducted him on a tourlparade through downtown Syra足 cuse . While all this h appened I had an opportu nity to exam ine "Sunshine". The fuselage fuel tanks were clearly visible forward of the pilot's seat. When Corrigan originally purchased the Robin , it was OX-5 powered. The Wright J6-5 not only was to prove more reliable but also appeared to improve the overall aircraft design. Weld marks on the exhau st manifold sh owed evi dence of age and frequent repair ... or were th ey burned on for effect? Upon returning from the downtown parade, Corrigan checked his Robin which was being serviced und er his 13

superVISIOn. After saying goodbye, he taxied out for take off. Somewhat unusual was the wing-down take off ... but perhaps he was trying to catch a last glimpse of the crowd waving farewell from the Amboy Field. Years later after learning his address, I mailed Doug Corrigan a set of photographs. His most gracious response arrived by return mail, and he had included a photograph of himself in the cockpit of "Sunshine" shortly after modi"" fication. At an earlier time he was employed at the Ryan plant as a welder and had worked on C()l. Charles A. Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis", which he noted on the rear of that photograph .

The Wright J6-5, 165 hp engine, Serial 11197, built in May 1929 which powered Doug Corrigan's Curtiss Robin "Sunshine" across the Atlantic from Floyd Bennett Field to Baldonnel Field, Dublin, Ireland on July 17, 1938.

ABOVE - Wing-low take off from Amboy Field, Syracuse, N. Y. on con足 tinuation of Post-Atlantic Flight tour.

LEFT - NX9243, Curtiss Robin on parking ramp of the old Amboy Field, Syracuse, N. Y. Corrigan purchased the plane originally from Frank Cordova for $325.00. Note the fuel tanks visible through window of cockpit, forward of pilot's seat. 14


4213 Centerville Rd.

Rockford , II/, 61102


The Pylon Club was probably the only saloon in the world that was maintained by A&E and ATR rated per­ sonnel. When we built the Club, I enclosed all the plumb­ ing in the "johns" with Marlite panels which made re­ pairs somewhat difficult and time consuming. When the hot water faucet in the ladies john started to leak, I ig­ nored it and kept putting off the repairs. In about a month the drip became a stream that required immediate atten­ tion. My good friend and club member, Capt. Bart He­ witt, was in the place when I was explaining to one of the ladies that I would fix the leak as soon as time permitted. Bart chimed in and said it would be repaired by Saturday . Sure enough, Bart sh owed up the following Saturday with tools and washers - ready and willing to make the long required repairs. I informed him that the shut off valves were located behind the wall and that it wo uld take a couple hours to get to them. He looked at me kind of funny and said, "Only a dumb Polack would hide the valves". The next thing I know, he is out on 63rd Street opening a man hole and down h e goes. He turned off the main water valve for the whole street. You must realize 63rd Street is a busy main street with medical buildings, apartments, department stores, post office, etc., all in need of water. With the water turned off, he comes up out of the hole and damn near gets killed by the Saturday morning traf­ fic whizzing by. He managed somehow in ge tting the cover back on and back into the place without getting creamed.

With the water turned off, he proceeds to overhaul all the faucets in the Club, which takes little more than an hour. By now all hell had broken loose at the Chicago Water Department. Hundreds of phone calls jammed the switch board complaining of no water. An emergency crew was sent out to find a problem that didn't exist. By the time the water department arrived, Bart had the water main turned on and was back in the saloon having a beer - while the water works guys were opening and checking man holes up and down the street and not finding anything wrong. To add a little salt to the water works' wound, Bart walked out to the foreman and raised hell with him for turning off the water. How about Captain John Murray' s world famous shorts? Capt. John was the unsalaried publiC relations director of the Club who kept the name of the Club alive worldwide. I could write a chapter on John and his in­ volvement in the Club but it would only lead to a divorce and, possibly, "Hari Kari" . When John announced his wedding date, we ·decided to have a bachelor's party for him. We put out the word to all of his lady friends and posted a notice in the Club. They came from coast to coast and showered him with gifts and cards that were, for the most part, X-rated. He also re­ ceived so me personal items like the pair of bright red Valentine shorts given to him by his favorite hostess, Miss Jane Armstrong. When he displayed them, all the girls screamed to have him model them. John obliged them wil­ lingly and as he continued to open gifts in his new shorts, our buddy, Bart Hewitt, discovered that the shorts John had taken off were much racier than the ones from Jane. He had them passed around to all the ladies to be auto­ graphed. It was then decided that John's shorts with the lipstick kisses and autographs should be added to th e Club's trophy case. 15

However, Jane Armstrong had other ideas - she hung them in the ladies rest room with a sign which read, "John's Johns". A few days later, John flew a trip to New York and ran into a crew that just arrived from Cairo who were going to dead head to Chicago. When John was introduced to the crew , one of the hostesses said, "Oh!! You're the one whose shorts are hanging in the ladies room in the Pylon Club!!" Blushing, John retired to the cockpit, never to be seen for the rest of the trip . Where are the shorts today? You will have to ask his wife, Mary - or Jane Armstrong. It was John who led the first entourage to Warsaw, Indiana to lay the Polish sausage at the tomb of the Un­ known Polish Soldier - yes, and they mailed post cards all over the world from Warsaw, Indiana signed "The Pylon Club" . It was John who arranged the contest between myself and Barrett Deems, who was billed as the World's Fast­ est Drummer. The contest was held at the Crown Pro­ peller Lounge on East 63rd Street. We closed the Pylon Club at 2:00 A.M. and then raced across town with an il­ legal police escort. By illegal, I mean without the police department's sanction. The coppers who led the race were police officials from downtown using their private cars, and we, like dummies, followed them . The contest was a draw - with our crowd saying I won and Barrett's crowd saying he won . BELIEVE YOU ME, that was a wild night! I was surprised to find any drums left after it was over. News traveled fast about John's party and his famous shorts . But the night that the Pylon Club became the Py­ thon Club, word reached the four corners of the world in a matter of hours . It was a Friday night with standing room only when I received a phone call from a saloon keeper friend of mine offering me an act from his floor show. He kept telling me what a terrific act it was and that my crowd would really enjoy them. We were crowded and busy and with­ out asking in detail what the act was, I agreed to put them on between our own show. About a half hour later a cou­ ple came and announced they were the act that "Ears" had sent over and asked where the dressing rooms were . Hell!! All we had was a 2-place ladies' john and the same for the guys. I should have gotten suspicious about the act right then, but I ignored it and told them it was either the rest rooms or the storage room for dressing rooms. They agreed on the storage room. The next clue I ignored was the request to set up their own equipment on stafe. I offered our band and P.A. but, no, they had to have their own . The place was jammed to the walls and we were really pouring the spirits and filling the sock. Soon, the fellow comes to me and asked to have the lights turned down (when you turned down the lights in the Py­ lon Club it became instant darkness) and announced they were ready . I introduced the act and turned down some of the lights. As soon as I heard the music, I knew we had a "Hoochie Koochie" dancer. As the spotlight hit her, a roar of whis­ tles and applause sounded as she started dancing through the crowd wearing only a g-string and two tiny pasties. She carried on for about ten minutes with her gyrations, then danced back into the dressing room. I joined the crowd with a round of applause, when all hell broke loose. When the spotlight picked her up this time she was wearing a 12 foot Python snake and was holding the head with one hand. The whistles and applause now turned to screams and shrieks as she started to wiggle her way to the stage. En route to the stage she was poking the snake's head at the customers who were face to face with this 16

" hoochie-koochie". By now you could hear the screams and shrieks in Los Angeles . In the meantime, the ones up front were trying to crawl over the bar for protection or going out the door. The Coup-de-Main and the Coup-de­ Grace came when she reached Dan Clark. He reached over and pinched her and she let go of the Python which promptly sprang around Dan - that did it!! The joint cleaned out in seconds with screaming ladies leaving be­ hind their purses, cigarettes, lighters, gloves or what­ ever else they had . When it was all over, the only ones left in the place were Dan Clark, his wife, Eva, and daughter, Grace. Be­ hind the bar with me and the bartenders were Carmen and Hank, Bobby, Joe Scanlon, Jim O'Connor and our P. R. man, Capt. John. The Python Lady dressed, packed her pet, thanked me for letting her perform and left. I called my friend "Ears" and thanked him for cleaning out my business . I also advised him that I was sending him an act for his midnight show - two butchers who would re­ lieve him of his manhood at the bar! That little stunt cost me $500.00 in revenue that night, but I reaped ten times that amount in publicity. The next day I received phone calls and telegrams from all over the country - all addressed to the "Python Club" . And so the Pylon Club became known as the Python Club. The Club was responsible for turning a few people's careers around, also . The Club had its own regular band, the Henry Riggs Quintette and myself on drums, and on Tuesday nights we would have an old fashioned jam session. The rea­ son for having it on Tuesday was that most of the top name bands in town were off on Tuesday night and the Club was known to all for a place to go and blow. As a re­ sult, we had continuous entertainment with some of the best musicians in the industry. Many of the musicians learned to fly as a result of being around the Club, but one Bob Connelly traded his trumped for an airline career. Bob was a big time trumpet player and a great vocalist. In fact, we had his recordings on the juke box long before he played with us. Bob became a regular Tuesday night performer and was quite popular with the crowd. The more Bob mixed with the pilots the more he wanted to join them. Bob's mother, also a pro musician, knew about as many aviation people as I did, and it was she who intro­ duced Bob to Willie Howell of Howell Airport during one of the Tuesday night sessions . Bob learned to fly at Wil­ lie's and went on to receive all his ratings. With the help of a couple of club members, Bob hired on as a co-pilot with Eastern Airlines where he is today in the left seat of a 3-holer. Popular EAAer Carroll Dietz was another convert ­ from mechanic-crop duster to airline pilot. Carroll was single then and would bring his date, Carol (now his wife), to the Club for their big night out. We also helped five mechanics change over to flying and they all are on the airlines today as skippers - which reminds me of another story. For birthdays, weddings, etc. I would pour a bottle of champagne for the occasion and present a small bottle to take home . I was recently invited to attend the 25th wedding anniversary of Capt. Don Preston and his lovely wife, Betty, when, much to my surprise, I was invited to join the couple in a toast. I was asked to open a bottle of champagne and give the toast. Yep! It was the same bottle I gave them when they got hitched. I also gave Don some of his early dual and later his first co-pilot ride in a DC-3. Another switch in careers was Dick Sherman of the famous Sherman Brothers Furniture Company. Dick was a friend of Dan Clark's and it was Dan who introduced

The Pylon Club Offy at Soldier's Field, Chicago.

Dick to the Pylon Club during one of his visits to Chicago. Besides being in the furniture business, Dick was an avid auto racing fan who had a yearly pit pass to "Indy" and was a judge for the Olympic figure skating events. He is also a licensed bob sled driver. He designed and built a championship sled from some of the ideas he picked up from the pilots and auto mechanics while in their com­ pany at the Club. He and Dan were in the Club one night when he an­ nounced he was tired of building the same chairs year in, year out following long standing tradition. He told Dan he wanted a place like Nick's where he could cater to the ice sports crowd. Today Dick Sherman owns and oper­ ates one of the finest lodges at Lake Placid, New York where you will find him at age 60 on the bob sled run regu­ larly. Dick's stationery is as unique as is his lodge - it has no address other than a large handlebar mustache im­ printed at the top and Lake Placid, N. Y. The Pylon Club has been credited for many good hap­ penings but, really, it was the people and not the Club that deserve the credit. Like the time a Lockheed Lobster had a gear problem and was in need of some information. A New Jersey based Lobster was on an approach to MDW one evening when they discovered an unsafe con­ dition with the landing gear. They circled MDW for a half hour trying to get a safe landing gear indication and failed. They asked the tower if there were any Lockheed mechanics on the field and were they available for con­ sulting? The tower guys knew I was flying a Lobster and that I had the best Lockheed mechanic as a co-pilot. The

(Courtesy Nick Rezich)

tower called the Club to see if Jim Cunneen was there and explained the plight of the circling Lockheed. Jim hap­ pened to be in the Club, so they patched him in to the Lockheed through the saloon phone. Jim had them fly over the saloon while he looked at the gear through field glasses. He informed the crew that they had a broken drag link and the only thing left was to retract the good one and land on the belly. He asked them if they were flying a Sportsman Model or a Standard Lockheed. This stopped the crew cold. They called back asking for the definition of a "Sportsman" model. With that Jim asked them if it was a Ronson - one with belly tanks like the one we were flying. They answered negative. Jim then suggsted a gear­ up procedure, wished them good luck and went back to his beer. Day's score: one saved Lobster - 2 new cus­ tomers . When you hollered, "Hey Rube", around the Pylon Club, you got results right now! It was New Year's Day when I received a long dis­ tance call from Winnie Carpenter informing me that her husband, George, was involved in a near-fatal auto acci­ dent the previous night coming home from a flight. George was an old buddy of mine from the non-sked days who went to work for Parks Airlines before it became Ozark. The accident happened in St. Louis when he was enroute to his home from the airport. A bunch of New Year' s Eve celebrants were pushing another car without lights and ran head on into George's big Buick. The accident left George with a shattered hip, face and head injuries that were near fatal. For three days it was hit or miss for 17

George and about the fifth day Winnie called the Club and asked if we could get a bunch down to St. Louis to donate some much needed blood. I assured her we would be down the following day . In less than twelve hours we had over 30 donors, plus a DC-3 to fly everybody down. Winnie called the next day and informed me George was off the critical list and that the Ozark Airline per­ sonnel had contributed more than enough blood and we need not come down . About six months later George and Winnie pulled into the Club and George laid four stainless steel pins on the bar and ordered a drink for everybody in the house. I set up the drinks, rang up no sale on the cash box and put two of the pins in the cash drawer. The four pins were used to pin George's hip together during the heal­ ing process. We then reminisced about the time he re­ built and recovered four wings and the tail group of his 0-17 Staggerwing in a one bedroom apartment on the third floor of an apartment building in Chicago. That was a project I'll never forget. I went over to his place one Sun­ day and as I entered the hallway on the first floor, the dope fumes were so strong one could hardly breath. When I reached the apartment I knew he was going to blow up the building. Here was George doping the wings with all the windows closed in the living room, while Winnie had all four gas burners on cooking dinner. George finished the project without blowing up the building or being evicted ... a miracle, indeed . Now for the bad news . After he finished this jewel, he flew it to St. Louis and stored it in Ozark's hangar. About this time Ozark was in the process of updating their equipment and George was out of town for an extended period evaluating the new equipment. During his absence, a mechanic friend of his decided to run up the engine on the 0-17 ­ and in the process of starting it, the Shakey Jake back­ fired, caught fire and George's brand new rebuild job burned to a crisp. The apartment didn't get him, but that Jake did. Speaking of fires , have you ever noticed the size of the pockets of a fire fighter's coat? I don't know about your town, but in Chicago the pockets are huge - you know why? To stash the loot!! I know because I contributed.

We had a fire in the Club caused by my next door neigh­ bor. The outside oil storage tank for his building caught fire and blew up, setting fire to the back of the Club. The explosion and dense black clouds attracted the whole neighborhood and all my saloon keeper friends, who, along with myself, thought it was the end of the Pylon Club. Everybody pitched in and we started to move all the furnishings out and placed them on the sidewalk out front. By the time the fire department arrived, we had everything outside but the stock. We left some 150 bottles of Hooch on the back bar and I locked the cabinet with the unopened stock. After the fire was put out we started to take inventory and discovered that everything on the street was gone. When someone asked, "Where is the cash box?", we all looked at each other and shook our heads . "Oh no," I asked - "where the hell are my drums?" Then we checked the bar - well!!! the whiskey stock was down to about 25 bottles. Now for those huge pockets ­ everytime the firemen would go through the place, they would slip a couple of bottles into their pockets. This was brought to my attention by a bystander - so now you know why the pockets. After the smoke cleared and it was decided we were not going to be open for a few days, the place filled up with saloon keepers. I learned Big Polack John, who ran the Club Irene, had my drums in his place under safe keeping; Big Dirty Helen on the cor­ ner had the cash box; and the rest of the stuff was in a pizza joint two doors down. BELIEVE YOU ME, people are honest and do help when you need them most. Oh yes!! All the money was in the cash box. We put together a volunteer clean up group and had the place back in business in a week. I gave all the remaining whiskey on the back bar to the help. The reason the firemen helped themselves was that by federal law one cannot serve any whiskey that has been opened and subjected to fire and water. Those scoundrels knew it had to be destroyed - so they just helped me! Other than the booze, we didn't lose a thing. Next month - Pylon Club and EAA - P.R.P.A. ­ Frank Tallman - and the Cole Brothers Air Shows. Also a photo report on my new Travel Air. I am still in need of an NACA cowl for a Wright, plus a prop and a battery powered radio pack, including omni. Send me your prices.

(Photo by Doug Rounds) .


This Travel Air 2000 belongs to Doug Rounds of Zebulon, Ga . The aircraft was found in the condition shown in the picture. It last flew in 1939. It was recovered in 1955 but was not completed and flown. Fabric still checks at 70 Ibs. plus. There are only 1100 hours on the airframe and it is strictly stock ­ has never been an ag plane. Doug has all the papers, which reveal the 2000 flew mail in Nebraska and Iowa. He also has an old Bill of Sale signed by Walter Beech and notarized by Olive Ann Mellor -later Walter's wife.


Harold "Parky" Parkhurst with his son, Martin, inspecting the left wing of his Midget Mustang. The rest of the Mustang is in the background along with a Piper J-3 and PA-18.


Managua, Nicaragua, is not necessarily the most logi­ cal place to look for antique aircraft, but my search for Ford parts with which to rebuild the EAA Museum's Ford Trimotor had taken me there. It was February 17, 1974, and my search was just beginning. On arrival in Managua aboard Pan American's Flight 501 I had been met by my good friend, Fred Jones, who had been Pan American's maintenance supervisor at Managua for many years, but who was now a permanent local resident, tobacco farm­ er, and business man. I had previously written to Fred and told him of my quest, so he had compiled a list of people for me to meet who were knowledgeable concern­ ing aviation in Nicaragua prior to the 1950's. Among those I met was one very interesting individual named Harold Parkhurst. "Parky", as he is known to everyone in the area, was the first crop duster pilot in Nicaragua, and he had lived th ere for over 30 yea rs . He is definitely of the "old school" with regard to aviation. Parky has also been a prospector, and has spent many months at a time in the back country. He is a most inter­ esting story teller. A man of strong convictions and limit­ less self confidence, he possesses the ability and inge­ nuity to solve any problem he must face in that country

either in the air or on the ground, and there have indeed been many over the years. Having concluded our discussion concerning my quest, my attention was then centered on the many old aircraft wings, fuselages, etc., which I had noticed as I had driven up to Parky's place, so I asked him to show me around his shop and storage areas. Parky lives in an old cotton mill which he has converted into living quarters, shop, etc. He also has a field on the back of his property which he sometimes uses as a landing strip in order to fly aircraft in and out for repairs. One can never be certain what he will find when he starts on a quest such as this, but Parky's place was an unexpected jackpot of antique and classic aircraft and parts . There were enough parts for four complete Stear­ mans plus three extra fuselage frames, three complete Piper Cubs, a Convair L-13, a complete Waco UPF-7 plus most of the parts for a second one, and a New Standard D-25. Besides these antiques Parky had a Midget Mus­ tang, a metal wing Lusco mbe 8 series with three fuel tanks (which will outlast one's kidneys about 2 to 1), a Snow agricultural plane, and a Cessna 180. He also had a large assortment of engines ranging from a Continen­ tal A-65 up to Pratt & Whitney R-985, as well as a great variety of engine accessories and spare parts. Few an­ tiquers have been able to hoard away so many goodies. After much discussion Parky decided that he might be willing to sell the New Standard and the Waco to some­ one who would restore them with tender loving care and 19

would give them good homes . He may be able to be per­ suaded to sell some of the other aircraft and parts, too, although he is planning to put a couple of the Stearmans back together and again get into the spray business. Among the miscellaneous parts which Parky has on hand are two sets of tandem wheels for Piper Cubs, wing panels and some other parts for a Navy N3N, a 75 hp Frank­ lin engine and assorted parts for a Stinson 105, and a large collection of aircraft instruments and accessories . Parky lives just off the right side of Highway 28 north­ wes t of Managua about a mile beyond the village of Las Brasiles. His property is easily identified by two pair of large concrete upside down "U" structures, an old unused windmill tower, and several wings and fuselages in the yard which are visible from the road . Anyone interested in any of these aircraft or parts should first contact him by mail. His mailing address is: Harold Parkhurst, Apar­ tado 2021 , Managua, Nicaragua.

Parky's favorite, a Pratt & Whitney R-985 powered Stear­ man. Note the British Sunbeam motorcycle in the back­ ground.

Parky's back yard (or is it his front yard?) with four Stearman fuse­ lages in the background and a Piper PA-18 in the right foreground .

Parky's storage shed with, left to right, Stearman, Piper PA-18, Mid­ get Mustang, Piper J-3, and a Cor­ vair L-13 fuselages and parts.

Parky's Waco UPF-7 in his storage shed. Note wings and other parts in the background.

Parky's three tank Luscombe. His Snow and Cessna 180 are barely visible behind it.

Wings, wings and more wings including Waco UPF-7, New Standard, Stearman , Navy N3N and Piper Cub.

Another of Parky's storage sheds containing a Waco UPF7 fuselage on the left, a New Standard fuselage on the lower right, and a Stearman fuselage on the upper right.


Dear Buck: Relating to your editorial a couple of issues back - up in the loft here in E. Rutherford is a 1933 Fairchild 24, 2-place cabin , with a Cirrus Mk III Hi-drive engine. As best I can determine it is complete down to the last P.K. screw, has clear title, logs and even some original fabric on it. Would take very little work to return to service. It 's available to someone who would pro­ perly restore it. Aircraft is completely as­ sembled as of now. Best regards , Harold G. Scheck 153 Orchard St. East Rutherford, N. J. 07073

Dear Paul: In the March issue of Sport Aviation you published a letter from a fellow in South Africa who was seeking Luscombe parts. I have an­ swered that letter and given him three possi­ ble sources for the parts. I also VOlunteered any other help that might be needed on this end . I am the "Parts File " of the Luscombe As­ sociation. I try to maintain a file on used parts owned by individuals which are for sale. Any­ one in need of parts can write me for a quick reply (usually quick, anyway) and know if we have any of the needed parts on file. (Free) The Luscombe Association has no real function except that we do have a fly-in each year in June at Blakesburg , Iowa. June 21 and 22 this year. We usually have a weekend of very poor and wet weather. We are hoping to have better luck this year. In any case the people at Antique Airfield could not treat us better than they do and we always have a good time there. If you care to attend please feel free to do so. We usually get about 25 Lus­ combes in attendance even with the bad weather. Also, feel free to give out my name and address in answer to any inquiries about Lus­ combe parts or other information. We also publish a newsletter a couple times a year on no regular SChedule and we have a $3.00 year membership fee which we try to collect. Thank you, Richard Lawrence 1787 Russell Lincoln Park, Michigan 48146

would know all about it. I'm sorry now I didn 't find out more about it. Anyway, if anybody in the Southwest is look­ ing for a Stinson 105 to restore, you will be in better shape to advise him. If it's still there . Yours sincerely, Marion G. Otto Box 1888 Aramco Dhahran , Saudi Arabia

Dear Sir : Enclosed find several photos of our Piper J5A. Ship was stored in a barn near Half Way , Missouri - purchased from Mr. Raymond Sergent and Mr. Loyd Hudson on December 4, 1971. We spent two winters on a complete rebuild. We decided to take all the guess work out of " what model Piper is that?" by putting a large J-5 on the rudder.

The old bird flies nice - cruises about 85 mph on a C-85 engine. I have always liked the Piper Super Cruis­ ers and the J-5 type aircraft - roomy and both nice ships to fly. For my money there never was a better air­ plane (tandem seating) than the Piper Super Cruiser. I wish Piper would have kept on build­ ing them instead , perhaps, of the Super Cub . Sure, the Super Cub is a good airplane, gets off right now and climbs out beautiful - but a 150-160 horse Super Cruiser with flaps would be a darn good, roomy ship - but who am I to be a better judge of the market and every­ thing that goes with it than Piper Aircraft. See you at Oshkosh '75. Respectfully, John P. Rathjen Rt. 1 Ft. Calhoun, Nebraska 68023

Gentlemen : I had always thought the world was full of derelict airplanes waiting to be put back in flying shape. After reading your magazine for awhile , I gained the impression that they are getting quite rare . Am in no position to do any restoration so will pass this on for what it is worth. In 1970, just before I came over here , I found myself in Seligman , Arizona, starting up a pipeline. Having plenty of time to roam around during the day, I was driving around town and came across an abandoned air­ strip. It was on the west edge of Seligman , north of the highway (66). What I found was a Stinson 105. It seemed to be all there except the engine. The 105 didn't have a good reputa­ tion in the high country , since it was con­ sidered to be underpowered. However, it is sitting patiently, or was then, waiting for the engine that never came back. I didn't have the inclination or time to find out the story. Seligman is a town with one restaurant, one beer hall, one Dairy Queen, and a couple of motels. I'm sure you could ask any resident who owns the airplane, he




Stinson 108-3 in excellent condition . R. W. Ross, 1700 N. Williams St. No. 48, Valdosta,-Georgia 31601. Phone 912/244-3235 or 8332.


Hisso engine or crankcase. 150 or 180 hp to complete a B.E .2 project. Call Mark Spry, 201/327­ 7128, 22 Fabio Dr., Ramsey, New Jersey 07446.


Calendar Of Events

MAY 23-26 - HAMILTON, OHIO - Annual National Waco Fly-In. Contact

Ray Brandly, 2650 West. Alex.-Bellbrook Rd., Dayton, Ohio 45459. WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA - 11th Annual West Coast Antique Aircraft Fly-In for antique, classic and amateur-built aircraft. Static displays, flying events, air show, trophies. Friday and Saturday night get-acquainted parties. Sunday Awards Ban­ quet. For further information contact Watsonville Chamber of Commerce, Box 470, Watsonville, Calif. 95076, or W. B. Richards, 2490 Greer Road, Palo Alto, Calif. 94303.

MAY 23-26 -

KENTUCKY LAKE, KENTUCKY - 1975 National Swift Fly-In. Contact: Charlie Nelson, International Swift Association, Inc., P. O. Box 644, Athens, Tenn. 37303.

MAY 23-26 -

CAMBRIDGE, MARYLAND - Potomac Antique Aero Squadron Annual Fly-In at Horn Point Airport on the Frank DuPont estate just WSW of Cambridge, Maryland. Beautiful grass runways, no registration fees, free camping - just a super fun fly­ in. Contact Sam Huntington, Fly-In Coordinator, Avery Road, Shady Side, Maryland 20867. Phone 301/261-5190.

MAY 31 - JUNE 1 -

MERCED, CALIFORNIA - 18th Annual Merced West Coast Antique Fly-In. Early Bird party June 6. Air Show Sunday. Contact Linton Wollen, Director, P. O. Box 3212, Merced, California 95340. (209) 722-6666.

JUNE 6-8 -

JUNE 6-8 - ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA - 6th Annual Old South

Hospitality Fly-In, sponsored by EAA Chapters 242 and 249. An­ tiques and Classics welcome. ZANESVILLE, OHIO - 3rd Annual EAA Chapter 425 Fly-In! Breakfast. Municipal Airport. Contact Dave Workman, 400 South St., Zan:sville, Ohio 43701.

JUNE 8 -

DENTON, TEXAS - Texas Antique Airplane Association. Inc. Fly-In. Contact Myrna Johnson, 2516 Shady Brook Dr., Bedford, Texas 76021. Phone 817/283-1702.

JUNE 13-15 -

WEEDSPORT, NEW YORK - 2nd Antique-Classic and Homebuilt Fly-In/Pancake Breakfast. Trophies. Whitfords Air­ port. Sponsored by EAA Chapter 486. Contact : Dick Forger, 204 Woodspath Rd., Liverpoor, N. Y. 13088.

JUNE 15 -

BURLINGTON, WISCONSIN - Annual Antique-Classic Division Cub Fly-In . All other Antiques, Classics and Homebuilts welcome.

JU NE 28-29 -

GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA - 8th Annual Cracker Fly-In sponsored by North Georgia Chapter of AAA. Featured speaker is Matty Laird. Contact Bill Davis, 2202 Willivee Place, Decatur, Ga. 30033. (404) 636-4743.

JULY 4-6 -

JULY 29 - AUGUST 4,1975 - OSHKOSH, WISCONSIN - 23rd Annual EAA

Fly-In Convention. Sport aviation world's greatest event. It's not too early to make plans and reservations! WEEDSPORT, NEW YORK - Air Show and Fly-In Breakfast sponsored by EAA Chapter 486. Whitfords Airport. Contact Dick Forger, 204 Woodspath Rd., Liverpool, N . Y. 13088.


flORIDA SPO RT AVIATION ACTIVITIES - The very active Florida Sport A viation Antique and Classic Association has a fly-in somewhere in the state almost every month. The decision on the location of the next fly­ in is usually made on too short notice for inclusion in The Vintage Air­ plane, so we recommend to all planning a Florida vacation that they contact FSAACA President Ed Escallon, Box 12731, St. Petersburg, Florida 33733 for fly-in details. Join the fun!

TULLAHOMA, TENNESSEE - Walter H. Beech Build­ ing Dedication and Invitational Staggerwing and Travel Air Fly­ In. Contact: The Staggerwing Museum Foundation, Inc., P. O. Box 550, Tullahoma, Tenn. 37388.

JUNE 12-15 -

Back Issues Of The Vintage Airplane




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