Issuu on Google+


~

Restorer's

Corner

f!lJ1/ .J.R. NIELAI\nEH,.JR.

Who is best qualified to judge the airworthiness of an antique or classic aircraft? Is it the FAA inspector who was weaned on military jets? Or is it the A & P mechanic or A I whose experience is limited to maintaining the last decade's generation of Spam cans? Or is it the owner­ restorer who separated his aircraft into its smallest component parts, inspected and either repaired or replaced each individual part, and then put all of those parts back together again using much tender loving care and resulting in an aircraft which equaled or surpassed that produced by the original manufacturer with regard to workmanship and beauty? If the aircraft subsequently requires some maintenance or repair, who among these individuals is most familiar with it and its systems, and who is best qualified to perform the work required? It doesn't take much thought to realize that the one who took the aircraft down to its bare bones and individual pieces and then rebuilt it into a beautiful flying piece of aviation history is certainly the individual who is best qualified to continue to maintain it and to perform periodic inspections on it. Under the present Federal Air Regulations, antique and classic aircraft, being certificated standard category

aircraft, must have periodic inspections conducted by FAA maintenance inspectors or A I's, and all mainten­ ance required must be accomplished by, or performed under the direct supervision of, a licensed A& P mechanic. For many of us this is no hardship because we ourselves are licensed A & P mechanics, or we have worked out an acceptable arrangement with our local A & P mechanic or A Ito work under his direct supervision. For others of us it is a very definite hardship because, although we may be superior craftsmen, we are not licensed A & P mechanics, and we do not have an A & P or A I near at hand to supervise our work. In this latter case we would then have to subject ourselves to the inconvenience and expense of taking our pride and joy to an approved shop and having the maintenance and inspection performed by individuals who, although they are licensed to do the work, are less familiar than we are with our particular bird, and thus are much slower at doing the job and much more hesitant about giving the aircraft their stamp of approval. The end result is that we have had to pay to have work done on our aircraft which we ourselves were better qualified to do than were those whom we paid. Quite probably we have had to pay for repairs ordered by the A & P or A I which were not really necessary, but which were specified because of over cautiousness resulting from a lack of familiarity with our old bird . The original builder of a homebuilt aircraft is empowered by the Federal Air Regulations to perform maintenance, repairs and periodic inspections on his homebuilt. Think how great it would be if we who own

and restore antique and classic aircraft could be permit­ ted by regulations to perform maintenance, repairs and period ic inspections on our own aircraft and still continue their standard category airworthiness certif­ icates without our being required to have the work sign­ ed off by an A & Por A I, or by an FAA maintenance inspector. This goal is not impossible to obtain. The FAA is leaning more and more toward self-policing with reference to special interest aviation groups. If we want it we shall have to ask for it, and we shall have to show the FAA that we have the ability and self discipline to police ourselves and to continue to maintain the high standards of workmanship and airworthiness presently displayed in the antique and classic movement. Before we can approach the FAA with regard to changing the regulations concerning the maintenance and periodic inspection of older aircraft, we shall have to have a program worked out which will be an acceptable substitute for the present FAA regulations. This program will, of necessity, have to be well planned and worked out in minute detail to insure that the high standards of craftsmanship and airworthiness which have been estab­ lished by the regulations will continue to be carried out. We solicit your comments and suggestions to help us establish a workable set of rules which would give us relief from this unnecessary inconvenience and paper­ work. If you had it in your power to set-up the mach­ inery for maintaining certification of antique and classic aircraft which were restored, maintained and period­ ically inspected by the owner-restorer, how would you do it?


OFFICIAL MAGAZINE

ANTIQUE / CLASSIC

DIVISION of

Editorial Staff Editor AI Kelch Associate Editor H. Glenn Buffi ngton 818 W. Crockett St. No. 20 1 Seattle. Washington 98 11 9

Assistant Editor Lois Kelch

Associate Editor Robert G. Ellio tt 1227 Oakwood Ave. Day tona Beach. Fl orida 32014

Associate E d ito r s are c red ited in th e T ab le o f Contents for a rti c l es which th ey ships fo r the foll ow in g calenda r y ear a re assig n ed t o th ose w r i t e r s wh o submit fi ve o r mo re artic les whi c h are pub li shed i n THE V INT A GE A IRPL A NE dur i n g th e cu r rent year. Associate E d i to r s r ec ei ve a free one yea r membe r ship i n th e Di visio n for each year that they hold t h ei r o ffi ce and a bound vol u me of THE VINTAGE AI RP LANE fo r each year th a t they e arn t he ir o ff ice. D irector s

PRESIDENT J.R. NIE L ANDER. JR . P.O . BOX 2464 FT . LAUDERDALE . F't 33303 VICE ·PRESIDENT JACK WINTHROP RT . l. BOX 111 ALLEN. TX 75002 SECRETARY ;W. BRAD THOMAS. JR . 301 DODSON MILL RO t< D PILOT MOUNTAIN. NC 27041 TREASURER E.E . "BUCK" HILBERT 8102 LEECH RD . UNION.IL60180 THE VIN T AGE AIRPLANE is monthly at H ales Co r ner s, Wi Co r ners, Wi$con sin 5 3130, a n d Inc •. are $14 .00 p er 1 2 month MelT'lbe r shlp is ope n to all wh o

William J. Ehlen

A I Kelch 7 018 W. Bonn;wel l R oad Mequon, Wisconsin 53092

Route 8 Box 506 Tampa, Flo r ida 33618

Claude L. G ray. Jr,

FEBRUARY 1978

VOLUME 6

NUMBER 2

Associate Edi t or Ed wa rd D. Wi ll iams 713 Eas tman Dr. Mt. Prospect. Ill inois 60056

have submitted as we ll as fo r a rticle s w hi c h th ey have au th o re d . A ssociate Ed itor ­

ANTIQUE/CLASSIC DIVISION OFFICERS

THE EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRA FT ASSOCIA TlON

P.O. Box 229, Hales Corners, Wis. 53730

Restorer's Corner ... . .. ..... . .. . ... . . ....... . The First Cabin Pl ane, Edw ard D. Willi ams, Assoc. Ed . 14,000 Ho urs in th e Air . .. . . . .. . . . .. .... . .. . . . Time Fli es Wh y Do n't Yo u, H. Gl enn Bu ffi ngton, Assoc. Ed . A Sil ver Eagle, George W. Haldeman , Ro bert G. El lio tt, Assoc. Ed . Vintage Album . .. ..... .. . .. ......... . ... . ... . . . Calend ar o f Events

1 3 5 7 9

11 21

Mo r ton W. Les t e r Bo x 3 74 7 Ma rt insv i lle, Vi rginia 2 411 2

9635 Sylvia Avenue North r idge, Califo r nia 9132 4

Oale A. Gusta fson

A r thu r R . Mo r gan 5 1 3 N o rt h 9 1st St r ee t Milwaukee, W isconsin 53226

772 4 Shady Hilt Drive Indiana p o l is, I ndiana 46274

Richa r d Wagner p.O. Box 18 1 Lyons, Wisconsin 53 148

M.e . "Kelly" Viets RR 1 , 8ox 1 5 1 Stilwell, Kan<.;as 66085

Ad viso r s Ronald Fritz 1989 Wilson, NW G rand R apids, Michigan 495 04

Stan Gomoll 1042 90th L ane, N.E. Minneapoli<.;, Minneso t a 55 4 34

Roge r J. She rr on 446-C Las Casitas San t a R osa, California 95 4 0 1

R obe r t E . K esel 44 5 Oak r id ge Dr ive R oches t e r , New Yo rk 14 6 1 7

R Obert A. W h it e 1 207 Fa lcon D r ive

Orlando, Flo r ida 328 0 3

Antique / ClassIc. DiviSion. Inc., and is pUblished

EAA ANTIQUE/CLASSIC DIVISION MEMBERSHIP o NON · EAA

MEMBER - $ 20.00. Inc ludes one year m emb ership in the EAA A ntiq ue/ Cl assic D ivi­ sio n . 12 monthly iss ues o f THE V I NTAGE A I RPLANE ; o ne year members h ip in t h e Ex p eri m ent al Aircra f t Asso ciati o n and se parat e membership ca rd s. SPO RT AV I AT I ON not included.

O EA A MEMBER - $ 14. 00. Incl udes one y ear mem bers hi p in th e EAA A ntiq ue/ Classic D iv isio n. 12 mont h ly issues of TH E V I NT AG E A I RP L ANE and m embers hip card . ( A ppli ca nt mu st be cu rre nt EAA me m ber and must give EAA membershi p number. )

PI CTURE BO X ( Bac k C ov er )

ON TH E COVER

Morton Lester 's Ryan S.c. W. Serial No.7 · Mint Restora· tion

Three "birds o f a feather " at Oshkosh, 7975. (Photo by Ted j . Koston)

130. Second class Postage Pill(t al Hnlcs Co r ne r s Post O ffi ce, Hale<.; mail in g off i ces. MernUcrshif.) r.lt~S for EAA Antlque , Classic al vision, which $10.00 is f o r the publiCation o f THE VINTAGE AIRPLANE . In av iat ion.

Copyright

©

1978 Antique / Classic Division . Inc. All Rights Reserved .

2


By:

~

Rare photograph shows de Havilland DH-4B converted to a cabin plane for two passengers. At the extreme left (standing by wing trailing edge) is Ralph D. "Sid" Edwards, who did the work with the aid of a mechanic '5 helper. The photo was taken in 7920 at Checkerboard Field, Maywood, IL, a stop for the U.S. Air Mail Service for which Edwards worked at the time.

rSIJ I'IlIl1r ~ABI. P#fA.1i 3

Edward D. Williams Associate Editor 77 3 Eastman Drive Mt. Prospect, I L 60056

Here's a question for antique airplane buffs. What was the first cabin plane flown in the United States) Unless new evidence comes in to the contrary, that honor will have to go to a de Havilland DH-4B of the U.s. Post Office's Air Mail Service. The plane was born as the normal open cockpit bi­ plane but in 1920 was converted to include a cabin for two passengers. The de Havilland was based at Checker­ board Field, Maywood, IL., and was selected for the conversion so that postal officials could be spared much of the discomfort from the elements while being flown throughout the country. Key man in the work was Ralph D. "Sid" Edwards, who was a 22-year-old mechanic with the Air Mail Service. Edwards, with the assistance of a mechanic's helper, used some aluminum and paralin (1920-era plas­ tic) in accomplishing the task. First Edwards and his assistant removed the gas tanks from the de Havilland and put them under the fuselage. Then they rearranged the interior supports in the fu­ selage, permitting them to enlarge the mail compart­ ment. After building a false floor . in the mail pit, they installed two stool-like seats facing each other with room enough between them for a small table. Finally, a hood of paralin reinforced with aluminum tubing was built over the compartment. The new arrangement proved fairly comfortable for the pas­ sengers, who had the benefit of two windows from which to view the scenery. The pilot, however, still felt the wind in his face because he remained housed in an open cockpit. Edwards, who died on Jan. 28, 1974, had plenty of experience as a mechanic by the time he worked on the de Havilland cabin plane. A native of Philadelphia, he acquired his mechanical skills at the Philadelphia Trade School and, after graduating in 1916, enlisted in the Navy in 1917 for the remainder of World War I, serving at a Naval electrical school. After his discharge in 1919, Edwards found that many of his friends had joined the fledgling Air Mail Service and decided on a similar career. He was able to land a job as an "airplane and engine" man at Bustleton Field in Philadelphia, a stop on the original New York-to-Washington air mail route.


Ralph D. "Sid" Edwards Taken in 7953, just 70 years before retirement from N.A. T. By the end of the first year he was building airplanes. "There were about 10 of us who co uld build an airp lan e from the bottom up," he once recalled. In the eight years that Edwards worked for the Air Mail service he estimated he built 35 or 40 complete fuselages for such famous air mail pilots as Jack Knight, Harold T. (Slim) Lewis, Hamilton Lee and Bobby Coulter. Edwards and other pioneer mechanics did so much of this work that they referred to themselves as "ship builders," he had said. Edwards had recalled that "We tore them apart, put them together, then watched the pilots modify them accordi ng to their own desires." Among Edwards' friends then was Ch arles Lindbergh. Edwards serviced planes for the government mail flights and Lindbergh was "a boy pilot, who was smart and who kept pretty much to himself," Edwards recalled. Edwards remembered Lindbergh as a flier without fear, who would fly any time in any kind of weather . Wh en he set out to fly to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis, Edwards and the other early aviation pioneers knew th at he was gambling. " If the flight was a success, Lindbergh was made, if not, then it was just too bad," Edwards said. After his successful flight, Lindbergh became just a memory, and Edwards never saw or heard from him again. "In those days we could just about make a barn door fly," said Edwards. "It see ms lik e a long time ago, but it was about 1930 when we flew our first real cabin planes. As late as 1928 we'd fly movie stars, such as Will Rogers, Bebe Daniels, in open cockpit jobs," Edwards said. In 1927, Edwards was thinking abou t ge tting marl'ied

De Havilland 7920, Checkerboard Field at Maywood, IL, Chicago's first Air Mail field. The Field where "Sid" Edwards worked when he made the first cabin plane. and started looking around for a job that would pay more money. He turned down an offer from Lindbergh to take charge of Robertson Aircraft in St. Louis and instead accepted a job from National Air Transport as a foreman in Chicago. Edwards started with NAT on July 18 , 1927, and his first job, naturally, was to get six Dougl as M-3s co nvert足 ed to MAs and ready to fly the new Chicago -N ew York route by September I , 1927. Working with a group of Gel'ma n mechanics, who spoke no English ("I didn't speak German, either"), he got the job done, His new job paid off, and on September 2, 1927, he married

Bernice M. Foster in Chicago. National Air Transport was one of four companies which merged to form United Airlines in 1934, and Edwards helq various maintenance and customer services positions with the new company at Cheyenne, Chicago, Des Moines and Omaha. When he retired at Omaha as line maintenance man足 ager on August 1, 1963, after a 44-year association with aVlatron, generally acclaimed as " the man who is said to have bu i It the first cab in a irplane to fl yin the United States." And so far no other person has laid claim to that honor. ~

4


00

Right: The Stinson

" D e t r 0 it e r ", in

which the builder

and Capt. George

Haldeman last spring

broke the World's

Endurance record, a

new ship is being

built to regain the

mark, now held

abroad.

Above: Eddie Stinson and his wife snapped at Mills Field, San Francisco, on National Air Tour. By: Earl Miller Reprint from April, 7929, Popular M echanics

Eddie Stinson, barnstormer, war pilot and airplane manufacturer, the other day finished his fourteen thou­ sandth hour in the air, a record, it is claimed, no one else anywhere in the world has ever approached. Fourteen thousand hours represent 583 1/3 days of twenty-four hours each, or the equivalent of about nineteen and a half months in the air, if they were all strung together in one flight. For a man still in his early thirties to have spent nearly two years in the air is a remarkable thing, but more remarkabl e still is the fact that after fifteen years of flying, it still holds its lure-the one thing he wants to do. The great majority of flyers, after a few years' expe­ rience, retire into something not quite so hazardous, but Eddie Stinson expects to keep on flying as long as he lives. The answer is that he is one of those rare persons, a

5

natural-born flyer. That is not to be wondered at, for he comes from the greatest flying family in the United States, and, so far as American and British records show, the world. The fly­ ing Stinsons have produced four pilots- Katherine, Marjorie, Eddie and Jack - a record believed to be unique. How does it feel to have spent 14,000 hours in the air? "I've never given it a thought," Eddie confessed the other day. "It's the one thing I want to do, and the only thing I know how to do - build planes and fly them. I get in six or eight hours every Sunday, usually flying down to Chicago from the factory at Northville, Mich., to spend the day with the boys at the airport, and, while we have a test pilot, I usually manage to get in a bit of time on every plane we build." What those bits of time amount to is indicated by the fact that, in the two and a half years since he became an air-plane manufacturer at the head of his own factory and began turning out commercial ships and special jobs for trans-Atlantic and round-the-world flyers, he has man­ aged to keep up his average of around a thousand hours a year in the air. Last year, with Capt. George Haldeman, he took a Stinson "Oetroiter"- a six-passenger mono­ plane fitted with special gas tanks instead of passenger seats - down to Jacksonville, Fla., and set up a new world's endurance record of 53 hours 36 minutes and 30 seconds, the second time in a few years that he held the endurance mark. Both the Italians and the Germans have since bettered that record, but a new Stinson is coming out of the factory shortly to go after it again, and Eddie will be at the controls half the time.

His chief recollection of the two and a fraction days of monotonous flying over the Florida coast last spring is that it allowed him to catch up in his lost sleep. "We carried an eiderdown quilt and a supply of magazines for entertainment," he explail)s. "The one off duty would stretch out, read a bit and then go to sleep. I got almost twelve hours sleep out of each twenty-four. About the only discomfort was watching George's beard grow and wishing we would get it over with so he could shave." Haldeman was no novice at long flights in a "Oetroiter," for he piloted Ruth Elder almost to the Azores on her ocean flight. The flying Stinsons' connection with aviation is almost as lengthy as that of the Wright brothers. Along about 1903 and 1904, when the Dayton bicycle men were making their first flights with power, a boy in knee pants, down in Mississippi, with the assistance of two sisters, was building glider-type kites. The trio were Eddie, Katy and Marge, who grew up to be, respectively, an airplane builder and a pair of famous women dare­ devils. By the year 1909, when the Wrights were winning their first world-wide recognition, the Stinson children were getting 200 and 300-foot flights in gliders big enough to carry them and attaining the respectable al­ titude of ten to fifteen feet. It must be remembered that the Wrights did most of their power-airplane flying at that time around fifty feet above the ground and publicly announced they saw no reason for going higher. Katherine went to Chicago in 1912 and learned to fly a Wright Model - B, a curious contraption that a spec­ tator described as a rather flimsy front porch with a


pilot sitting out on the steps. At the same time Eddie, who had reached the respectable age of seventeen, was building his own machine, with the help of a couple of garage mechanics, in St. Louis. There wasn't any suitable engine on the market, so they built that, too. The finished product bore a close resemblance to the Wright, even to the pair of chain-driven pusher propellers in the rear. With it he did a lot of ground flying and learned to handle a plane perfectly up to the moment it reached flying speed and took to the air. Every time it got off the ground, however, the trip wound up in an accident, and the machine had to go into the shop for repairs. Finally it had been crashed and repaired so many times the bu ilders ran out of places to put fresh patches and Eddie decided to go down to Dayton and enter the Wright school, an arrangement which had the advantage that the cost of tuition included all repairs, if the student cracked up the school ship, the singular being correct as, most of the time) the school had only one plane. Katherine already had become a famous state and · county-fair attraction, and Marjorie went through the Wright school that same summer of 1914 and followed in her sister's footsteps, while Eddie went barnstorming, too. The family had moved to San Antonio, and put that ancient Texas town on the flying map long before the army made it the greatest flying center in the country by establishing there Brooks and Kelly, the chief primary and fi nishing flying schools during the war and since. Eddie says the funniest experience in a ll his 14,000 hours happened at San Antonio while he was still in his teens. He was flying a Wright model, hom emade, and, by permission of the commandant, was using the parade ground at Fort Sam Houston as a flying field. One day the com mandi ng officer served notice he would have to move away, as the army was sending down four ships to establish the nucl eus of an ai r corps at Ft. Sam Houston, and it wouldn't be safe for a kid in a forty-mile-an-hour Wright to be fooling around in the air when fo ur fast "Jennies," ships capable of as much as eighty miles an hour, were in the sa me vicinity. So the young flyer went out and located his first field, a leve l track south of town, borrowed a pair of sheets from his mother, staked them down to mark the spot, and returned to th e fort to start his first cross­ country flight, a journey of seven miles. All went well the first half of the di stance, and then ,

as he shoved the control st ick forward to nose down and lose so me altitud e, nothing happened. He kept on shoving until he had the stick all the way down to the crossbar on which his feet rested, with the result that finally, perhaps because of the disp lacement of his weight, the homemade plane went into a dive. Back came the stick until it was pressed tight against his ch est, and agai n noth i ng happened. He squ irmed side­ wise out of the seat and kept on pushing until the stick was where he had been sitti ng, and then the plane nosed up. At the same time he located the source of the trouble. A bolt which acted as a pivot for the elevator controls had sheared off, and instead of going up and down when the controls were moved, the elevators were simply sliding back and forth. The breaking of the same bolt made it impossible to warp the wings, a necessary function which took the place of ailerons in the Wright ships. By alternately shoving the stick all the way down and pulling it all the way back, he succeeded in descending in a series of short dives, all the time hoping to reach his

new fie ld, until finally his ship was not more than thirty feet from the ground. Afraid to try another dive, he shut off the ignition and let the plane settle to the ground, making a landi ng in a corner of a cemetery without breaking anyth ing. The sexton ran over to investigate, and Eddie explained he couldn't get out of the cemetery until he got a three­ -sixteenth-inch stov~ bolt to repair the controls. The sex­ ton thought one might be found, and together they rum­ maged through all the junk in his storeroom, without success. Finally the sexton inquired if the boy flyer was superstitious, and volunteered the information that one of the vaults contained an ancient ironplate coffin, fairly studded with bolts. Together they rolled back the stone cover, inspected the coffin and found a bolt just the right size. Repairs were made, young Stinson took off and landed safely beside his mother's sheets at the new field. It was on the same field that Marjorie won the title of the "Flying School Ma'rm," when she opened an avia­ tion school and became the first woman pilot to give

Matty Laird loaned this plane, called the "Boneshaker", to Katherine Stinson for the first tour of an aeroplane in japan and China, the trip and Matty's plane became an "International Success" overnight.

6


lost speed, and was settling for a perfect three-point landing, with the plane hardly six inches off the ground, when he lost his head and jumped overboard. "The ship landed and rolled along to a stop, while the student was nearly killed from the head-first impact at thirty miles an hour." With the entrance of America into the war, Stinson was commissioned, and immediately assigned as an instructor to Kelly field. There he stayed, for there were plenty of students to send to France, but good instruc­ tors were rare. As "final check" pilot at Kelly, no stu­ dent could graduate until he had a certain number of minutes in the air with Stinson and received his O.K. At Kelly, Stinson became famous for two things: his stunts with a ship of his own design, and his ability to break light globes with a wing tip, the last of which proved a remunerative occupation, as there was always a certain number of people willing to bet it couldn't be done. Every structure around a flying field is marked with a red warning light, one of the most prominent being the Stinson in the plane, and the Mayor ofJacksonville wish­ ing Haldeman "Good Luck" before the start of the flight. light atop the flagpole. Eddie's usual bet was $100 that he could fly over the flagpole and gauge the distance so flying lessons. She and Eddie together trained a large accurately that he could crack the glass globe off by number of flyers for Canada before the United States brushing it with a wing tip, without damaging his ship. went into the war, while their mother helped manage the As a collision with the flagpole at a flying speed of eighty miles an hour or more would be fatal to both ship business. One of the queerest of flying incidents happened dur­ and pole, there were frequent takers of the bet, but they ing that period. invariably lost. "We had a student," Eddie says, " who didn't want to His little homemade monoplane handled so perfectly fly, and was afraid to fly. He was of army age, and if he that one of Stinson's favorite stunts was to climb the had to go into the army, he had decided he wanted to be side of the field water tank, drip across the top and go an officer, so joined up to get a flying commission. In down the other side until the ship picked up flying private life, he had been a ribbon clerk, and if anyone speed. To do the trick he flew straight at the water tank, ever looked and acted as you would expect a ribbon with his wheels just off the ground, pulled the stick back clerk to look and act, he did. just before a crash seemed unavoidable, zoomed the ship "We labored and labored over him, and finally one up the side of the tank until it lost flying speed just morning he made three fairly decent landings in succes­ above the top, shoved the stick down and flipped over sion, so I told him to go ahead and solo. To get his th e top, then down the opposite side until he got speed, ticket, he had to take off, go up and do two figure when he would pull the ship up and level out again. eights, and come down and make a good landing within What his 14,000 hours of flying represents can be a certain distance from a mark. visualized by reducing it to mileage. Forty to forty-five "He made a perfect take-off, climbed to the right miles was top speed in the early days, but 150 and better altitude, did a pair of as nice figure eights as anybody is common now, so it is safe to say he has averaged ever saw, circled out downwind, turned and came into better than 100 miles an hour over the 14,000 hours. At the field at just the right altitude, at the correct moment that rate, his 1,400,000 miles represents three round he cut the gun and nosed down in a gentle glide, leveled trips to the moon and back, which is a respectable lot of out just when he should, pulled the nose up as the plane miles.~

7

Time Flies

WhyDon~t

YOU?

was the slogan of the Vance Air Service. By: H. Glenn Buffington, Assoc. Ed. 878 W. Crockett Street Seattle, WA 98779 The Pacific Northwest is represented by two pilots on the Ninety-Nines Charter Roster - Esther M. Combes Vance (license No. 3180), formerly of Great Falls, Mon­ tana, and the late Edith Foltz Stearns (5600), of Port­ land, Oregon, and later of Corpus Christi. Esther Combes graduated from the University of Washington in 1925, majoring in physical education; she

A "now" picture of Esther Combes Vance.


It: A 7928 picture of Esther /nce in winter flying attire.

Center: Esther M. and Earl T. Vance, by the Na­ tional Parks Airways' Fokker Universal, suited up for winter operation in the Big Sky Country.

Right: A 7933 picture of Esther Vance and the KR-27 Fairchild NC206V at Pocatello, Idaho.

then returned to Eastern Montana, where she became adjacent to the business district of Great Falls, but in the reacquainted with Earl Vance (1384) who, at that time, spring of 1928 established the Vance Airport on the flats was Montana's best-known aviation barnstormer. In north of the city, where the picture was taken." Relative 1923, Vance, as he was widely known, headquartered his to the Fairchild picture, she commented, "By 1933 I flying business in Sidney, her hometown, and Esther's had found India type jodphur breeches and English style introduction to flying was by her husband-to-be. Vance's riding boots ideal for summer open cockpit flying". approach was by interesting Esther's father, Billy Esther became the business manager and treasurer Combes, in flying also, and it proved effective. of The Vance Air Service, as it was called. They In 1925-26, as one of the pioneering U.S. flying purchased a Stinson Detroiter, had the Waco sales couples, the Vances honeymooned and winged their way agency for the area, and operated an airline from Great southeast flying at fairs and carrying passengers at var­ Falls to Billings. When the Vance Air Service facilities were destroyed by fire in 1931, Vance went to work as a ious points between Montana and Florida. Cecil Shupe (3857) and Frank Wiley (3007) were also pilot for National Parks Airway. The National Parks members of the Vance southern entourage. Esther terminal at Great Falls was Gore Field, located south of accompanied her husband on a couple of years of barn­ the city. At times when Vance flew for NPA, he would storming, during which she acquired a lot of f lying start pilots off on their duties at Vance Airport, then experience, enabling her to become Montana's first Esther would ferry him over to Gore Field to make the commercially licensed woman pilot. run to Salt Lake City. It was on one of these occasions Regardi ng the 1928 winter-garb picture, (above) that the photo of the Vances was taken standing by the Esther writes, "I t is representative of the years when Fokker mail plane. (above center) There were sub­ utility, not high fashion, dictated what the well-dressed sequent moves in the Pacific Northwest and when the flyer must wear, which for my particular needs required airmail contracts were cancelled in 1932, the Vances a close fitting leather lined jacket with turned up lamb­ bought a Pitcairn autogiro and barnstormed the West skin col lar, tailored breeches and high laced boots, all with it. Vance instructed in the CPT program for Bob John­ topped off with the indispensab le helm et and goggles. "At that time we had been barnstorming and head­ son at Missoula, and then was called back to active quartering at the North Montana Fairgrounds, located military duty, so Esther followed as the base command­

er's wife at Walla Walla, Washington; Topeka, Kansas and Alexandria, Louisiana. Another move took them to Colorado Springs where Earl directed search and rescue in the Rocky Mountain area. I t was here Vance met an untimely death with a heart attack in 1944; then Esther returned to Missoula, where she was employed at the registrar's office at the University of Montana. Now retired, Esther enjoys the role of being a geneal­ ogist and is busily tracing the lineage of both the Vance and Combes families, living in her Woodworth Avenue home close to Mount Sentinel and the University of Montana campus. Subsequently, Mrs. Vance heard from Peggy Verger, Renton, WA., relating that her husband, Sherwood, and his friend, Glen Gronquist, Enumclaw, WA., had acquired the Fairchild NC206V, a number of years ago after it had been ground looped in the South. Esther Vance's comment, after learning of the "find", led to the re-titling of this story. Peggy recently advised the author that restoration of the KR-21 had been un­ derstandably limited because of her late husband's lingering illness, however she and Gronquist do have a 145 Warner powered Fairchild 22, a very rare '34 model, currently flying. Either aircraft would be a dream-come­ true for some antiquer buff! ~

8


A

SILVER

Eagle

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In 1927, the year of the first solo flight from New York to Paris, there were other attempts. In 1977 we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of that first solo flight. Five months after that first fl ight, on October 11, 1927, George W. Haldeman and his co-pilot Miss Ruth Elder attempted a flight over a different route. To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of his flight, this biographical sketch of George W. Haldeman is dedicated. George was born on July 28, 1898 in McPherson, Kansas. In his youth on the farm he quite naturally developed a fascination for the farm's machinery. Even­ tually he was satisfactorily repairing mowing machines, tractors, hay balers and threshing machines. During the fall thresh ing season he often assisted in servicing the steam engine which furnished power for the thresher. George recal ls his pre-teen days. "In 1908 Dad bought his first automobile. Actually Dad had an agency to sell the Oldsmobil e Model 25, and he allowed me to work in the repair shop." "I n 1912, Dad becam e the Secretary of the County Fair near home. A balloon ascension was booked and I was allowed to assist in the preparations due to Dad's position. A year later the Fair's feature attraction was to have been the "flight of a Wright Biplane. The owner allowed me to assist in the plane's assembly, but bad weather during Fair time prevented any flights. A substitute feature was booked. This was Bill Thompson with his Jenny. I suppose this event really sparked my interest in aviation." "By 1914 I had progressed in age and ability sufficiently to enroll in the Sweeney Automobile School in Kansas City, Missouri. Besides car engines they also had a 6 cylinder Hall-Scott, Curtiss OXX-2 and OX-5 engines for us to study." Although his Dad had never objected to George's interest in aviation he had offered wise counsel to young

9

By: Robert G. Elliott (Associate Editor)

7227 Oakwood Ave.

Daytona Beach, Fla. 32074

George to gather more experience. The Haldeman family had moved to Florida by August of 1914, but George spent the next three summer vacations in Kansas City working as a mechanic to gain that experience. Soon after he became a mechanic for the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company, eventually graduating from mechanic to dirt track driver for the Company . By the time George was in his middle teens, World War I was well along. It was on one of his final vacation trips to Kansas that George learned that Air Cadets were

being recruited in Kansas City, Missouri , a fact that he later put to use. In recalling for me his earliest interest in aviation, George added, "I started flying before I entered military service. On May 10, 1917 I rode my Harley-Davidson motorcycle to St. Petersburg to receive flight instruction from Johnnie Green. It seemed a fitting climax to my graduation from High School only weeks before. Later in the year as a result of this early flight training in May, I was successful in having my application in the Signal


Corps accepted." "I reported to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the School of Military Aeronautics. Our group had been there only four or five days when the school was closed and we were transferred to the School of Military Aeronautics at Austin, Texas, where I completed my grou nd school training. Upon completion of ground school in Austin, I was next ordered to Dall as for additional radio operator training and physical education before continuing on to Park Field, at Memphis, Tennessee for flight training." "Because I had claimed to be a bit o ld er than I really was, authorities at Park Field discovered the age discrep­ ancy on close examination of my records. As a result, when my class was Commissioned, I was held back four months before being Commissioned a Second Lieuten­ ant. This four month wait turned into a real benefit. In one of the hangars seven airplanes were stored, it being referred to as the 'Ersatz Rese rve'. I was given my choice of anyone of tho se planes and thus acquired approximately two hundred hours flying time before I received that long awaited Commission. Graduation was accompanied by orders to report to West Point, Mississippi. Due to the large number of hours I had accumu lated and my additional experience, my assignment was that of aembatics instructor. Follow­ ing this tour of duty, the next assignment was at Carl­ strom Field in Arcadia, Florida. Here again, I was considered to have had more experience than the average graduate. Additionally it wasn't long before they discovered from my log books that I'd been performing flight tests at Park Field, so I was immediately assigned to flight testing Jennys, DH-4's, Nieuport 28's and the Liberty powered LaPere's after overhaul." I had been promoted to First Lieutenant, Engineering Officer, Carlstrom Field, Arcadia, Florida prior to the time of my discharge in 1919. With the war part over, George's reminiscing now turned to barnstorming in Central Florida as he contin ued, "Those were the rags-to-riches days. We would haul passengers at a large Fair and realize some ten to fifteen thousand dollars and then, ... one of the boys would crack up a plane and there would go our profits. It was touch and go to keep your head above water most of the time. In the meantime Roger Q. Will iams and I had started Inter-City Airline Corp. which had been scheduled to operate between Brooksville, Dade City, Plant City, Lakeland and Bartow, Florida. We had planned to start

Harold Edward Cornell, left, present President of Glenn St. Mary Nurseries, Dundee, Florida and George W. Haldeman, right relax in front of George's German L VG in 7927. Powered by a Mercedes Benz 260 hp engine, the plane had a top speed of 740 mph, cruised at 720 mph with a 5 hour range. (Photo courtesy of George W. Haldeman)

one plane at Brooksville and the other at Bartow. Our eq uipment consisted of World War I, OX-5 powered J ennys and it took us a week to make the one-way flight from eac h end of the route. The distance wasn't that great, but every time we'd land with it passenger, a crowd would gather wanting rides before we could continue our flight. Good for business but bad for sched­ ules. " "During these barnstorming days we learned that in order to get people out to the landing field, we had to

stage an aerial exhibition first. Usually it was a plane change or maybe a wing walk, and sometimes a par­ ach ute jump. Soon thereafter crowds would come streaming to the field eager for a ride. An incident of particular interest occurred in 1921 during our second year on the barnstorming - air circus tour. We had arrived without barnstormers at Columbia, South Camlina on the evening of November 10, the next day being Arm istice Day, we were to carry passengers. (continued on page 73)

10


Vintag( Men and The

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This is the last in the series of WW I photos furnish were enjoyable. Anyone having a series for Vintage

Above: Counting the exhausts would indicate a Ub足 erty Engine, the bowed wing bracing reminiscent of the German Taube. (What is it?)

Below: The deHavilland that was converted from military to mail plane after the war, becoming the HM-2.

Above: Rear view of the fuselage, looks like the recent homebuilt Hyper Bipe. Plane is reported to be a Loening development.


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Above: Front view of deHavilland, dihedral on both wings contributed much to its stability.

Below: At press time I had struck out on this one, it should be readily identifiable with the wing bracing. Someone enlighten us please.

Below: Jenny made her mind up, from the number of rolled up ones in the picture collection, it is evident they didn't like students.


We met another fellow flyer named Roscoe Turner. Roscoe used to dress in a fitted jac ket, flared riding breech es, boots, peak cap and gold wings. Roscoe and his partner, Mr. Runsner, had planned to make a plane change using two ) enny 's with two pilots, neith er of whom had flown with a man on the wing before. After looking over the 'modus operandi' our group saw they were planning on making the change using a !"Ope ladder fastened to the landin g gear of the top plane. Ro scoe intended to stand on th e center section of th e top wing of the lower plan e and catch the ladder from the pl ane above, a 35 foot rope ladder with iron rungs was to be used . Such a pro gram we had long ago discard­ ed because it placed the man makin g the change directl y in the path of the lower plan e's propeller. The method we had deve loped called for the man to make the plane change from wing tip to wing tip. We decided then and there to st ick around and see this guy get 'bumped off'. The two planes took off in very poor weather for their performance over the infield in front of the grandstand. It required much maneuver­ ing for the two plane s to get close enough and still be seen by the crowd. Finally, the guy in the top pl ane turn ed his ladder loose_ It unroll ed from between hi s wheels and dropped into th e cock pit of the lower pl ane hittin g the pilot on the head. Up to that point they had been airborne almost an ho ur , but aft er gett ing hit on th e head , th e lower pil ot banked shar pl y away so they gave it up and came in for a landin g. Minutes later, Mr. Runsn er, Roscoe's partn er,

approached us and inquired if we would save the day by using our planes to make the change. Of course we agreed , but our change was made from wing tip to wing tip. That was my introduction to Roscoe. Our genera l act consisted of plane changes, wing walking and flying low over th e crowd. Often time, how­ eve r, our man would climb back into the cockpit after completing his outside act, strap on his old ) ohnson pac k chute and prepare to bailout. We didn't have seat or back packs in those days. He'd fasten himself to a rope wound around the fus elage and thus be suspended beneath th e plane. In this way, wh en the pilot waved at him . he wou ld cut the rope and generall y wou ld land in a pre-dete rmined spot near the crowd." "Eventually barnstormin g became a cut throat busi­ ness. We had started out tak in g passengers for $10.00, a three minute ride or chat'ging $15.00 for a little longer. If we did any stunts lik e a loop o r wing over, we'd charge them $25.00. For several years that was very lu­ crative but finally it got to where too many were trying the sa me thing so th e pri ce of ti ckets came down to where we were charging a penn y-a-p o und. Those were the touch and go days of sur vival in barnstorming. In response to my qu estio n of when he stopped fl yin'g ) enn ys, George replied , "Du rin g my military experience I had been chosen to co nd uct fl ight tests on var iou s foreign military plan es which the Government had ob tain ed as War Reparation s. Th ey were such planes as German Fokkers, Rumpl ers, and LVG'S; British Avros and Sopwith Camels and Italian Fiats with Ansoldo en­

gines. As a re sult of the varied ex periences with these plane s I was especia ll y impressed with the German LVG powered by a 260hp Mercedes Ben z engi ne. Th erefo re in 1921 I was able to purchase one of those LVG'S I had become acquainted with in the Air Service. After some modification I made one of the first trans­ Continental flights for commercial planes with that LVG , from Dayton, Ohio to Seattl e, Washington and back to New York, then down to Florida. Durin g th at period of av iat ion histo ry airplanes improved quite rapidl y. News reac hed me in Lak eland that a new pl ane was schedul ed to be ex hibited at Dayto na Beach. After flying over and landing on th e beach, I saw this new pl ane, ... d Pitcai rn Mailwing with a )-5 engine . Th e demonst rat ion pilot was Irving Ballough. In becoming acquai nted we all ret ired to the shade beneath the wing, as we li stened to Ballough tell of the Pitcairn' s features. He mad e a passing remark that, "if anyo ne installed one of these )-5 engines in a plane that co uld carry four hundred ga ll o ns of gas, he would be ab le to fly non-stop fro m New York to Pari s and win the Raymond Ortig prize of $25,000." . . . "It was that comment which started me thinking about making the Atlantic flight. I guess I had a mild case of Atlantic fever. Of co urse we all knew there was a guy nam ed Charles Lindbergh out in California, at the Rya n plant, who was supervising construction of a plane in which he ho ped to fly th e Atlantic. I recalled that a short time earlier Eddie Stinson had installed a ) -5 in one of hi s planes and won the Ford Reliability Tour. This feat proved to me that here was an airplane with the ab ility to car ry four hun­ dred ga ll o ns of gas together with two people and remain in th e air for thirty to thirt y-five hours." "Along in this time period, ear ly in 1927, I was ope rat in g a fli ght sc hool in Lake land . On e of my st u­ dents was a girl na med Ruth Elder. While our student gro up was discussing the many problem s of Atlantic flight, Lindbergh mad e hi s won derfu l non-stop flight from San Diego to St. Louis, th en on to New York and fin all y when conditions permitted , on ac ross the ocean to Paris." One of three LaPere aircraft built with Liberty engine, 425 hp., photographed in front of hangar 33 at Carlstrom Field, Arcadia, FL. Geo rg e Haldeman set an unofficial loop r ecord in 79 79 by making 425 consecutive loops, later broken by Capt. j ohn ny johnson who made 437. All lo ops we re performed within sight of the field. (Photo court esy of George W. Haldeman)

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Pitcairn Mailwing. One of several different types of mail planes that followed the famous DH-4, which pioneered air route later day airlines. (Pho'to cour­ tesy of R.G. Elliott from the Tallmantz collection) Because of the Lindb ergh publicity, Ruth came to me and said she thought that, "if a man cou ld make the flight, I'd like to be the first woman to do it ." "We 'd talked of it quite a bit during the schoo l ses­ sio ns. Of course Ru th had onl y accumulated so methin g like one hundred hours of flight time, but the id ea struck me as being a good money making propos itio n. A specific proposa l for financing was mad e to seven­ teen of my friends and because of th eir trust and belief in our plan, I was abl e to acquire the third Stinson mono­ plane that had been built. I'd been flying for ten yea rs in 1927, so the take-off, naviga tion and hoped-for land in g would be my responsibility. Ruth, with her limited time was, however, a whale of a good pilot and would be valuable in relieving me at th e controls.

A SIL VER EAGLE The Florida Chapter has honored these men with a membership and the distinctive title to go with it. Robert Elliott (Assoc. Ed.) has put in many hours researching and gathering these articles. We will look fonvard to more of them in the future.

Ruth Elder about to hop into the cockpit of an OXX-6 powered Waco 9, during the summer of 7927 at Roosevelt Field, New York. (Photo courtesy of George W. Haldeman)

It fina ll y became a question of wha t we'd name the plane, as our Atlanti c flight plans became firm . Ahead of us there had been such names as the 'Spirit of St. Lo uis', the 'Am er ica', and 'Old Glory', so someone suggested that since the flight was planned for a woman, it shou ld be named 'American Girl'." All navigating on the Atlantic flight was to be accomplished by dead reckoning. We had plann ed on not ca rrying heavy nav igating or radio equipment because th e excess weight would rapidly reduce our fuel supply . We chose Rooseve lt Field, Long Island, for our take­ off. Co mmand er Dick Byrd, a good fri end of mine, had offered the use of th e ramp which he had used to provide extra takeoff speed for his Tri-Motor Fokker, "America". He had really been the first pilot to carry sophis­ ticated radio equipment, a feat easily accomplished in that Tri-Motor Fokker. " I accepted his offer for the use of the ramp, but when takeoff time came around the wind had changed, necessitating a down-wind takeoff. Of course this would be folly, especially so heavily loaded, so I taxied to the other end of the fi eld and turned around for a takeoff

heading due East. It was at that final turnaround point that Ruth and I dumped a jury-rig rad io which had been provid ed for our use in the event we landed in the water. One of the features was a kite-lifted ante nna wire. I had wond ered how we would launch a kite from the water if there was no wind of sufficient strength to support the kite. So, we got rid of that extra weight, closed the door, revved up the engine once more and took off. Judging from photographs I saw' weeks later, we cleared the takeoff ra mp at the east end of the runway onl y with inches to spare. Once we had become air­ borne, ... our cruising altitude reached, .. . our course established, ... I could allow Ruth to spell me at the controls. For the most part our flight was routine the first day, following night and into the second day. Early in the evening on th e second day we entered a low pres­ sure area formerly predicted by Doc Kincaid of the U.S . Weather Service. From th en on the weather became increasingly worse." "The day passed easily into evening without incident but in the early morning hours th e oil pressure started dropping. Somewhere about 04:00 A.M . the pressure

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George W. Haldeman with passenger/crew, Ruth Elder, maneuver the "American Girl" into final takeoff position at Roosevelt Field, New York on October 77, 7927. (Photo courtesy of George W. Haldeman) went to zero. We had no other choice but to continue heading towards Paris, France. Dawn came very gray and rainy. We'd been out of oil pressure for about two hours, when, in slowly losing power and altitude, I could faintly make out the running lights of a ship. In breaking out beneath the clouds I had less than a two-hundred foot ceiling and observed the seas were running quite high. With the oil temperature against the peg and zero oil pressure it was imperative we land at once, so I circled the vessel to attract their attention while Ruth hastily wrote a note. Attaching it to a weight she threw it out while I passed as low as possible over the deck. The first two attempts failed, but luckily the third time our note landed on the deck near the wheelhouse." Ruth had written, "How far are we from land, which way?" A few minutes later we saw being painted on the top deck the words, "260 nautical miles, S.E." "Being northwest of Cape Finestaire, Spain, some 260 nautical miles convinced me that I damn well couldn't fly any further, nor was I going to let the ship get out of my sight. So we ditched right along-side the tanker. The waves were approximately thirty to forty feet from trough to crest. I thought at the time we were close enough for us to swim to safety, but we saw the crew lowering a lifeboat. By the time it was in the water, we'd been blown quite a distance from the vessel.

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The "American Girl" poised on the runway at Roosevelt Field, New York, ready for takeoff on October 77, 7927. The New York to Paris flight was to start from the ramp provided by Cdr. Richard E. Byrd, however, a last minute wind change made it necessary to take off from the opposite end of the runway, heading due East. (Photo courtesy of George W. Haldeman)

Tremendous waves capsized the first lifeboat. We never did see the second lifeboat lowered into the water because by then we had drifted between half and three足 quarters of a mile from the ship. After successfully ditching, Ruth and I quickly tried to locate a few necessities such as money, passports and the Iike, but when the fourth wave broke over the "American Girl", the cabin filled with water. Ruth hurriedly cut a hole in the side fabric and was outside in the water while I was still inside trying to find some four hundred dollars in cash which had been brought to cover out-of-pocket expenses. After a few seconds more of the rising water, I decided to get out fast before it sank with me inside. Stayi ng in the lee of the fuselage we moved alongside to the rear and were able to scramble up on top. Our best support was to hold onto the earth induc足 tor generator post which was about eighteen inches high with a small windmill on top. This turning blade had operated our generator and it was to this post that we hung on for the next two and three-quarters hours while waiting for that second lifeboat to reach us. As the waves were breaking over us now and then, we linked our arms together around that post to keep from being washed off the top . Because of this pressure and stress at the bend of her elbow, one of Ruth's arms became seriously swollen."

"Our long awaited lifeboat finally reached us and a little later we had a firm deck beneath our feet. It was then that we learned our benefactor was Captain Goos of the Dutch tanker, 'Barendrecht'. Ruth was given immediate medical attention to relieve the swelling of her arm, but it wasn't until we made port that she was provided with more adequate treatment in a hospital. For a time it had looked rather serious for her." "After Captain Goos ~afely delivered us to the Port of Lisbon, Ruth received the hospital treatment necessary to restore circulation in her arm. When she was suffi足 ciently recovered to be released we were flown in a Tri足 Motor Junkers from Lisbon to Madrid. The French Government had kindly flown a Potez 25 from Paris to Madrid and placed it at our disposal. In this Potez then, Ruth, and I completed our last leg of the flight and landed at LeBourget Field near Paris." I n recognition of his contribution to aviation as a result of his Atlantic flight, October 11-13, 1927, George was promoted to Captain, Specialist Reserve, U.S. Army Air Corps. The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Haldeman-Elder flight was October 11, 1977, and the City of Lakeland, Florida proclaimed this date as Haldeman-Elder Day. Respondi ng to my question of what happened to Ruth Elder over the years, George remarked, " In those


passing years I kept very close contact with Ruth , for a time shortly after the flight we saw each other a great dea l on matters connected with aviation. She went on and did a lot of flying over the next six to ten years. Ruth flew in severa l of the Cleveland Air Races that had women's events. Later she marri ed and moved to Honolulu wh ere we lo st touch somewhat. Sh e didn't fly anymore as she had an accident, breaking her hip while unpacking furniture in th eir move back to San Francisco, my understanding was that she hadn't flown for about ten years. She was a good little pil ot and I'd like to say this, "She was much help to me on th e Atlantic flight , in the air for so me 35 hours, as any other pilot with the equival ent amount of flying tim e, approx­ imatel y one hundred hours. Any tim e I asked her to do anything, help fly, adjust eq uipment, whatever, she was always right there, Johnn y on th e spot." (Note: In a telephone conversation with her husband, Ralph King, on October 10, 1977, Geo rge learn ed that Ruth had passed away that morning, one day short of the 50th Anniversary of her flight.) In response to my observation that the Atlanti c flight was a critical turning point in his career, George agreed by saying, "Yes, the Atlantic fl ight opened a few doors in th e growing aviat ion business." For a short per iod of time, from 1927 to 1928, I was engaged in free-lance flight testing for th e Curtiss Air­ craft Company, the Keyston e Aircraft Compa ny and the Detroit Aircraft Company. Three aircraft which I was privileged to fly and test were the Loenin g, Cyclo ne powered Air Yac ht , the Loening-Keysto ne J6-9 Commute r and th e Tri-Motor Keystone, Cyclo ne powered. Just after returning fro m th e Atlanti c fli ght and before I joined the Bell anca Company, Eddie St inson wanted to try for the Wor ld 's endurance record for non­ refueling flight in 1928. I ran the flight tests after install­ in g the spec ial fuel tanks. Later, Eddie and I brought the plan e down to Jacksonvi ll e Beac h. Thi s decision was prompted by the fact that we had broken through the ice a number of times whil e flying from froze n Lake St. Clair nea r Detro it. We land ed at Jacksonv ill e Beach after the flight from th e north and topped off the gas tanks that same eve nin g. Next morning we took off and es tab li shed a non-refueling fli ght record of 51 hours, 14 minutes and 13 seco nd s. That record didn't ho ld long however. Later we in stal led a Packard Di esel engi ne in a Bell anca at the

factory for the Packa rd peo ple. They desired their own pilots for the new endurance atte mpt, which was only natural. Fl ying again from Jacksonville Beac h, they kept it in the air for so me 84 hours. In landing on the beach to avoid a thunderstorm t hey discovered th e fuel remain­ in g would have kept them aloft another four hours. "In 1927 Guiseppe M. Bellanca had built the fa mous Bellanca 'Columbi a' that Clarence Chamberlin flew across the Atlantic. Because of the successful flight char­ acteristics of this pl ane, Bella nca was very anxious to begi n production. His company was locked up by th e Wright Compan y and later by th e Dupont's of Wilming­ ton, Delaware . Mr. Bellanca came to me because he knew he needed so m eo ne with ex perie nce in testing airplanes. He proposed I join hi s company and this I did in 1928, remaining with him for so me six yea rs as Chief Engineer­ ing Test Pilot and later becoming Sales Manager. During those six years while I remained with the company, Mr . Bell anca deve loped the J-5 Pacemaker, the J 6-9 Pacemaker, the Skyrocket, the Swoop and of co urse th e famous Airbus. Th e Airbus carried a pil ot, co-pilot and nin e passengers. We sold 54 of those air­ planes to th e Military. It was a ve ry high performance single engine aircraft built aro und the Wri ght Cyclone and Curtiss Conqueror engi nes. In addition, we develop­ ed and so ld so me twi n-engin e ai rcraft to the Columbian Government in South America." In 1928 George made the FI RST non-stop flight fro m north to south across the United States, from Walker­ ville, Canad a to Havana, Cuba in 12 hou rs, 12 minut es and 14 seconds, pil ot in g a J-5 Pacemak er. For the years 1928-1931 inclu sive, George also won FI RST place for si ngle eng in e cabi n-typ e aircraft in th e re now ned Ford Reli abil it y Tours. George broke the U.s. Altitude record for co mmer­ cia l planes in a Bell a nca Pace maker flying from the fie ld at New Castle, Delaware in 1929. He reached an altitud e of 30,467 feet. So me months later in 1930 that mark was broken , agai n by George, setting a mark of 35,457 feet . In 1929, about one year after Geo rge joined the Bellanca Company, reco rd s reveal that he was a partic­ ipant in the 1929 Nat ional Air Races held in Cleve land. On behalf of the Bellanca Company, he was entered in two events. Event No. 10 The Cleveland to Buffalo Efficiency Race. FIRST place won by George W. Hald eman, flying a

Above: Captain Goos of the Dutch tanker, "Barendrecht" that rescued Ruth Elder and George Haldeman from the Atlantic near the Azores, displays proudly, for the first time, the letter dropped by Miss Elder from the "American Girl" as she circled above the vessel. The letter, written on a sheet of plain paper read, "How far are we from land, which way . .. Ruth Elder". (Pho to courtesy of George W. Haldeman) Be/ow: George W. Haldeman and Ruth Elder arrive at LeBourget Field, Paris, France after flying themselves from Madrid, Spain in a Potez 25, powered by a 475 hp Lorraine Dietrich engine. Th e plane was proVided as a courtesy of the Potez Aircraft Company, Paris, France. (Photo courtesy of George W. Haldeman)


Left: Mayor jimmy Walker of New York City, right,

was later flown over to New York in 1933 and, after escorts Ruth Elder and her pilot, George W. Halde­

touching down on the water, was moored near what is man down the steps of City Hall after they had been

now LaGuardia Field. A primary purpose of the trip was officially received by the Mayor and his reception

to remove the twelve, 400 hp Bristol Jupiter engines and committee. They were driven here as thousands

re-install twelve, 620 hp Curtiss Conqueror engines. This cheered after they had landed from the 5.5. Macon,

installation was accomplished on Long Island. Later I in transferring from the liner Aquitania down the

made a flight with Captain Harry Rogers who was pilot­ bay. November 77, 7927. (Photo courtesy of George

ing the airplane during these evaluation tests. Those W. Haldeman) Conqueror engines did improve the airplane's perform­ ance, however, it was never to be a long range aircraft. built wonderful airplanes that performed superbly, The DO-X was a combi nation of six tractor and six whether on floats or wheels. They always had the ability pusher engines mounted on top of the wing. to carry a good payload over long distances. Built into Its hydro-stabilizers were originally set with very each plane was the evidence of his fine reputation, of little incidence, about 1 degree as I recall, which caused which, to say again, I had the highest regard." the Dornier much trouble on takeoff. Water would build The year 1932 proved to be an extraordinarily busy up in front, making it most difficult to get up on the twelve months for George. Though not in order of step. To correct this problem, the angle of incidence in occurrence, the aviation events in which he was involved these hydro-stabilizers was increased to 4 degrees which were; provided more bouyancy and the increased ability to get Referee - Cord Trophy Race, Los Angeles to Cleveland. up on the step . Assistant Referee - National Air Races, Cleveland, Ohio. Before this hydro-stabi Iizer cond ition had been (Repeat assignment in 1933) corrected, the rear mounted Bristol J upiters were over­ U.s. Representative - Convention of Trans-Oceanic Pilots heating while taxiing for takeoff. In an effort to over­ Bellanca powered by a Wright Whirlwind 300. His win­ called by Sig. Benito Mussolini in Rome, May 20-27.

come this overheating problem to some small degree, the ning time was 3:02:54 for an average speed of 130.22 Decorated - by King Victor Emanuel of Italy as "Grand

tractor engines were run at full throttle until the pusher mph.

Ufficale of The Crown of Italy".

engines cooled off. Event No. 18 Civilians Only . .. Air Transport and Effi­ Flight Tested - the German 12-engine Dornier DO-X in

Cruising speed would have been a bit more than 120 ciency Contest. FI RST place won by George W. Halde­ Europe.

mph with only a moderate load. man, flying a Bellanca powered by a Wright Whirlwind

"Over these passing years", George continued to At the ti me, the Darn ier DO-X was the largest sea­ 300. Recorded time for this event was 0:36:39, average reflect, "I was becoming more interested in Type plane in the air, however, Anthony Fokker had built a speed of 119.97 mph. Certification of aircraft because of both my work in the four engine land plane with two tractor and two pushers The National Air Races of 1930, held in Chicago, Military and later in test flying various commercial air­ which was the largest land plane at that time." again saw George W. Haldeman as a participant for the craft. In later years while conducting flight test evaluation Bellanca interests. News of the 12-engine DO-X had reached the United for the Boeing Aircraft Company during development of Event No. 27 Men's 1,000 cu. in. Cabin Race, 10 laps,S States and received generous mention in the press. When the Boeing 314, George's findings relative to the hydro­ mile course. THI RD place won by George W. Haldeman some friends of mine heard that it had flown with one stabilizer problems of the DO-X were to prove useful to flying a Bellanca powered by a Wright 220 J-5. Average hundred people on board, they conceived the idea of Boeing. Such reports were instrumental in improved speed was -136.10 mph. buying two or three of these planes to fly people from hydro-stabilizer dihedral settings and wing tip flotation Event No. 29 Air Transport and Efficiency Race, 10 New York to Havana for the races. which in turn improved takeoff and landing characteris­ laps,S mile course. THI RD place for speed. Haldeman As it happened I was in Europe in 1932 on other tics and lateral stability in the Boeing 314 Seaplane. flying a Bellanca Airbus, powered by a Conqueror business and was therefore engaged to check out the During one of a number of visits with George, he and engine, average speed 123.32 mph. SECOND place for DO-X and analyze its flight characteristics. It wasn't I were trying to choose a few photographs from his efficiency won by George again flying a Bellanca power­ long before I arrived at the conclusion that should the enormous collection. We were making rather slow prog­ ed by a Wright J -5 engine. DO-X be fueled sufficiently to fly from New York to ress because his most valuable memorablia, reposed in a When asked to remark about Mr. Bellanca, George Havana, only a very few passengers could be carried. The storage vault, was not easily accessible. A particular photo, thought a moment and said .... plan didn't appear feasible, so my friends didn't buy however, prompted George to reminisce about the "Guiseppe M. Bellanca was a wonderful man of one. Hughes-Kaiser flying boat, the Hughes HK-1, or better The DO-X that I flight tested at the Dornier factory known in some circles as the "Spruce Goose". It took whom I had the utmost regard as a talented designer. He

17


little prompting for George to co ntinu e. "My recollection of the noted Hughes-Kaiser flight is as though it happened yesterday. Earlier in 1936 I had joined the Civil Aeronautics Administration. During World War II , as Chief, Flight Test Branch, I had been requested to organ ize an Engineering Flight Test Center at Houston, Texas by General H. H. (Hap) Arnold, Commanding General of the Air Force. The function of the Flight Test branch was to evaluate numerous models of Civil and Military aircraft for long range cruise data on trans-oceanic flights carrying Civil and Military V.J.P.'s, critical war items and cargo. During this mid-World War II period, the Kaiser Company was awarded a contract from the Navy to build an all-wood aircraft using non-strategic materials. Although Kaiser had been awarded the contract, he had had no aircraft building experience, as he was a ship builder. So he considered it would be wise to associate himself with someone who not only had aviation expe­ rience but also who was financially sound, and that someone turned out to be Howard Hughes. It fell my lot to be assigned the test project of the Hughes HK-1 for purposes of awarding Type Certifica­ tion to the plane. My function was Project Engineer for the CAA on that flying boat for a period of about four years until it finally made its first and only flight at Long Beach, California on November 2, 1947. Eventually the contract responsibility became solely that of Hugh es after having negotiated with Kaiser, and it became th e H-4 Hercules. Although the project had suffered a series of delays, my engineering data support­ ed the opinion of everyone on the project, in that we saw, no reason why it shouldn't fly." We had documented one limitation that was sched­ uled to be corrected. The elevator controls were not yet approved beca use of a substantial delay in the reaction of the controls as measured to the elevator surface response. Hughes was fully aware of the problem and plans were being formulated to provide hydraulic assist. During this same period of time, Hughes was involved in a Congressional controversy in Washington with Senator Brewster who was claiming the airplane would never fly. A condition for full payment was that the aircraft would indeed fly. Perhaps too, Senator Brewster may have been disturbed by the fact that the series of delays and modifications had escalated the cost to the Government to about 18.5 million dollars to that date. The project had become a political football by 1947,

thus Hughes was anx ious to schedule taxi tests in order to reduce some of the criticism. I was sympathetic with the taxi test idea and upon my recomm endatio n Howard agreed to fix the elevator controls in a neutral position. In this fashion then, all taxi tests were conducted. As Government Project Engineer and co-pilot, I arranged communications with my assistants throughout the plane in order to monitor all systems. There was one man stationed inside each engine nacelle monitoring an instrument panel. One man was in the leading edge of the vertical fin, near the top. Through his window he could conduct a visual check for exterior signs of trouble. In addition I had another five technicians stationed throughout the fuselage. We were all inter-connected by our phone jink so that, for example, if one engine would drop R.P.M's or stall, I'd not only hear from the techni­ cian in the nacelle but also from my visua l check point high in the fin . Our passenger cargo was some twenty-six newspaper representativeS and factory technicians who witnessed the tests from the rear section of our flight deck. Over the 5 hours and 10 minutes of taxi tests, up­ wind, downwind, crosswind, slow speed taxi, docking, etc., I recorded only one deficiency and that was in number six engine. At times it idled a little slow and occasionally it would stall. For this initial test, however, we didn't consider this serious. The last run of that day's test was to be a high speed taxi. Observing all instruments and the neutral control system from the co-pilot's seat, I could plainly watch Howard advance the throttles to full position. Within moments the H-4 broke loose from the water and was up on the step. Once Howard was aware the increased speed had allowed the plane to rise onto the step, he merely increased the manifold pressure on all eight engines about ten to fifteen percent, and we ballooned right off the water into the air. We were airborne a little less than two minutes. Right: Ruth Elder and her pilot, George W. Haldeman being escorted up the canyon of Broadway on their triumphant arrival in New York from the Aquitania from Europe. They are shown being escorted by police up Broadway with great crowds of admirers along the sidewalks welcoming the two fliers home. November 77, 7927. (Photo courtesy of International Newsreel Photo and George W. Haldeman)

In my opinion, it seemed quite natural and entirely within the profile of our agree ment. Th e elevator controls had not been moved from their neutral posi­ tion. Now that the time has come to consider the future of the H-4 Hercules, I'd personally like to see the airplane preserved intact. It had a number of very fine design features even though it was built entirely from wood. (Essential fittings were, of course, fabricated from metal.) I have always felt it was a shame Mr. Hughes didn't have the opportunity to test fly the H-4 more thor­ oughly. From that day of the flight on, official tests were cancelled due to lack of contract funds and as you know, the airplane was never flown again. Ironically, it was our good friend Grover Loening, a member of the War Production Board, who issued the


Sub-sonic transports, but contract was broadened to include new SST Aircraft, both UK-French Concorde and the U.S. - SST, Boeing 2707. 1969 - On behalf of the C.A.B., conducted evaluation of cockpit arrangement and crew complement of Boeing 747 and 737. Evaluated flight characteristics of Boeing 747 and 737. 1970 - Director of Flight Test for Aero Spacelines, Santa

Left: George W. Haldeman flanked by two ladyavia­ tors. On the left is Eleanor Smith and on the right Amelia Earhart. The aircraft was a Bellanca Pace­ maker. (Photo courtesy of George W. Haldeman) Below: An early Keystone Trimotor built north of Philadelphia, Pa., and flown at Trenton, N.f. by George W. Haldeman. He tested and evaluated this one and only "Patrician" for the Keystone Company. Although it could carry 32 passengers and a crew of 3 and was powered by 3-Wright Cyclone 620 hp en­ gines, the Ford Trimotor was the competition, and being a smaller plane, with less power, it was less expensive to operate, so the Keystone Trimotor was never mass produced. (Photo courtesy of George W. Haldeman)

letter of cancellation." The Post·War years were to become a kaleidoscope of flight testing, type certification and consultant activities for George. Space does not permit closer examination of each phase of his broadening career. Following then, are cameos, ... selected from eve nts'over the years. 1950·1953 . Complete F.A.A. Certification tests (3 times) on DeHaviland 4·engine Jet Comet. Complete C.A.A. Flight Tests on DH·125, Beaver and Herald. Vickers·Viscount Transport and Valiant Jet Bomber,

tested and eva lua ted.

Sud Aviation-Caravelle, tested and evaluated automatic

loading systems.

A vero-Vulcan Jet Bomber, extensive evaluation of

control, stability and maneuverability characteristics.

1953 - Flying with Herman 'Fish' Salmon, Lockheed

Aircraft test pilot, sound barrier was broken at speed of

Mach 1.15 in a Lockheed F-94C at Burbank, California. 1954 - Graduated from U.S.A.F. Jet Qualification course at Craig Field, Selma, Alabama. After completion of

19

course, was a participant in several hours of thunder­

storm flying to evaluate effects of updrafts and down­

drafts on controlability and stability.

Completed Special Jet Familiarization course in T-33

and F-94C aircraft at Moody AFB, Valdosta, Georgia.

1960·1966 - As Special Assistant to the Director of The

Civil Aeronautics Board, Bureau of Safety, Special Proj­

ects Officer, he was responsible for new aircraft develop­

ment proj ects. Participated in evaluation of all flight

tests of XB-70A Supersonic Vehicle and eval uation of

aircraft and engine manufacturers proposals on Super­

sonic Transports.

1963-1965 - Evaluated the UK-French Concorde Super­

sonic Transport for C.A.B. prior to flight tests. Includ ed

activities were flying and eva luating Concorde Simulator.

1965 - DeHaviland Tri-Jet Transport and B.A.C. VC-10

eva luati on of Flight test data.

1966-1967 - Retired from U.S. Government Service,

Civil Aeronautics Board in 1965 in order to accept a

contract as Special Consultant to the Cha irm an, C.A.B.

on new aircraft development projects with emphasis on


t - ­.- -;. ,

Barbara, California for models MGT and SGT. Director of Certification for SGT-201. ~'". 1969-1972-1975 Performed data evaluation, from <:::'.UM o'r . . . _ -:#~ A _. (5. Z1b flight test reports on British-French SST Concorde and _ '*.;:_.. ~,r~.-~ -·~Ii - - ', --j USSR TU-144 • . .. - ... By the month of November, 1977, George W. Halde­ man had been flying for 60 years. A check of his flight ~.. •.­ time logs in january, 1977, show an accumulation of 33,972 hours of air time in his long and colorful aviation , _~ career. • Experimental flight tests on more than 100 different model aircraft were conducted by George during his c'.r. · ~ more than five decades of flying. Better known aircraft ~~ on which evaluation or government type certification : : ; _ tests were conducted are: Douglas - DC-2, DC-3, DC-6 and 6B, DC-7 and 7 A Lockheed - 049, 149, 649, 749, and jets T-33, F-94C and Electra Boeing - 247, 307, 314, 377, 707, 720, 737, 727 and Above: The B-7 Bomber, designed and built by Rockwell International, in a recent test flight. George ha~ been a civilian consultant on the project. (Photo courtesy of Rockwell International and George W. Haldeman) preliminary evaluation of 747 Martin - MARS, j RM-l and j RM-2 BOEING 747 jumbo jet Transport and BOEING 737 Convair - 240, 340, 440 jet Transport. Curtiss - CW-20, C-47 There can be no question tshat George W. Haldeman is Bellanca - All models 1929 to 1935 one of a few great aviation pioneers remaining active Aero Commander - Various models today. His reputation of integrity and meticulous Bud Aircraft - RB-l, Conestoga attention to detail combined with superb skill has been North American - Navion and Saberlincr largely instrumental in his being chosen as one of the Vought-Sikorsky - VS-44 civilian consultants on the B-1 program. Even today, Howard - DGA-l 5 George maintains a packed suitcase ready to respond at a Republic - Seabee moment's notice should he be summoned to Washington, Additional model aircr}ft tested for C.A.A. Commer­ D.C. or California, or one of the Air Force test facilities. cial Vertification constructed by the following aircraft ~ manufacturers, were .... Above: Left to right are - Doug Benefield, Assistant Chief Pilot TAYLORCRAFT, AERONCA, WACO, MEYERS, for B-7 Division, Rockwell International, George W. Halde­ STINSON, ERCOUPE, MOONEY, SWIFT, BEECH, man, and Richard Abrams, Manager Flight Test Engineering CESSNA, PIPER, STEARMAN, MONOCOUPE, HEllO and Chief Flight Test Engineer, Rockwell International . .. all and others. veteran Flight Test Pilots. (Photo courtesy Rockwell Interna­ Right: The Hughes H-4 Hercules in Long Beach Aircraft flight tested and/or eval -uated for the C.A.B. tional and George W. Haldeman) Harbor, California on November 2, 7947. The included, DOUGLAS DC-8-61, approximately 15 hours one mile flight was made at an altitude of about evaluation of control, stability and performance prior to 85 to 700 feet. The "Spruce Goose" had a wing certification, from Miami to Chicago to Minneapolis to span of 320 feet, length of 278 feet, and a Kansas City, Missouri. height of 79 feet. Gross weight was 300,000 DOUGLAS DC-9-20 at factory, BOEING 737 and Ibs. Fuel capacity was 74,000 gal. Powered by eight, 28 cyclinded P& W 3000 hp engines, it 747 at factory as well as a cross-country flight from was designed to carry nearly 500 troops some Seattle to Tampa in a 727. 3500 miles. (Copyright photo by Arthur Kemp AERO SPACELINES GUPPIES, conversion model of Forest) Boeing 377 and C-97 design as MG2-101 and SGT-201.

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Calendar of Events May 5-7, 1978-

Mr, AI Kelch Headquarters of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. P. O. Box 299 Hales Corners, WI 53130 Dear Mr. Kelch: When a teenager, I served as a mechanic in Marine Air Groups 11 and 21. I was in VMF-211 and VMF-214 (Black Sheep Squadron) in the Solomons. I came across some pictures of even older U.S.M.e. planes. Please find enclosed two pictures of a line of 02U-I's. These were taken by a good friend of mine, Gerald Pierce, a retired Master Gunnery Sgt., U.s.M.e. I had these pictures reproduced from his album. When a young man, Sgt. Pierce was stationed with the U.S.M.e. in Haiti in 1929. He was a line company marine, thus, he does not know the details of the air­

21

craft. However, he remembers their dawn and dusk patrols. I think this was about the time Haiti came under control of" Papa Doc". However, if I recall, Vought was building these ex­ cellent aircraft in Miami, Florida at the time. Note, the two parachutes at ready on the wing tip . See also, the offset gun mount between the top wing center cabane and the right wing. The gun sight is in front of front cockpit. Also, the same three prop tip colors were on Marine Corps WW II planes. This might be of interest to not only antiquers but former Air Wing Marines. If any readers know the details of the planes, let him speak . With kind regards, Waldense F. Malouf Antique/Classic Division No . 01386

May 26-29, 1978 -

June 23-25, 1978-

July 8-9, 1978 July 29-Aug. 5, 1978 -

Aug. 27-Sept. 4, 1978 -

Chino, California - 4th Annual Southern Cal ifor­ nia Regional Fly-In. Sponsored by EAA Chap­ ters 1, 7, 11, 92, 96, 448 and 494. Contact Gene Vickery, 1115 S. Sierra Vista Ave., Alhambra, CA 91801 - 213/289-8944 Monocoupe Club and Ryan Club Fly-In, Dacy Airport, Harvard, Illinois National Waco Club Fly­ In, Hamilton Airport, Hamilton, Ohio National Stinson Club Fly-In, Minden, Nebraska Experimental Aircraft Association Convention and Fly-I n, Wittman Field, Oshkosh, Wisconsin Antique Airplane Associa­ tion Convention, Antique Airfield, Blakesburg, Iowa


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VA-Vol-6-No-2-Feb-1978