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BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?

Little Hawk 04 Feb 04 - 05:35 PM
Wesley S 04 Feb 04 - 05:52 PM
Uncle_DaveO 04 Feb 04 - 06:42 PM
Cluin 04 Feb 04 - 07:47 PM
Bobert 04 Feb 04 - 07:52 PM
beadie 04 Feb 04 - 08:45 PM
Walking Eagle 04 Feb 04 - 08:55 PM
Little Hawk 04 Feb 04 - 10:05 PM
Willie-O 05 Feb 04 - 09:10 AM
JohnInKansas 05 Feb 04 - 09:45 AM
Don Firth 05 Feb 04 - 01:08 PM
Willie-O 05 Feb 04 - 02:50 PM
Deckman 05 Feb 04 - 05:40 PM
Bobert 05 Feb 04 - 07:57 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Feb 04 - 12:52 AM
georgeward 06 Feb 04 - 03:00 PM
NH Dave 06 Feb 04 - 03:23 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Feb 04 - 06:37 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Feb 04 - 06:57 PM
Don Firth 06 Feb 04 - 06:57 PM
Little Hawk 06 Feb 04 - 07:38 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Feb 04 - 08:33 PM
ddw 07 Feb 04 - 12:14 AM
ddw 07 Feb 04 - 12:28 AM
Leadfingers 07 Feb 04 - 03:58 PM
Cluin 09 Feb 04 - 12:42 AM
Fred (Beetle) Bailey 11 Feb 04 - 07:50 PM
Irish sergeant 17 Feb 04 - 04:42 PM
Little Hawk 17 Feb 04 - 10:08 PM
Bobert 17 Feb 04 - 11:23 PM

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Subject: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 05:35 PM

What would have been some typical light planes of the 1940's in the USA? From cropdusters to seaplanes to bush pilot aircraft...2 seaters, 4 seaters, and so on. Anyone well informed on this?   I know the military planes of the time, but I'm weak on the civilian aircraft, and need some good info about them.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Wesley S
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 05:52 PM

Little Hawk - You could always PM my brother Ironmule - he could most likly get you started.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 06:42 PM

Well, the obvious one to me is the Piper Cub. I think there was also a Piper Commander.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Cluin
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 07:47 PM

The Cessna C-34 Airmaster came out in the mid-30s and was a big seller for the company through the war years and beyond too.

In 1948, they came out with the 170 which became the biggest selling light aircraft of all time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 07:52 PM

The Piper Cub is a great little plane. It will carry 4 people, fly at right around 90 knots and has a stall speed of right around 46 or so knots meaning that you can land it on a postage stamp... Ahhh, jus' funnin' about the postage stamp but you really don't need no space at all to get it up or down. It's got a joy stick instead of a yoke which is like way cool! And this plane is real light with canvas skin and tube framing....

First plane I remember flying in. We used to have a dirt field about a mile from my house when I was a kid and it had a bar full of old pilots who would take ya' up and let you fly the plane fir a few bucks. I think I was around 8 or 9 when I first scrounged up a few bucks from mowing lawns and took my first flight. I loved it. I love small planes and am fortunate to have a younger brother who got his pilot's license about 30 years ago and has taught me to fly. We usually fly Ceznas but have had some time in a Piper Cherokee wing under. Nice plane.

Ahhhhh, folks were still flying a lot of Sterrman by-planes in the 40's. They are real cool planes and are purdy much indistructable and can take a lot of stress. Great areobatic planes...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: beadie
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 08:45 PM

When I was just a little shaver, our neighbor had a small strip mowed into an otherwise ordinary hayfield from which he flew his Aeronca Chief.

He had rebuilt it from the elevators forward, recovered it (fabric and dope) and stuck a new lycoming on the firewall. Great little aircraft, . . . if a bit noisy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 08:55 PM

Most all of the good ones have been mentined. I believe that Beechcraft started making twin engine planes in the late 40's. I qualified in my uncle's Beechcraft in the 60's.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 10:05 PM

Well, thanks! That's a good start.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 09:10 AM

De Havilland Gypsy Moth and Tiger Moth. Beautiful biplanes from the place where industrial design meets craftsmanship meets art.

Another way to find some pics and models: Google for "bush planes", or "fly-in" (as in fly-in fishing lodges) some of em are still flying up north. The De Havilland Beaver just hit its 50th anniversary, so is a little past the era you're looking for. Beech Twins are very cool.

One of my favourites from the era is the PBY5 Canso flying boat. Postwar, of course, they were converted for water bomber use and are still putting out fires. Again, designers managed the near-impossible task of making something that's ungainly by nature a thing of both beauty and utility.

A few years ago CBC radio interviewed one of Canada's first stewardesses, who worked in Cansos starting in the late 40's doing passenger service in the Queen Charlottes and other BC coastal areas. She said she was astonished when she saw the Canso in the movie "Always" (underrated IMHO), and started yelling "That's my plane!" Not only was it a Canso, it still had the same serial numbers. Literally the same plane.

W-O


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 09:45 AM

Cessna, Swallow, Waco, Stearman, Beech, all produced in or around Wichita Kansas into the late 30s and early 40s. Cessna and Beech were the only two that survived much past about '45, but the planes, of course, remained in service for quite a while after that.

The Beech Model 18, twin engine (radials), twin tail, was quite popular from its introduction sometime in about that era until "production" ended in the 60s. Bush pilots liked it because it could carry a canoe inside if necessary, and the "rag" wings and control surfaces were easy if you needed "field maintenance." "Production" was sort a vague term after the late 40s because no suitable new radial engines were being manufactured, but Beech would build one if you could salvage a couple of engines and bring them in - up until the last new one went out sometime in the early 60s I believe.

The Beech Model 17, "Staggerwing" was popular, but pretty expensive for the average barnstormer. It was pretty fast for it's time, and is actually a much larger airplane than you'd think from photos. Beech produced some "mod work" parts for it until at least the mid 50s. Some were probably used for crop-dusters in that era, but I don't recall seeing one in my area. The Model 17 was one of the last biplanes to be seen still flying regularly around here, but I don't know if they were doing anything useful with them, or if it was just nostalgia.

The Beech Models 33, 35, 36, 37 - the "Bonanza" line, actually got "started" around 1943(?) but it wasn't much seen in public until a couple of years later. The "official" debut may have been as late as 1947, but I'd have to check the books on that. Both conventional and "V" tail models were called Bonanzas in the early days, but the conventional tailed models were renamed "Debonairs" later. The V tail, touted as "much more efficient" was actually significantly faster than the same bird with a standard tail, but it wasn't exactly "efficiency." The "tail volume" on the V was about 18% less than for the other one. It had less drag, but also less control. [local name - the fork-ed tailed doctor killer]

For general info - for all Beech models prior to the "99" the "model number" was the approximate gross weight in "100 lb units." A model 18 was 1800 lb gross. Model 17 was 1700, etc.

Other fairly common "privates" from that era and somewhat beyond: Taylorcraft, Piper (the Cub, especially, in that era), Stinson, Aeronca.

LinInKansas used to own and "fly" a 1948 Aeronca Chief (ca 1980-84), the Champ was a little larger but similar. I think she exaggerates when she calls it flying. Rag wing tail-dragger with a 60 (??) HP 4cyl Continental. Max rated altitude about 6500 feet and a top speed about the same as a Model T.

I can recall that from about 1945 to about 1949, Cessna and Piper were at nearly every Kansas state fair to try to sell their smaller models to the farmers. Sorry but I don't really remember any particular models to cite.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 01:08 PM

The first plane I ever flew in was a Ford Tri-Motor transport. Ford (the motor car company) made them from aroung 1926 to 1933, but there were still a fair number of them around in the Forties. I was about twelve or thirteen at the time (early Forties). We saw the thing sitting in an airfield north of Marysville (about forty-five minutes' drive north of Seattle) near a sign that said "Scenic Flights, $5.00 per person." Since we kids (my two sisters and I) had never flown, Dad treated us. The pilot flew us around and over the Puget Sound area for about twenty minutes or a half-hour. Quite a thrill!

Ford Tri-Motor

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 02:50 PM

Here's an outfit that still flies Twin Beech 18s. I had a couple of lake-hopping flights with them in my forestry tech days.

At least one of the Twin Beeches actually had duct tape patches.
Well, what do you expect from an airline called Rusty's?


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 05:40 PM

I was going to mention the "Beaver," but I see that it is on Rusty's web page. So I WON'T mention, the Beaver, that is! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 07:57 PM

Don:

Me too. My dad worked for Ford Motor Company and I remember when I was like 5 years old being taken up in a plane that FoMoCo owned. It had a plexiglass section in the flooring so you could look down thru the floor. I remember us kids playin' on the floor and looking down thru that plexiglass floor window... I used to think that like I imagined this, or dreamed it and then a few years ago I asked my dad about it and he confirmed that it actually happened...

BTW, during my model days when I was a kid, I had a couple of them Tri-Motors models in my collection...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 12:52 AM

It might be worth mentioning that I (as a fairly small child) "knew" a couple of guys in the very early 1950s who "home-built" using salvaged WWII glider frames of unknown origin. My own "first airplane ride" was in one of them. From about '44 on, into the 1st Q 50s, there were quite a number of home-made things around here. Engines would likely come from "unsalvageable" planes of the sort already cited, for the glider conversions. A little later, VW Beetle engines got used some. Some people repaired "wrecks," and some just went to work with a pile of pipe and a welding torch. Very little sheetmetal, but many gallons of "dope."

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: georgeward
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 03:00 PM

The elegant Bellanca Cruisair, The Republic Seabee (AKA "Seabeast") - just saw one on the line at the Key West airport - and the Ercoupe.
NB: the Piper Cub, contrary to Bobert's recall, was/is a two-seater, not four. It was my first solo, at age 16, and without my 220 lb. instructor in the front seat I thought it would never touch down.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: NH Dave
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 03:23 PM

Jane's does a nice small book on WWII and post war aircraft for about $15. The names that come to mind are Piper, Cessna, Beach, Aeronca, Grumman, de Havilland, Pitts, Waco, and, of course, ex-military aircraft. During the mid 50s, one could buy a P-51 Mustang or a F4FU Corsair from military surplus sales in Arizona for $ 889.00, certified for one flight from the place of sale to an airstrip near the new owner. There were also autogyros that did a commercial run from New York City to local airports, but I don't know who made them.

Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 06:37 PM

Cessna gives you the "story of Cessna" in a popup with one tiny (and very well known) picture and about 80 words that do indicate the first "Cessna All Purpose" rollout was in August of 1927. Their claim is that it was the first "full cantelever wing monoplane" in production with that rollout. The picture shows 16 or 17 men standing in a line on the wing at rollout.

Piper appears only as "The New Piper Co.," but indicates the original Piper Co was "founded by William T Piper in 1937." The next "significant historical event" shown on their website is 1954 with their first all-metal twin, the Apache, so apparently they're not all that proud of the earlier models. You can still get service manuals for a couple of "Piper Cub" models (on CD-ROM) from Avantext. I can't tell from the model numbers given what "era" the manuals cover, but they appear to start with the "Super Cubs" that, as I remeber it (or maybe don't remember) didn't come along until well into 50s(?).

One that I'd forgotten until I ran into it on the web was the Heath Parasol/Super Parasol. This one would be toward the beginning of your period of interest, and had pretty much faded by the time I have any personal recollection; but quite a few old-timers in the light airplane factories had some memories of them in the 50s/60s. Possibly the first "packaged/kitted" design for the home builder, late 20s and very early 30s.

Apparently quite a few of them were built from the "Heath kits," and often only vaguely resembled the "store-bought" plans by the time they were finished. The builders would rename the finished planes after themselves (or their mothers-in-law) and lots of people saw them, and even flew them, without ever hearing the "Heath" name associated with the end product.

Another plane that came to mind right after my last post was the Mooney, but the factory wasn't started until 1946, so it's a little too late for the period requested. Noted here just so folks will know.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 06:57 PM

"Users will insert the following correction in the appropriate place in their manuals." [standard FAA language for "OOOPS."]

Piper appears only as "The New Piper Co.," but indicates the original Piper Co was "founded by William T Piper in 1937." The next "significant historical event" shown is 1954 with their first all-metal twin, the Apache. You can still get service manuals for a couple of "Piper Cub" models, on CD-ROM, from Avantext. I can't tell from the model numbers given what "era" the manuals cover, but they appear to start with the "Super Cubs" that didn't come along until well into 50s.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 06:57 PM

One of the most glorious World War II fighter planes was the North American P-51 Mustang. Marvelous airplane! They even went up against MIGs during the Korean "police action" and held their own, if not through speed, through maneuverability. After World War II, North American, using the basic design of the Mustang, but expanded the dimensions a bit came up with the four-passenger Navion. If you wanted greater cruising range, you could equip them with wing-tip tanks just like the military version. And the Air Force even bought a batch of the civilian versions (here).

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 07:38 PM

Yeah, the Mustang was a beauty, and had phenomenal range. That made it a war winner for the Allies in the Battle of Germany.

Here's a really basic question: regarding those civil planes like the Piper Cub, the Waco, the Stearman, the Beech Staggerwing, and so on...did each plane have a specific ignition key (like a car) or could you just start them up by knowing how to operate the various flight controls in the cockpit? In other words, what was the starteup procedure on those vintage airplanes?

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 08:33 PM

I'm not sure that there was a "standard" on security devices, but most of the really early ones I've seen didn't have a key of any kind for operation. All you had was a magneto switch, usually a "rotary" with a sort of lever shaped "handle."

If there was a key, it was just for the cockpit door.

Starting one up wasn't done with just a flip of a switch on the early ones. You'd often pull the prop through to turn the engine over a couple of revolutions to get fresh air into the cylinders. Next you'd stroke a priming pump a couple of times to get some gas into the manifold(s). Then you'd pull the prop for another couple of revolutions to get mixture into the cylinders (ignition OFF of course.) Then the guy on the ground would pull the prop through until a cylinder was compressed, the guy in the cockpit flips the mag switch to CONTACT, and a good yank on the prop might get a pop that would start some action in the engine.

If you didn't get it running on the first "pop," you started over from the beginning: Clear cylinders, prime manifold, charge cylinders, pull to compression, CONTACT, yank the prop and jump.

Electric starters were in many military airplanes by the end of WWII, but didn't get to be very common in small private planes until later, although I can't offer any particular time scale. The added weight of the starter was a big "hit" on performance of some of the little birds, but the real penalty came from needing to carry a battery. All that Radio/Nav junk was not very common then, so you didn't really need one. The magnetos generate their own power, and for minimal "accessory" use can be tapped for a little bit of extra "juice" after the engine's runnning, if you really needed a radio, or some other "sissy stuff."

Even some of the military planes that carried the starter motor relied on a "ground pack" battery that had to be plugged in to start, and unhooked before you left - and was left on the ground.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: ddw
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 12:14 AM

LH,
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Aircoupe -- sort of the Volkswagen of aviation. Have a look at it here .

Almost every one of them I ever saw was just unpainted aluminum, rather than the gussied up version shown.

There were also some Beechcraft planes — twin-engine, twin-tailed — that carried about 10 or 12 passengers. I don't remember the nomenclature, but there was a military version of it as well, mostly used for generals to get around.

I'd second the Stearman suggestions — great aircraft. Big nine-cylinder radial Lycoming engine, bi-wing, very aerobatic. I once rode in the dusting hopper of one that had been a crop duster. Scary ride.

Other notables included the de Havilland Moth, which was around in various editions from the mid 1920s to the early '50s.

And who could ignore the Douglas DC-3, the plane that virtually invented commercial aviation. It's military version was the C-47, a workhouse that was still used by the USAF till the late '60s.

If you want specifics on any of these, send me a PM and I can get specs for you.


cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: ddw
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 12:28 AM

Just followed a few links I didn't look at before. Willie-O's link to the Beechcraft Model 18 shows the plane I was thinking of, only the one that was my first plane ride didn't have pontoons. It was owned by Bob Pack, a VP of Sun Oil Company, and he used to fly from Texas to North Carolina several times each summer to spend time with his family at their summer home. My family lived near them in the resort and I played with his grandkids. He took us up a couple of times.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 03:58 PM

A bit big for your spec, mate but when I was a kid the D H Dragons were doing 'Flights Round Blackpool Tower' for Ten Shillings from Squires Gate Airfield . Twin engined Biplanes, ten or twelve seaters I think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Cluin
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 12:42 AM

Flew too and from a gig this weekend in a six-seater Piper. Not a long flight, but it was the only way to the island. Even had a couple others along who weren't too skeered to fly with musicians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Fred (Beetle) Bailey
Date: 11 Feb 04 - 07:50 PM

Any other folkie fools out there who have tried to combine it with aviation?
In my salad days I found that the fuselage area behind the baggage sling of an Aeronca 7AC (N3578E I believe it was) could be fitted with attachments to secure a hardshell Martin guitar case.
Good traveling! Got one good song out of it, about fumbling around under the Los Angeles Terminal Control Area without benefit of radio. Lyrics on request.
Flyings fun. So's folk music. Just keep the clean side up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 04:42 PM

Not much I can add as I got to this thread late little hawk. There were still Curtiss Jennys around at the time although they date to the first world war. Both Cessna and Piper made observaton planes for the Army air force during WW2 and cessna continued to do so through VietNam the A-37 dragonfly counter-insurgency aircraft comes immediately to mind as does the L-5. Hope this helps. Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 10:08 PM

Here's a neat one I saw at Aviaton World today (1/48 scale kit)...the Norduyn Norseman...a Dutch plane that was a big success as a bush pilot aircraft, with or without floats. Nice looking plane. How about Ford? Did they do anthing notable after the Ford Trimotor?

In Canadian planes more recently (I guess) there's the De Haviland Otter and Beaver family and the Twin Otter.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Light Planes of the 1940's (Civil)?
From: Bobert
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 11:23 PM

Yo Georgeward:

In 1962, my 16th birthday, my dad, myself and and two other guys flew from Bailey's Crossroads, Va. to Darlington, S.C for the Darlington 500 in a "Piper Cub". That's 4 of us.... 2 seats and a joy stick...

Bobert


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