Flightline - Off Site
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1928 Stearman C2B NC5415
The Stearman is on loan to the Anchorage Museum downtown for their Arctic Flight exhibit
A little history of the Stearman aircraft, model C2B. The first of these aircraft came off the assembly line in Wichita, Kansas in January of 1928. Over the years this model flourished and with changes from time to time was used for many purposes. In the 1930’s and 40’s nearly 10 thousand were built and used by the military to train pilots. In that mode it was designated the PT-17 (Primary trainer). Following WWII, many were converted for use in agriculture as crop dusters which required an engine with far more horsepower.
Stearman N5415 that you see here in Hanger 1 was built in the first year of production, 1928. It was first sold on April 13th, 1928 to Walter Varney in San Leandro, CA without an engine. The equipment that was installed included a flight indicator, a Waltham 8 day clock, a speed and drift indicator, navigation lights with battery container, wiring and equipment for landing lights and Wiley flares. Many early aircraft had 2 or 3 flares mounted inside the wing with an easily dislodged cover on the underside. If a pilot was flying at night and had an engine failure or other emergency, he or she could cause the flares to be released and illuminate the ground below the plane. Other data about this plane includes that it has a 200 HP Wright J-4, 9 cylinder engine. Its upper wing span is 35 feet, and the lower 28 feet. The plane is 24 feet, 9 inches long and it has a cruising speed of 104 miles per hour.
On October 27, 1928 the first application for an Aircraft license states the aircraft had been in California until June of that year and that it now was located in Alaska. In January, 1934 a letter to the Aeronautic Branch of the Department of Commerce stated that the aircraft should be approved as a land plane and also to operate as a seaplane using Edo floats (then called pontoons). Use as a land plane includes operation on skis.
During its time in Alaska, N5415 was owned by several firms and flown by a number of individuals. These included Arctic Prospecting and Developing Company of Fairbanks (certificate signed by Walter Varney) in June of 1928, to Noel Wien of Alaska Airways in October of 1928, to Alaska Airways of Fairbanks, Merle Smith who was the owner of Cordova Airlines, and a Mr. Les Kares. In 1932 this plane was one of the first to land on Mt. McKinley. The plane crashed in the Wrangell Mountains and was later restored by Mr. Kares over a 10 year period while living in Montana.
N5415 was also flown by Joe Crosson who is regarded as perhaps the greatest pilot in Alaskan aviation history. One of his major accomplishments was a daring mission to deliver 280,000 units of diphtheria serum to the Arctic coast, saving villages from being decimated by the plague. His many extraordinary flying feats, beginning in 1926, justify his reputation as the greatest pilot in Alaskan aviation history. His biography is available for sale in our museum store. This aircraft has a “noticeable” accident record with damage reports in March 1938, April 1938, September 1938, and July 1939. The late 1930’s were tough on this Stearman. It was sold to The Alaska Aviation Museum in December of 1991.
1937 Fairchild 24G N3212
The Fairchild Model 24 first flew in 1932 and by 1935 more Model 24s had been sold than any other aircraft in its class. More than 1980 Model 24s were built by the time production ceased in 1947. The model 24G shown here was introduced in 1937. The largest customer of the Model 24G was the U.S Governments Bureau of Air Commerce, which is now known as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Bureau originally ordered 26 Model Gs, however, in 1940, records indicate the Bureau owned 20 Model 24Gs, 8 Model 24M-9s and 1 Model 24GS-G. You could purchase a Model 24G in 1937, complete, for $5,890.00.
|Engine||Warner Super Scarab 145|
|Empty Weight||1,519 lbs|
|Useful Load||381 lbs w/Full Fuel|
|Max Speed||125 MPH|
|Cruise Speed||115 MPH|
While there is no record of N3212 having been in Alaska prior to 1978, it is representative of the many other Fairchild model 24Gs that did serve here, both as personnel transportation and with various Air Taxi operators such as Alaska Coastal Airlines in Juneau, Mirow Air Service in Nome. They were also flown by the Civil Aeronautics Administration pioneers Clarence Rhode & Jack Jefford, and the Alaska Game Commission. There are currently 405 Model 24s registered in the U.S., 11 of which are in Alaska.
Built by the Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corporation the first Model 24 flew in 1932. By 1935 more Fairchild 24"s were sold than any other aircraft in it"s class. When production ceased in 1947 almost two-thousand were in service. The Model 24G was introduced in 1937 and was offered in the "Standard" or "Deluxe" configuration. The primary difference being the Standard could carry four passengers and the Deluxe, encumbered by the addition weight of extras like padded upholstery and roll-down windows (using a window crank from a 1935 Plymouth), could carry only three passengers.
The comfort and capability of the Fairchild 24 made it a favorite of the Hollywood crowd, including personalities such as Robert Taylor, Tyrone Power, Mary Pickford, Jimmy Stewart, and Edgar Bergen. During World War II, the military version, designated the UC-61, was used for costal patrol and light utility transport. The Fairchild 24 also saw service with Canada and Great Britain during the war.
The original bill of sale transferring title to the Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Air Commerce, Washington D.C. is dated April 27, 1938. The date of manufacture is listed as April 1938. NC32 was assigned as the aircraft identification Mark. The April 1938 Aircraft License Authorization lists the gross weight as 2,400 pounds and the empty weight as 1,519. This Form shows a radio receiver (RCA AVR-7F) as weighing 40 pounds, no transmitter was listed. It also states that the useful load is 381 pounds with full fuel, (60 gallons).
The aircraft served with the Civil Aeronautic Authority until 1948 when it was transferred to New Mexico Highland University. Released by the University in 1954, ownership changed hands several times through the years until March 27, 1978 when this aircraft was sold to Gilbert D. Scheff, Anchorage, AK. Eight years later it was sold to the Air Museum in Anchorage, Alaska and on April 1, 1991 it was sold to the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. Since AAM acquisition, repairs include the right aft spar, the vertical fin rear spar, the left wing trailing edge ribs, and rebuilding the horizontal stabilizer. The entire aircraft has been recovered with ceconite fabric.
In the Air
Like most large tail draggers, the 24 is a little blind on the ground, especially straight ahead, so the taxi s-turn is required to move from tie-down to runway. On take-off the tail comes up quickly and the aircraft shows little tendency to wander, but like all tail draggers close attention must be paid to the rudder to keep it tracking true. A little back pressure on the stick and the plane is flying at around 50 MPH. Best rate of climb is 80 MPH but going a little faster lowers the nose and provides a much better view out the multi-pane windshield. With two on board and full fuel you gain altitude at about 700 FPM. Once in level flight the airspeed gets up to about 110 MPH and controls are surprisingly responsive. Stalls are mild with just a slight drop of the nose. The landing approach is made at 80 MPH with power settings low since the 24 glides well. At about 49 MPH the plane settles to the ground and with a little extra attention to the rudder handles easily on the roll-out. Overall the Fairchild 24 with the Warner "Super Scarab" radial engine is an easy, comfortable, and dependable flyer.
A Fairchild Model 24G (NC19109) appears in the movie "The Marines Fly High" (1940).
Northern Air Cargo 1953 Douglas DC-6 N43872
From the Boeing Web Site
The Douglas DC-6 was one of the first airplanes to fly a regularly scheduled around-the-world route. With its higher performance, increased accommodation, greater payload and pressurized cabin, it was a natural evolution of the DC-4.
Although the DC-6 had the same wingspan as the DC-4, its engines helped it fly 90 mph faster than the DC-4, carry 3,000 pounds more payload and fly 850 miles farther. The DC-6 could maintain the cabin pressure of 5,000 feet while flying at 20,000 feet.
American Airlines and United Airlines ordered the commercial DC-6 in 1946, and Pan American Airways used the DC-6 to start tourist-class service across the North Atlantic. The 29th DC-6 was ordered by the Air Force, adapted as the presidential aircraft and designated the VC-118. It was delivered on July 1, 1947, and called The Independence after President Harry Truman's hometown, Independence, Mo.
The larger, all-cargo DC-6A first flew Sept. 29, 1949; the larger capacity DC-6B, which could seat up 102 people, first flew Feb. 10, 1951. After the Korean War broke out in 1951, the military ordered DC-6As modified as either C-118A "Liftmaster" personnel carriers, as the Navy's R6D transports or as MC-118As for aeromedical evacuation. Between 1947 and 1959, Douglas built a total of 704 DC-6s, 167 of them military versions. By 1998, the DC-6 was still flying with smaller airlines around the world.
|First flight:||Feb. 15, 1946|
|Span:||117 feet 6 inches|
|Length:||100 feet 7 inches|
|Height:||28 feet 5 inches|
|Power:||Four 2,400-horsepower Pratt & Whitney R2800CB engines|
|Operating altitude:||28,000 feet|
|Accommodation:||3 crew, 52 to 102 passengers|
1945 Grumman Duck J2F-6 N8563F
This airplane came to Alaska in 1946 and was assigned to 10th ARS, Elmendorf AFB and preformed many search and rescue missions. It crashed in 1948 and was left to the elements for 25 years. It was then that the Ketchum family air lifted back to Anchorage and began restoration on it. Restoration was completed and it was flown on October 26th, 2007.
Construction Number (C/N): 32769, Engine: Wright R-1820 SER
It was on display at the Alaska Aviation Museum from 1993 through 1999. Unfortunately it was sold and moved to the lower 48.
It looks like there are at least two different Ducks with 8563 as an ID number on their tails:
Duck at Lake Hood photo uploaded on Feb 23, 2007
Duck at Wright-Patterson AFB photo uploaded on Sep 3, 2005
Duck at Wright-Patterson AFB April 2008