Category Archive: Vintage

Vintage airplanes.

Sep 03 2014

Old Rhinebeck Seeks Donations for New Visitor Center

oldrhinebecksign1Clay Hammond posted the following on the Facebook recently. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is updating their visitor center and restroom facilities, and is seeking community donations to help fund the project. Please consider donating to make this treasure of aviation an even more enjoyable experience for visitors.

“Attention old airplane friends (and anyone else philanthropically minded):

Most of you know that I have been spending the past couple summers in upstate New York serving as a pilot and volunteer at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, the small museum and airfield where I grew up as a kid. We have been diligently developing a much needed addition to the Aerodrome’s facilities and for this reason I post today; we have in the works a visitor’s center with a gift shop and modern restrooms replacing the existing gift shop and model museum. But we need help…

Due to the generosity of those who know and appreciate what the Aerodrome has to offer, we have met great success with recent aircraft and vehicle restoration projects. Such projects are very important to the collection, but equally as important to the future of the Aerodrome is the comfort of our visitors. While visitors generally comment that they love the show, their number one complaint is the primitive porta-potties down on the airfield, which have been in use since the Aerodrome’s inception in 1959. If you’ve ever visited ORA and had to “go”, then you know exactly of what I speak. The construction of this visitor center will go a long way toward improving our guest’s Aerodrome experience for many years to come through the construction of real bathrooms with flushable toilets and sinks with running water.

Visitor-Center-600x327It is our intent to start construction of this new facility this fall following the completion of the airshow season, so that it can be ready for opening day in June of 2015. In order to meet this deadline, we need to raise $130,000.00 by December 31, 2014. Once that total is met, the Thomas Thompson Trust will provide an additional $20,000 to the project. This is the largest non-flying project we’ve ever attempted, but so vital for the continued success of our air shows that I need the support of every one of my friends to meet this challenge on time. Contributions in any amount are most appreciated, and can be made via credit card or PayPal by visiting our donate page, referenced below. A printable form for checks, money orders, etc. can be obtained at link below also. The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is a 501(c)3 entity, and as such, your contributions are fully deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Thanks for reading this far and I hope you will consider personally helping me to see this project come to fruition. While it is more fun to see airplanes be rebuilt and fly again, the infrastructure here at the Aerodrome is almost as, if not more, important for the museum’s long term revitalization and success. Please consider donating today.

Blue skies!”

Feb 12 2014

“The Collector” Featuring Greg Herrick

I’ve not yet met Greg Herrick, but from the accounts I’ve heard, he’s a nice guy. I’m glad to see someone so passionate about vintage airplanes not only restore them, but restore so many of them to flying status. You can tell by the look on his face that he truly loves aviation and old planes.

Jan 30 2014

Steve Wittman to be Inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame


I’m happy to see him receive this honor, even if it is posthumous. Wittman played many important roles in aviation, and his contributions reached much father than most people understand. The next time you’re at Oshkosh, take the time to really study the displays at EAA’s tribute to Steve at the Pioneer Airport, adjacent to the museum. There is a lot to be learned there, and it’s one of the best parts of the museum.


“The late Sylvester J. “Steve” Wittman, the pioneering aircraft designer, builder, and racer who was an early EAA member and the namesake of Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport, is among six individuals who are among the class of 2014 inductees for the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF).

The NAHF announced the upcoming year’s inductees during Tuesday night’s annual dinner hosted by the Dayton, Ohio-based Aviation Trail Inc. on the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first successful powered flight on December 17, 1903.

Wittman built his first airplane in 1924, and competed in his first air race in 1926. Wittman managed the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, airport, and operated an FBO and flight school there while continuing to design, construct, and fly innovative aircraft, his homebuilt kit plans selling in the thousands. His final air race was in 1989, at age 85. Along with Wittman’s name on the Oshkosh airport he managed until the late 1960s, EAA Chapter 252 in Oshkosh is known as the “Steve Wittman Chapter.”

FMI – National Aviation Hall of Fame

Jan 25 2014

Luscombe Model 10

Add this one to my list of “airplanes I want to build”. I can see taking an abandoned Silvaire and converting it to a homebuilt “Model 10”. It may not be an exact replica, but close enough to capture the spirit of the original. It would sure cause a stir on the fly-in scene!

imageThe following is copied directly from Wikipedia:

20140125-065549.jpg“The Luscombe 10 was a single-seat sport aircraft built in the United States in 1945. It was a conventional, low-wing cantilever monoplane with fixed, tailwheel undercarriage and designed for aerobatics. The wings, tail unit, and engine section were all adapted from the Luscombe 8, while the fuselage centre section was an all-new design, relocating the Model 8’s wings from a high to low position.

Despite promising results from flight testing, Luscombe ultimately felt that there was not a sufficient market for the type, and development was halted almost immediately. The sole prototype (registration NX-33337) was destroyed in 1948 for tax reasons.”

Additional insight from Darrell Graves’ The Golden Age of Aviation website:

20140125-065646.jpg“The Luscombe Model 10 was an attempt to build an all new post WW II light airplane. The Model 10 was a slightly revised Model 8 Silvaire with the wing being moved from top to bottom and a single cockpit replacing the two seat cabin. Naturally this modification was not that simple, the wing had to be redesigned into a full cantilever type, however, a fundemental requirement throughout the design was that as many standard Silvaire parts and assemblies would be used as possible. The fuselage was the same except for the center portion which was rounded at the top to provide for the single cockpit, the tail surfaces were made on the Silvaire jigs but were cut off to provide a reduction in area. The wings were Silvaire wings using Silvaire ribs, but a new spar was designed to take the loads that were normally supported with struts. The structure was all metal with the exception of fabric covered wing panels.

20140125-065336.jpgThe job of designing and building the model 10 was accomplished in less than six months. It was the work of Mishcha Kantor, Luscombe engineer, who supervised the entire project from start to finish. He worked with the avowed intention of creating the fastest single seat light plane in the 65 hp class and carefully supervised the design of a buble canopy for the cockpit, generous wing fillets and large fairings over the landing gear struts.”

Span: 25 ft
Length: 17 ft.
Empty Weight: 845 lbs
Engine: 65 hp

Cruising speed: 122 mph
Max speed: 135 mph
Manufactured by Luscombe

Jan 21 2014

Everal One Bladed Prop

one_bladed_propThe picture at right was shared by Bill Poturica on the STUNT FLIERS AND AIRSHOW GREATS Facebook page, and as do most aeronautical oddities, stirred a bit of discussion.  It doesn’t take much googling to find an original article written by Walter W. Everal about his propeller design.  (Link to .pdf HERE).  In the article, published in September of 1937, Walter explains some of the principals and features of the one bladed propeller, including increased efficiency due to the single blade operating in undisturbed air, and an automatic constant speed function whereby the blade moves fore and aft along an axis within the hub.

While this is all very interesting, it’s of little to use to us in our modern times.  We have so many good propellers to choose from, that the benefits of the single bladed prop are far outweighed by the reduced cost and complexity of a simple two bladed prop.  That is, of course, unless you happen to be one of the very few people who own and operate an Everal one bladed propeller.

Enter Andrew King and Gene Breiner.  Gene owns a J-2 Cub with an Everal prop, and Andrew was kind enough to make a video of himself flying Gene’s airplane.  In so many ways technology is the enemy of tradition, but if it weren’t for GoPro, YouTube, and Facebook, it’s quite possible that we would never have gems like the video below.

Jan 16 2014

Roland Maheux

***UPDATE 1/19/19*** The photo to the right has been shown to NOT be of Roland Maheux, but instead of Merle Larson, a California based pilot. The photo was taken by William Larkins back in 1946. Read more about it here.

20140116-081918.jpgWe’ve all seen this photo, but it wasn’t until recently that I leaned a little bit about the history behind the man in the picture, Roland Maheux.

From Stu Tinker, as shared on the Stunt Fliers and Airshow Greats Facebook page:

“Roland Maheux (later changed to Maheu) from Lewiston, Maine would shut the engine off on his Cub, stop the prop and then get out and hand prop it at airshows all around New England. He did it solo for years until the FAA went nuts and made him take someone to hold the brakes and land it if he ever fell. He never did!”

20140116-081938.jpgA little more background on Maheaux was found on the always wonderful Little Known and Abandoned Airfields website, as recalled by Clarence Dargie:

“Roland Maheux was a very interesting character. He never had a flying lesson in his life. He bought what I believe was a Heath Parasol at age 16, climbed into it & taught himself to fly. He opened his airport during the 1930s. He kept his first airplane in a farm field south of Taylor Pond.”

Maheux actually founded two Maheux Airports, one in Auburn, ME sometime between 1938-41, and then another in Minot, ME sometime in 1943-44. The history of the first is somewhat interesting. It was sold to a local butcher, and then became a hot spot for delinquent pilots, with a bad reputation in the local community.

Again, from Clarence Dargie:

“Other pilots started using it and it developed into an airport which was later bought by Wilfred Charest, aka, The Butcher. Maheu had already opened the new Maheux Airport in Minot before selling the Taylor Pond one to Charest. Rumor had it that bad blood developed between Charest and Maheu over some shady aspects of the airport sale.

The single grass runway ran north & south… about 1,200′ long. There was an office building & a couple of hangars.

20140116-082952.jpgThe field was owned by Wilfred Charest, a butcher by trade who owned a butcher shop in Auburn. Thus, the field was more popularly known as The Butcher’s.

It was an outlaw field that played host to every misfit pilot in the area, most of whom had been banned from other local airports for dangerous & unorthodox behavior. In fact, Roland Maheu cautioned us students that any of us he caught landing at the Butcher’s would be grounded for a month.

I never landed there but did fly in the vicinity to observe the antics of that wild bunch and one day watched as someone in a Waco UPF-7 did low altitude loops over the center of the field as airplanes were landing in both directions.

A few days later, one of the Butcher’s Boys, as they were known, was killed in a Stearman along with his passenger when he crashed into the pond while doing slows rolls on final approach to the runway.”

Roland Maheu (previously Maheux) passed away in his home January 16, 1999.


Jun 10 2013

Ariel Model B

20130610-113724.jpgI have a penchant for old magazines. I keep it pretty tightly contained to old airplane magazines. One of my favorites is the old EAA Experimenter and Sport Aviation magazines. In addition to the straight forward articles, and a nearly complete lack of commercials (ads for unrelated products), they document the EAA’s formative years.

In reading through the October 1959 issue of Sport Aviation, I spotted an airplane I hadn’t seen before on page 16. Photographed by Randy Barnes at the 1959 EAA fly-in in Rockford, Il, was an airplane captioned “Stearman Model B owned by Richard Ritenaur, Polo, Ill”

20130610-113810.jpgSo, I Googled it. Nothing. All I got were Stearman biplanes. So, I went back to the magazine, and on page 23 was a drawing in the “Straub Sketchbook” article, which referred to the Model B as an “Aeriel”. So, back to Google. This time I started getting somewhere.

What I found is that the airplane was the second aircraft manufactured by the Ariel Aircraft Company, of which Glenn A. Stearman was the president. Glenn was cousin to Lloyd Stearman, the Stearman we all think about when we think of Stearman. To me, this means the EAA caption is incorrect, and the airplane should have been labeled as “Ariel Model B”. However, current FAA records show this airplane is now owned by the Kansas Aviation Museum, and is registered as a “Stearman Aviation model B”. So, it looks like there was name changing going on in the company’s short existence.

20130610-114404.jpgOf the limited information I found during a short search, the majority was posted on AeroFiles. They indicated that three Ariels were built in 1940-41. The first was the Model A with a 65 hp Lycoming, followed by two Model B’s; one with the 75 hp Continental, and the second with an 80 hp Franklin. The airplane that attended the 1959 fly-in looks to be the first Model B, N32459, which is now in the museum in Kansas.

FAA records indicate that Ariel Model A, NX25471, is now owned by Lon Cottingham of Kingwood, TX, is registered in the Experimental, Amateur Built category, and sports a Lycoming O-320. Talk about a horsepower upgrade! Maybe I’ll send him a letter and see if the airplane is still flying.


Apr 21 2013

Matt Younkin and the Twin Beech

This is a somewhat in-depth interview and flying session with Matt Younkin and his Beech 18. The in-cockpit views are pretty awesome. To watch this airplane perform in person is awe inspiring.

My wife and I watched Bobby Younkin fly this airplane at an airshow in Smyrna, TN back in about 2005. We met him a couple of days later when he stopped for fuel in nearby Murfreesboro, TN. He was kind enough to talk with us for a few minutes before he departed, and we were impressed by his courtesy.

Enjoy the video.


Oct 13 2012

Pilots Wanted :: Royal Navy Stinson AT-19 Reliant


Royal Navy 605 Stinson AT-19 ReliantRoyal Navy 605 Stinson AT-19 Reliant

Good morning!

I just found your very interesting web site and instantly had to link it to our web site, right on the home page. I hope you don’t mind – but what you’re doing is so good and so interesting that it deserves to be featured wherever it can.

Anyhow, attached are a few photos of our Stinson AT-19 Reliant, based at Moore County Airport in Pinehurst, NC. We call her “Royal Navy 605” and she’s a genuine war-hero – flew in WWII in the UK and in India. Somehow she made it through the war and, even more amazingly, she made it back to the USA. She’s been part of the Carolinas Wing of the CAF now for more than 20 years, but our cluster of pilots is getting older, and fewer in number.

We need pilots, good stick-and-rudder people, but people who also have the ability to communicate the fun and adventure of flying.   I hope you can help me.

Royal Navy 605 has 300 horsepower under the cowling, but is so “draggy” that 125mph is about all she can do. She flies like a dream but is a bitch to land, especially in crosswinds. She carries four hours of fuel but only three hours of oil – you wonder what the guys at Stinson were thinking, hmmm? Her panel is 80-90% original or at least the proper vintage. And, even though she’s a four-seater, she’s monumental in size, a mini-airliner — notice the ladder hanging from the side of the plane, to help pilots and passengers climb inside.

Royal Navy isn’t glamorous but played her part in that long-ago war; it’s a good story to tell. In 2013 we hope to participate in 10-15 of the smaller air shows in the Southeast. We hope to attract school kids and inspire them with the story of the plane and about science, engineering and flying in general. If you have any readers who might want to help, particular ones who live in the southeast, we’re EAGER to meet them.

Our web site is

If you would like to use these photos, go right ahead.

I hope to hear from you soon…

Best regards,

Mike Jones

Carolinas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force

Looking to fly a true vintage aircraft?  Contact Mike at the website above.

Sep 01 2012

Video :: The Construction of a Light Aircraft (1943)

Awesome video.  Even at 27 minutes long, it’s worthy of your time if you have even a passing interest in vintage aircraft.  Follow along as the Piper factory builds a J-3 Cub from start to finish.

Yes, the opening and closing aircraft are J-4’s and J-5’s. Pretend it’s a J-3 from start to finish, okay?  In theater, they call that suspension of disbelief.

Hat tip to Jared Calvert at Ranger Airfield for the video post on the Ranger Airfield website.