Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I first met Nick in the late 1970's as I tagged along with Dad to all of the regional antique airplane gatherings. His British style and demeanor along with a peculiar sense of humor was infectious. Nick not only befriended my dad, but also showed an interest in me as a young boy. I appreciated this about Nick and so I was drawn by his unique personality into a long and enjoyable friendship with him and his wife, Alvena.
Nick explained to me what an "aeroplane spotter" was. He himself was one of many air minded young boys in London England who kept notes on the crash sites and whereabouts of the remaining WWII aircraft along the English countryside during the late 1940's. Aeroplane Spotters could make money by divulging their notes and photographs to interested parties at the region's Aerodromes. Nick expressed some regret to me that he hadn't kept his notes in secret so that he could later retrieve some of these relics after finally having some money.
In his latter teenage years, Nick learned to fly in Tiger Moth biplanes through the Air Training Corps, and later joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as a cadet pilot. A true flying fanatic, Nick followed his passion into competition and exhibition aerobatics and instruction. As Britain's best aerobatic pilot, Nick was the sole representative of the United Kingdom in the second World Aerobatic championships, Budapest, Hungary in 1962. It was during that event that Nick ran into another Central Texas aviator named Frank Price. The two formed a lasting friendship that led Nick to the United States. Frank got Nick started in the business of crop-dusting. And it wasn't long before he met a young-lady, Alvena, with whom he planted roots here in Central Texas.
1962 World Aerobatic Championships, Budapest Hungary
His aviation career included crop-spraying in Texas, Nicaragua, and Mississippi. Nick also flew part-time as an instructor, gliding, aerial photography, seaplanes, and skywriting. Nick wrote numerous magazine articles about aircraft and aviators. He also authored two books: Grumman/Schweizer AG-CAT and Did W.D. Custead Fly First? Nick also taught engineering drafting at Texas State Technical College for twenty years.
In 2004, Nick (along with another Central Texas Pilot - Joe Stahl) was presented with the distinguished Wright Brother's Master Pilot Award for his 50+ years of contribution to aviation.
Some of the airplanes Nick owned and/or restored over the years that I know of are...
1919 Farman Sport
Curtiss Robin Model B
Curtiss CW-1 Junior
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The 1929 Family of Curtiss Airplanes: Congrats again to Lynn Towns: Identified all six of the mystery planes in the #3 photo.
Click on the images below to enlarge and read more about these stately birds.
Left to right: Condor, Kingbird, Thrush, Robin, Carrier Pigeon, and Fledgling.
Clips from from Aviation Magazine July - Dec, 1929
Thrush at Curtiss Wright factory 1931
Curtiss Robertson Robin
More on Robins
See more extensive information on Curtiss airplanes at aerofiles.com
The winner with answer to the #2 plane is Lynn Towns
Answer: Swallow C-165
Click on the image below to read more information on this sleek bird.
My source for the information on this airplane came from the November 2, 1929 issue of Aviation magazine, page 902.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
#1 You'll be surprised by the date this hot little monoplane was built. Ever since I was a kid it has always been a fun challenge to name every airplane I see. Even now, I still do it with every TV show or other time I see any airplane. My wife gets so tired of me doing this. I just can't help it, I am an airplane fanatic!. Some people do this with cars. Not me. I have a feeling I am not the only airplane nut who does this
My quest to learn all the old airplanes goes back to the days when I always tagged along with Dad on his antique airplane adventures. Dad taught me that a lot of airplanes can be quickly identified by the shape of their tail. He could usually stump me. So it made me work even harder at it. Some time in my early teens, he bought a complete set of the U.S. Civil Aircraft books by Joseph Juptner. Wow... these were awesome. Literally every make and model that was ever certified by the CAA from 1927 through the 1950's was in those books. I really enjoyed learning from those books.
I hope those who read this have fun with it. To be honest, most of these stumped me.
#2 Pretty sleek for its day.#3 There's actually six airplanes here and some are more recognizable than others see if you can name them all from left to right.
#4 I would love to see one of these now!
#5 This one is tough!
#6 There's a clue on the tail.
#7 Be careful, It might not be what you think it is!
Click below to send your comments...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Of course dad was not one to let a rumor like that go unchecked. So, within a week, he found himself knocking at the door of this old house in the middle of Decatur. He was promptly told to GO AWAY. So he did. But you might say that persistence is fundamental trait instilled in John Ryburn Bowden from a young age. This is the story of that fortuitous spirit in dad that led him to eventually uncover this wonderful treasure from the past. His 20-plus year quest is related here.
I don't think dad ever mentioned this to anyone after that day in 1964, not even in our immediate family, for more than 10 years. One evening, though, around 1979 dad came to supper with more excitement than I had seen in him ever before. Bursting out, he told us this story about how that day he had gone back by the old house in Decatur. This time, he was met by a sister of the now deceased doctor Ingram. This lady related to my dad some small tidbits of information about her dad, Jay Ingram. She explained that indeed her dad had built and flown an airplane prior to WW1 and the remains were still stored in the shed out in the back yard.
So she agreed to let dad look inside at the airplane. But she would not allow him to go inside at all. He would have to be content to just look through the door. Dad explained that this really was anti-climactic, because once they were able to drag the old door through the weeds enough to see inside, all he could see were these large boxes. But as he stood there assessing this site in his mind, it became clear that these boxes were clearly the right size. Each box was constructed with a wooden frame with blue sheet metal sides and top. There was one box about 3 feet tall by 4 feet long and 3 feet wide (just right size for an engine). Another 2 or three boxes were a narrow 3 feet wide by about 6 feet tall and more than 10 feet long . Among other unique treasures inside this shed was a sidewalk popcorn machine, a Victrola, various small engines. I can imagine Dad's adrenaline must have been at an all-time high. But the lady was adamant that he was not to disturb these items.
Noting the poor condition of the old wooden frame shed, dad did convince the lady to agree to allow him to bring some plastic tarps and cover over these "airplane" boxes. So 30-minutes later he returned from Wal-Mart. He carefully draped the boxes in plastic before the doors of the shed were then closed and locked again, not to be opened again for another 5 years.
In the mean time, Dad went to work researching the story behind these boxes. This task became difficult because the largest newspaper in the area during those days had lost its archival collection sometime after WWII. And so there just was not a lot of information about any flying activities around Decatur. Through various means, he did learn that Jay Ingram had recruited a young aeroplane man to help him start a flying business. Charles Foster had learned the trade as a mechanic under Glenn Curtiss himself in prior years. It it not known whether the first of the Foster-Ingram planes was built from Charles' memory or whether it was built from a kit, which was available at the time from the Curtiss company. Later, the Ingram family revealed that the men operated the "Pioneed Aeroplane Exhibition Company" for 2 or 3-years, taking their plane to county fairs by rail around the southwest for demonstration flights. Several planes were built and re-built, the last of which was flown only once before being crated and stored away in the backyard shed.
Repeated attempts by my dad to buy the airplane were met with opposition by more than one of the Ingram family. But finally, in 1984, dad got a call from the family saying that an agreement was made by the remaining family members to sell the plane. On his first trip to negotiate the sale in 1984, dad was finally allowed to look inside the boxes.
PEERING INSIDE THE BOXES AFTER 70 YEARS
To his surprize, opening up the end of the first box, Dad first laid eyes on a round wooden control wheel still mounted on its steel yoke. Also inside this box was a rats-nest of wires, fittings, brackets, and sticks of bamboo. Inside another box he was amazed to find two wing panels. And they still had their fabric coverings intact. Inside the engine box, dad discovered an in-line 6 cylinder engine remarkably well preserved. Promising to the Ingram family that he intended to preserve the airplane and its historical significance, he made a deal to buy the airplane. Two days later, Dad arrived in Decatur with a pickup and trailer to retrieve the treasure boxes.
Dad kept the assembled plane in his hangar for almost two years, but eventually decided the relic should be placed in a better environment for long-term preservation and for historical education and enjoyment for the public. So, the Ingram-Foster airplane now is stored on permanent display at the Albuquerque Air Terminal. Be sure to check it out on your next trip there.
Here are a few photos of the airplane at Dad's hanger on Deer Pasture Airfield. And for more reading, I have included some related links below.
Albuquerque, NM City Website
Pat Tritle: Outdoor Flight
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I think my friend Robert Toliver knows every antique store in the state of Texas; particularly if it has any old airplane memorabilia. Last week I followed Robert's suggestion and looked up a store in downtown San Angelo, Texas. Sure-enough... his lead was right on. There in the Eggemyers General Store of antiques and collectibles were several gorgeous model airplanes. They were everywhere... and they were detailed and authentic. My only regret was that I arrived just 5 minutes before closing time. So, with the owner's permission to snap just a few photos, I snapped what I could. So... until I have a chance to go back again sometime, I wanted to share these here.
HOWARD DGA-6 "Comanche Red"
As you enter Eggemeyers Store, you are met by this beautiful airplane.
The real Howard DGA-6 reg. no. NX273Y was never painted with the Comanche Red logo. It was in fact the famed 1935 Bendix Trophy Race Champion airplane Dubbed "Mr. Mulligan".
Try these Links for more on the Howard DGA-6...
Wright-Bellanca WB-2 (NX237) "Miss Columbia"
This detailed model sits near the back of the store.
Curtiss RC3 Racer - Winner of 1925 Schneider Trophy Race
Bleriot XI - first to fly across the Engligh Channel, July 25, 1909
In my brief discussion with the store owner about these wonderful replica models, I learned that the original model builder is a man who prefers not to be identified. He is in poor health and does not wish to be contacted. Obviously a man of great humility, he has left his mark and is content to let the beauty of these airplanes speak for themselves. From what I gathered, these airplanes are not for sale. So... if you ever travel through San Angelo, Texas.. look up....
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 7:07 PM
Cc: 'AntiqueAirfield@sirisonline.com'; Robert Lock; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; email@example.com
Subject: AC 23-27, Parts and Materials
Dear Mr. James,
I am submitting the following commentary on the Draft Advisory Circular # 23-27 titled, “Parts and Materials Substitution for Vintage Airplanes”.
First, I would like to state my interest in this from three vantage points and provide some general observations.
1. As the Chief Engineer and DAS administrator for RAM Aircraft LP, I have an expressed interest. I am directly involved in certifications of aircraft falling under the “Vintage” category as it is defined in the Draft Advisory Circular. Our company has been in the business of modifying and maintaining these airplanes since 1976. In fact, we are experiencing some of the exact same issues within our own STC products that were certified early in our history and subsequently some of our approved parts have since become obsolete to current technology. In our case, we have an engineering staff and a network of consultants on our DAS to help us with appropriate part substitution approvals. So we have resources at our disposal that the flying public is without. Guidance such as this AC is much needed in the industry to help inspectors, mechanics, DERs, DARs, Repair Stations, and owners. We applaud the FAA and other organizations such as the AOPA, EAA, and type clubs for their efforts that have brought this proposed AC to the forefront.
2. As a consultant DER, I have a vested interest and concern for the type design configuration of the “Vintage” airplanes which I am frequently involved with for consideration of approval. This Draft AC, if properly infused, has the potential for greatly simplifying and lightening the burden of certification to FAA engineers, FAA inspectors, and owners/operators by allowing more flexibility in the configuration control aspects of maintaining type design. A general comment is that the AC as drafted does little toward simplification. It is missing some current FAA policy such as “Owner produced parts” (OPP) that would allow greater flexibility. The AC emphasizes PMA, STC, and Repair Station methods of certification. And it does not mention much about other (more-simplified) approaches such as “owner-produced-parts”, field-approval or return-to-service via 337 with DER approved data. These processes are valid, and acceptable approval means and are much less expensive to the operator.
a. My observation is that this AC seems to offer only the approval processes of Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) branch of the FAA, but has little to offer along the lines of the more simplified certification processes through the Flight Standards (AFS) branch of FAA. One of the most frustrating aspects facing DERs and aircraft operators today is the increasingly cumbersome myriad of changes that go back and forth between AFS and AIR. There seems to be little coordination between AFS or AIR when implementing policy, guidance, or even rulemaking and orders. The AFS and the AIR groups within the FAA should work more closely together than they have been in recent years. One case in point is the recent release of FAA Order 8300.14 which creates a new RS-DER category for approving major repairs. Most of us DERs, when asking our ACO counterparts about this, find that the FAA ACO has little or no knowledge of the criteria or qualification requirements to issue such delegation. Apparently AFS has created something without consulting the AIR group. This debacle has caused much confusion concerning repair documentation among general aviation because it seems that the left hand of FAA does not know the activities of its right hand. With that said, it is refreshing to see an effort such as this Draft AC toward simplification. Please ensure “simplification” to be the focus of the AC, otherwise the guidance will be of no added value. And also please consider a thorough process of coordination between AIR and AFS before this guidance is released.
b. It has been my experience that any approvals that involve ACO processes are much more expensive to the operator than those supported by the FSDO. Small aircraft owners call me frequently after having been advised by ACO or FSDO that they are facing an STC approval and should contact a DER. They are appalled when I return an estimate for STC vs. field approval support. I usually spend more than 10 times as many hours preparing documentation for STC support vs. Field Approval support. Many of those hours are spent in helping the ACO engineers in becoming familiar with the product. For most owners of vintage airplanes, this is cost prohibitive. This holds true for PMA approval vs. owner-produced parts or some other accepted means. Although, my fee is that much greater, that does not mean that the regulatory requirements are any different. My approval (whether supporting an STC or Field Approval) is the same. It is issued only after a full demonstration of compliance to the applicable requirements of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR). The difference is in the time I spend writing reports and documentation in a way that unfamiliar FAA engineers can understand enough to satisfy the complex FAA certification processes. The operators of small GA airplanes view this as restrictive and bureaucratic Government control.
3. As the Owner/Operator of three vintage airplanes myself (one which was built in 1929 and has an orphaned type certificate), I have a vested interest and concern for the costs and frustrations of maintaining my airplanes. This AC for the reasons mentioned above, has the potential for allowing me to make technological improvements to my aircraft without facing cost prohibitive certification processes. I am faced with the decision of whether to spend thousands of dollars to implement an improved set of brakes, or new exhaust, or an alternator, or more reliable spark plugs, etc.; or to continue operating with worn and obsolete parts because it is all I can afford to do. The thousands of dollars is no stretch when the STC and PMA process is involved. And the fees are more associated with following the FAA processes themselves and are not directly associated with finding the parts to be in compliance with applicable regulations and appropriate for installation. It is more associated with the cost of paying a DER to develop test plan documents and other certification reports, and a DAR to take my airworthiness status into and out of experimental, and a te$t pilot to fly my airplane which I am more experienced and qualified to fly. I am left with no viable option but to settle for compromised safety. So again, I am hopeful that the proposed AC can relieve some of this for me and others like me.
One alternative for the owner-operator that I think industry and FAA are both missing out on is the ‘owner-produced-part’ (OPP) policy. Please expand this AC to clarify the the FAA policies on owner produced parts. Appropriately rated DERs can be involved in development and approval of design data for parts as major alterations. If this were more widely communicated through FAA guidance, many of the operator issues would be solved. Take my Dad’s 1929 Curtiss Robin for example. With evaluation from an appropriately rated DER, the springs for the oleo strut landing gear can be produced under the OPP policy. To do this, the DER would evaluate the aircraft for it’s weight, ground ops, landing loads, and other regulatory requirements. He can then specify the spring design details in a drawing with 8110-3 approval for a major alteration. Current FAA policy would allow my Dad as the owner of the aircraft to supply this approved drawing to the supplier, have the part made with his oversight, inspect the finished part to verify conformity to the approved drawing, then submit a 337 with 8110-3 attachment. A similar alternative would be to have DER support to reverse-engineer parts using appropriate means such as matching the original materials through metallurgical lab analysis. I believe that a very few FAA inspectors and engineers are aware of how much these kinds of approval options are needed and are already acceptable under FAA policy. They can help the vintage airplane problem by supporting DERs and owners in this effort. This in my opinion would be the greatest leap forward in helping to solve the whole vintage aircraft parts supply issue.
Secondly, I have the following specific suggestions for the AC verbiage that I believe would add significant value and are within the current FAA policy, orders, and regulations.
Sec. 3.b Please add, “This data is equally applicable for a DER to use as substantiating data in (1) for a one-only major alteration by establishing the aircraft eligible for a previously approved PMA part; (2) for determining compatibility between two separately approved prior modifications; (3) support of a major repair or alteration under 337 (being executed with DER approved data); or (3) for use as substantiating data in support of a PMA or Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) project.”
Sec. 5.a Please add, “Examples of ‘other sources’ are PMA parts that are eligibility-wise approved on other similar aircraft, Owner-produced parts, Military Surplus parts, Used Serviceable parts that are from a similar model aircraft of the same make.”
Sec. 5.b Please add, “ Appropriately authorized DER’s can assist in developing the data and provide FAA approval for such alternate materials and designs, which may be produced under the FAA accepted policy for ‘Owner-Produced Parts’.”
Sec. 5.c Please add, “Appropriately authorized DER’s can assist in making these kinds of determinations and findings of compliance within their specialized field.”
Sec. 5.d Please add, “...such as field approval, owner produced parts, 337 major alteration or major repair with DER support.”
Sec. 5.f Please add, “Appropriately authorized DERs have the necessary knowledge, skill, experience, interest, and impartial judgement to merit the responsibility of making these determinations and making findings of compliance with the applicable airworthiness regulations.”
Sec. 7.b.1 Please add other predecessor regulatory certification basis such as CAR 4, CAR 4a, CAR 8, etc. as many of the airplanes that are intended for this AC have certification basis other than Part 23 or CAR 3. Also I suggest expanding the scope of the AC to include engines as well. Perhaps this becomes too broad in scope, but I think operators need the same relief in this area. Please consider adding Part 33 and CAR 13 to this section.
Sec. 7.c.1-4 Suggest adding clarification of who is referenced as “you”.
Sec. 7.c.4 Please add, “...or develop any missing data through support from an appropriately authorized DER or ACO approval.”
Sec. 8 Please add FAA definitions from policy concerning “owner produced parts”.
Sec. 12.c I believe there is a typo here. I could not locate section 19. Also... please do not leave out the FAA policy for accepting parts manufactured by a repair station by duplicating the original part using same materials, etc...
Appendices 1 & 2: Suggest adding clarification of who is referenced as “you”.
A final comment on the recent EAA proposal for “vintage” DER’s... If the FAA is considering such, please recognize that authorizing them by ”type” of aircraft would offer little help because there are so many unique one-off designs. The “vintage” title is worthwhile for consideration. But I believe it should be an authorization to DERs with experience and qualifications in recognizing which engineering disciplines must review the data (much like an administrative DER or management DER). I have not been completely educated about their proposal, but I believe the EAA is trying to say that certain people are more familiar and experienced with these old airplanes than the FAA is. This is 100% true. I believe it is time for the FAA to recognize qualified individuals and authorize them for such.
I applaud the efforts to make this guidance material available and am happy to spend my time in offering my suggestions. And I repeat... Please ensure “simplification” to be the focus of the AC, otherwise the guidance will be of no added value. I encourage you to contact me for further discussion or clarification if you so desire.
Regards,Terry L. Bowden,
DAS administrator / Chief Engineer - RAM Aircraft Limited Partnership
Consultant D.E.R. Powerplant & Engines; A&P Mechanic; Private Pilot
Owner: 1946 Taylorcraft BC12-D
Operator: 1939 Taylorcraft BC-65, 1929 Curtiss Robin C-1, 1956 Champion 7EC
Friday, May 22, 2009
Credit goes out to Jim Haynes for initially creating this list.
|N-Number||C/n||Original Model||Present Engine||Name of owner(s)|
|7145||6||B||OX5||Antique Preservation Assn. Museum |
link 1, link 2
|7750||24||B||OX5||Ron Alexander |
|76E||45||B||OX5||George Jenkins |
Link 1 Link 2
|263E||116||B||Tank (V502)||Albert I. Stix,Sr. |
Link 1 Link 2
|291 E.||116||B||OX5||Fred Dexter|
|292 E.||130||B||J6-5||Gunther Kalberer |
link 1, Link 2
|8303||178||B||Lyc||Jerry C. Ross Link 1 |
|8337||210||Robin C (Special)||Challenger||Bob & June Blanton|
|8337||210||Robin C (Special)||Challenger||Dave Blanton|
|8332||213||B||OX5||Western AAA Museum |
|LV-FAV||248||B||Jacobs||Educ TAN Foundation R. Monsenhor Antonio Pepe|
|9265||305||B||J6-5||Doug Corrigan Jr.|
|9265||329||B||OX5||San Diego Aerospace Museum |
|9283||337||C-1||R670||Evergreen Aviation Museum |
link 1, link 2, link 3
|G-HFBM||352||C-1||Challenger||David Flowshaw |
|50H||403||B||Tank(V-502)||EAA Aviation Foundation |
|CF-ALZ||405||C-1||Challenger||Reynolds Aviation Museum Byron Reynolds link 1 Link 2, Link 3 |
|59H||428||C-1||Challenger||Joe Erale link 1|
|82H||434||C-1||Challenger||John Bowden |
|74H||442||C-1||R670||John R. Seibold|
|76H||446||C-1||R670||Mrs Bob Piatt|
|3865B||469||C-1||Challenger||Yanks Air Museum|
|VH-JUV||477||Unkn||J6-5||Geoff Davis link 1, Link 2 |
|323J||480||C-2||R670||Fred Dexter |
|906||503||B||Ukn||Owner not identified|
|924K||511||B||OX5||Glen Curtiss Museum |
|374K||538||C-1||Challenger||Yanks Air Museum |
link 1, link 2
|389K||550||C-1||Challenger||Fred Patterson III |
link 1 Link 2
|917K||574||C-1||Challenger||Port Townsend Aero Museum |
|622K||584||C-1||R670||Stan Gelvin |
|979K||628||C-1||J6-7||Museum of Flight |
link 1, link 2
|988K||635||C-1||R670||Bob Colby link 1 |
|653M||656||C-1||OX5||Cradle of Aviation Museum Link 1 |
|781M||682||C-1||J6-5||Richard W. Epton|
|511N||705||J-1||J6-5||Richard Pingrey |
|563N||712||4C-1A||R670||Elizabeth Nichols |
|526N||723||J-1||J6-5||Smithsonian Institution |
|532N||733||J-1||J6-5||Science Museum of Virginia Link 1 Link 2 |
|534N||737||J-1||J6-5||Doug Wallbridge |
Other Robins no longer in existence as far as I know...
NC75H c/n 444
Random Curtiss Robin Links