Saturday, May 18, 1996

In the Beginning

I had planned to build a Hatz Biplane to use for giving rides in the EAA Young Eagles program. I thought kids should get a ride in something more like the barnstormers of the '20s flew. A friend of mine and co-worker, Leon Johenning, suggested that if I wanted a plane which looked like something from the '20s I should build the real thing, a WACO. Drawings were available for the Taperwing, so how much more work would it be to have the real deal? We along with our wives drove 8 hours west to attended the 1994 National WACO Club fly-in in Mount Vernon, Ohio hoping to learn about WACO's. It rained all weekend and only 3 planes attended. Leon wandered over to a nearby airport where a nice cabin WACO was for sale, since there wasn't much else happening. He convinced me to go look and it was lust at first sight. We had just sold our house so I had the money for a down payment and the credit to get a mortgage on the rest. After 360 hours of great fun I sold the VKS-7F to a fellow in Michigan who at the time ran Waco Classic in Battle Creek.

Before I sold the WACO I had attended the 1996 Vintage Chapter 3 Fly-in where I met Morton Lester. He picked numbers badly at the evening banquet so our table was last to get fed. As a result we had time to talk about airplanes and Young Eagles. I enjoyed giving rides in the WACO but still wanted an open cockpit late '20s sort of machine. I had been gathering drawings to build a Straight Wing WACO 10 for the purpose. Leon had been right all along it was as easy to build the real deal as the Hatz. Morton said he had a WACO 10 fuselage which might speed my project. I was delighted to just go take pictures and measurements but he was willing to part with it. Two weeks later we were on his doorstep with a trailer to move the fuselage home.

One look told me this was not a 10 but an older NINE. This was even better. We hauled it home May 18, 1996. It took several years to track the heirs of the last owner to get clear title. We're now rebuilding the plane and plan to use this blog to record what we learn and do through that process. We have also been gathering the records of all WACO NINEs ever registered with the fed's to learn more about the lives and times of these planes.

These are Morton's hangers and museum.

This is what we picked up. The fuselage was cut off by a fellow planning to make an airboat out of it. That's another story. From where he cut it off back everything except instruments is there. The headrest was added after 1929.

The last bay of the fuselage had a piece of fabric with eyelets and was laced on with what look like shoe laces. It looks like it reduced airflow through the fuselage and out the tail. The little things you discover when you have original parts.

We'll be posting only as we actually do things so don't expect daily updates, earning the money to pay for this takes priority.

No comments:

Post a Comment