Monday, December 30, 2019

Lane Tuft's Curtiss Robin NC395K

Lane Tufts, Moorpark, California  

Lane Tufts acquired his Curtiss Robin project a long time ago.  I am not sure exactly when but it seems like I first learned about him having a Robin from my dad at least 40 years ago.  I do know that Lane has been restoring this airplane with a meticulous and steady pace for several decades.  I think he has enjoyed the journey so much that he has been content, making sure that each and every part has had his care and scrutiny before being blessed to his high standard.  And now, he is almost completely done.  Lane sent the following pictures to show his airplane as it is now.  (Actually it was back in the summer of 2019 and I am just now getting time to publish them).

New Fischer Wheels

220 hp Continental W670 Motor Lane intends for his Robin

As can be seen in these photos, there is not a whole lot of work remaining to finish up. Going into 2020, Lane tells me he is beginning to realize he's unlikely to see this project to full completion and is really looking to find the right home and the right person to bring all of his fine workmanship to a final flying configuration.  All along the intent has been for this to become a flying antique and not a museum piece.  If you are the person he is looking for to carry on his project and interested in paying a reasonable price, Lane would love to hear from you.  Send him an email...

Some other items of interest regarding Lane's Robin...

Here it is back in the 1950's and 1960's when it was last flying ore the skies of Southern California.

For as long as I can remember, (and likely much longer) Lane has been close friends with another Robin owner in the southern California region.  Dick Fischer and Lane always mention each other and their Robins whenever I have spoken with either of them.   Both have shared their engineering and fabrication resources in restoring their Robins over the years.  Many know of Dick for his contribution to old airplane restorers everywhere by reproducing Bendix wheels.. the 30 x 5 and 28 x 4 sizes.  He also has provided restorers of Robins and Curtiss-Wright Travel Airs with tailwheel kits. 

Lane had some of the rare castings used on Curtiss Robins made.  And Lane's biggest contribution has been the creation of his wooden Wing Rib substitution STC for Curtiss Robins.

My family and I got to visit Lane and his brideback in 2013 and got a tour of his project.  I took the following photos at that time.

What a fine flying airplane this Curtiss Robin will be, once again, hopefully soon!

Ride along in Jack's Robin

Take a flight with Jack Vevers in his 1929 Curtiss Robin J-1 powered by a Wright J6-7 radial engine.

Hi Terry,

Merry Christmas and hope 2020 brings you health and happiness.

As you know, it’s summer down under in Australia and I pulled my Robin out for her second flight after her annual a couple of weeks ago. It was a nice summers morning with light winds and had the sky to myself and couldn’t resist the opportunity.

I went for a short fly over some farmland and then along the coast to take in the view of sailboats on Port Phillip Bay, about 25 miles South of Melbourne.

We have completed a some works on the brakes and improved the rudder deflection and have achieved symmetry with both left and right rudder. I was always lacking a bit of left rudder on landing and this has now improve things out of sight.

I’m build my hours and starting to wear her and feeling very relaxed. I have changed my take-off technique a little by keeping the tail on the ground longer which allow for better rudder authority when the tail lifts.

We have got the cold starts down to a fine art and she usually fires on the 1st blade, hot starts are still a problem and I need to work on this to find a way to get her to hot start more predictably… any advice welcome?

I hope to get her out for another early morning fly on New Years Day, which looks like another perfect day down here.

I always come back with a smile on my face after a my outings in the Robin.

Kind regards

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Award Winning Robin Down Under

We got another brief letter this week from Jack Vevers, who is really having a ball with his Curtiss J-1 Robin.  We are very happy to hear that Jack is representing in Australia!  Beautiful airplane!

Hi Terry,

The Australian Antique Aircraft Association had their national fly-in, which is a bit like your Blakesburg, where VH JUV has won the President’s Choice award.  We had around 130 aircraft attend and there was plenty of classic and vintage aircraft lined up for everyone to admire.

It was great to finally get the Robin out into the public after disappearing for almost 3 decades. The interest in her was huge and it was a great feeling to share the Robin with everyone there and take her up for a flyby and show her off in full flight.


and then this...

Hi Terry,

Phil Hosking took this photo at the Australia Aeroplane Association Fly in 2 weeks ago. 

He has given me permission to share it.



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