Sunday, September 19, 2010

NR6239 - The World's Fastest Travel Air Biplane

Anyone who has ever flown in an open cockpit biplane would agree... you'll not soon forget the experience. And if you've ever flown over about 110 mph in one, you'd probably say its unforgettable. Things start to vibrate, whir, shimmy, and shake. It's probably the flying and landing wires that really get your attention. They really go from their typical "whining" sound to a literal "screaming" sound as they cut through the wind.

I have never flown that fast in a Travel Air biplane. I guess the closest thing was a ride I got one time in a Waco Taperwing with Gordon Borland. I was pretty young at the time. We did one high-speed pass down the runway. We must have been screaming close to 110 mph. That was a flight to remember. I was reflecting on that flight today and I began thinking of Travel Air biplanes. I wonder what the World's Fastest Travel Air biplane is. Granted, I really prefer flying low and slow. But there are those who love the thrill of flying fast.

Travel Air NR6239 - Can you imagine going 144 mph in this airplane?

One such individual I know of may just hold the record. On May 28, 1929 Sydnor Hall of Saint Louis posted a speed of 143 mph during the preliminaries and then 144 mph the next day during the Final heat of the Gardner Trophy Air Races. His airplane was a highly modified model D4000 Travel Air s/n 690, registered as NR6239.

Whats incredible to me is that the 143 mph speed is not just a one-time short burst of diving speed. But it is the average speed over a 790-mile distance run. I can only imagine how tiring it would have been and the beating endured by Hall for more than 5 and a half hours.

Sydnor Hall's entry in the Parks Air Field registry, May 28, 1929 (click image to enlarge)

Sydnor's success did not come without some major modifications. You can read more about this super fast Travel Air biplane in my articles on the Gardner Trophy Air Races.

Part 1 The Gardner Trophy Races, - The Preliminaries

Part 2 The Gardner Trophy Races, - The Final

Can you spot all of the changes in comparison to the photo at the top of this page?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Curtiss F6C-4 Completed Headed to NM-USMC

Part 3: Restoration Completed - Curtiss F6C-4 Hawk Headed to Museum

click on images to enlarge

Latest email from Mark Julicher, Restorer
A few minor tweak are left to finish, but it goes on the truck to Quantico,Virginia tomorrow.
Enjoy these. the next photos will have to be taken in the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Curtiss F6C-4 Restoration for Marine Corps Museum

Here's Part 2 of our friend, Mark Julicher's, reports on the refurbishment of this Curtiss F6C-4 in San Antonio. What a great airplane!

Terry... How many times I would like to have had these! The wooden charging handles go to a .30 cal on the left and a .50 cal on the right. The perforated bins are ammo boxes. Tail feathers went on on Tuesday. Slow deliberate progress here. The under-slung aux tank is wobble-pumped up into what looks like a 40 gallon main tank just behind the firewall. LOTS of empty airspace between engine and firewall. I was not the artist. The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor - must have the bird looking forward on both sides of the fuselage!.... Mark

Too bad this bird won't fly - she's headed to the National Museum of the Marine Corps for static display.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Japanese Surrender - Historic Signing of the Treaty to End WWII

This restored video recording has recently surfaced and is believed to be the only color film documentation of the historic signing of the treaty to end WWII, Sept. 2, 1945. Though not directly related to the usual theme of this blog-page, I wanted to share this with others (especially with those younger than me) that this important event will be remembered in the way it truly happened. I want future generations to know and understand that it is really possible for the nations of this world to work through their differences in the spirit of civility and honor. And most importantly to show them that the United States of America has led the world through the toughest of times. God blessed this event.

Here is the complete un-edited version.
Music has been added.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Curtiss Robin videos on the Internet

Curtiss-Robin fans... you'll enjoy this footage of Lucky-Lindy flying an OX-Robin courtesy of

Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh flies the Curtiss Robin in United States.

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Also.. this one from YouTube, featuring Gunther Calberer flying his Model J-1 Curtiss Robin in Europe.

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Have you seen this historic video from 1988 about Douglas "Wrong-Way" Corrigan and his Robin?

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And finally a recent YouTube entry, featuring Fred Dexter's rare model C-2 Curtiss Robin. This one has been converted from its 185 hp Curtiss Challenger engine to a 220 hp Continental W-670

Click here

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