Thursday, August 30, 2012

1927 Curtiss Robin model B Kermit Weeks

I first got the chance to view this wonderfully restored 1927 Curtiss Robin model B in the early 1990s.  On a visit with Lynn Towns, he took me over to an airport (somewhere near Detroit MI) and there sat this beautiful OX Robin.  It was clear to me that this airplane has certainly been blessed with detailed craftsmanship nearing perfection.  I never got the chance to visit with its restorer, Henry Haigh, but tried to remain aware of this Robin.  Sometimes that's hard to do.

All photos by Rick Reeves, Metal Specialist, Fantasy of Flight Museum
Various friends who knew of Henry and his airplane reported to me over the years that Henry still had the Robin in Michigan.  Then finally in about 2004 I corresponded with Henry and he told me that the airplane was being moved to Florida.  He donated the Robin to Kermit Weeks for active flight display in the Fantasy of Flight Museum.

Fast forward to August 2012 and this airplane showed up on Facebook.  Kermit recently took the Robin out for some in-flight fun. He has graciously agreed to share with us some information, the coolest of which is this short unlisted YouTube video (provided exclusively for our audience at Barnstmr's Random Aeronautics) of Kermit flying in the Robin.  What a treasure!!

Thanks to Kermit and Fantasy of Flight Productions for sharing this great video.  The Video Link and photos here were sent to us by Phil Zizza, who is the Head of Production for Fantasy of Flight Productions. Scroll down to the end of this posting to see Phil's email.

See also, Kermit's Blog for his story of his long-standing friendship with Henry Haigh and the acquisition of the Robin.

******** Email *************************************

Hello Terry,

Kermit Weeks asked that I get in touch with you about some photos and video on his Curtiss Robin.We are in the process of creating a video on the planes recent activities out at Fantasy of Flight. When that video is completed and posted to Fantasy of Flight's Youtube channel, we will send you the link. In the meantime, we have put together a short 30 second teaser video of the plane on an unlisted Youtube link.

You can use this link immediately on your site, if you so choose, till the full version is up. (Within next few weeks) I've also attached four photos of the plane. There is also a couple of photos and some side information on his blog...  If you should need anything else, don't hesitate to get in touch with me. We appreciate your interest in the Curtiss Robin plane, Kermit Weeks and Fantasy of Flight.

Great website blog by the way. Really enjoyed it.

Phil Zizza
Head of Production
Fantasy of Flight Productions

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Most Famous Curtiss Robin

Some say that NR59H "The St Louis Robin" is the most famous Curtiss Robin of all time.  The 1929 endurance record setting aircraft caught the attention of the nation as Dale Jackson and Forest O'Brine shattered all previous air-to-air refueled endurance flight records. This fame is now perhaps debatable as other Robins came along afterward and certainly made their mark on aviation history.  There was Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan's Robin, which crossed the Atlantic Ocean. And there was the "Greater St. Louis" Robin, in which Jackson and O'Brine several years later eclipsed the St Louis Robin's endurance record. And then there's "Ole Miss", a Curtiss Robin which the Key brothers kept aloft for more than 27 days (653 hours, 34 minutes).  That Robin now hangs from the ceiling of the Smithsonian Museum.  Several Curtiss Robins achieved great notoriety... a testament to it's sound design.  For many this is what attracts them to these lovely birds.

Pick one you like... but there's no question that owner, Joe Earle's pride and joy may very well be the prettiest Curtiss Robin around.

Photos with permission of photographer Fred Miller,
 See more of Fred's beautiful photography at

Here is a really nice video interview with Joe Earle relaying the 40+ year history that his family has owned this Robin. 

Joe Erale discusses the restoration of the Curtiss Robin known as the "St. Louis Robin." This historic aircraft set the world's flight endurance record on July 31,1929, staying aloft for 421 hours and 21 minutes. The "St. Louis Robin" was refueled 48 times while in the air, burning 3,500 gallons fo gasoline and 158 gallons of oil over the 17-1/2 days it was aloft. Dale (Red) Jackson and Forest O'Brine took turns piloting the aircraft. Read more about the record breaking flight and see photos of the aircraft as it is today, fully restored at the Bayport Aerodrome in NY, in Issue #96 of SKYWAYS: The Journal of the Airplane 1920-1940. Visit for more information.

Curtiss Robin G-HFBM in the U.K.

David Forshaw is the last reported owner of this Curtiss Robin based at Panshanger Airport Hertford, England, United Kingdom.

  photo source:


Click the Button Below

to View more photos of this nice Curtis Robin.

Flickriver: Searching for photos matching 'Curtiss Robin G-HFBM'

Curtiss Robin in Brazil

Billed as the "Oldest Airplane in Brazil in flying Condition", I am looking to learn more about this Curtiss Robin. Various internet sources indicate that this airplane is a model C-2. It has clearly been modified with a non-factory engine (Jacobs).  The serial number and registration records escape me.  Hopefully someone out there will see this and provide some insight for Curtiss Robin historical enthusiasts here in the U.S.

View Video Below

Click on the button below to view more photos 
of this nice Curtiss Robin:
Flickriver: Searching for photos matching 'Curtiss Robin C2'

Curtiss Robin B to Air Zoo Museum

We got word that Lee Andrews is loaning his beautiful Curtiss Robin model B to the Air Zoo Museum in Kalamazoo Michigan.  It appears they do not plan to fly it, only intended for static display.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It is the goal of this weblog to randomly pay tribute to aeronautical achievements, people, events, and interesting aeronautical facts.  Most of the time we look back over the phenominal history of American aviation.  But today, it is fitting that we honor a private company which has aspired to the dream of space flight and are achieving it as I write this.

Photo Credits: NASA / SpaceX

5/31/2012: Back to Earth after Success.
5/25/12 Houston.. "Looks like we have a Dragon by the tail..."
5/25/12 SpaceX Dragon Capsule Approaches the I.S.S.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket - 1.1 Million Pounds of Thrust

"Dragon" reuseable spacecraft developed by SpaceX under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

Today, in the morning's wee hours, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket to propel it's Dragon space capsule into orbit en route toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station. Our family has followed the progress made by SpaceX over the past several years.  Today's mission is an endeavor only achieved previously by four enormous government programs. 

We're proud that our hometown McGregor Texas is also home to the SpaceX rocket engine test facility. SpaceX started as a private venture just shy of ten years ago.  Today the company has over 1,700 employees in California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Florida. They have harnessed the best of today's talent and technology in the reach toward their goal.  At they same time, they give back to their community as sponsors to youth programs, city events, and supporting our public schools.  SpaceX is truly a first class company.  We cheer them on toward the ISS.

At right, and below:

SpaceX Test facilities in McGregor TX

For more information, visit

Monday, May 21, 2012

Out and About

Flier Teresa Sloan reported via Facebook that Richard Pingrey had his Curtiss Robin J-1 out and about over the past weekend at Ellensburg, Washington.  Great to display the old Robin at a local fund raiser pancake breakfast for EAA and AHP scholarship fund.

"Wheezie" at the breakfast.
What a beautiful bird under the bright blue skies of Washington State!  We hope to hear more from Richard soon....  unfortunately, it seems there was a slight setback after the pancake breakfast.

See facebook updates...

All is well that ends well minimum damage, mostly to landing gear. Pilot unhurt. Fifteen friends later she is resting in her hangar awaiting repairs.

  Teresa Sloan Won't know (what happened) until they tearr down engine. Suspect she swallowed a valve. 
    • Teresa Sloan Gear was a mess and prop bent but wings and fuselage ok.
    •  Teresa Sloan Not my plane. Its the 1929 curtis robin. The owner was flying. He shut down the engine due to smoke so it wasnt under power when the prop hit, so hopefully no damage to crankshaft. 
    • Terry Bowden Glad Nobody got hurt. This scene looks familiar... similar incident in 1993 with Dad's Robin. Send our best wishes for quick repairs.
      Teresa Sloan Yeah pretty scary. He had a friend circling overhead. She stopped breathing until she saw him get out of the plane and wave.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another Curtiss Robin changes hands.

David Baumbach has quietly become the most prolific Curtiss Robin collector of the past few years.   This is great news!!

Terry:  I wanted to report that I have a third Curtiss robin.  I will send photos next week.
Best Regards, .......... David Baumbach

Hey David, Thats great news.  Which one?  Is it flying or a project?  I look forward to the photos. .... Terry

Terry:  We got it from the Yanks Museum; Yanks got it several years ago from the Douglas Santa Monica.  It is a model J-1 s/n 679, N679R.  It is powered with 220 Cont engine, has a Ham std prop, and is currently disassembled.  The fabric appears to be airworthy so we will assemble it and attempt to fly it this summer.   I will email photos. .....  David 


Friday, May 4, 2012

Spring Air Fair - Pioneer Flight Museum

Here is another few photos from my friend Doug Ratchford, who attended the April 28th gathering at Kingsbury Aerodrome.

Hey Terry,
Last weekend I went out to Pioneer Flight Museum at Old Kingsbury for their spring air
fair. I had a great time, saw several friends and made many new ones. I had so much fun I
decided to join and have already signed up for a get dirty project on some old (and I mean OLD)
display engines.
Several late model Cessnas flew in, a few Vans , two Stearmans and a really pretty Cessna 195.
Also the Cessna Bird Dog with the big dog teeth and hanging tongue.
Don Price, CAF Gulf Coast Wing Leader arrived later in his PT-26 (editors note - Doug I think you meant PT-22) and I had a pleasant chat with him. PFM had all their Model T fleet and antique bikes out driving around the patch which was lots of fun. Lots of grinning kids.
Here's a few pix. Check out this prehistoric engine lineup. The fuse at left is a 1917
Thomas-Morse S4 "Tommy Scout". Engines are L-R Hisso 150, Lawrance, Salmson, 2 Gnomes,
LeRhone, Liberty, Hall-Scott and any Robin driver should recognize that thing on the far right.

More on the 2012 Central Texas Taylorcraft Fly-in

The following is a guest post from my friend Doug Ratchford, which I asked him for and then after he provided it, I got busy and neglected to post it until now.  Doug did a nice writeup on the 2012 Central Texas Taylorcraft Fly-in held March 30-31 at Fort Parker Flying Field, in Groesbeck, TX. He has also provided some really nice photos he took himself. My apologies to Doug in dragging my feet to get this published.  But I think the readers will agree it was worth the wait. Thanks Doug and nice work! Terry

Tail Logo from NC22207 photo by Doug Ratchford

    I had a real good time with some fine people last weekend.  Terry and I finally met face to face, Doc and I had met before at a warbird event and there were a couple of more folks I'd crossed paths with at a fly-in last fall, so vintage av is still a small world.   This is my first guest post on anyone's blog so thanks for the invitation to do so Terry and I hope y'all don't mind me rambling a bit.
    My sum total Taylorcraft experience prior to this was seeing my father in law's and uncle's 1942 DC-65 fly around the patch once about fourteen years ago in Wisconsin.(7878Charlie is now in the Denver area)  Other than the Piper connection, I was pretty clueless.   After close to a decade in warbirds I've gotten more and more involved in the vintage club/type fly-ins and really like the experience.  I'm not giving up my B-17 gig but I've really gotten to like the family atmosphere of club fly-ins.  Being an avid photographer too, it's easier to get close ups of vintage GA aircraft than of a warbird several hundred yards away. Not to mention easier to catch a buddy ride.
  Saturday I heard the comment that looking at a lineup of the same model, they all look alike at a glance but upon closer examination, there are boucoup differences.  "Like they never built the same thing twice."  Sounds like Wacos....hmm..
  I was hoping to get some dawn pix Sat. since the a/c were facing east but it got pretty froggy early on. No problem-muted early light with everything all drippy makes good photo ops too.
 Blue skies and tailwinds until the next event,
Doug "Ratch" Ratchford,  Brenham, Tx.
      member-Lone Star Flight Museum & National Waco Club

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2012 Central Texas Taylorcraft Fly-in

March 30-31, 2012: Groesbeck TX:
Although morning fog was a factor each day, we can say that the 2012 Central Texas Taylorcraft Fly-in was a resounding success. 8 gorgeous Taylorcraft airplanes, 4 other Taylorcraft owners, 8 non-taylorcraft airplanes, and several other Taylorcraft enthusiasts showed up for a really good time.  Much praise and thanks go out to the folks at Fort Parker Flying Field  and the Old Fort Parker Historic Site for an outstanding job of hospitality.  Owner - Jed Keck,  Field Manager - Darius Farmer, and  Director,Old Fort Parker Historic Site -  Sarah MacReynolds went the extra mile for this event and all the feedback I got was... it was great!  What a nicely prepared lush and green airfield with God's special wildflower trimmings. The food, the hospitality, hard to find anywhere, but Texas!

Greg & Becca House - Low Pass down the runway.  Photo by Jack Fleetwood

Thursday morning, as mentioned, started off with fog and low ceilings over most of Texas until around 9 am or 10 am.  Lon and I finally got away fro Tick Hill Airfield at 10:50 in the yellow Taylorcraft BC12-D N95598... off for an hour flight to Deer Pasture Airfield to retrieve his white Taylorcraft BC-65 NC22207. We then flew together for fuel at Burnet and finally headed toward Fort Parker by 1:30 pm.  To make a long story short ... we eventually both made it by 5:30 pm with only his '39 model.  This came after some in-flight excitement for me as my trusty A65 developed a slight misfire.  I had to set down 50 miles short due to a bad magneto. With N95598 tied down and secured for the weekend, we finally made it to the Fly-in  to find there were already 3 other nice BC12-D's tied down on the field.  We also heard that we had missed a Pietenpol, Kitfox, and Piper PA-12 that had already come and gone.

The Old Fort Parker Patriots were winding down their Cowboy shooting events for the day and graciously included all of us airplane folks for a really nice evening meal. I felt under-dressed as most of them were sporting their 1800's frontier attire.  The ladies were especially fancied up in their nice dresses and hats. The clouds all vanished and cool breeze made for a really nice evening as one more airplane (a polished rag-wing Cessna 140) showed up in time for supper.

Saturday morning revealed more FOG.  But this gave those of us in attendance a chance to visit and look over each of the airplanes.  It is amazing to me how different the details are between each Taylorcraft.  We concluded there must not have been any two built alike.  But there is no doubt... each one there was really nicely kept and equipped.  By 9:30 am the clouds began to lift and more airplanes arrived.  From then on things got busy and more fun as the day went on.  Some new relationships were started and some very nice taildraggers were shown.  All-in-all... it's the airplanes that we have in common.  But it's the people who make it worthwhile.  Things really began to slow by 4 pm leaving only one sole Taylorcraft by dusk. Lon and I took the kids and some others for a few buddy rides as the sun set down.... then off to town for some real-live Tex-Mex... a sweet ending to a sweet gathering of tailwheel airplanes.

For those who missed it this year, we hope you can make it next year!


Fly-in Videos by Vic White

Video Links:            Fun at the Taylorcraft Fly-In (10:08)
                              Leaving Fort Parker (2:44)
                                 Formation with Dean (1:13)

Here's some photos of the fly-in by some really talented photographers.

Jack Fleetwood's flickr page

More from Jack Fleetwood...
BC12D - Ron Jarrett

BC-65 - Lon & Carolyn Carr

BC12D - Richard King

BC12D - Mike Rice, Greg Hughes, Bill Stroud, & Jeff Rockwood

Darius Farmer...
BC12D - Mark Julicher

BC12D - R.B. "Doc" Hecker

Pietenpol Aircamper - Kevin Purtee

Doug Ratchford...
BC12D - Greg House

L2B - Tom Peters
Vic White...

BC12D - Greg & Becca House

BC-65 - Lon & Carolyn Carr

Left - Cessna 140A - Vic White; Right - Cessna 140A - Dick Moore

Aeronca 11AC - Jack Fleetwood

Cessna 140 - Dean Howard

Sarah McReynolds...
The first four Taylorcraft Arrivals

NC22207 - Last Remaining Taylorcraft Sunday Morning

Here's the list of Taylorcrafts in attendance

1. 1946 bc12d - n96043 - s.n. 8343 - greg and becca house - richmond, tx. - blue/gray
2. 1946 bc12d - nc95312 - s.n. 9712 - mark julicher - bulverde, tx - cream/maroon
3. 1946 bc12d - nc43306 - s.n. 6965 - r.b. "doc" hecker - san antonio, tx - red/black
4. 1939 bc-65 - nc22207 - s.n. 1145 - lon & carolyn carr - moody, tx - white/red
5. 1946 bc12d - n95910 - s.n. 8210 - mike rice, greg hughes, bill stroud, jeff rockwood - austin, tx - white/orange
6. 1945 bc12d - n39241 - s.n. 6495 - richard king - houston, tx - white/blue
7. 1942 l2b - n616tp - s.n. O-4449 - tom peters - grand prairie, tx - olive drab
8. 1946 bc12d - n5031x - s.n. 6740 - ron jarrett - palestine, tx - white/tan

other taylorcraft owners in attendance (did not fly)

1. 1946 bc12d - nc43849 - s.n. 7508 - neal & miriam palmquist- grand prairie, tx - restoring/grandpa bought new
2. 1946 bc12d - n95598 - s.n. 7898 - terry & leann bowden, moody, tx - yellow/black - lost r. Mag on the way
3. 1946 bc12d - n43697 - s.n. 7356 - andrew roselle - muenster, tx - airplane down for exhaust repairs
4. 1946 bc12d - n95135 - s.n. 9535 - james e coppenger - lampasas, tx

non-taylorcraft airplanes in attendance

1. Kitfox - n73bh - pete christensen - leander, tx
2. Pietenpol air camper - nx899kp - kevin purtee - austin, tx
3. Aeronca 11ac - n86249 - jack fleetwood - austin, tx - yellow/blue
4. Piper pa-12 n2315m - rod johansen - shady shores, tx
5. Cessna 140a - n5641c - e.r. "dick" more - conroe, tx - white/red aircraft is for sale
6. North american navion - n5221k - greg young - spring, tx
7. Cessna 140 - n76887 - vic white - spring branch, tx - silver/polished
8. Cessna 140a - n80h - dean howard - san antonio, tx - black/gold - owned for 32 yrs

other attendees registered
1. Doug ratchford - brenham, tx
2. Nolan & millie bell - denton, tx
3. Richard outlaw - groesbeck, tx
4. Ron, sarah, & judy rosell - highland village, tx
5. Rodney willett, groesbeck,tx
6. Joe nix, atlanta, ga - luscombe 8a owner

N95598 sits tied down after a mag failure and precautionary landing at muddy Salado airport.  Nothing to do now but wait for my wingman to come back for me.

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