As Vought absorbed TEMCO operations, it also absorbed TEMCO's aviation heritage. These planes were covered only minimally in the book. For those seeking more information about the aircraft models built by TEMCO, more information is provided in this section.
Bennett BTC-1, Globe Swift
The Bennett BTC-1 was not built by TEMCO Aircraft but it was associated with Globe Aircraft Company, the assets of which TEMCO took over. The story of the BTC-1 begins in the mid 1920s when F.C. "Bub" Merrill was looking for someone to build his novel, twin-engine "plastic" airplane. The material isn't plastic as we know it now, but chemically impregnated plywood called Bakelite and marketed under the name of Duraloid. Duraloid wass touted as impervious to weather and fungus and fire resistant. It is also shatterproof and thus an ideal material from which build airplanes.
Merrill approached the president of a Texas Oil firm for financing. He was Frank Bennett. Bennett was, at the time, President of Bennett Oil Corporation, President of Federal Oil of Houston, Texas,and Vice-President of Bennett Oil and Gas of LakeCharles, Louisiana. He was also a major stock holder in several successful foreign oil ventures. In the 1930s ,oil companies were frequent investors in the develop-ment of airplanes such as the Spartan Executive and often sponsored flights and events highlighting theperformance of their products. Considering the possiblebenefits, and Merrills obvious salesmanship, in late1935 the two formed the Bennett Aircraft Corporation ofWilmington, Delaware.The product was to be a twin-engine (called bi-motored in 1930s parlance), eight-place mid-wing monoplane constructed of plywood impregnated with aphenolic resin compound comprised of carbolic acid andformaldehyde. The resin was patented by the Belgian chemist Dr. Leo Baekland and marketed as Bakelite.Fine grained plywood, impregnated with the resin, could be formed under pressure and heat by a process invented by Dr. Robert Nebesar and was marketed underthe trade name Duraloid. The result of the combination of the skills of Baekland and Nebesar made possible the development of a plastic airplane. To build the machine, Merrill assembled a design and development team headed up by Art Mankey as Chief Engineer. Mankey was borrowed from the Glenn L.Martin Company. Additional engineering skills were provided by Walter Chaffee, well known for his contributions to the Douglas Aircraft Company. The groupwas joined by Vance Breese as consultant and designer. Breese was arguably the most highly qualified test pilot of his day. Given the decision that the primary construction was to be of formed wood, there was only one logical choice for the builder of the prototype, William Hawley Bowlus of San Fernando, California. Bowlus had the reputation and skills as the premier plywood former in the aviation industry. Builder of gliders and sailplanes since 1911, his designs were symphonies of the state of the art of bending and forming wood. The Big Barn on the Bowlus Ranch in San Fernando was equipped with the fixtures and equipment it took to develop the structurally strong light weight and graceful shapes of world class high performance sailplanes. Only the size of the BTC-1 offered a challenge to Bowlus and his team. Bowlus, Breese and Mankey had all worked together before at Ryan at San Diego, California. Bowlus had been the factory manager in the production of theairplane that carried Charles Lindbergh into history, the Ryan NYP Spirit of Saint Louis. Mankey was acontributing engineer and Breese flew many of the firstflights of the companys products.When the BTC-1 was completed at the Big Barn it was trucked, partially assembled, to Van Nuys,California, where finally assembly was completed. Flight testing of the airplane was accomplished by Van Breese. On one flight, arguably the first or second, the landing gear would not extend, so Breese bellied it in. Proof of the strength of the Duraloid skin and woodenstructure came when it was time to repair the damage. The only replacements required were two bent HamiltonStandard Propellers and the aluminum cowling and landing gear doors.
The Bennett BTC-1
The Bennett BTC-1 was granted Civil Aeronautics Administration approval number 2-552 on November 1,1937. The registration number N18690 was assigned. The Bennett Aircraft Company, North Side Station,Fort Worth, Texas, had a certificated airplane but nofactory and no sales. The purported cost to that point was $100,000.00 in 1936 and 1937 U.S. dollars. Bennett and Merrill began a sales campaign directed to cities already exhibiting interest in aviation. Among those cities was Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth was the first city in the United States to actually own an airport although the honor of actually coining that phrase falls to another city. Along with that honor came the first city to have an Airport Manager and Aviation Director. An ex-Army enlisted man having served with the aviation branch of the Signal Corps, William Bill Fuller was that man. It was a great choice because Fuller spent the rest of his life promoting aviation. Fuller was an attendee at one of the presentations given by Bennett and Merrill.
John Clay Kennedy of Fort Worth, Texas founded Globe Laboratories in the mid-1920s. The company made a serum to combat black leg disease in cattle. Kennedy successfully sells every ounce of serum he can produce to Texas ranchers and makes a fortune. He invests his wealth in thoroughbred horses but becomes bored and looks for new challenges. In 1938, in a chance meeting with Bill Fuller, Kennedy discused his desire to find a new project. Fuller told Kennedy about the Bennett Corporation and and its airplane. By April 9, 1940 the Bennett Aircraft Corporation of Texas was born. The incorporators of the new firm were Bennett, Kennedy and the owner of a large Fort Worth insurance agency, H. E. Brants. Kennedy immediately began building an organization of experienced and knowledgeable people from the air-craft industry. The assembled staff represented some of the best minds in the industry leaders such as Curtiss-Wright, Douglas, Lockheed, Martin, and North American.The factory was built on Kennedy-owned property at the junction of Blue Mound and Watauga roads north of Fort Worth. The original structures were the large stables of Kennedys horse raising days to which was added a large hangar structure. It was the largest wooden structure in the State of Texas. Four years of work had produced a successful design, a factory and a staff and one pre-production airplane but still no sales. Strong efforts had been made to sell the BTC-1 to the U.S. Army Air Corps and the British Purchasing Commission as an advanced trainer but with-out success. Bennetts death knell was actually sounded by the mechanisms of the federal procurement system. The corporation had everything it took to obtain a government contract but one. It did not have a proven track record of production. As a result, it was not eligiblefor large scale military contracts. With nothing but expenses on the horizon, the Bennett Corporation declared bankruptcy and went out of the business in 1940. Late in 1940, John Clay Kennedy, the principal stock-holder in the Bennett Aircraft Corporation, emerged from the bankruptcy as the owner of the assets of the firm. Kennedy then formed the Globe AircraftCompany. He also ended up with the BTC-1 which became identified as the Globe BTC-1.
About this time, Kennedy met R. S. "Pop" Johnson, an amateur airplane builder who constructed his own home-built knockoff of the Culver Cadet. Reportedly, Mr. Johnson took a trial delivery of a Culver Cadet, measured it and noted its specifications and returned it to Culver. He subsequently built an aircraft and began the search for a financier and builder. He was led to contact Kennedy whose company, the Globe Aircraft Company, was looking for something new. He and Mr. Johnson were able to make a deal.
The first GC-1 was produced with a main spar made of spruce covered with Duraloid, the same material in the BTC-1. Its wing panels were also made of Duraloid.It had fabric-covered ailerons and fuselage. The Swift sported a hydraulically retractable landing gear including the tailwheel. The split flaps were manual. The first engine was a Continental 80-HP four-cylinder swinging an adjustable wooden prop. Fuel capacity was 20 gallons with an empty weight of 816 pounds and a payload of 519 pounds. Maximum weight was given as 1459 pounds, but the thing could land at a pokey 42 MPH. Johnson worked with Globe Aircraft Company Chief Engineer, K.H. "Bud" Knox, in preparing the Swift for production. Mr. Knox came to Globe from Curtis Aircraft where he was instrumental in the design of the development of the P-40 "Warhawk". The fighter like look and flying characteristics of the Swift can clearly be traced to this venerable linage of WWII pursuit aircraft.
Then came World War II. Early in the war, Globe offered the BTC-1 as a trainer in a competition where it lost out to the Beechcraft 56. But they did not lose out on business, he company used its Duraloid capabilities to produce various wooden components for major manufacturers such as Beech and Vultee. The practice of the time was to produce non-structural components such as inspection panels and even sub-assemblies such as seats from formed plywood to reduce the impact on critical supplies of aluminum. One of the aircraft Globe provided subassemblies for was the all-wood Beech model 56 which became the AT-10 Wichita. A business relationship developed with Beech with the result, that in September 1943, Beech transferred the engineering and production of the AT-10 to Globe who eventually built 600 of the aircraft. The Globe production was identified as AT-10GF.
Globe tried to continue the production of the Swift, but the AT-10 contract delayed any serious work. After testing two prototypes of all-wood or wood-metal construction, what finally emerged was an all-metal version, the GC-1A and the project was then essentially shelved until the completion of the AT-10 contract.
This fact coupled with the many changes that had been incorporated in Swift, many of which Pop Johnson did not support, led to his discouragement. Pop Johnson left Globe Aircraft. He went back to Fort Worth and continued on his own. He then built the "Texas Bullet" and the "Johnson Rocket," a few of which are still flying today.
The Swift would go on to be produced after the war, but it was the end for the underappreciated BTC-1. For more detail on the BTC-1 go to this link >
The above content from an aricle, The Bennett Aircraft Corporation Model BTC-1 Executive, in Skyway Magazine January, 2005 by Fred Maupin; photos from the author or John Underwood. Drawing by Ted Williams.
Temco Swift logo
Cutaway view of Globe Swift
Logically promoted in period advertising as the ALL METAL SWIFT, to set it apart from the early wood/tub/fabric prototype Swifts, this was the start of the Swift type, as we know it today. The first, N33336, GC-1A s/n 2, is still in airworthy condition today. N33336 was the Swift used for all GC-1A flight tests, certification, etc. It was built and flight-tested along with several other GC-1As in late 1945. Certification and the issuance of the Type Certificate A0766 for the 85 HP GC-1A was issued May 7, 1946. Beginning with s/n 2 and ending with s/n 409 a total of 408 GC-1A Swifts were built. Globe managers are aware that Beech is considering a four-place airplane called the Model 35 and, against the grain, they elect to build an all-metal two-place airplane with conventional landing gear. The landing gear and flaps are now hydraulically operated and the 80-HP engine has been replaced with an 85-HP Continental. An optional upgrade is a 100-HP Lycoming engine. The Type Certificate for the 125 HP GC-1B was issued Sept. 22, 1946. Production records show many of the flight tests of the early GC-1Bs were also conducted early in 1946.
In January 1945, the prototype CG-1A Swift begins flight test. To facilitate construction, a concession is made in the design. An angular break just aft of the cockpit is used to speed production but it is later realized this break induces a higher drag profile and the Swift is resigned to slower speeds than anticipated.
By the fall of 1945, the Swift is well along in flight test, but flight test pilots learn the Swift will not meet the CAA's requirements for spins. With a six-turn spin and an aft CG with the aileron against the spin, the Swift changes from a normal spin to a flat spin. Rather than certify to the CAA requirements, Swift decides to merely insert a placard prohibiting intentional spins.
The first production Swift flying over Fort Worth, 1946
In May 1946, the new Swift is awarded its type certificate. Two versions are offered: the GC-1A with an 85-HP engine and the GC-1B with 125HP. Both versions have 28 gallons of fuel the -1A is limited to a maximum weight of 1570 pounds and the -1B to 1710 pounds. Also, the -1A has a fixed pitch wooden or metal propeller while the -1B comes with a high-low pitch propeller. According to the 1947 Jane's, the Swift was offered with options for twin floats or ski gear.
To help sell the Swift, Globe hires two WWII fighter aces, Don Gentile and John Godfrey. And to help build all the Swifts the public is ordering, Globe enters into an agreement with the Texas Engineering and Manufacturing Company, TEMCO.
TEMCO GC-1B Swift
Globe and TEMCO have problems with vendors and with supplies that fail to arrive on schedule. Also, a major error has been made in accounting. It takes more time and more money to build each Swift than anticipated and as a result, every aircraft is sold at a loss. Creditors and banks close in and by 1947, Globe is in financial trouble. In what would today be considered a hostile takeover, a group of eastern financiers tries to remove Kennedy from the company helm. But the company is closed down instead.
TEMCO had built 329 Swifts but had been paid for only 223 of them. Some 210 Swifts were in various stages of completion and some, already completed but without buyers, were sitting in the hot Texas sun. By extraordinary efforts, TEMCO was able to pull out of the financial dive by December 1947 and revive the company. It continued production until the last Swift rolled off the assembly line on August 23, 1951.
By the end, Globe had built 408 GC-1As. During the partnership with TEMCO, a total of 833 GC-1Bs were built in only six months. After Globe went belly-up, TEMCO went on to produce an additional 260 GC-1Bs. According to one source, the total number of Swifts varies from almost 1500 to 1521 airplanes.
While TEMCO was building the Swift, the company received an inquiry from the Philippine government. They wanted a military version of the GC-1B. TEMCO modified a Swift to become the TE-1A in 1948. It had had tandem seating, a new canopy and a rudder with a big square tip and the engine was upgraded to 145 HP. Shortly afterwards the U.S. Air Force began looking for a new trainer. Three companies entered the competition: Fairchild with its XNQ-1, TEMCO with the TE-1A and Beech with its Model 45. Beech won hands down with what became the T-34. But TEMCO wasn't ready to give up on the TE-1 so they upgraded the airplane with a Franklin 165-HP engine. Shortly afterwards, several countries looked at the TE-1 which, by 1953, sported two .30 caliber machine guns mounted in the wings and hard points for 10 2.75-inch rockets.I
The TE-1A became the T-35 Buckaroo. The Royal Saudi Air Force had eight pilots trained in Britain but no airplanes. The RSAF ordered 10 T-35s plus spares. Eventually, TEMCO would make more money providing spares than they did on the initial order for 10 airplanes. The RSAF used the Buckaroos into the early 1960s. One restored Buckaroo rests at the Swift Museum in Athens, Tennessee.
Ten years ago, The Swift Association listed more than 750 Swifts in the U.S. that are either airworthy, under restoration or considered restorable.
From The Aviation Consumer Feb, 2007
Globe Swift Model Plans from Comet Model Hobbycraft
This view of a Globe Swift was taken taken in 1947 in the high bay area of the Temco Grand Prairie, Texas Plant. This building was built for North American Aviation so they could build T-6 and P-51 aircraft during WWII. I believe this shot was taken shortly after Temco took over Globe and we had delivered some of the of the airplanes from the Globe 'pea patch' to Temco. I believe the planes in the background were in line waiting for the 'Temco Inspection and Renewal Plan.' You can see the crates and boxes stored just to the right of NC3322K which contained the parts and assemblies furnished by Globe earlier for assembling the standard model Swift per the Globe contract.
TE-1A Buckaroo, Temco YT-35 Buckaroo
The Philippine government approached Temco about building trainers for their embryonic air force. The decision was made: Temco would build a trainer based on their current product, the Swift, changing it only to incorporate tandem seating, stick controls and a military-style greenhouse canopy.
Those who are familiar with the minifighter from Texas often have the mistaken idea that the Buckaroo, as tested by the USAF and as delivered to various foreign governments, was built mostly of Swift components. The confusion began because Temco produced two completely different airplanes that were designated TE-IA (YT-35 Buckaroo was the USAF designation and applied only to the later TE-IBs tested). The two airplanes were referred to as Phase I and Phase II TE-lAs, and the design philosophy behind each was distinctly different.
The initial design work was aimed at producing an extremely low-cost trainer for commercial and export markets that would use as much existing Swift tooling as possible. And it became known as the Phase I airplane. It was a Swift from its rounded wing tips to its boxy fuselage. The top of the fuselage was faired inward where the window rails used to be, and a rather bulbous greenhouse canopy was built with tandem seating for the pilots. The rudder was squared off and enlarged both to change the appearance and give a little more effective area.
In 1949, Phase I TE-lA was hurried to completion for an Air Force fly-off competition at Wright Field against the Fairchild T-31 and the Beech T-34. The winner of that competidon was the Fairchild T-31-a fact that's lost in history, right along with the T-31.
Apparently, the jury-rigged appearance of the original TE-lA left a few Air Force evaluators shaking their heads, so the Temco team started cleaning up the design and generally working it into a more sophisticated aircraft. The deeper they got into changing things, the clearer it became that the Swift-oriented design wasn't going to hack it. Making the airplane attractive to foreign governments would require too many changes, so the Phase I TE-IA was shelved after several prototypes were built.
Temco knew they had a good thing in the original TE-IA, but rather than continue the never-ending modifications, they started with a clean sheet and designed a completely new airplane using only the Swift's size and basic shape. The Phase II TE-IA began as a plaster mock-up and developed into a fuselage that had a firewall the same size and shape as the Swift's, but was slightly longer and flowed more smoothly to the tail, providing more room for the rear passenger. It was still two people wide at the firewall.
The center section was modified to incorporate fairings that allowed the gear to retract flush. The gear itself was modified and relocated. The outer wing panels were beefed up to give an ultimate loading capability of 9 Gs. The wing tips were extended and squared off to give a little more area and make them a bit more effective. The cowling and engine compartment remained all Swift on initial production Phase II airplanes, but even they were changed during tests at Wright Field. As finally submitted to the USAF for testing, the only part of the TE-IA/YT-35 Buckaroo that was built on Swift tooling was the wing slot. Even the 145-hp Continental the TE-lAs inherited from the Swift was replaced with a 165-hp Franklin and an aeromatic prop. The engine change prompted a new designation: TE-iB.
One Buckaroo design feature that is definitely not going to find its way into your everyday Swift is a matched pair of .30 caliber machine guns, one in each wing. Eventually, these hull thumpers were joined by hardpoints and zero-length rails for ten 2.75-inch I-WAR rockets. This took the Buckaroo out of the toy-trainer category. It seems the dream of every small airplane manufacturer is to produce a tiny airplane bristling with armament that will win the hearts of the military and give the manufacturer a fat contract and an ego-boosting attack bomber production line. The 1950s were full of this dreamlike design work. Of the attempts at armed trainers, only the T-28D and Cessna's arming of the T-37 to make it an A-37 have borne any fruit. The idea was to provide an economical means of eliminating small targets (tanks and the like), but the military has always turned its head, preferring its philosophy of unencumbered overkill.
Cutaway view of the T-35 from December, 1951 Aero Digest
The design competition that might have made the Buckaroo the AT-6 of the 1950s and '60s was won by the Beechcraft T-34. Although the Buckaroo was obviously a much more economical way to train pilots, its conventional gear did it in. Most evaluators agreed that it was easier to transition pilots from conventional gear to tri-gear, rather than vice versa, but the military didn't see any conventional-geared jets in their future, so they opted for the Beech T-34 and its nosewheel.
With the USAF order lost, Temco had to depend upon foreign governments to keep the production lines lines rolling, but the business didn't materialize. Although figures vary according to the information source, it appears the total number of TE-1/YT-35s produced didn't top 20: two prototypes, three service test aircraft for the USAF (true YT-35s), 10 (some sources say as high as 17) for Saudi Arabia and one each for Israel and Italy. Only three YT-35s and One Phase I TE-lA aircraft have survived.
Budd Davisson, Air Progress, July, 1974
T-35 armed with rockets and .30 cal machine guns for Saudi Air Force
Three TE-1 A Buckaroo primary trainers (development of Globe Swift) evaluated by USAF 1951, leading in 1953 to civil Model 33 Plebe (no production) and military Model TE-1 B.
Company designation for the Franklin 6A4-165-B3 engined version, six built (including three as YT-35).
Company designation for the Continental C-145-2H engined version, ten built as the T-35A
Model TE-1A with Franklin 6A4-165-B3 engine for evaluation by the United States Air Force, three built.
Model TE-1B delivered to Saudi Arabia under Mutual Defence Aid Plan, ten built.
The US Air Force was impressed enough with the Swift to order a military trainer version, the T-35 Buckaroo, for testing. However, the new all jet Air Force did not have a place for an "old fashioned tail dragger". Its superb flying qualities were not overlooked, however, and a squadron of the T-35s was purchased by the Saudi Arabian Air Force, fully armed with machine-guns and rockets! One of these aircraft was returned to our shores and is now fully restored and flown by the Swift Museum Foundation located in Athens, Tennessee. From an article by Dennis Arbeau.
Model 33 Plebe
Model 58, a mid-fifties armed advanced trainer produced as a private venture aimed at foreign air arms. It is believed only the prototype was produced.
The Fairchild (Kreider-Reisner) Model 24 was a single-engined, two-, three-, or four-place, high-wing cabin monoplane with conventional landing gear designed for the private aviation market. The aircraft, initially designed by the Kreider-Reisner Aircraft Co, Inc (later a division of Fairchild Aviation Corporation) of Hagerstown, MD, was first introduced at the Detroit Air Show in 1932 and received its Civil Aeronautics Authority Approved Type Certificate in April. Over the next fifteen years the Model 24 went through seventeen different models of increasing power and payload with both radial and in-line engine versions. Always a popular aircraft, production of the Model 24 was only suspended in 1942, when the Federal government closed down all civil aircraft production because of the war. The Texas Engineering and Manufacturing Company (Temco) of Dallas, TX resumed Model 24 manufacture in 1946, after Fairchild failed to do so, but finally stopped all production for good due to the postwar aviation market slump in 1948.
No Model 24s were built during 1944 or 1945 as Fairchild was totally involved with military contracts building PT-19, PT-23, and PT27 primary trainers and starting production of the C-82 twin-engine transport. In order to get to get the popular civilian Model 24 back into production after World War II, Fairchild created the Fairchild Personal Planes Division and subcontracted the production of Model 24s to TEMCO. Deliveries of new Fairchild 24s began in March 1946, but post World War II aviators had a glut of surplus aircraft to buy cheaply. By the end of 1947 only 218 aircraft had been sold, and production of the famous Model 24 ended that year. Remaining aircraft were sold off in 1948, and operations of the Fairchild Personal Planes Division ended in 1949.
Fairchild F24 Model Plans
The Silvaire was a two-seat light cabin monoplane featuring an all-metal semi-monocoque structure with a strengthened safety-zone cabin. The powerplant was one Continental C90-12F, four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, air-cooled engine. It had a two-blade metal fixed-pitch propeller with a diameter of 5 feet, 11 inches (1.80 meters).
The Silvaire Aircraft Company manufactured the all-metal Luscombe Model 8 Silvaire light cabin monoplane, the original prototype of which was designed and built by Don Luscombe at the Mercer Airport, Trenton, New Jersey, in 1936.
At the end of World War II, the tooling, dies and other equipment to manufacture the Silvaire were moved by the Luscombe Airplane Corporation to Dallas, Texas, where production was resumed. In 1949, this company was purchased by the Temco Aircraft Corporation, which built about 50 Silvaires before suspending production to concentrate on military commitments. In January 1955, Silvaire Aircraft purchased the manufacturing rights for the Model 8 Silvaire from Temco and put it into production at Fort Collins. The first aircraft off the new line flew in September 1956, and the latest production models could be recognized by the square top fin and rudder introduced in 1958.
Some 5970 Model 8s were built between 1938 and 1961, including 5840 by Luscombe, 50 by Temco, and 80 by Silvaire.
The Following is from Brian R. Baker
1933: (Donald A) Luscombe Airplane Co, Kansas City MO. First plant was the old Butler Blackhawk facility. 1935: New plant at Mercer County Airport, West Trenton NJ. Firm also did aircraft maintenance and operated the Luscombe School of Aeronautics, with students providing some of the production labour force. 1939: Don Luscombe edged out of company after public stock sales resulted in financial control being taken over by Leopold Klotz, who in turn was removed from management during WW2 because of his Austrian citizenship and the firm vested by the Alien Property Custodian Division of the Treasury Dept to manufacture components for Grumman Corp. 1944:
After receiving U S citizenship, Klotz resumed control of the firm to again became active in its management. Aug 1945; Luscombe Aircraft Corp, Garland TX. Production resumed with Models 8A, 8D, 8E, 8F, T8F, and 11A. Feb 1950: Bankruptcy, acquisition by TEMCO, Dallas TX. 1954: Acquired by Silvaire Aircraft & Uranium Corp (pres: Otis Massey), Ft Collins CO. 1964: ATC and tooling purchased by Moody Larsen, Bellville MI. 1985: Purchase of the ATC for 11-A was negotiated by an unrelated Luscombe Aircraft Corp, Carson City NV, but the deal fell through. c.1994: ATCs acquired by Don Luscombe Aviation History Foundation (DLHAF), Chandler AZ (pres: P Douglas Combs); the Foundation was providing parts, service, and rebuilt aircraft, and new production of the 8F by Renaissance Aircraft LLC had been started, with components to be produced by Zenair Ltd of Canada, the Czech Aircraft Works of the Czech Republic, and the DLHAF.
For some reason Luscombes suffered from their contact with the FAA's Civil Register. This was because people within the agency weren't familiar with the airplanes, and because mechanics and owners responsible for the paperwork didn't know what to call them, and FAA took the information given to it. The result was a series of designations, including serious errors, that only leads to confusion. This was carried over to other publications and caused identification problems for serious historians. Modified aircraft were sometimes listed as new types, and a few owners added their names to the manufacturer's, adding to the confusion. Also, many aircraft listed as Model 8 were actually later models.
A basic identification problem becomes evident when dealing with modifications a model 8A with a Continental C-85 replacing the A-65 is a model 8A (modified), not an 8E. It might look like an 8E and have the fuel tank, rear window modifications, and wing landing lights, but it simply is not an 8E. Therefore, obtaining an identification from the Civil Register does not automatically assure an accurate type identification.
Luscombe-4, aka 90 1938; 90hp Warner; span: 32'0" length: 20'11" load: 625# v: 130/115/45 range: 580; ff: 3/10/37 (p: Ignatius Sargent). Scaled-down Phantom, originally name Sprite, then 90, finally 4; Lyle Farver (fuselage), Bill Shepard (wings). $3,975; POP: 6 [X1017 (Sprite), NX1253, NC1325, NC1337, NC1344, NC22026]. The only survivor is currently under restoration in California [N1337].
Luscombes were advertised as tough and strong
Luscombe-8 aka 50 1938 ; 50hp Continental A-50; span: 35'0" length: 20'0" (NOTE: All Luscombe 8-series aircraft had the same dimensions) load: 480 v: 107/94/37 range: 360. Frank Johnson, Howard Jong (aka Young), Fred Knack. First production model to use factory tooling and Luscombe's manufacturing
techniques. All-metal with fabric wing covering, pressure cooled cowling, and ingenious design features for ease in maintenance and reparability, including breakaway landing gear struts to preserve centre section and sheet metal tip spars to protect the main extruded spars. Early models had tailskids and no brakes. Performance was adequate, but 65hp model later won the popularity. $1895; POP: 113; prototype [NX1304] built in 1937 as 50, but registered as 8. All 8-series were produced under (694).
Luscombe-8A 1939; 65hp Continental A-65-8F; load: 510#. Produced under (A-694) until 1948 with numerous changes, but all had A-65 engines; most had rear fuselage fuel tanks and few frills. First production identical to 8 except for the A-65 engine.
The outbreak of WW2 curtailed production at 557 units, but manufacture resumed with the post-war 8A as the major production model. Many changes were made to reduce production costs, notably introduction of a stamped-rib, fabric-covered wing in 1946 (Eugene W Norris, wing redesign), and a simplified all-metal wing later the same year, with stiffeners replacing the conventional rib structure and a single strut instead of the V-strut arrangement on fabric-winged aircraft. The squared-tail units first appeared early in 1947, along with a stronger cantilever Siflex landing gear. Whatever the wing, tail unit configuration, gear type, or fuel tank arrangement was, all A-65-powered aircraft were 8As with 1260# gross weight.
Toward the end of the production run, as the company experienced financial difficulties, many variations existed. POP: 3,695 included 3,138 built post-war; included 1 (c/n 1653) acquired by the Army in Panama after the outbreak of WW2 and designated UC-90A [42-79549]. Many 8As were modified by the installation of more powerful engines, additional wing tanks, and more advanced instrumentation. In fact, few exist in original configuration most were modified in some way over the years.
Some rebuilds even had different types of wings; original fabric wings became metal wings, while a few were even backdated from metal to fabric wings. Since the only new tail units being manufactured are the squared variety, many older types have the later tail units, and sometimes a combination of types. A few have been highly modified for aerobatic work, with shortened wing spans, etc. One with a 90hp Ken-Royce radial was called "Doncoupe" because of its resemblance to a Monocoupe. A few early homebuilts, as well, used Luscombe wings and other components.
8A Silvaire Master 1941 (694) = 65hp Continental A-65-8. The "Master" was developed to provide an illusion that Luscombe was producing military-contract training aircraft and so should continue receiving shipments of aircraft aluminium. The strategy worked, and Luscombe continued to receive aluminium until the outbreak of the war. POP: 1 prototype [NC37038]. Production models were to have the A-75 motor, and this type was actually produced as 8D.
Luscombe-8B, 8B-2 1940; 65hp Lycoming 0-145. Essentially a Lycoming-powered 8A, it did not sell well. $1,785-1,885 in 1941; POP: 85, included 1 (c/n 1809) acquired by Army in Panama at the beginning of WW2 as UC-90 [42-79550]. Although listed in some publications, no Luscombe records of a model 8B-2 exist. Some 8Bs were converted to other models by engine changes.
Luscombe-8C 1940; 75hp Continental A-75-8J with fuel injection; load: 480# v: 118/107/40 range: 340. This upgraded 8A entered production in June 1940, and immediately became a best-seller, was first of the breed to be referred to as Silvaire. $2,795; POP: 278. Many were used by Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) contractors for military student flight training. Gross wt: 1200. Standard 14-gal rear fuselage tank, with provision for wing-mounted auxiliary tanks.
Luscombe-8D 1941; 75hp Continental A-75-8J; load: 530#. Developed for CPTP, essentially a production model 8A Master with 23.5-gal fuel capacity in two wing tanks, revised instrument panel. Gross wt: 1310#. POP: 97, included 11 in 1945 from the new Dallas plant.
Luscombe-8E 1946; 85hp Continental C-85-12F; load: 550# v: 122/114/43 range: 400. The original prototype was a fabric-wing aircraft with a C-85 engine with no starter or generator [NC71468]. [NC71645] became the first metal-wing 8E prototype. Designed to compete with Cessna 140, production units had 12.5- or 15-gal wing tanks, and most had full electrical systems. Additional modifications included rear windows and an open compartment, commonly known as a "hat throw," located where the fuselage fuel tank had been. $2,995; POP: 834. Many 8Es were still flying in 1999, some highly modified.
XT8E 1947 = 85hp C-85-12. POP: 3 prototypes for 1947 Army liaison competition; first was [NX2788K]. Army requirements stated that the aircraft had to either be in current production or hold a current type certificate XT8E did not qualify on either count with only 10% non-8E components. Changes included a new forward fuselage with tandem seating arrangement, large windows, a bubble-type rear window, and a door on the right side only. Although the plane completed the test program successfully, the contract was awarded to Aeronca's L-16A on the basis of its lower selling price. The type was subsequently developed into the T8F Observer.
Luscombe-8F 1948; 90hp Continental C-90-12F; load: 540# v: 128/120/45 range: 490. Upgraded 8E with motor, full electrical, and cantilever Siflex landing gear. Fuel capacity was 25 gallons, in two 12.5-gal wing tanks, although some aircraft were delivered with two 15-gal wing tanks. This was the ultimate Model 8 Silvaire produced, produced in several versions differing mainly in cosmetic items, such as paint trim. When Luscombe went bankrupt in 1948, its assets were acquired by TEMCO, who produced a number of 8Fs in 1950-51. Production ceased in 1951 due to TEMCO's military contract commitments. POP: 379 from 1948-51.
T8F Observer 1948; 90hp C-90-12F; load: 530#. Developed from XT8E, T8F was marketed as a pipeline patrol aircraft. The airframe was virtually identical to the XT8 and used 90% of 8F components. Two versions were produced, a "Deluxe" model with full electrical, and a "Special" with no electrical. POP: 73. Contrary to some paint schemes seen at fly-ins, no T8F was ever operated by any military organization, and military-marked Observers are historically inaccurate.
T8F Crop Master 1949; 90hp C-90-12F; load: 528#. Production T8F with flaps and built-in spray equipment. Spray unit manufactured by Independent Cropdusters included two 30-gal, self-agitating chemical tanks inside the wings, two wind-driven rotary spray dispensers just below the single-spar wing struts, and oversize tires. POP: 35, of which most were later converted to standard T8F configuration.
T8F-L 1950; 90hp C-90 "injector-type" engine; load: 500#. POP: 2 prototypes modified from T8Fs (one was a sprayer) for 1949 Army liaison plane competition. Extensively modified with swing-out engine mounts, larger doors, rebuilt center sections, unfaired Siflex landing gear, toe-actuated hydraulic brakes, flaps, and dual controls (except for brakes). [N1829B] was flight tested at Wright Field in April 1949, and was one of three final contestants flown to Fort Bragg NC, where it lost out to Cessna L-19A. The second prototype was a static test airframe not used in the competition. Both aircraft were subsequently modified back to standard configuration and sold.
T8G-L - Ag sprayer planned for installation of Boeing 502-2 turboprop was never built.
Luscombe-8 Turbine 1999; 150hp Apex Turbine. This conversion project was first considered by Luscombe engineers at TEMCO in 1950, but it was not until 1999 that a flying 8E prototype was constructed by the DLAHF in Chandler AZ [N2638K]. The prototype appeared at local fly-ins, and performance was reported to be similar to that of the 150hp conversion.
Luscombe-9 1945 Although this model was a project, it is included for continuity. In June 1945,Luscombe considered updating the 8 and re-designating the post-war production aircraft as Model 9. A proposal in July was submitted to CAA, whose view was that a change in the model number would require complete recertification, but that upgrades would be approved without recertification as long as the model number remained the same. The project was dropped, and Model 9 enjoyed only a three-week lifespan.
Luscombe-10 1945; 65hp Continental A-65-8F; span: 25' length: 17'9"
Model 10, an attempt to build the fastest aircraft of its class, was essentially built up from parts -- there was no engineering or structural analysis done. Designed by Mischa Kantor, the fuselage centre section was hand-built, while the tail unit, engine, and cantilever wing were modified from 8A components. The first test flight by Bob Burns almost ended in disaster when the main landing gear threatened to fail. After some redesign, Burns successfully flew the airplane once in Jan 1946, commenting that it was a very good airplane and needed no changes. Subsequent analysis indicated that there would be no market for the type, and development was dropped. John Swick, in The Luscombe Story, claims the prototype was later destroyed in a windstorm, while DLHAF reports that the aircraft and all data were destroyed for tax purposes.
Luscombe-11A Silvaire Sedan, 11C 1946; 165hp Continental E-165; span: 38'0: length: 23'6" load: 1000# range: 500; ff (as prototype X11): 11/8/46. Prototype later modified, flaps added as 11A; lost when aft-loaded c/g produced a flat spin, and test pilots bailed out. Certificated by restricting upward travel of elevator, which also made three-point landings impossible. Design intent was to compete with Cessna 170, and appeal to "flying farmers," but never competed successfully. Production ended with bankruptcy of the firm in 1948. A development of the aircraft as 11C featured a revised fuselage, but this remained only a project. In later years, some had larger engines installed. $6995; POP 91.
11E Spartan 1999 ; 185hp Teledyne-Continental IO-360-ES; span: 38'6" length: 23'9" load: 930# v: x/130/x range: 530. Essentially a refinement of 11A with tricycle gear, modified fuselage, and other changes intended to modernize the basic design. $138,000; POP: 1 prototype [N747BM], demonstrated around the country, and production is expected to begin at the firm's Altus plant. A higher-powered variant with a 210hp IO-360-25 is presently projected.
50 1937 = Prototype 8 design began as 40hp lightplane project by Luscombe School of Aeronautics students. POP: 1 [NX1304]; ff: 12/17/37 (p: Tom Foley). Numerous detail differences with later 8 series originally had early type cowling, wheel control, rounded wingtips, tailskid, no brakes. Continental A-50 loaned by the manufacturer.
Phantom 1934 ; 145hp Warner Super Scarab; span: 31'0" length: 21'6" (prototype 10'10") load: 630# (>650#) v: 168/142/45 range 560 ceiling: 19,000'; ff: 5/?/34 (p: Don Joseph or Bart Stevenson). Ivan Driggs, Don Luscombe. All-metal, high-performance lightplane based loosely on Monocoupe D-145 concepts developed by Don Luscombe. First Luscombe aircraft produced. $6,000; POP: 25. Prototype [NC272Y] originally had 125hp Warner, [NC275Y/278Y, NC1007/1010, NC1025, NC1028, NC1043, NC1048, NC1234/1235, NC1249, NC1265, NC1278, NC1286, NC1323, NC25234, NC28779, NC30449, HBEXE]. (2-528) superseded by (552). Extremely poor ground handling characteristics led to most ground-looping and being rebuilt. Several Phantoms currently exist, and the original prototype has been operated by the DLHAF for a number of years after extensive restoration.
Luscombe Phantom Model Plans
Silvaire-Luscombe 8F aka TEMCO Luscombe 8F 1956; 90hp Continental C-90-12F. Source of many Luscombe identification problems in the Civil Register, the "Silvaire" Luscombe resulted from the acquisition of Luscombe-TEMCO assets by the Silvaire Uranium & Aircraft Co, organized to continue production of the type. First prototype [N9900C] flew on 9/6/56, and production continued until 1960, when the firm ended production with its 80th aircraft. All Fort Collins aircraft featured the "square" tail units developed for late production Luscombes and many, but not all, were equipped with flaps actuated by a handle near the roof of the cabin. Wheel pants were standard, but some operators removed them when it made inspection of the wheels and brakes difficult. At least one 8F was modified at the factory with installation of a 150hp Lycoming for showing to dealers during 1959-60. In 1999, DLHAF licensed production of the 8F to the firm of Renaissance LLC, and Moody Larsen, previous owner of Luscombe type and production certificates, is at age 90 presently involved in the construction of the first actual prototype at his facility near Belleville MI. A "prototype" of this aircraft appeared at various fly-ins during 1999, but was actually one of the early Fort Collins production airplanes.
Silvaire-Luscombe 8G 1959 = 2pChwM. Non-flying, tricycle-gear prototype constructed at Fort Collins. A flying prototype was nearing completion when the company ceased production in 1960. However, DLAHF sources claim that four uncertified examples were constructed.
Weights and Capacities
Type: Continental C90-12F four-cylinder air-cooled
Size (length X diameter)
Maximum Speed, Sea Level
Landing Speed, Sea Level
Stall Speed, Sea Level
Cruise Speed, Sea Level
Range at Cruise Speed
Luscombe Logo and Motto
From Certified Aircraft Database
The Riley Twin and Riley '55
The TEMCO Riley Twin was an outgrowth of the Navion. The Navion was originally designed at the end of WWII by North American Aviation as the NA-143 (but produced under the NA-145 designation). It drew the interest of the United States Army Air Forces. The Army Air Force ordered 83 of the NA-154 version, designated the L-17A, to be used as a liaison aircraft, personnel and cargo carrier, and trainer for the university-based ROTC flight training program.
Navion with open canopy
The single engine Navion was also designed and produced by North American Aviation for an anticipated expanded post war market for general aviation. The Navion name was derived from the manufacturer's name. The letters NAvion were used on the old ticker tape by the New York Stock Exchange for North American (NA) Aviation (vion). Early sales materials highlighted the North American reference with the capitalization of the first two letters, making NAvion.
As one would expect (since North American had no general aviation experience) the design team drew heavily from their military background. Heavy skins covered a sturdy airframe, supported by tall and robust landing gear legs. The wing utilized a technique known as a 'bullet proof structure' in which there is no full-span wing spar. Instead a stub-spar carried the loads from the main landing gear inwards, while numerous stringers carried the loads from the outer wings. Like the famous P-51D fighter, the NAvion incorporated a sliding canopy. Not surprisingly many people began calling the NAvion the every man's Mustang, and this would have been even more pronounced had the original concept of a tail dragger come to pass.
A prototype was built and quickly drew attention from across North America. One customer, who bought his Navion sight-unseen, quipped, "If North American built it - I'll buy it." Businessmen, movie stars and farmers all lined up to buy Navions of their own. Not surprisingly the US military also showed an interest. Both the Air Force and Army were in need of smaller general transport types, and the NAvion, with its passenger comforts, rugged construction and North American heritage impressed the generals. In 1947 the USAF placed an order for 83 NAvions under the designation of L-17A.
In late 1948 North American began receiving contracts for its jet aircraft; the F-86 Sabre and B-45 Tornado. Needing to reopen military production lines and facing marginal profits, North American sold the Navion rights to the Ryan Aeronautical Company for $8-million. Production moved to San Diego, California and restarted.
By 1949 Ryan began introducing changes to improve the Navion (the capitalization of the 'A' was dropped as it was an abbreviation of North American). Auxiliary fuel tanks, improved instrumentation were popular options, as were colorful paint schemes.
Ryan produced another 158 upgraded L-17Bs ordered in 1948 by the United States Air Force and a final order of 5 L-17Bs in 1949 for the Hellenic (Greek) Air Force. 35 L-17As were later converted to L-17Cs by the Schweizer Aircraft Company by fitting them with L-17B model features such as an auxiliary fuel tank.
A view of the Navion's production line in the Ryan factory.
For years the biggest challenge facing Ryan was the lack of performance caused by its meager 205hp engine. In 1951 Ryan introduced the Super 260, the ultimate Navion, with a 260hp geared Lycoming engine, deluxe interior and fancy paint. Suddenly there was a need to redesignate the Navion; 205hp models from NAA and Ryan suddenly became Navion As, while the Super 260 became the Navion B. An experimental version, called the Model 72, was built to compete in the USAF's primary trainer competition, which it lost to the Beech Mentor. Had it won, it would have become the T-34.
Even though Ryan's order books were full, Ryan had to face an undeniable truth - they lost money on every Navion they built. Each plane cost about $15,000 to make, and basic models were selling for as little as $9,500. At the end of 1952 Ryan ceased all Navion production. A total of 2,350 had been completed (1 prototype, 1,109 by NAA and 1,240 by Ryan).
While the Navion was still in production, the USAF returned (in 1948) to place another order, this time for 163 upgraded L-17Bs. A further 35 L-17As returned to the factory for the same upgrades, becoming L-17Cs. In 1952 the USAF deployed L-17s to the Orient in the first wave of the Korean War. The first L-17s actually took off from the aircraft carriers USS Sicily and USS Badoeng Strait. Once in Korea L-17 pilots, with their RCA radios, were able to relay communications from the common foot soldier to the warplanes of the USAF and USN. In many cases these were requests for air strikes - giving birth to Forward Air Control (FAC). Several reports were even made of Communist soldiers confusing L-17s with the similar looking F-51D Mustang and either sought cover from passing Navions or surrendered to the unarmed planes.
A Navion A and L-17B fly together in this Ryan promotional photo.
As one of the first all-metal monoplane designs introduced after World War II, it was a success. For some time, going back to the North American Aviation days, there had been interest in converting the single engine Navion into a more powerful twin engine version. Neither North American or Ryan were able to divert resources to such a project because of increasing military demands. C.J. "Chuck" Daubenberger, Roger Keeney, and a team of engineers and draftsmen from California took to the task on their own. It took seven months for the group to design, manufacture and install 1,837 new parts via more than 2,000 engineering drawings. They were assisted by some of the companies the men worked for: Dauby Equipment Company, Daubenberger; Acme Aircraft Company. Engineering was done by a number of Douglas and North American engineers, while the construction was undertaken by Acme Aircraft at Torrance Airport in Lomita.
John Martin performed the plane's first test flights, and on November 10, 1952, one full year after starting, with their Twin Navion, the plane, designated D-16 (D for Daubenberger) received its CAA certification. Interestingly, before the Twin Navion the Civil Aviation Authority had no way of certifying modifications as extensive as those done for Daubenberger (all were approved using the Major Repair and Alteration Form). This, plus a couple of other major conversions led the CAA to develop the Supplemental Type Certification process that is still in place today.
Almost immediately word of the D-16's existence spread across the United States, and in Florida, Jack Riley entered the Twin Navion story. Jack Riley was a self-made millionaire in the oil business and a natural salesman. He had formed a company, Riley Aircraft Corporation, to sell, refurbish, upgrade or modify general aviation aircraft in Florida. He obtained licensing and or certification from original manufacturers. He'd broken records selling de Havilland's Dove business plane, and before Ryan ceased production, was recognized as the top Navion salesman for the Southeastern USA. Riley was now a man looking for a new challenge. He took a trip to see the Navion manufacturing facility in California. After only a couple days in California, the businessman returned home with the Twin Navion's production rights.
Acme Aircraft was contracted to modify a second Navion into D-16 configuration for Riley. This plane arrived in October 1952 and featured a much blunter nose cone, 140hp engines and a newly upholstered cabin. It took more than 1,700 man-hours to complete.
Riley Aircraft Corporation meanwhile had been growing into an aircraft manufacturer. During the summer of 1952, Fort Lauderdale's Granere Aviation was purchased for its hangar facility. The 12,000 square-foot building was to become the new factory.
Eager to sell his new twin Jack Riley took his plane to Dallas, Texas, where he demonstrated it to some 30 or 40 potential customers. Riley admitted that owners of single Navions were his primary customers, since they already knew the plane and could continue to expect the same performance, handling and ruggedness that they'd come to expect from their own planes. That tour resulted in the company's first sale, with two more following. Within a couple months the books were filled with orders for more than three dozen planes.
The first major change to production occurred in November of 1952 when the controllable Sensenich Skyblade propellers were replaced with Aeromatic units. These too were soon replaced at the beginning of December 1952 when Hartzell finished certifying its new fully-feathering, constant speed propellers. A major lack of performance caused Riley to purchase Daubenberger's prototype, which he in turn used to prototype the installation of new 150hp Lycoming O-320 engines. This change also meant the use of custom-built cowlings in place of the 'borrowed' Piper units.
As production began, prices increased from $20,000 (initial sale price) to $24,850. This was nearly three times the price of a used single Navion but with Jack Riley's salesmanship there were always customers. In March 1953 a production agreement was entered with TEMCO Aircraft Corp., a well known subcontractor, maintenance provider for the USAF and small plane manufacturer. The next month, TEMCO purchased the exclusive production rights to the 'Riley Twins.' Jack Riley meanwhile returned to Florida where he remained responsible for marketing and sales. It also appears that Riley Aircraft served as a broker for Navions, buying them on the used market and then reselling them to TEMCO when an airframe was needed.
TEMCO purchased the exclusive production rights to the 'Riley Twins.' Jack Riley meanwhile returned to Florida where he remained responsible for marketing and sales. It also appears that Riley Aircraft served as a broker for Navions, buying them on the used market and then reselling them to TEMCO when an airframe was needed.
TEMCO-Riley began working on upgrading the D-16 to the D-16A, they too wanted to increase power. On September 1, 1954, TEMCO introduced a more powerful variation of the 'Riley Twin' called the D-16A, and marketed as the 'Riley 55.' The power increased to 170hp through the use of brand-new Lycoming O-340-A1As. With the D-16A program, Jack Riley had the chance to finally meet the 5,000 foot single engine service ceiling. To do so Riley approached Lycoming and asked them to supply a more powerful engine. Their response was to apparently show him their concept drawings for the 180hp O-360. It was exactly what Riley wanted. The problem was it was still years away from production. An interim solution was to upgrade the O-320 line. Taking a narrow deck O-320, and adding longer barrel cylinders. A longer stroke on the piston connector rods increased the compression to 8.5:1 and an extra 20hp was obtained.
Although the O-320 and O-340 engines were very similar, the O-340 was just a little wider. The solution was to simply widen the D-16A's cowlings.
When the first D-16A began flight tests for its certification in May 1954, only one O-340 had been built. It was partnered with an O-320.
Since the O-340 was the most powerful engine in Lycoming's four-cylinder line, a number of other aircraft manufacturers selected it to power their aircraft. The O-340-A1A engine (approved July 1954) used in the D-16A is the basic model. The ?A2A (January 1955) has no provision for a hydraulically operated propeller. The ?B1A (November 1956) lowered the compression to 7.15:1 and developed 160hp.
Although the top and cruise speeds remained the same at 190 and 153 mph, gross weight for the D-16A increased to a very respectable 3,600 lbs (850 lbs above a stock Navion A and 250 lbs more than a D-16). Tip tanks were introduced, increasing the capacity to 144 US-gallons and stretching the range from 720 to 1,200 miles. A standard paint scheme was also introduced. The first production aircraft flew on February 23, 1955.
By the time the last twin Navion rolled out of the TEMCO factory the light twin market had been flooded with new planes; Piper had taken a Stinson design and expanded it into their PA-23-150 Apache, Cessna had their large 310, and Beech had the Model 95 Travel A. In the pricing market Piper was the immediate winner. A new Apache sold for the same price as the 'Riley 55' conversion and a single Navion wasn't required as a starting point. All told, when production of the 'Riley 55' ended in September 1957 a total of 107 D-16s and D-16As had been converted. Some D-16s would later return to the TEMCO factory to be upgraded to D-16A standards.
After the production line closed, the type certificate was sold to Universal Aircraft Industries of Denver, Colorado, part of the American Navion Society. Under their operation both Twin Navions continued to be supported and cared for.
In 1957 the type certificate was sold to the Navion Aircraft Co., a division of Galveston, Texas based Tubular Service Engineering Company (TUSCO). They started by taking a small number of existing Navions and modifying them with speed fairings, flush windows, 34 US-gallons Fletcher tip tanks, flush riveted wings, a baggage door, and Continental O-470 engines (of three different power ratings) to create Navion D, E or Fs. Because the D and E had less than 260hp neither required the structural 'beef-up' kit that was installed in the Navion B and F. A dozen Ds were converted, only 3 Es, and nearly three dozen Fs. In 1960 TUSCO modified a Navion using all the upgrades from the Navion F, but performed a major modification to the fuselage. The signature sliding canopy was replaced with a conventional fuselage with a car-like entry door. Named Rangemaster, the Navion G certainly lived up to its name, stretching the Navion's range from 500 to 1,800 miles. A final version, the Navion H, featured a 285hp Continental IO-520-B. 100 of these G and H models were built by TUSCO. In 1965 production passed to the Navion Aircraft Corporation and a small number of Rangemasters were assembled from parts.
In 1966, while visiting the Navion Rangemaster factory in Texas, S. Dan Brodie, President of the American Navion Society, learned that it was for sale. A group of ANS (American Navion Society) members pooled their resources and purchased the factory and moved it to Seguin, Texas. It was during the ownership by the ANS that the Model "H" Rangemaster was introduced; with N2500T being the first IO-520-B powered Navion.
Rights to the Navion continued to pass through private and small corporate owners including: Fletcher Aviation (c.1953), Navion Corp/TusCo (1955), Janox Corp (1970), Navion Rangemaster Corp (1973) and American Navion Society (c.1980); before being purchased by Navion Aircraft Company Ltd. in 2001. In 1972, the Navion factory was in financial difficulty again and was sold to Lou Bishop, who in turn sold it to Ced Kotowicz. Ced moved the factory to Wharton, Texas, and produced about 7 or 8 model "H" Rangemasters in the mid-1970s before it was closed permanently. These were the last owners hoping to reintroduce a modernized Navion into full-scale production. The undeniable fact was Navions are expensive planes to build and the general aviation market had passed the Navion by.
The Camair 480
In 1952, shortly after C.J. Daubenberger and his group began modifying his Navion in California the three White brothers of White Engineering in San Antonio, Texas set about designing and building their own Twin Navion conversion. Facing the same obstacles as Daubenberger, the White brothers similarly converted their Navion by replacing the engine with a baggage compartment (although they used the existing engine compartment), and two engines, mounted in newly created nacelles. But that's where the similarity ended. Many of the parts were made of fiberglass, the vertical stabilizer was built from scratch, and auxiliary fuel tanks made from Fletcher napalm tanks were mounted on the wing tips. Power was also a major difference. Where Daubenberger was using 125hp engines from a Super Cub, the Whites more than doubled the Navion's power with 225hp Continental O-470s. Their plane became the WE-1 (WE being a contraction of White Engineering).
In 1953 the White's design and their prototype were purchased by Galveston, Texas based Camair Aircraft, Inc., a division of the Cameron Iron Works. Cameron had become famous in the Texas oil patch having developed a pressure control valve for use on wellheads and in the 1950s had started on diversifying itself into guided missiles, atomic and space technologies, energy, petrochemicals, military and civil aerospace.
Camair's employees set to work improving the White's design. It would take until May 1955 before the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would grant Camair its type certificate. I would be known as the Camair 480 (from the horsepower rating of its two 240hp Continental O-470-B engines).
With a sale price of $39,000 the Camair 480 was more than 50% more expensive than the twins being sold by TEMCO-Riley. Instead the heavier and faster Camair's main competition was the Cessna 310. Its top speed had increased to 220 mph, with a cruise speed equal to the single Navion's top speed of 190 mph. Range was 900 miles and the maximum takeoff weight rose to 4,323 lbs. Between 1955 and 1959 Camair built 25 examples of the 480. Deterred by poor sales the rights were sold to Bill Taylor.
Taylor in turn took the Camair's production to a new facility in New Kingsford, Pennsylvania and built three more 480s. Taylor moved again, this time to Melborne, Florida. Several aerodynamic modifications and the installation of fuel injected IO-470-D engines of 260hp were introduced in the Camair 480C and three more were built on demand before 1969. Like the single Navion, the introduction of a new model resulted in the rebranding of older aircraft. The Camair 480s suddenly became 480Bs. When Taylor's company became more involved with the growing US space industry the company was sold to Fred Garcia.
Garcia took his materials north to New York State, where he completed the last two Camairs. Among his attempts to improve the Camair design, Garcia installed a series of fairings, cosmetic improvements and single piece windshields. For a brief time, Garcia installed 300hp IO-520 engines and three-blade propellers as the prototype for the 480D, but his plane N6900C (1-083) quickly reverted back to its original 480C configuration. A total of 33 Camairs (and one WE-1) had been built.
For drawings (courtesy of Trevor McTavish) of the Riley Twin, Riley '55 and the Navion follow this link >
References and Source Material:
American Navion Society, Ltd.
TT-1 Model 51 Pinto
In the early 1950s Temco initiated design of a lightweight primary jet trainer which it designated Model 51 Pinto. The Temco Model 51 had been initially proposed to the US Air Force in response to an Air Force competition for a jet-powered primary trainer, which was won by the Cessna T-37 Tweet. The Pinto was a cantilever mid-wing monoplane with retractable tricycle landing gear, accommodating the instructor and pupil in tandem in an enclosed cockpit, it was powered by a Continental J69-T-9 turbojet.
The prototype, first flown on 26 March 1956, was later tested by the US Navy, which then ordered 14 production aircraft under the designation TT-1. The first jet trainer in service with any of the US air arms, it was operated by the US Navy to study the feasibility of using jet aircraft for primary training. No further production followed, and plans for a Super Pinto attack trainer also failed.
With the single Continental engine, the aircraft's performance capabilities included a maximum airspeed of 345 mph, a service ceiling of 32,200 ft. and a sea-level endurance of 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Of the original Pintos, at least seven have passed on to civilian hands and at least four have been modified into Super Pintos by the replacement of the original engine with a 2,850-pound thrust J-85/CJ610 engine, and an increase in fuel capacity to 196 US gallons. This extraordinary thrust increase resulted in a cruise speed of 400 mph, a top speed of 550 mph, a rate of climb of 10,000 feet per minute, and a minimum (lightweight) takeoff roll of only 500 feet, making it one of the world's ultimate aerial sports-cars. [History by Kevin Murphy, with additional information provided by Thomas Myers, Air Victory Museum]
Nickname: Tinker Toy
Engine: One 930-pound thrust Continental J69-T-9 turbojet
Max Takeoff Weight: 4,325 lbs.
Wing Span: 30ft. 0in.
Length: 30ft. 9.25in.
Height: 10ft. 10.75in.
Maximum Speed: 345 mph
Ceiling: 32,200 ft.
Range: 450 miles
Number Built: 14
Number Still Airworthy: Seven (at least 4 of which are Super Pintos)
[ Flight Report by Budd Davisson ]
Pinto Model Plans from Berkeley Models
ENGINE 1 x 418kg Continental J69-T-9 turbojet
Take-off weight 1996 kg 4400 lb
Wingspan 9.09 m 29 ft 10 in
Length 9.32 m 30 ft 7 in
Height 3.30 m 10 ft 10 in
Wing area 13.94 m2 150.05 sq ft
Max. speed 555 km/h 345 mph
Ceiling 9815 m 32200 ft
In 1968, Allen Paulson, president of California Airmotive/American jet Industries bought a surplus Temco Pinto and reengined it with the CJ-610 producing more that three times the power at a weight penalty of only 20 lb (9.1 kg). Developed for COIN (Counter-Insurgency) use (although it performed well, the lack of manufacturing potential hampered the sales effort), the "Super" Pinto was a one-off but all except one other Pinto were later converted into "super" versions.
Ezell Aviation made several modifications including installing the J-85 engine with 2,850 pounds of thrust and increasing the fuel on board to 320 gallons. Cruise speed was increased to 400 mph (640 km/h), max speed went to 550 mph (890 km/h) and the rate of climb was 10,000 feet (3,000 m) per minute. Takeoff roll was reduced to only a 500 feet (150 m). Manufacture of new wing panels, ailerons, rudder and swept vertical stabilizer along with a revised instrument panel and side consoles as well as all avionics and hydraulic systems being upgraded were standard modifications. New intakes, ducting, and new engine mounts for the upgraded engines completed the typical package.
The Self-Reliance Development Wing of the PAF has acquired from American Jet Industries the prototype of the latter company's tandem two-set COIN version of the Temco TT-1 Pinto, together with the works drawings and the rights to the design and production of the aircraft. The Super Pinto, last described in the 1972-73 edition of Jane's, is a light-strike version of the TT-1 trainer, powered by a 12.7 kN (2,850 lbs st) General electric CJ610-4 turbojet engine (in place of the original Turbomeca Marbore) and equipped with six underwing hardpoints for external stores.
Philippine Air Force/American Jet Industries refer to the aircraft as the T-610. Cali
Endurance: 5.5 hours
Take off run: 152.43 m (500 ')
Landing run: 243.90 m (800 ')
Cruising speed: 375 knots
Stalling speed: 63 knots
Approach air speed: 82 knots
Sustained load factor: 1.5 G ??
Shen Yang Aircraft issued a news release in 1988 of their intention to build the US Super Mustang T-100 jet trainer under licence in China. The T-100 is derived from the Temco Model 51 Pinto trainer, the rights to which were previously acquired from American Jet Industries by the Philippines Air Force for production as the T-610 Cali.
The Self- Reliance Development Wing of the Philippines Air Force acquired the prototype of the Temco Pinto, together with the working drawings and the rights to the design and production of the aircraft. The T-100 is a tandem two- seat jet trainer. The agreement between Avstar of Seattle, Plymouth of Hong Kong, and Pacific Marketing Consultants of San Francisco means that, after construction by Shen Yang in China, final assembly and avionics installation will be performed in the USA. Its designers claim that the aircraft "combines fighter-like handling qualities with the docile landing characteristics of a turboprop", and it has been likened by some to a "baby F-15".
A prototype T-100, powered by a General Electric J85 turbojet, is undergoing flight tests in the USA. Production aircraft may be powered by either the J85 or the Williams Jet RJ44. The choice will depend both on customer pref erence and engine availability.
The T-100 is ideal for use as a military or civil trainer, claims Avstar. It has a stalling speed of 58kt, yet can attain a climb rate in excess of 10,000ft /min, the company notes. With a price tag of less than $1 million, the aircraft is aimed at capturing a significant part of the turboprop trainer market. With Chinese expertise in fighter manufacture at Shen Yang, combined with US engine and avionics technology, Avstar maintains that it has the formula "to build the lowest- cost, most versatile jet trainer in the world".
It appears the plans for the T-100 never went through.
In 1956, TEMCO began work on a contract to convert 15 World-War-II-vintage Mustangs into two-seat TF-51Ds. This was not the first two-seat Mustang conversion. In 1944, shortly after D-Day, General Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, took an inspection flight over the beachheads in a rear seat that had been fitted in P-51B-5-NA serial number 43-6877. On the news that this in-the-field conversion had worked well, North American Aviation produced 10 two-seater trainers called TP-51D-NTs (serial numbers 44-84610, 44-84611 and 45-11443 to 45-11450). To accommodate the rear seat, NAA took out the standard 85-gallon fuel tank normally fitted behind the pilot and moved some of the radio equipment into the rear fuselage. These aircraft had full controls for the second seat and used the standard "bubble" canopy.
TEMCO TF-51Ds differed from NAA TP-51Ds only in having an enlarged canopy to give the second-seater more headroom. The starting points for the TEMCO conversions were 15 1944 P-51Ds (which the Air Force at the time called 'F-51Ds'), serial numbers 44-84654 to 84658, 84660, 84662, 84663, 84665 to 84670 and 84676. The Air Force, beginning to convert to jet power, had little interest in the TFs, but other countries, especially in Central and South America, found them ideally suited to their needs in the area's raging brushfire conflicts.
On August 17, 1945, nationalist leader Sukarno declared Indonesian independence from the Netherlands, ending 250 years of Dutch colonial rule, and united various militias into a People's Security Force (BKR, for Badan Keamanan Rakyat). A few months later, the BKR became the TKR (Tentara Keamanan Rakyat), or People's Security Army, to fight Dutch attempts to re-occupy their former colony. On April 9, 1946, Indonesia formed its own Air Force, the Angkatan Udara Republik Indonesia, or AURI, which flew old ex-Japanese Army and Navy aircraft found scattered in depots on Java and throughout the huge archipelago. AURI rarely had more than a third of its 100 aircraft operational at any time. In a major setback on July 21, 1947, Dutch attacks destroyed nearly all of AURI's airplanes on the ground, except for a few hidden at remote bases. On July 29, three of the surviving AURI aircraft dropped incendiary bombs on Dutch Army barracks in Semarang, Salatiga and Ambara wa. While of no tactical value, the dawn raids were a big success psychologically, as they proved the Dutch wrong in their claims that they had completely destroyed the Indonesian Air Force.
Indonesia's war for independence ended on December 27, 1949, when, under severe international pressure and faced with U.S. threats to cut off Marshall Plan funding, the Netherlands, despite being nearly assured of victory, signed a peace treaty and recognized the new nation. At that time the ML (Militaire Luchtvaart) branch of the KNIL (Koninklijke Nederlands Indisch Leger, or Royal Netherlands East Indies Army) turned their aircraft and other assets over to the Indonesians and left. Some of the 253 aircraft that the Dutch left behind included 42 North American B-25 Mitchells, 34 Douglas C-47 Dakotas, 26 Noorduyn AT-16s (license-built Canadian versions of NAA's AT-6 Texan), 63 Piper L-4J Grasshoppers and 26 P-51D Mustangs. These aircraft were the core of AURI for the next decade. Over the years, Indonesia grew its air force into the largest in the Southern Hemisphere by purchasing aircraft outright, including more P-51Ds and several TF-51Ds. The Indonesian Mustangs, retired when new jets entered service, later turned out to be a real bonanza for warbird enthusiasts around the world.
North American TF-51D-25-NT
inch inline "V"
350 miles per hour
425 miles per hour
32 feet 3 inches
37 feet 0 inches
Weight (maximum) 11,600 pounds
The Aero Car was an almost TEMCO product. A contract was in place to produce 1,000 units, at a projected cost of about $8,500 apiece, provided Aerocar could round up 500 firm orders. In two weeks, the company collected 278 deposits of $1,000 each and forwarded the money. But without another 222 orders, the deal fizzled.and the deal was dead.
TEMCO Aircraft subcontracted on a number of aircraft, see them here >
Much of this subcontracting work was done at two locations aquired as TEMCO grew. They were Luscombe Field in Garland, Texas aquired in the Luscombe bankruptcy and Majors Field leased from the city of Greenville, Texas. A brief history of each field is offered:
Luscombe Field >
Majors Field >
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