1930 TravelAir 4-D, N697K
1930 Stearman C3-R, N790H
The Timeless TravelAir, designed by Lloyd Stearman, produced by the TravelAir Co of Wichita KS which was owned by C. Cessna, W. Beech and Lloyd Stearman (hows that for a family tree!). This Airplane was sold new to the Long Island Aviation Country Club, whose members were the very elite, to include Charles Lindberg and other Aviation greats. Originally powered by a Wright, we'll put a Lycoming 300 on it and hopefully it'll be our next ride hauler. Imagine sitting in the same seat where Lucky Lindy may have flown with Anne Morrow (his future wife!) The first picture is of the airplane new, Then converted to a duster (thats not ours, but it looked like that), now under restoration.
I love old airplanes. Its the stories they tell and what we uncover along the way that makes them even more neato. We got this airplane thinking it had a pretty normal history. Really though, if you had an airplane in the late 1920's and 1930's... you were something! The entire country was suffering the effects of the Great Depression, a big dustbowl in the midwest, and the after effects of the first World War. To be honest, we thought that this airplanes history was more or less typical... but then come to find out... BAM... it was used for charter and transport by movie stars back in the day. Heres a shot of Clark Gable alongside it outside his favorite hotel in California! Makes perfect sense... Stearman didnt name it the "Business Speedster" for nothing. As we dig deeper, I'll post more of what this airplanes fascinnating history really is.
I'm sortof a Neo-Modern Purist when it comes to restoring these airplanes. Its got to keep as much as original, but its got to be safe to fly, because as I've said before, very few people get inspired by looking at something behind a velvet rope. To that end, we are having the fuselage and other steel structures repaired by John Murray. If you dont know John and you need something welded, you should. He's a master fabricator and welder extrodinare. We have new 30x5 wheels with hydraulic brakes and the original big tall gorgeous wheel pants that just ooze art deco. We should have the fuselage back in Hallettsville in late 2021. I'm starting on the wood wings now. It'll get another fire breathing 300 HP R680 Lycoming swinging a big Hamilton Standard prop to make plenty of noise and push this baby along.