Caption above: 1929 Flying & Glider Manual (Reprint of original Building and Flying Manuals published from 1929 to 1933 by Modern Mechanix and Inventions). The Russell-Henderson Light Monoplane is shown lower right on the cover.
In late June, Rusty Lowry picked up a 1929 Russell Light Monoplane project in Middletown, VT that was donated by John and Elizabeth Barton.The Russell Light Monoplane is a plans-built design dating to 1929, when the plans could be obtained through Flying & Glider Manual, The Sportplane Authority of America and other publications. It was intended to use a converted 4-cylinder Henderson motorcycle engine for power and built of wood with wire bracing much like a World War I Jenney. Covered with fabric, the Russell was relatively easy and inexpensive to build though it was never intended for tall people to fly it as it is really small! Our example, although never completed (fuselage structure & wings only, no fabric or engine), was in storage for more than 80 years but the wood is still in great condition.
Henderson was a manufacturer of 4-cylinder motorcycles from 1912 until 1931. They were one of the largest and fastest motorcycles of their time. Many of the Henderson “DeLuxe” engines were converted by the Heath Airplane Company as Model B-4s which featured a modified lubrication system, different valves, and removal of the transmission. The B-4 mainly powered the small and economical Heath Parasol monoplane, which Heath sold in kit form for homebuilders in the 1920s and ‘30s. https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/heath-henderson-b-4-line-engine
First off, the image above has nothing to do with our episode. As you may recall, last December a remote location crew from “Mysteries at the Museum” came to Massey to shoot background footage for an episode to air approx. 6 months later. The episode finally aired on July 6th, 2017 and is scheduled to repeat on Sat. Sept. 2 at 9 AM EST – after that you will have to be persistent to find it. The episode is: Season 15, Episode 10
“Don Wildman showcases a pocket watch used by a ruthless gangster in 1920s Chicago, an aircraft that disappeared over Australia after encountering a UFO, and the first daredevil to brave Niagara Falls.”
We are featured in the second 8 minute segment of the episode – “A Cessna 182 that disappeared over Australia after encountering a UFO” and have little more than a minute of time on air – but something is better than nothing. It starts with Don Sloan’s Stearman buzzing the field, a couple shots inside the museum (the ejection seat for some unknown reason?), Nick’s hands cranking open the hangar door, C182 fast taxi and ends with about 5 seconds of time lapse of clouds passing over the C182 sitting in the grass (they spent a couple of hours recording the time lapse). The premise of the segment is (very) hokey but again it’s basic cable!
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Massey’s Mission to promote Grassroots Aviation includes illustrating the history of aviation in our region especially Maryland and Delaware with emphasis on the “Golden Age of Aviation” as well as the immediate post WWII era.
In June 2016 we accepted two large scale (1:5) models that enhance this mission.
Ron Board of Bridgeville, DE has loaned the Massey Air Museum his replica 1940 Fairchild 24W-40 w/Warner Scarab engine built by Gene Hannah of Montgomery Alabama: 1/5 scale R/C, 91” wingspan, weight 18 lbs. (actual aircraft size: 36 ft 4 in wingspan, Length: 23 ft 10 in). The model F-24 was produced from 1932 ($3,360) until 1946 ($8,500).
Fairchild became a Maryland aircraft manufacturer when in 1929, Sherman Fairchild purchased a majority stock interest in Kreider-Reisner Aircraft Company of Hagerstown, Maryland. The company moved to Hagerstown in 1931 from Farmingdale, NY. A Fairchild 71 monoplane, the Virginia, was taken as one of three aircraft by Richard E. Byrd on his 1928–1929 expedition to the South Pole. Aircraft production was ended in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1984. Among other models, Fairchild produced the model 24 (2232), PT-19/PT-23/PT-26 “Cornell” WWII trainers (6397), C-119 “Flying Boxcar” (1183), C-123 “Provider” (307) and most famously the A-10 “Thunderbolt II” (716).
Ben Howard and “Mister Mulligan” were the only pilot and aircraft to capture both the Bendix and Thompson trophies in the same year when they did so at the 1935 National Air Races in Cleveland, OH.
The DGA-6 (first flown in 1934) was the only racer of the thirties that had the distinction to be developed into a successful production aircraft for both the civil and military market (Howard DGA-8 through DGA-12).
NR273Y, the only DGA-6 built, was powered by an 850 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp S.E. nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine (DGA stood for “Damn Good Airplane”). In the 1936 Bendix race the aircraft lost a propeller blade and crash-landed in New Mexico, USA, Howard and his wife were injured, the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
It was the only airplane ever designed for the specific purpose of winning the Bendix Trophy. The plane was designed and developed by Ben Howard and Gordon Israel , who later became an engineer for the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. Mister Mulligan was designed to fly the entire length of the race nonstop and at high altitude. Neither had ever been done before. Mister Mulligan won the trophy, and thus changed the way in which long distance airplanes were designed.
The Bendix Trophy was a cross-country race from the west coast to the site of the National Air Races in Cleveland, Ohio, and typically was the starting event of the week-long aviation festival. The Thompson Trophy was awarded to the winner of the unlimited division in closed-course pylon racing at the National Air Races.