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1956 - 2023, Celebrating over 65+ Years of Service

Excerpts from
AAHS Journal, Vol. 50, No. 4 - Winter 2005
Table of Contents 

The Barkley-Grow T8P-1

    The Barkley-Grow T8P-l was one of those innovative products of the American aircraft industry in the 1930s that started with much promise. But it never emerged from the shadow of its two competitors, the Lockheed L-12 and especially the Beech Model 18. 
     On August 15, 1935, the Bureau of Air Commerce issued a request for the supply of a small twin-engine aircraft for use as a feeder liner by small airlines. Today we would call this a commuter aircraft. A secondary use intended by the Bureau was for use by its inspectors on their trips across the country. 
     Among the Bureau’s requirements were a maximum speed of at least 175 mph, a landing speed no higher than 65 mph, be able to maintain a 3,200 ft. altitude on one engine and a maximum takeoff distance of 1,500 ft. over a 50 ft obstacle. Other requirements included accommodation for a crew of two and six passengers, de-icing on the leading edges of the wings, adjustable propellers and a double radio installation. 
     But the most-demanding requirement was that the first aircraft would have to make its maiden flight no later than June 30, 1936, the end of the government’s Fiscal Year 1936 to be considered for evaluation.


     Three manufacturers started work. Beech produced the Model 18, Lockheed the L-12 Electra Junior and Barkley-Grow the T8P-l. The competition was won by the L-12 based on its performance, but also because with a great deal of effort Lockheed had managed to get the first aircraft into the air on June 27, 1936, three days before the Bureau’s deadline. The first Beech 18 did not make its first flight until January 20, 1937, and the T8P-1 took to the air in April of that year. Both were therefore eliminated. As it turned out, the Beech with its two . . . .

Barkley-Grow T8P-1, CF-BLV, "Yukon Queen" in factory photo.

1935 - The Year of Records

    The year 1935 was a notable one in the history of commercial aviation. It was also a notable year for aviation enthusiasts with record flights and performances. Amelia Earhart set the pattern on January 11, when she made the first solo flight from Honolulu to Oakland, with her Lockheed Vega. On the 15th of that month, Major James Doolittle, with two passengers aboard flew an American Airlines plane from Los Angeles to New York City, nonstop, in eleven hours fifty-nine minutes, just barely breaking the twelve-hour mark for commercial transports. This record was broken a month later with an American Airlines crew who made the trip in eleven hours and thirty-four minutes. 
     Other achievements during the year included Laura Ingalls setting new women’s records for transcontinental flights in both directions. The Keys brothers set a new endurance record when they stayed in the air 533 hours with their Curtiss Robin. Two Army balloon specialists soared to a height of 72,395 feet with the National Geographic’s 3,700,000 cubic foot balloon. In November, the media featured the saga of Lincoln Ellsworth and his pilot, Herbert Hollick-Kenyon, as they made their way across 2,000 miles of Antarctica to the South Pole. 
     One of the most coveted of all records is for the maximum speed over a three-kilometer course. The French had practically monopolized the record from 1906 to 1935, when Howard Hughes sped his Hughes Special 352 mph. His record stood for a little over two years, when the  . . . . . . .

TWA Douglas DC-1, NC223Y

Evolution of the Liaison-Type Airplane, 1917-1944: Part II

     The history of the Air Corps interest in light airplanes dates back as early as 1929, when the Materiel Division conducted an extensive survey to determine the possibilities of using light commercial aircraft in lieu of existing specialized training equipment. Despite the fact that 40 manufacturers expressed an interest in the project, the division found only one model that was at all suitable. All others contained objectionable features, for the most part structural members that did not conform to Army-Navy material specifications. Taken collectively, the utter lack of standardization and interchangeability presented a most serious objection to the use of commercial aircraft for military use, and the division gave up the idea. 
     One of the manufacturers of lightweight airplanes, the Taylor Aircraft Company, had no intention of abandoning the military market for training airplanes. Writing to the Assistant Secretary of War for Air late in 1931, Taylor pointed out that lightweight airplanes had dropped in average price from $5,000 to $3,500 between 1930 and 1931 and predicted that in another year the light airplane would be outselling all other types. Stressing the favorable economy of Cub airplanes selling at $1,325, Taylor urged the War Department to consider the Cub as a trainer, saying: "If some of these Army contracts were passed around to the manufacturers of light airplanes, it would greatly strengthen their position."2
     The Material Division had no interest in strengthening the position of light-airplane manufacturers, and brushed off the Taylor proposition with the remark that parachutes and heavy, winter flying equipment made the use of small airplanes impossible. Just why cadets in preliminary flying training should be wearing heavy flying clothing was not explained, but the division reply was emphatic, that the small airplane had no place in the Air Corps training . . . . . . 

Crouch-Bolas Dragon Fly, NX13262

Delta Flight 1080 Jammed Elevator Incident

     I was the captain of Flight 1080, San Diego, Calif. (SAN), to Los Angeles, Calif. (LAX), on April 12, 1977, that experienced a serious control problem in the pitch axis immediately after takeoff – at night, over water, on instruments – that appeared to be almost certain disaster.The other flight crewmembers were First Officer Will Radford and Second Officer Steve Heidt. 
     The malfunction was later determined, after arriving safely at LAX, to be the left elevator jammed in the up position. Presumably the left elevator aft drive quadrant (bell crank) and drive cable failed during the flight control check prior to takeoff. This incident occurred on a Lockheed L-1011 aircraft and there is no cockpit indication for this type of failure on this, or any other aircraft, to my knowledge.
     The purpose of this narrative is to describe what we as a flight crew experienced, our observations, our procedures, corrective action, and sincere hope that this information and knowledge will benefit those who may be confronted with a similar situation.
     At departure time, the San Diego weather was reported as 800-foot overcast and visibility five miles, temperature 58oF, wind 260o at eight knots. Aircraft gross weight was 300,000 pounds, 42,000 pounds of fuel, 41 passengers, and a crew of . . . . .

Delta Airlines Lockheed L-1011

Lockheed 12A, c/n 1287, Electra Junior

     This classic aircraft has recently been seen at the Paris Air Show in 2003 and 2005 and the Flying Legend Air Show weekends in 2004 and 2005.
     Delivered to the Sky Kraft Corporation, Mobile, Alabama, on August 26, 1941, as NC33615, this "Grand Old Lady," will see her 65th birthday in 2006! Her next entry is dated December 31, 1941, and is shown at the Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, as an R3O-2, Bu.02947, with the remark, "Naval Attaché, London, England."
     The following day, a picture appeared on the front page of the "Aeroplane Spotter" in U.S. military marks! In August 1945, she was leased to the Royal Air Force as "D2947," but was soon registered on September 19, 1945, to Sydney Cotton, Director of the Aeronautical & Industrial Research Corporation, as G-AGTL, named "Caprice." In March 1946, she was shown at Hanworth, England, fitted with instrument flying aids, a Decca Navigator, MF H/F and VHF R/T, a SBA (Lorenz) receiver and a Bendix radio compass. Two additional 55-gallon fuselage fuel tanks increased the range to 1,250 miles. A series of development flights were made in an early attempt to provide safer instrument flying. A British CofA was granted in December 1946.
     By May 1957, she was being flown for Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons and was sold to France in January 1961, but was not registered until March 15, 1963, as F-BJJY to Escadrille Mercure SARL. On April 28, 1964, she . . . . .

Lockheed 12A Electra Junior,
 c/n 1287

 Lockheed 10 & 12 Survivors

     Following the "life" of the Lockheed 12A, #1287/F-AZLL, I wondered how many of these classic planes were "Survivors" today. Research soon found that almost fifty examples may be found in the United States, Canada, Australia and France. Searching my picture files, I found several of these and I am sure there will be many additions.



Lockheed 12A Electra Junior
c/n 1236

The Navy’s Striking Eagles Squadron, Part III

     While Col. Merritt Edson’s raiders reduced the pressure from the direction east of Vandegrift’s perimeter, many enemy troops continued to threaten. Frightened natives reported Japanese moving from the south and southwest toward the Marine lines around Henderson and Fighter One airfields. The main assault struck the re-grouped Raiders and paratroops who defended what came to be called Edson’s Ridge. These troops backed by engineer and pioneer Marines and later, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, held on against ferocious attacks by a fanatic enemy. Blasts of 105mm artillery fire from the field guns of the 11th Marines assisted. At dawn on September 14, three worn but still flyable Army P-400s contributed to the defeat of Kawaguchi’s brigade with bursts of 20mm cannon and machine gun fire. As the sun rose, the exhausted surviving Marines of Edson’s command looked out upon a jungle battlefield littered with hundreds of dead Japanese soldiers. This hard-fought victory saved Henderson Field and assisted in the victory to come.
     Meanwhile, three days earlier, Fighting Five got the full flavor of life in the battle . . . . . . .

The Grumman TBF Avenger

Russ Hiatt’s WWII Aircraft Photos from France

     Russ Hiatt, a Life Member of AAHS, a USAAF veteran of WWII, aviation photographer and a great guy passed away in early 2005. Because of the generosity of Bob Kennedy who now has the Hiatt Collection and Gerald Liang who did the darkroom work, we can share these photos with the AAHS Membership.
     Russ Hiatt was raised in Bakersfield, Calif., and was an "airplane nut" all his life. The U.S. Army Air Corps had summer maneuvers in Bakersfield, Fresno or Delano in the 1930s, and the U.S. Navy used Bakersfield as a refueling stop on training flights between the San Francisco area and San Diego. During these times, Russ would borrow a camera and hustle over to Bakersfield Airport and photograph as much of the activity as he could, film being the limiting factor.
     Russ entered the U.S. Army Air Forces in early WWII and was trained to be an aerial gunner. He became so proficient at accurately firing a machine gun that he became a gunnery instructor. Later he served as a tail gunner in a Martin B-26 in the European Theater of WWII. After WWII, Russ worked for Union Oil and lived for many years in Taft, Calif. 
     This selection of photographs come from various airfields in France during the latter stages of WWII, and show a nice cross-section of 8th and 9th AF aircraft of the USAAF, including some rarely seen ones.

Northrop P-61A-5-NO, 42-5549,
 9th AF. 

The North American T-28 Trojan

     During World War II, the North American AT-6 Texan, single-engine, two-seat aircraft, trained thousands of aviation cadets to fly before they transitioned onto advanced flight training in fighters, transports or bombers (two or four engine). By the end of production, over 17,000 units had been built. Navy variants were designated SNJs. While U.S. services referred to this training aircraft as the Texan, the British referred to it as the Harvard. In 1948, in the same move that eliminated AT, BT and PT designations, the Texan was redesignated as T-6. Modified Texans redesignated as LT-6Gs were used during the Korean War, 1950-1953, in the role as a forward air control (FAC). There they provided supporting artillery units with target coordinates from "upstairs." However, by this time, it was nearing the end of its operational lifespan.1 The AT-6, designed in the 1930s, needed to be replaced. A new design was needed to train the next generation of pilots before they went on to flying turbojet aircraft. North American Aviation engineers, after WWII, began designing a new aircraft to replace the AT-6. The XT-28 made its first test flight on September 26, 1949. The U.S. Air Force adopted this aircraft as its primary, or initial pilot training aircraft, referring to it as the T-28A Trojan, in 1950. This aircraft closely simulated a feel for the pilot of what to expect in turbojet aircraft: a tricycle landing gear, . . . . .

North American T-28C, N10WX, 
Storm Trojan

     Remember When . . . Waco Aristocraft

     For those of us who recall the period, a boom in general aviation was to take place following World War II. It was anticipated that returning airmen would trade their wartime aircraft, flown in hostile skies, for light planes flown over peaceful American terrain. The return of many veteran pilots, aviators and airmen were to be the catalyst behind the figurative statement "an airplane in every garage," and it gave impetus to artists’ conceptions of smiling families flying to vacation destinations in futuristic light planes. Aviation magazines of the day reinforced this vision by depicting modern-day housing developments with a runway and individual taxiways leading up to each new home.
     Aircraft companies and subcontractors shared this optimism as they converted their wartime facilities into the manufacturing of general-aviation aircraft. Soon their drawing boards were busy as they transitioned from the manufacturing of bomber and pursuit aircraft of war to the postwar pursuit of building light planes. In some cases, and for expediency, their aircraft were prewar or updated designs. Other companies, however, capitalized on wartime knowledge and transferred newly developed technology into modern and innovative aircraft designs.
     New light-plane designs and prototypes from major aircraft manufacturers, including Douglas, Grumman, Lockheed, North American and Republic, entered into development. Additionally, new light planes . . . . .

Waco Aristocraft