Dave and Jeanne Allen flew their 1930 Waco ASO from Elbert, Colorado, to Vintage Airfield in Iowa this yr, not just for the Vintage Airplane Affiliation‘s annual fly-in, but in addition for the 15th reunion of the 2003 Nationwide Air Tour.
Dave and Jeanne are well-known in the vintage group as a husband-and-wife restoration staff. Collectively they’ve tackled a number of Waco tasks, every of which represents their superlative consideration to element.
Their first challenge was a homebuilt Taperwing Waco duplicate, which took 6-½ years to construct.
“It was a neat airplane, but our home field is at 7,000′ msl, which becomes 10,000′ in the summer with density altitude and that M6 airfoil did not get along with that,” says Dave. “We really wanted a Straightwing Waco from the beginning, so then we did this one. It only took 4-½ years, because these wings are a lot easier to build. We had seen photos in Ray Brandly’s Waco books of John Livingston’s and Art Davis’ Waco Straightwings, which came in first and second in the 1929 National Air Tour. We really liked that paint scheme with ‘WACO’ on the fuselage, so we ‘plagiarized’ that and put it on ours.”
They used the Poly-Fiber material overlaying course of for the Waco, with remaining coats of Nevada Silver Poly-Tone, inventory Cruiser Orange, and a vibrant blue they combined themselves, utilizing three elements Eagle Blue and one half Bahama Blue of Aerothane. As a of completion, they hand rubbed the Aerothane to a lustrous sheen.
Powered by a Wright Whirlwind R-760, the Straightwing has a 60 gallon gasoline capability and burns 11 gph.
Dave and Jeanne accomplished NC662Y and began flying it in 2002. Because it turned out, their timing was serendipitous, for they quickly heard about the Aviation Basis of America re-creating the 1932 Nationwide Air Tour to rejoice the Centennial of Flight in 2003. Two dozen classic airplanes would fly four,000 miles alongside the route of the uncompleted 1932 tour, and Dave and Jeanne needed to be a part of it.
“We called the organizer, Greg Herrick, and said, ‘wow, we’d really like to participate in the Air Tour; we’ve got a Straightwing painted like John Livingston’s and Art Davis’ Straightwings. We’ll even take out a second mortgage if we have to, just to be part of it!” laughs Dave, reminiscing. “We ended up flying the whole tour with this Waco. It was a life-altering event, it really was. There were 80 people and two dozen old airplanes flying. It was just so much fun.”
“The running joke in the Waco world was ‘you can’t go cross country in a Straightwing’ because it’s too slow,” he continues. “It cruises at 90 mph indicated and we’re normally doing about 100 mph over the ground with no wind. You fly a long time in one place, but we enjoy it and it’s kind of a barnstorming type thing.”
Jeanne, who can also be a pilot, completely loved the Air Tour as properly.
“We had all these people from all over the country and we were able to work together. Somehow we just all meshed, and everybody had a role to fill as we were flying from one stop to the next. I would say we all enjoyed each other’s company and made friends forever,” displays Jeanne. “I mean we see these people at different fly-ins and reminisce about the days we were flying together. Just being in the sky with old airplanes flying together does make you feel like you were in that 1930s era when it was a lot less hectic. It was just a slow enjoyable time in the air.”
The pilots not solely served as ambassadors for basic aviation throughout the 2003 tour, they have been additionally assigned a 1930s aviation persona to emulate whereas mingling with the public at the totally different airports alongside the method. Not surprisingly, Dave was honoring John H. Livingston (whose unique tour quantity 26 adorns NC662Y’s vertical stabilizer), and Jeanne was honoring Mrs. Jessie Keith Miller, an early pioneering aviatrix from Australia who turned well-known in America for her aviation achievements.
“Once we had refueled our airplanes, people could come out and talk to us and see the airplanes up close,” explains Dave. “The entire tour was an incredible experience and our Straightwing made it possible for us to participate.”
Dave and Jeanne additionally flew NC662Y throughout a number of of the American Barnstormer Excursions.
“Those air tours just take you back – I mean if you don’t look real hard, you would think it was 1930. It’s just a really neat kind of flying, and Jeanne is always right in there helping me on the projects and pitching in with navigation while we’re flying.”
They’ve stored their Straightwing in tiptop form ever since 2002, evidenced partially by its award of Reserve Grand Champion Vintage at SUN ‘n FUN 2016. They’ve logged almost 1,100 hours on it, and all over the place they fly, they proceed to pay tribute to the Golden Age of Aviation.
Dave and Jeanne each take pleasure in the approach the Straightwing handles.
“It’s not heavy on the controls at all,” says Jeanne. “When I’m holding the iPad in the front cockpit and using ForeFlight, I’m barely holding the stick and it’s just very responsive.”
They’ve flown the Waco to Florida for 2 winters, the place they will fly it regularly in the good climate.
“It’s just delightful to fly, it’s a nice ship,” Dave says. “And like any taildragger with a full-size round engine, you need to use peripheral vision to keep it going straight during takeoff or landings. We don’t fly it as often as we should, but this year we took it to Junction City for the National Biplane Fly-In and to Creve Coeur for the Waco fly-in, and we’ve done a few rides at home in between.”
They do take pleasure in going “Back to Blakesburg” for the annual fly-in, primarily for the individuals and the number of previous airplanes they get to see there.
“This is a more hands-on and experiential fly-in, and we really enjoy that aspect of it and seeing people flying all day and all the flivver airplanes,” says Dave.
Jeanne provides, “If you have any problem with your aircraft, this is the place to be, because you’ll be able to talk with people here who have the expertise with old airplanes, and they can pretty much help you get your questions answered.”
On the Horizon
After the Straightwing challenge, Dave and Jeanne efficiently took on the problem of restoring a 1934 Cabin Waco YKC to award-winning standing (2013 Oshkosh AirVenture Vintage Grand Champion, 2013 Vintage Airplane Affiliation Grand Champion (Pre-1936), and 2014 SUN ‘n FUN Vintage Grand Champion).
One factor’s for sure – this aviation couple doesn’t keep idle for lengthy. They only can’t appear to resist taking over yet one more airplane challenge. Now they’re finishing a PA-11 restoration.
“Firewall forward is all we have left to do on that. The engine is hung and we’re working on the cowling. And we’ve got an RNF in the wings,” says Dave with a smile, “That’s the definition of optimism — starting on a Waco biplane project in your mid-70s! I just turned 73 and I had a thought the other day that I should fly that RNF on my 80th birthday. In fact, why not fly all three of them — the Straightwing, the Cabin, and the RNF — on my 80th birthday?”
Jeanne chimes in with amusing and admonishes Dave, “Oh yeah, you should! So you better get with it and get to work on that RNF – what are you doing here at the fly-in?”
We’ll be wanting ahead to seeing what is certain to be a pristine PA-11 on the flight line in the subsequent yr, and in a number of years, the Waco RNF — time to get to work, certainly, to proceed paying homage to the Golden Age!